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The BEST Money Making Apps

There’s only one thing I love more than money saving….and that’s money MAKING!!! The last THREE vacations we’ve been on were either partially financed or ALL of our spending money came from these EXACT apps. So I’ve complied my favorite list of money making apps that I use to supplement my income, and you can too!Carnival free money vacation excursion cruiseMexico free money vacation excursion cruise

1. Ibotta-This is SUPER easy to use, and I’ve made hundreds! Its basically like couponing only WAY easier! All you do it check out what’s available in store and online, and redeem the rebates by taking picture of your receipt via the app (and occasionally the bar codes of items).  There are tons of retailers like WalMart, Publix, WinnDixie, Amazon, Target, etc.  Rebates range from produce to Wine/Beer/Liquor (Mom win!), Often you will find new products that become completely FREE after rebate.  You can cash out to PayPal/Venmo, or various gift cards after $20, and if you click HERE to get started your earn and INSTANT $10 when you complete your first rebate! Ibotta proof make money vacations free

2. Shopkick-This works via a point system, and you can earn points simply by walking into stores! Points are redeemable for various gift cards including Disney, Starbucks, and Amazon, to name a few! You also earn via purchases, and scanning barcodes with your phone. Protip-Hand off your phone to your older kids to search for items in the store. Its like a fun scavenger hunt for them and you get to shop hassle free! Win-win! Sign up HERE  and earn an extra 250 kicks with your first walk-n or scan!

3.Myecon-While not technically an app, you can save the site as an “app” to your phone home screen so I’ve included in on this list. It lands solidly at number 3, while I was tempted to actually make it  number one because of its INSANE ability to generate large amounts of income!  Myecon is a personal financial services company and is A+ rated with the Better Business Bureau.There is a $47.90 membership fee,  but this INCLUDES a plethora of financial services, including their Smart Credit System credit repair (cheapest I’ve seen BY FAR!) Cash Flow Manager (budgeting software) a Debt Elimination Calculator, AND shopping and travel discounts.  So in my opinion, the cost is offset by the benefits and the HUGE earning potential. They pay referrals out up to $35 each, so as you can imagine, it adds up quickly. Sign up HERE, then Contact me on Facebook to get started, as I will provide you with a FREE step by step training to boost your referrals! (and not have to harass your friends and family!)

4.Dosh– Any easy to use app that operates by collecting shopping data. You DO have to link a credit card to this in order to earn cash, but they don’t charge it. You earn money by shopping at various retailers, and there is a $5 referral bonus for everyone you refer who also links their card. They run promotions and I’ve seen referral bonuses as high as $15! Cashes our to PayPal, or they offer the option to donate all or a portion of your earning to charity. Download here Dosh free make money apps vacation

5.AirBnB- If you’re not yet familiar with AirBnB, you’re either living under a rock or off the grid, and either way you’re TRULY missing out. AirBnB is a site/app where people list their homes for you to stay in. Some are shared rooms (similar to hostels) which are a great option for solo travelers, or you can rent a room or an entire home. Home can range from Tepees to Treehouse, or regular style homes, condos or apartments. They even have remodeled Airstream trailers! The true benefit of this is getting affordable accommodations without sacrificing style or comfort.  We stayed in a Tuscan villa style Mansion in Miami for cheaper than you can stay in a motel! Sign up HERE to get $40 off of your first trip of $75 or more.

Secret garden villa Airbnb free moneySecret garden villa Airbnb free money

Best money making apps free

Best money making apps

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Breakfast casserole
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Egg-stra Easy Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast casseroleEasy breakfast casserole

This recipe was originally given to me by my sister, although now, neither of us is exactly certain of its original origin anymore.

This is an ideal casserole if you have a large family, or have company coming, but can be made smaller if you wish. It can be made ahead and kept in the fridge and popped in the oven in the morning. It’s great for brunch or breakfast for dinner! In fact, this is our traditional family Christmas morning breakfast now. I make it ahead the night before, and when the kids get up (it was close to 6 am last year!) I pop it in the oven and it’s ready by the time we are finished opening presents!

The first thing I will say about this recipe is that it is more of a guideline… .it can be made for 2 or 10 and you can use any meat you like or none! It works awesome with peppers and mushrooms, but I would pre-cook them before adding to the casserole, just as with the meat. It can be made with or without the cheese, so it’s really customizable to you and your family.

So the first thing you get is the desired size casserole dish. You can use a disposable metal one or a glass or metal one. For the purposes of this recipe, I used a 9x 13 pan.

Next you spray it with desired cooking spray, bottom and sides. This ensures that it can be easily removed in nice squares, but you can chose to scoop it out with a spoon as well.

Now cover the bottom of the casserole dish with frozen tater tots. Any brand. I’ve even used crispy crowns but it will be less ‘potatoey’ if that makes sense. The most important thing here is that they are in a single layer.Breakfast casseroleBreakfast casserole

Next, crack about 12-18 large eggs into a bowl and beat them. I add a splash of milk here and a bit of salt and pepper as well. You made need more, depending on the size of your casserole dish. If you choose to use cheese, I would mix in about ½ cup here as well.Breakfast casserole

Then, pour the beaten eggs over the tater tots. They key here is that you want the egg mixture to cover the tater tots. So if they are sticking out, you will need to add more beaten eggs to cover.Breakfast casseroleBreakfast casserole

Now, add any meat or vegetables, etc that you want. In this example I didn’t have much of either, so I cooked about 6 frozen sausage links and 4 strips of bacon and added then both. I usually use a whole package of bacon, precooked and crumbled. I left it whole this time, as there wasn’t a lot of it.Breakfast casserole

Now, top with remaining 1 cup of desired shredded cheese. Cover with foil and crimp down over sides so that it has a good seal. Bake at 375 for 1 hour, or until eggs are fully cooked and center no longer jiggles. You can also insert a toothpick into the center and it’s down when the toothpick is removed clean. If you check it, make sure to cover it back tightly.Breakfast casserole

Now I broil it, with the oven open so I can watch, until the top is a bit browned, but you can skip this step if you want it more ‘melty’ looking.Breakfast casseroleBreakfast casserole

Cut into wedges or scoop and enjoy! Caution-it will be hot!

Ingredients

About 12-18 eggs

I lb of desired meat, cooked and drained, or vegetables

About ½ bag of frozen tater tots

1 ½ cups of desired shredded cheese, divided

Optional:

Splash of milk

Salt and pepper

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 13×9 casserole dish with cooking spray. Cover bottom of casserole dish with single layer of frozen tater tots. Crack and beat 12 eggs in separate bowl. Add a splash of mil and salt and pepper if desired. If using cheese, add ½ cup into egg mixture and stir. Pour over tater tots to cover, adding more beaten eggs as needed until tater tots are covered. Top with meat or vegetables, then sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese. Cover tightly with foil and bake covered for one hour. Casserole is done when the eggs are completed cook all the way through. If desired, broil for 2-3 minutes while watching to brown the top. Cut into squares or scoop with a large serving spoon to serve!

***To makes ahead prepare as above and cover and place in fridge overnight or until ready to bake.

Breakfast casserole

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Love

The BEST family friendly Resort in Orlando

Cocokey Orlando Resort and Water Park

If you’ll be in the Orlando area with your family anytime in the near future, you MUST stay at the CocoKey Orlando Resort. We stayed with our family of five this June for our annual family trip and have only good things to report.

Check-in and out was a breeze. They give you a property map and an activity listing at that time as well. Daily activities were arts and crafts and make and take (or eat activities), dive in movies, as well as appearances from Coco, the feathered mascot of the resort.

The room we booked was a double queen, but it was the most spacious once we’ve stayed in. It had a separate table with two chairs, an armchair with an ottoman and a pull over table as well as a bench and a vanity with a stool and a mirror! It came with the standard coffee machine, iron and ironing board, and blow dryer. Although not listed, so I’m not sure if they all have them, our room also included a mini refrigerator and microwave. It was clean and bright and had hot water and cold air conditioning!

Cocokey water park and hotel family friendly travel

The water park situated at one end of the property is a venue in its own right. In fact, you can purchase day passes to the park in case you happen to be staying somewhere else, or if you wanted to invite someone to come and play for the day. We stayed there from 11 am to 7 pm. The juxtaposition of the restaurant and Tiki Bar makes it so that you don’t have to leave. Towels are provided and plentiful, and the water is heated and clean. With 14 water slides, including two that are tube rides (single or double tubes) there is something fun for everyone! There is even a shallow pool under cover and mini slides a splash features perfect for smaller ones or anyone wishing to escape the sun. Any place that can keep all the of our kids, aged 2,6, and 11 busy all day gets an A+ in my book!

There are two restaurants, the Tradewinds which features a breakfast buffet and the Callaloo Grill. The breakfast buffet was well worth the price, and had eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, toast, biscuits, gravy, grits, make your own waffles (who doesn’t love that?!) and cold selections such as cereal, muffins, and fresh fruit. For beverages they had whole and chocolate milk, coffee and tea stations, and various juice blends.Coco key water park and hotel family friendly travel

The Callaloo Grill offers selections such as burgers, chicken sandwiches, popcorn shrimp, quesadillas, mozzarella sticks, wings, and personal pizzas which the kids loved! You order at a counter and they give you a buzzer, and when it goes off you pick it up at a window. They have indoor and outdoor seating, as well as many tables around the pools.

For pool side selections, there is the Wet Rooster Tiki Bar, which offers daily drink specials and also has an appetizer menu. I had a hurricane, even though the weather was lovely!

The hotel also boasts a fitness center and a business center with computers with internet access, and wifi is free in your room or to connect your devices for the length of your stay. There are also laundry facilities located near the pool area.

The kids also had a blast in the arcade which offers some games that earn tickets that can be redeemed for prizes or candy.

There is even a convenience store on the property that offers food and drinks, easily forgotten essentials, (swim diapers and sunscreen!) that double as a gift shop.

The hotel is located less than 10 miles from all major theme parks, and even offers a shuttle service to and from the parks. There are many restaurants nearby, but with all of the amenities, why leave? We were so glad that we carved out a day during our trip just stay and play. While we were there, they were hosting several large groups, such as a family reunion and church group which to me seemed like an awesome idea! They offer group rates for booking 10 or more rooms,and even welcome weddings and corporate events. We will definitely be planning a trip in the near future, and you should too!!Cocokey water park and hotel family friendly travel

Coco Key Hotel and WaterPark

www.cocokeyorlando.com

7400 International Drive

Orlando, Florida 32819

Phone: 877-875-4681 | Local: 407-351-2626

Disclaimer: a small portions of the fees for our stay was paid for by the hotel

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Top 10 Travel tips for Families
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Top 10 Travel Tips for Families

Top 10 Travel essentials for Families

As has been our pattern the past 3 years, we are preparing for our up-coming Family vacation. We did Rapids Water Park (I was pregnant that year and so we couldn’t travel too far), and then Disney, which was actually two smaller trips. This year we are headed to SeaWorld! We have learned quite a few tips and tricks along the way, so I thought I’d share a few of our favorite essentials here.

1.Pop-up Hamper

I know this sounds lame, but this actually turned out to be a life saver, especially when traveling with our family of 5. It folded flat for traveling, and was nice to stash in the corner of the hotel room that way everyone knew where the dirty stuff went. IF you plan to do laundry on your trip it would be easy to lug to the washer, but to me it just helped avoid that game when you get home (What’s dirty? What’s clean? Now I have to wash everything!)You can even get them at the Dollar Tree!

2. Individual Rolling Suitcases
We invested in these this year, whereas previously we had used duffel bags. In years past we have packed two large bags (‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’) but that only works so long. Our kids our getting a bit older so it’s better for them each to have their own bags when they travel. Also each kid is MORE than happy to help roll their suitcase around.

3. Wipes

I can’t stress this one enough! Even if you have kids out of diapers, wipes are essential when traveling. For times when you are eating in the car, or the park, they can be used to wipe hands and faces, and you can use to wipe down surfaces in the hotel (Remotes, toilet seats).

4. First aid kit

Because you never know when can happen while traveling…..I plan on doing a more in-depth post of what I put in mine, but at the very least I say you can’t go wrong with band-aids and some triple antibiotic ointment, Tylenol/Motrin, tums, and soft ice packs. Soft ice packs are good for cooling off after a hot day, for headaches, and in case of sunburn.

5. Car activities
These can be super helpful for in car boredom, but can also keep kids busy in the hotels. There were times when traveling that I was getting a little one or myself ready, that it really helped having something simple on hand to occupy them. There is also an app of the ever famous license plate game.Its aptly named ‘Find the lisence Plate’ We resume our game every time we travel and we hope to one day get them all! Look out in Target’s dollar spot for cut little magnet game boxes that work perfectly for traveling. Also Dollar Tree always has coloring and activity books or notebooks and crayons and pens.

6. Food Caddies

I found these at the Dollar tree and I use them for lots of things! But they also happen to perfectly hold a drink and food all in one spot easily for little hands. Plus, the kids find them fun!

7. Themed toys



This is a budget friendly trick I have learned along the way. I sometimes prefer to purchase small themed toys or shirts prior to our trip to avoid the added cost. You can find lots of things on Amazon, or at Target or even the Dollar Tree! Our kids especially loved the mini character flashlights we bought, and they helped for nighttime bathroom trips in the unfamiliar environment of the hotel room.

8. Shout spray/ wipes
I keep this on hand at home and spray down stained shirts before I toss them in the laundry, but it’s especially essential while traveling-since it may be a while before you do laundry.

9. Gallon size Zip top bags.

I actually prefer these, with the slider top because I feel like they close more easily and effectively. These come in SO handy on a trip….for wet suits/clothes, and a dry change of clothes in the parks, for holding leftover food, for toiletry kits, for first aid items, to hold snacks, to make an ice pack, the list goes on and on! Some people even like to pre-pack with daily outfits (I wish I were that organized!) for each kid.

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Hefty Slide top bags

10. Cooler

This one came in handy in the car, and the hotel room. We were able to keep cold drinks and snacks on hand (our kids love yogurts and cheese sticks) in the car and hotel room. Some hotel rooms will come with a fridge, but even those that do are often tiny. Most hotels, do however offer free ice via machines. We filled up our cooler and it came in handy for food/drink storage as well as to have ice on hand to make an ice pack, etc.

What are your essentials for family travels? New tips and tricks welcome!

Ps-If you don’t already have Amazon Prime-you should! Try it for free now!

Try prime FREE for 30 days, cancel anytime!

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** this post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase via these links, at no added cost to you**

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Patriotic punch 4th of July
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Patriotic Punch

Patriotic Punch

With Memorial Day and then the 4th of July right around the corner, it’s great to have a cool refreshing drink on hand you can make easily. Here is South Florida, its already above 80 degrees most days! I love to whip up and easy drink and make it more fancy by adding a decorative element. This punch is a sparkling watermelon flavored beverage and can be made as a cocktail or a mocktail (no alcohol) for the kids, or anyone who doesn’t drink alcohol. Family friendly fun!

Family fun on the Fourth of July enjoying our Patriotic punch Cocktails and Mocktails!

Patriotic Punch

1 part juice (We love Ocean Spray Cranberry Mango or Cranberry Pineapple)

1 part Sparkling ICE brand strawberry watermelon

Lemon-lime soda

Optional-Vodka (1+ ounces)

Garnish

Skewers

Watermelon, sliced

Star cookie cutter

Blueberries

Directions

For the Garnish

Use a cookie cutter to cut out star shapes out of the watermelon. You can certainly cut up a whole watermelon, and serve what you don’t use, it won’t go to waste on a hot day! Or you can always buy pre-cut watermelon slices in the produce department. Thread blueberries on the top half of the skewers, leaving room for the stars. Top each skewer with a watermelon star. These can be premade and stored in the fridge/cooler.

For the cocktail/mocktail

Fill a tall glass with ice. Add the juice and Sparkling ICE drink. Add a splash ( or more) of lemon-lime soda. Add vodka if desired. Stir. Serve with a fruit skewer. I usually add a lime to the adult versions.

Hooray for the red white and blue!

Fun Fact: fruit skewers can be made of any combination of fruit, and work wonders as “magic wands” for a healthy party snack!

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Unicorn Poop Popcorn
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Unicorn Poop Popcorn

This is a recipe for a fun candy filled popcorn that has been come to be known as unicorn poop popcorn in our family! I was making a batch of this for one of our movie nights a couple of years ago, (I think it was Trolls) and my husband commented “That looks like unicorn poop” of course the kids went crazy and hence the name stuck!

Most recently, I added this to the goodie boxes for the girls’s joint Unicorn themed party. My girls were born 6 days apart, so I hope they get used to that idea! It took a bit of work so decide on a theme they would both love but in the end we decided on unicorns!

This recipe is easy enough that kids can help, too. It’s good messy fun. Although you may end up with less finished popcorn!

Ok so this “recipe” if you could even call it that brings together 3 things that I LOVE dearly:

Popcorn, themes, and Simplicity!!

So popcorn is a go-to snack in our house. We love it and we love ALL kinds of it. And (bonus!) its whole grain!Themes, because this recipe can be customized to fit any theme or holiday!

And simplicity because as it is already easy, you can make it even easier!

Ingredients

1.Popcorn – I air pop mine but you can use pre-popped or microwavable. Most of those will have butter and or salt but it makes so a great salty sweet version.

2.Candy melts in coordinating colors

3.Sprinkles, cotton candy, rock candy, etc.

‘Recipe’

1.Lay the popped popcorn on a flat layer on a foil lines cookie sheet

(or for super easy clean up, grab disposable cookie sheets from Dollar Tree)

2.Melt candy melts via directions on the back in your microwave

3.Use a spood to drizzle the colors. I added the pink first, and then tossed the popcorn to give it a base color of pink, then frizzed on the other colors. Go crazy, you can’t mess this up, I promise!

4.Add toppings while candy melts are still wet so they adhere to the popcorn better.

5.Let it sit out to “dry” if you choose and Serve! I told you that was easy! Here’s the link for the popcorn maker we have!

**Disclaimer: I may earn a small commission if you purchase this product via this link**

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