#DisneyKids Preschool Playdate!



I received free products in order to host the Disney Kids Preschool Playdate. The opinions are 100% my own.

Now that school is back in session, playdates are at an all-time low. At least around here. Even if my preschooler isn’t going to school tomorrow, her sister is and that makes it a school night. My youngest doesn’t need school as an incentive to waking up early though. Noooooo, she wakes up like clockwork around daybreak. Keeps mommy on her toes! 

…and full of coffee!

My preschooler, most of the time, is very independent. But she really likes to be around others. She likes to pretend with others and do puzzles. She likes to read books. You know what else she likes? 


I was recently chosen to host a Disney Side Disney Kids Preschool Playdate and I was stoked. I’m sure that my little one would have been too, but I chose to keep it a secret until the very day of! This turned out to be a fantastic decision. She was completely surprised!

Kinetic Sand

I was sent a HUGE box of amazing Disney decorations, treats, and fun for the kiddos to enjoy. This was her with the Kinetic Sand. This stuff is SO cool y’all. 

It’s kinetic meaning it sticks to itself and not to you! It oozes, moves and melts right before your eyes. It flows through your fingers like a slow-moving liquid, but leaves them completely dry. Kinetic Sand stimulates children’s creative skills allowing them to create anything they can imagine over and over again. Kinetic Sand never dries out and is gluten free. This soft and stretchy sand easily cleans up while delivering non-stop fun! It’s squeezable sand you can’t put down. Feel the difference with Kinetic Sand! Made for kids ages 3+

I must admit that I had almost more fun with it than her, but I promise I shared.

Kinetic Sand Play

They couldn’t stay away! It’s so smooth and molds to whatever shape you want to make. And the Kinetic thing, it’s awesome. To watch it ooze out of your hand and fall it’s almost therapeutic.

Sophia The First Cupcakes

With the majority of decor we received being Sophia The First, I decided to make these cupcakes to match! Knowing that these were preschoolers, I decided to go easy on the frosting, keeping naptimes in mind.

Cupcake on Sophia the First Plate

They turned out cute, didn’t they!

Princess Party

By the time that I unpacked all the goodies, it looked like a grand princess affair! All the kiddos were so excited and their eyes lit up when they walked in to find this waiting on them. It was magical!

Fortune Teller Craft

We did a few fun activities that were provided and they loved this “Which Disney Junoir Character Are You” Fortune Teller game. The name says it all. Guess who I was EVERY time? Handy Manny! The girls were so happy when they got Sophia The First!

Edible Crafts

We also made an edible craft! Which when you’re this with preschoolers, you should know that there is more edible-ness happening than crafting. We used licorice laces as the string and Lifesaver Gummies and Froot Loops as beads. They suggested mini marshmallows, but we couldn’t make those work. 

So we just ate them!

Edible Crafts 2

Here’s my sweetie and her bracelet! (Eaten seconds later)


As if they needed more sugar, we breaked for snack time! I was provided with these cute Disney Princess placemats which helped to keep cupcake crumbs contained.

Princess in Tiara

After snack time, we all put on our tiaras and played Twirling Tiaras. It’s basically a freeze dance where you play music and freeze when the music stopped. It was so much for everyone that we had to play twice!

We had an incredible time at our #DisneyKids Preschool Playdate y’all. Much needed for my preschool princess. She is still reeling from the fun she had and still plays with her Kinetic Sand and Mega Bloks toy!


This post was brought to you on behalf of Walt Disney World Resort and MomSelect. All opinions expressed are 100% mine. I was provided with free product in exchange for this post.

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How I Get FREE Starbucks

This is a genuine smile on my face y’all. Coffee makes me quite happy. I wouldn’t consider myself to be an expert on coffee, but I can usually tell if it’s a good cup or bad cup. You’d think that I would be one of those who enjoyed their coffee dark and bold.

I’m not.

I enjoy my coffee light and airy. And with lots of cream and sugar (not the real stuff; the Equal in all of its artificial glory). A single cup of heaven! Well, maybe 2 or 3 cups of heaven…

Since moving over here to Pennywise Cook last year, I haven’t shared with you guys the power of Swag Bucks. This is in fact, my secret to getting my free Starbucks gift cards. Starbucks is not the only gift card you can get your hands on when you redeem your Swag Bucks. You can grab a gift card to Target, O’Charley’s, even get CASH through Paypal with your Swag Bucks.

Love to shop at Amazon? Turn your Swag Bucks into FREE purchases at Amazon by redeeming for a gift card.

Let me give you the 411 on how it all works…

What ARE Swagbucks?
Swag Bucks is online community where you earn digital dollars called “Swag Bucks” which you can redeem for all kinds of things including merchandise and gift cards.

What do I have to do to earn these Swag Bucks?

  • Searching– this is by far the easiest way to earn. Simply login to the Swagbucks website and use their search bar to input your inquiry. They’ll give you responses from Google and from Ask.com. So if you use those search engines already, then it won’t be much of a change. During random searches that you perform, you will win Swag Bucks! They will ask you to input a special code from an image to confirm your win. Then they will automatically add them to your account. You can look up at your number and it will blink red.
  • Redeem Coupons– They have a section where you can print off coupons. For every coupon that you redeem at the store, you will earn 10 Swag Bucks. Just keep in mind that it can take up to 8-12 weeks for the Swag Bucks to post to your account.
  • Signing up for Daily Deal Sites– Swag Bucks will give you some for signing up through them for Daily Deal Sites or for making purchases. You must be a new user. The fine print will tell you the requirement to receive Swag Bucks.
  • Daily Poll– You can earn 1 Swag Buck each day for voting in the Daily Poll. Woohoo! 😉 Not much, but every little bit counts.
  • Games– Play games through Swagbucks and they will randomly award you during the games.
  • No Obligation Special Offers (NOSO)– Click through a bunch of offers that you may or may not want to participate in and each day you can earn 1 more Swag Buck for doing so. Once per 24 hour period!
  • Special Offers– These require a purchase usually at some point. Some may be free trials and other may require payment right away. This is guaranteed Swag Bucks.
  • Swag Bucks TV– This one is fairly new. Watch videos to earn Swag Bucks. Videos must actually finish in order to earn and multiple videos are required. There is a progress meter to keep up with your earning progress through videos.
  • Tasks– Perform simple little tasks for Swag Bucks such as giving them questions, finding business reviews and more to earn a little Swagbucks.
  • Trade-In– Trade in old electronics and they will give you Swag Bucks in return. This is a nice way to recycle and to earn something in return.
  • Surveys– Take surveys that you qualify for to earn Swag Bucks. Some earn more than others. Of course, it’s free to do this.

On my site, you’ll find my Swidget. Here you’ll easily be able to do a quick search (with the possibility of earning Swag Bucks!) without having to change windows or leave Pennywise Cook.

When I was expecting Britton, I stocked up on diapers by doing the Amazon gift card thing. I got over $50 in diapers for FREE! That same year, I did a lot of my Christmas shopping through Amazon with my Swagbucks. It has really been a blessing.

Fridays are MEGA Swag Bucks Day! That means that you can earn double or even triple the normal amount just by doing what you already do. It’s at random but totally worth trying it out. I always do a few searches just to see how many I can score. So be SURE to get to swaggin’ on Fridays y’all!

Ok, so what are you waiting for? If you aren’t yet signed up with Swag Bucks, then you NEED to do so HERE.

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Financial Fast: 8 Days In (Almost Fail)

Creative Commons License photo credit: jessdamen

When I first began on this journey of fasting financially for just 21 days I thought, Oh sure piece of cake. Honestly, even a piece of cake isn’t expensive. You wouldn’t think that half the things that my husband and I spontaneously did were *gasp* expensive. I mean think about who we’re talking about here.

It’s me. Saving. With. Amy.

They really do still call me that, you know. I’ll never be known as anything different to some. I digress…

I’m cheap and I know it. While I lived with a dollar philosophy for years and almost fell out if I had to pay more than a buck for something, I have loosened up just a bit since I quit the savings blog. But this fast has really been a challenge for me. Coupons made it possible for me to feel comfortable in a grocery store.

Exhilerated almost.

When some folks feel overwhelmed and stressed in stores, I usually can remain calm. Until I see someone pushing a cartful knowing they don’t have even 1 coupon and they could probably spend half as much if they were using them. Once again, I digress…

This is about ME and my challenges with this fast. It’s harder than it sounds. 21 days of NO eating out. 21 days of NO shopping. Not even at $.99 day at GOODWILL y’all! Oh yes, this is a major challenge for muah. So far though, I haven’t gone through withdrawals but keep me in your prayers. 😉

No, the biggest challenges have been mostly small things and 1 large thing. We were walking by a Redbox the other night and almost walked up to grab a flick. Not so fast! That’s frivolous and against our rules! I had a Groupon about to expire for frozen yogurt and we thought we might drop in. And then we remembered that we are yogurt fiends and that we’ll most likely purchase more as a family than our Groupon would cover, therefore causing us to pay for the difference. No yogurt. We were really knocking these challenges down one by one!

And then I spent my morning the other day putting together my grocery list complete with coupons and everything I needed to feed us for the week. Sparing you boring details, just know that every other week our grocery budget changes a little. This makes it difficult each week for making a list. I’m trying to get used to making my list smaller on the weeks that I get less money to spend. A long story short, I went OVER budget this week by $10. I’m not proud of it. I decided that I would spend $10 less next week to make up for it, but there was still a feeling of failure.

I come home and I’m talking to my husband that night. He said that HE too failed. Co-workers went out to lunch because he had forgotten his from home. He felt bad about it. I shared that I had spent about the same and we both decided to make up for it with next week’s grocery budget. And then of course there’s out water heater. It stopped heating the water and we took numerous cold showers. And of course it would need servicing while we were on a financial fast wouldn’t it? I think this is one of those that falls under a necessity, but it was still hard paying for it.

So while we’ve technically failed, we’re going to buckle down and fix it and remain on track.

What about you? Are you doing or have done something like this? I’d love your input!

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My Financial Fast: 4 Days In

We’re moving into day 4 of our financial fast. So far so good. I haven’t felt too stifled just yet. I’m still on budget for groceries and things we need for the week. I have even managed to save $20 of it.

The hardest part so far has been realizing small things that come up. We don’t normally think anything of them, but they can add up. For instance we’re attending a party tonight. We won’t be able to pay for a sitter to watch the girls. Luckily our friends don’t mind if they tag along. Or perhaps a gift for a friend who just had a baby. Can’t get her anything right now and it feels a little weird. But these are the challenges that we face with this fast. I was reading that these are the times when it’s a chance to share with others about the fast. They might decide to try it themselves.

Retail McDonalds

Creative Commons License photo credit: StockMonkeys.com

Quick story: we were stopping to grab a bite to eat on our Christmas road trip this past month. We chose McDonald’s because they are cheap, right? WRONG. Over $21 for our family of 4. One of our 4 is a baby who doesn’t eat much. I was apalled at how expensive it was. I complained all the way to the pay window. I was even considering cancelling the order and getting every item off the $1 menu. When we got to the window, the cashier told me that the lady in front of us had paid for our order.

Mouth shut. I was humbled.

God has a way of doing that to me. Just when I complain, he blesses me or shows me something to be thankful for. I’m so unworthy, but He is so good to us. I couldn’t believe that the lady has paid for our expensive order. We paid for the people behind us to pass on the kindness. It was such a blessing. Even if it was at of all places, McDonald’s.

These are the challenges that we are facing so far in our financial fast. It’s really opening my eyes to what we spend each week. Plus we are using up food from the pantry and freezer and making do with things we already have on-hand. So glad we decided to do this!

  Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you” when you already have it with you.

– Proverbs 3: 27-28

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Post Holiday 21-Day Financial Fast

Creative Commons License photo credit: uyht

Each year after the holidays there seems to be a letdown that occurs. Whether it’s the fact that Christmas is over or the the fact that there isn’t something special to look forward to, there’s a little glum that sometimes follows the excitement of the holidays. And lest we forget one of the biggest letdowns of the holidays…

how much we spent.

I can’t complain too much this time. We actually set aside a Christmas fund throughout the year in hopes of making them a little easier to swallow. It helped for sure, but we ended up over-budget. And I made a lot of my gifts! I absolutely love to give. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a birthday, Christmas, or even just because. I love to give.

So after all of the spending this Christmas, I’m in the mood to do a little saving now. Not that we don’t already save every penny that we can, but we want to really buckle down and challenge ourselves now that the frivolous holidays are over.

Vintage Coin Steps
Creative Commons License photo credit: StockMonkeys.com

I came across Michelle Singletary’s The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom on Google one day. That’s a link to her book if you’re interested in reading it. I didn’t actually read it myself, I just read over the main points of the fast to understand what is expected. It’s a very simple idea and I believe that it’s a great way to challenge your family and your spending habits.

On a summary of this book I found a quote that I wanted to share with you:


Great job Captain Obvious, right?! Well it’s not as obvious as you might think. When I was hardcore couponing, I found that I would stock up on things that may or may not still be good by the time I got around to consuming them. When it was time to go through cabinets and try to use up what we had, there were things that weren’t even edible anymore. And sure I was saving money by stocking up, but if I never even consumed those items then was really just throwing that money away.

You might think about that quote and see how it applies to your situation. With the new year here, it’s time to reevaluate spending and make changes to better your bank account. And that’s the principle that my husband and I are going to be working on in the next 21 days.

We already have a pretty feasible budget that we follow each month. It works well, but contains some spending that we saw to be unnecessary. For instance, we each receive $20 each week to spend on whatever we’d like. Sure it’s nice, but during a financial fast we feel it’s not a necessity. And along those same lines, we also set aside $20 towards dining out for the family. Once again, this is not neccessary and it’s being cut.

Here are the rules that our financial fast will consist of:

  • We can ONLY use cash to pay for things during the 21 days. (We already do this, but it’s good to reiterate how important this is to saving money!)
  • We will ONLY purchase things that are essential during the 21 days. Essentials are: food, medicine, personal toiletry items, school supplies (if needed).
  • We will NOT shop online or shop in-store unless purchasing our essentials during the 21 days.
  • We will NOT purchase gifts for anyone (even if there is a party) during the 21 days.
  • We will NOT eat out or purchase coffee (this is a hard one) at a cafe or anything along these lines during the 21 days.
  • We will document each and every purchase during the 21 days to keep track of where our money is going.
  • We will read a daily Bible verse for encouragement and guidance during the 21 days.

And of course there are other things that will come along that we will deal with as they come. This is probably going to be most difficult for me since I find myself at a store just about every single day for one reason or another. This is a challenge that I plan to go forward with in hopes of learning to use my resources as God intends us to. And also to visually SEE how much money can be saved and how many things we buy on a daily basis that really are unnecessary.

I plan to give updates throughout our 21 days of this challenge. If you’ve never done something like this, I’m sure you’ll be interested to hear how it’s going. I’m curious myself!

Our 21-Day Financial Fast will begin on January 2nd 2013 and end on January 22nd 2013. Wish us luck!

I’ll leave you with a scripture to get you started!

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

-Proverbs 3: 9-10

Have you ever done a financial fast before? Would you consider something like this to encourage your financial discipline?

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YumEarth Organic Candy Review and Giveaway

We’re at the grocery store picking up our weekly groceries. There’s but one thing that I can guarantee that my daughter is going to ask for….

Gummy snacks.

We’re talking fruit snacks, fruit roll-ups, gummy bears, and you name it. She’s going to request that we throw it in the buggy. Yes buggy. That’s what we call them here in the south y’all. I don’t usually mind grabbing some for her snack box at school or perhaps something to snack on in the afternoons. But sometimes, I have to draw the line. She would eat them every second of every day if I let her.

I often find awesome deals on YumEarth Organic Gummy Bears on Amazon so I was thrilled to get a chance to try these out for myself. And to let my little gummy connoisseur try them for herself.

I didn’t actually tell her that these were organic before she tried them. I didn’t think it would matter and I was right! She loved them and so did I.

I will say that I was a little thrown off by their color. They seemed a little drab in color and not as bright as most gummy bears, but that didn’t mean they tasted bad. They were still really yummy. They reminded me of a cross between gummy bears and fruit snacks. Gummy bears tend to be tougher and fruit snacks are usually soft. This was a blend of the two. Either way, it only took us a couple of days to go through our tasty bag of 10 packs.

Come to find out, YumEarth was founded by two DADS who were on a mission to share wholesome treats with their kids. YumEarth is dedicated to making delicious treats and sweets with all-natural ingredients, no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, and no major allergens, such as gluten, nuts and dairy. Pretty sure that most anyone can eat these and not have to worry about any funky ingredients.

There are tons of everyday stores that carry these. So be on the lookout at your store or find out where you can locate them here.

In the meantime, you wanna win a FREE bag of these for yourself? It’s a GIVEAWAY!


YumEarth Organic Gummy Bear Bag Giveaway

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me who you think would eat these if you won!

Optional Additional Entries:

This giveaway will end on December 20th at 11:59pm CT. I will contact the winner on December 21st and they will have 24 hours to respond. If I have not heard from them in 24 hours, I will name a new winner. This giveaway is open to those in the US only.

This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are 100% my own. All prizing for MSM giveaways is handled by a third party unless otherwise noted. For this reason prize fulfillment can take up to 90 days after the winners information is received.

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$50 California Wine Club Giveaway!

You may have read my last post and review about the California Wine Club. Do you know someone who has a plaque or perhaps a magnet that says “Life is Too Short to Drink Bad Wine”?

Yeah, this just might be the perfect Christmas gift for them. Or hey, if it’s YOU with that magnet, we’re not going to judge. Go on ahead and grab yourself a membership. 😉

Basically, you get 2 bottles of homegrown, not-sold-in-stores, even award-winning wine each month delivered to your door. What a concept!

This is Bruce and Pam Boring. Their last name may sound less than enthusiastic, but their desire for wine certainly is not! They are the ones behind this specialty club and the tasters that bring you the unique wine each month. Isn’t it nice to have a face to go with a company?

I was recently sent another shipment from the California Wine Company with a Merlot and a Chenin Blanc from David Grehrs. Both of which I never would have had the opportunity to try if it wasn’t for this club! I’m not much a Merlot drinker, but I really enjoyed the Chenin Blanc. Nice and sweet, but not overly.

If you’re thinking about getting someone a unique and fun gift this year, be sure to check out the California Wine Company. Here’s how:

Wanna check it out for yourself? Here’s how to find them:

California Wine Club Facebook
California Wine Club Twitter

Now, how about a FANTASTIC giveway?! The winner will receive a $50 credit to try it all out for themselves!


California Wine Club $50 Credit Giveaway

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite kind of wine. Or one you’d like to try!

Optional Additional Entries:

This giveaway will end on December 12th at 11:59pm CT. I will contact the winner on December 13th and they will have 24 hours to respond. If I have not heard from them in 24 hours, I will name a new winner. This giveaway is open to those in the US only. 

This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. I received a 2 month Membership to the California Wine Club for the purpose of this review.

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California Wine Club is Nothing to Wine About

Could there be anything better than enjoying a cozy evening with a glass of wine and great conversation? Maybe a really tasty meal as well, but the wine really helps doesn’t it? I’m not a big drinker, but I do enjoy really good wine to take the edge off every now and then. I’m a MOM, what do you expect?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve randomly picked a bottle out at the liquor store just hoping that it would taste decent. I’m no expert, but I know what I like and also enjoy trying new wines. Especially those recommended by friends. You know those friends, the ones that know everything about every wine out there.

We all have one of those friends don’t we?

Enter the California Wine Club. They are kinda like that friend. Bruce and Pam Boring started this club over 20 years ago. Each month, they travel California’s fertile wine country to local wineries. They meet the families that run them and taste their wine. Then they share them with the club! It’s like a “cookie of the month club”, but with wine.

My favorite part is that they all come from family-run mom & pop wineries. Usually, that’s where the hidden gems are and it’s awesome to be able to try wine that you might never have been able to experience before.

I received a membership this month and was thrilled to receive my first shipment! Each month, your membership comes with 2 bottles of wine. One red and one white. But they will work with you if you prefer all white or all red. You’ll also receive a copy of their magazine Uncorked. It’s full of info about the wine you’ll be drinking along with tips, recipes and more. Plus, discounts and special offers for reordering your favorites.

The coolest thing is that they share with you the story behind the winery where your wine came from. There is even a picture of the people/family that run it in the magazine. Plus, ahem, you get wine set to your front door. How incredibly awesome is THAT?

It really is cool idea. And with Christmas around the corner, this would make a stellar gift idea for the wine lovers that you know. Or you know, just a treat for yourself. Once you join, there’s no obligation. You can cancel anytime which means you can give it a try. They have a few different options of shipments to choose from as well.

Wanna check it out for yourself? Here’s how to find them:

California Wine Club Facebook
California Wine Club Twitter

And you do NOT want to miss out on my next post about these folks y’all. There might just be a giveaway in the works and I can’t WAIT to share! Stay tuned.

This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. I received a 2 month Membership to the California Wine Club for the purpose of this review.

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I’m Getting a Face Lift!

No, not that kinda of face lift. The kind that makes a blog such as Pennywise Cook cuter and easier to navigate and love even more!

I hope that you’ll bear with me while the changes are being made today. If you notice things a little out of place or a little wonky, know that this is probably what you would expect to see if you came to my house about now and that the websites changes are the reason for it. (Both the messiness of my house AND my blog) I’m super excited about the new site layout and can’t wait to hear what you think!

By the way, we are actually seeing what they call RAIN today! Praise God, I thought that we might never see it again. I don’t have to water my garden today. I’m so darn excited. 🙂

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Happy Mother’s Day 2012




Moms are simply the best! It’s the greatest job that I could have asked for and I enjoy every fun, joyful, challenging, and spectacular moment of it. For all of the moms who spend each day being miraculous, outstanding and motivating, I hope that today is just as fantastic as you are!

P.S.- I would have shared these cookies with you, but I ate them already. 😉

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