Frugal Family Tree

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Blackberry Yogurt Muffins







I haven't made the usual New Year's resolution this year to lose weight because it hasn't ever worked for me. After the first few days, and usually a whole bunch of salad, my resolution would fall by the wayside and I would be back to my old habits again.

Of course I now know that losing weight starts with a decision, a decision to change your life for the better in the long run, not just for a few days in the beginning of a new year. And so my decision has started with finding and making new recipes that are healthier and lower calorie, but still taste great. Because let's face it, if it doesn't taste good, we aren't going to eat it.

Which brings me to this recipe for Blackberry Yogurt Muffins, which are delicious and packed with good-for-you ingredients. These muffins include fruit, yogurt, oats, whole wheat flour and a few other simple ingredients. You can whip them up in the morning in a flash, and enjoy them all week long for breakfast, in your lunch, or as a snack.

You can also use different kinds of fruit in them, too. I have made them with blueberries and pears and they were all equally delicious. This recipe makes 12 muffins. When I made them with blueberries, I made a double batch and froze the second batch in the freezer for convenience. They defrost beautifully and are especially good if you pop them in the microwave for a few seconds afterwards.

These muffins are just plain yummy, and having one that is good for me and lower in calories really lets me fight the urge to indulge in those high calorie desserts that I love so very much. Every day the decision is mine to make, what I will or won't eat. And every day I'll keep trying my best.


Recipe for Blackberry Yogurt Muffins

Ingredient:

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup blackberries, chopped

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, yogurt, oil, and egg. Beat well with an electric mixer until combined, let stand 5 minutes.
Sift in flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir to blend. Fold in fruit. Fill paper muffin cups in muffin pan 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.


-Post by Patricia



Share:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Roasted Cauliflower Soup






I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. It's nice to be back here on the blog, I must say. I didn't mean to be gone so long, but my family and I were busy with guests visiting, the usual Christmas madness, and then just taking some time to relax a bit.

Since this is our first year of living in Nevada, we didn't really know what to expect as far as how cold the weather would be in the wintertime. My son and his wife have lived here for five years, and they kept telling us to expect a very cold and windy season. But when you move here in July and it's 110 degrees, it's kind of hard to believe.

It turns out they were definitely right, it's cold here in the dessert. I've been wearing my heavy jackets and boots and scarves most of the time. And it's soup weather for sure, so I've been busy in the kitchen making big batches of our favorite soups to enjoy.

I just recently made this Roasted Cauliflower Soup for the first time, and it's now one of my favorites. The recipe is very easy to make, and I really like the flavor of the cauliflower after it's been roasted in the oven with olive oil and salt and pepper. The cream gives it a rich and velvety texture, and if you are a fan of cream soups like I am, I hope you'll give this recipe a try.

I started making my own croutons with cookie cutters, and the stars are some of my favorite shapes. My grandchildren love them, and it makes them want to try new soups just so they can top them with stars, hearts, and flowers. Just use your favorite bread and cut out the shapes with small cookie cutters. Then put them on a cookie sheet and place in a 400 degree oven for 8 minutes, turning once at 4 minutes.

Recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small chunks
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
additional olive oil for drizzling
bread slices for making croutons (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cauliflower pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until edges are brown, turning once, about 18-20 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add roasted cauliflower to onions, then add chicken stock.

Bring to boil. Let boil 8 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat, add heavy cream and stir.

Puree soup with immersion blender ( or regular blender). Drizzle lightly with addition olive oil, sprinkle with pepper, and top with croutons, if desired.


*Recipe adapted from Sweet Paul Magazine.


-Post by Patricia



Share:

Friday, December 23, 2016

Butterscotch Spice Cookies







I spent today making the last of the Christmas cookies to be boxed up to give to family and friends. I'm surprised that Christmas has gotten here so soon, it seems like just yesterday I was putting away the extra turkey and fixings from Thanksgiving.

These Butterscotch Spice Cookies are a cinch to make and smell and taste yummy. My granddaughter loved helping me make them because it's kind of like playing with play dough. You roll the dough into a ball and then roll it in powdered sugar. What 5 year doesn't love that?

Recipe for Butterscotch Spice Cookies 

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 11-oz. package butterscotch chips
powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Beat in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt until combined. Stir in butterscotch chips.
Roll scoops of dough to make a ball, then roll in powdered sugar. Place dough 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes. Cool slightly on cookie sheets, Remove and let finish on wire racks.

Makes about 36 cookies.


-Post by Patricia


Share:

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Handmade Jewelry from Around the World: Novica Review and Giveaway #handmade4life

*I was provided complimentary items to review for this post. The opinions expressed are my own.


I have enjoyed Novica products for a few years now and I always love to support their artist with my purchases. I like that Novica is a company that brings together artist from all over the world to be able to sell their products online. I have many great products from Novica that are from Mexico including jewelry and kitchenware. This time shopping I wanted to try a different region of the world for my jewelry. I found an artist in Thailand that had beautiful jewelry, great reviews and sterling silver. I have sensitive skin and have to purchase silver or gold jewelry. Her pieces are affordable and light weight. I wear jewelry to work everyday and I am constantly needing new pieces to wear.


I had a hard time selecting which pieces to select for my review since Aoy has many beautiful items. I wear my hair down often at work so I decided on a pair of dangle earrings, Handcrafted Sterling Silver Dangle Earrings with Spirals Whirl. I love the movement of the silver balls and the whimsy of the spiral. They are very lightweight, somewhat delicate making them easy to wear for a full work day. They are very cheerful to wear and I enjoying sharing that I found them on Novica.


I have learned over the years necklaces for me have to be versatile. I have a few necklaces I have only wore a few times because they are so very specific in their style and I knew this time I needed to make a more practical choice. I wanted to have another piece of jewelry from Aoy in Thailand so I selected the Sterling Silver Pendant Necklace, Filigree Moon. I have received many compliments from my customers at work on the filigree motifs in my crescent moon necklace. I like that the pendant feels sturdy and well made, the ball chain is a bit fragile but I have other chains I can put the moon on if I need to.



My jewelry was handmade by a woman from Thailand who is lovingly called Aoy. Here is some information on the artist:


"At our workshop, we still work with our hands to craft our jewelry collections, because we believe it is our duty to preserve this ancient art form."
"Sawasdee ka! My name is Rudklow Patanaanunwong, but everyone calls me Aoy. I come from a warm family environment from Bangkok, though I am an only child. I hold Bachelor and Master Degrees in Economy from Northeastern University."

"My intention after graduation was to work for the Bank of Thailand, but I changed my mind when I met my husband. We got married and I moved to Chiang Mai, where my husband has a silversmith workshop. I began to work there to help him."




I am happy to share that we are hosting a giveaway for a $35 Gift Code to Novica.com for one lucky reader. There are so many great items at Novica, more than jewelry there are gifts, housewares, clothing, bags, art and more.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 *Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts Dec. 22 2016 and ends on January, 6 at 12:01 am PST. Winner will be emailed and has 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize.



Share:

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Tart





Do you adore chocolate like I do? Maybe that's a silly question because it seems like everyone is in love with chocolate. Whether it's cake, or brownies, or candy, it seems like a real favorite with all my friends and family. Especially this time of year.

We've had quite a few people over for dinner lately, which is fun for me, because I love cooking and baking. And planning menus actually gets me excited! I'm no Martha Stewart for sure, but I do enjoy entertaining and everything it entails.

I needed a dessert last week for after dinner, and I really wanted something chocolaty. I had had this recipe for Flourless Chocolate Espresso Tart that a friend had written down for me, but I hadn't tried it yet. It's surprisingly simple and only requires six ingredients.

Well let me tell you, it turned out delicious. So rich and chocolaty, with the flavor of espresso coming through perfectly. Yum, is all I can say. Do use top quality ingredients if you can, because it really does make a difference.

If you want to impress guests or just indulge in your love of chocolate, I highly recommend you make this tart. I'm going to make it again on Christmas Eve to go with a couple of other desserts for when we have family and friends coming over. Oh, and if you like, you can add a little whipped cream on top to make it extra special.

Recipe for Flourless Chocolate Espresso Tart

Ingredients:

4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tablespoon instant espresso
whipped cream if desired

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan.

In the top pan of a double broiler, melt the chocolate over (but not touching) simmering water. Scrape the melted chocolate into a large bowl, add the sugar and melted butter, and stir to mix well. Add the eggs and mix well. Sift in the cocoa powder and espresso and stir until the batter is smooth and well blended.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the top begins to form a fudge-like crust, 20-25 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Dust tart with cocoa powder, and top with whipped cream if desired. Cut into wedges and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

-Post by Patricia



Share:

Friday, December 16, 2016

National Geographic Kids The Book of Heroes and The Book of Heroines Review and Giveaway #natgeokids #momsmeet

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.


National Geographic Kids The Book of Heroes and The Book of Heroines have been wonderful additions to our home library. Being a homeschool family these are a valuable resource to us for facts and info that can lead to more learning. I am big on book learning first then using the internet to further explore on ideas. Books in hand make a difference for me and my family. I grew up in a house full of books and am grateful for it.


The Book of Heroes has been my son's favorite. My son loves to read about the men who have shaped the world and imagine himself as his own version of a hero. They even have a section on courageous kids to inspire little ones. This book has sparked his interest in learning more about people making a difference right now and in the past who have made the world better. I love reading this with him. We did not read the book cover to cover but instead have been skipping around chapters letting him pick what we discuss. The books include people from history and others that are also very relevant with current events. The layout of the book and colorful images really help keep kids interested.


My son had a few favorite parts of The Book of Heroes including Chapter 3: Game Changers. It is about men in sports, he loved this chapter. The inspiring stories of athletes such as Jessie Owens, Jim Abbott, Michael Jordan and Tony Hawk were fun to read. Inspiring Minds, Chapter 7, has been my son's top favorite chapter. He loves science and space. The list of 5 great geeks included his favorite game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who created Mario. Heroes of mythology, legends like Robin Hood and King Arthur, heroes in movies like Harry Potter and Star Wars, the book is full of so many diverse categories and people.


Topics on political heroes, human rights leaders, so many interesting facts and other people I had not heard of like the story of Chiune Sugihara a worker at the Japanese consulate in Lithuania during World War 2 who made thousands of visas for refugees to flee from Europe. I am a huge history lover and I loved reading the short stories of everyday people being heroes.

I liked how The Book on Heroes mentions notable women heroines in history as did The Book of Heroines mention men in the book too. A good blend of historical facts from men and women. Even heroic animal stories are shared in both of the books. My son loved the animal stories so much!


The Book of Heroines was fabulous to me, I wish I would have owned a book like this as a little girl. To see how influential and world changing some women can be is inspiring. My son was not as interested in the "girl book" as he put it, but at 7 years old I would expect him to be in his girls are silly stage. He did however enjoy me sharing some of the cool stories and pictures with him from the ones I selected to read.

He recognized Wonder Woman, Hermione Granger aka Emma Watson, Mulan, Oprah and a few other women and their stories but after reading the book I know there are so many other stories to share with him. Since he likes sports he thought Chapter 2 Gritty Girls was cool. He recognized the Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky from the Rio games we watched over the summer.

Heroes for Hire and Heroines on the Job were both chapters on heroes in the work force and were perfect chapters to read for our Social Studies work for the week. We have been learning about workers in the community and the difference of services and goods. It was great to have outside source book that was fun and on topic from what we were leaning that week. I have a few others chapters planned to use as an aid to our school learning.


National Geographic Kids The Book of Heroes and The Book of Heroines are for sale at Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and at National Geographic Store. They would make a perfect Christmas present for the kids in your life. My son loves them and so do I. The facts and stories shared are fascinating and a part of all of our history. In our family a hero is someone who stands up for what is right and makes decisions based on love My son looks up to my husband as his first hero and I could not be more happy about that!

According to the book the world has many meanings and many people can be called heroes in real life or fiction, in these books, heroes tend to share:

7 stupendous qualities:

• Heroes are courageous

• Heroes do the right thing

• Heroes have compassion

• Heroes are competent

• Heroes are inspiring

• Heroes never quit

• Heroes leap to action


National Geographic Kids is a great source of knowledge for your family. You can visit their website for games, videos, fun facts and more.

You can win a copy of both the National Geographic Kids The Book of Heroes and The Book of Heroines here on our website in the Rafflecopter form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


*Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts December 16, 2016 and ends on December 31, 2016 at 12:01 am PST. Winner will be emailed and has 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize.
Share:

Monday, December 12, 2016

Happy Birthday Chocolate Cupcakes








This weekend we celebrated my granddaughter Ashley's fifth birthday. We had a wonderful time that was shared by family and friends, and she got way too many presents. But isn't that half the fun of a birthday party when you're a child, to open birthday gifts from people who love you.

Days like this make me count my blessings. There are so many things I'm striving and hoping for, but when I realize how blessed I am by such a loving family, I'm truly humbled. I hope Ashley grows up to feel that she is blessed too. It's not a small thing in this big, hard world, to know that there are people out there that love you and wish the best for you always.

Okay, so on to these fabulous and delicious cupcakes that the birthday girl herself helped me bake and decorate. She has been baking with me for a couple of years now, and is now more interested in the actual baking instead of just licking the mixing beaters.

This is a Martha Stewart recipe for the cupcakes and the frosting. It's actually pretty simple to make the cupcakes, and the frosting is ready in no time. I doubled the recipe to make 24 cupcakes, and tinted the frosting pink. So, so good!!

Recipe for Martha Stewart's Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.         

Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
   
Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
     
Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe for Easy White Icing

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 pound (3 2/3 cups) confectioners' sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk (optional)

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth.
  
Gradually add confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth. If too thick to spread, beat in 1 to 2 tablespoons milk.

Frost cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles if desired.

Makes 12 cupcakes.


-Post by Patricia 
Share:

Friday, December 9, 2016

Fall Outdoor Play Hiking to Hidden Falls #YearRoundPlay

*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play.



Growing up in Southern California for most of my childhood I was lucky enough to have many warm to cool Fall days that would allow for us to play outside all of the Fall season. I have fond memories of jumping in leaf piles, walks up and down bumpy sidewalks of Pasadena and trips to the park. My Mom was always making sure we spent plenty of time outside having fun.

For my own son growing up in Northern California we deal with more rainy to cold days than I did as a kid but we always find time to get in outdoor play even on cloudy days. We enjoy going on hikes as a family to get in our outdoor fun and exercise. We are a busy family like most people so we try to sneak in having dinner or lunch at the end of our hike to be able to enjoy sitting together with no distractions out in nature. 



Living in Placer County California I am surrounded by mountains, trees, rivers, steams and many other amazing natural features. I consider myself blessed to have a beautiful area to go on hikes, visit local parks and even go camping in. We often search the internet and ask friends for new places to discover. Many people and reviews mentioned Hidden Falls Regional Park in Auburn as a great place to hike. We packed our dinner into a back pack, grabbed our coats and drove up to Auburn for a few hours of outdoor fun.



We explore our surroundings by looking at plants, rocks and other clues to what is around us. My son loves running around and exploring new things outside. I like that he can be free to jump, run, be loud and just be a boy when we are outside. 



I feel it is very important to allow for outside time for our children and for ourselves. We spend so much time inside and on our devices we sometimes can neglect getting outside together as a family. A local trip to a park or open space area can always be fun to explore with your kids and keep them playing all year long.




How do you enjoy Fall Outdoor Play? 
You can go to IPEMA's Voice of Play website to learn more ways to encourage Outdoor Play with your family.



The post is brought to you by Activate by Bloglovin and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
Powered By:

Share:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese Holiday Dinner

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ScrubSeason #CollectiveBias


One of my favorite things about the holidays is cooking for friends and family. We love getting together all through the season, usually for a dinner on the weekend, when we are relaxed and have plenty of time to visit.

I recently made this Pumpkin Mac and Cheese and it was a big hit. Everyone loved it, and I'll definitely make it again soon. But as much as I love cooking, I always dread the cleaning up afterwards.

When I was at Walmart recently, I bought some Scotch-Brite™ Brand Sponges. I've used them for years and they always do a great job. With all the holiday cooking and baking I'll be doing, I bought plenty to help with cleaning up.

The green Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge is great for cleaning tough, baked on messes in your pots and pans. It also cleans oven racks, grill racks, sinks, and even tires.  Use this heavy duty sponge in your kitchen, garage, and outdoors.

To clean this more delicate baking dish that I made my Pumpkin Mac and Cheese in, I used the blue Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge. I want to protect my white bake ware from abrasions and scratches, so using these non-scratch sponges lets me do that. They also clean non-stick cookware, counter tops, dishes, windows, and more.


My family and I are big pumpkin fans, so I am always on the look-out for great tasting recipes that include it. This dish calls for fresh sage, but if you only have dried, that's okay too. But I do think that putting on some fresh sage leaves looks pretty and adds a bit of festivity to the dish.





Recipe for Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

2 cups dried elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 15-oz. can pumpkin (1 3/4 cups)
1 1/2 cups finely grated mixed white Vermont cheddar and mild cheddar, divided
1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage, or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Return to pan, cover and keep warm.
Meanwhile, to make sauce, in a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually stir in cream and milk. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in pumpkin, 1 cup cheese, and sage.
Remove from heat and stir in macaroni until mixed. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish.
For topping, in a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup cheese, bread crumbs, walnuts and olive oil. Sprinkle evenly over macaroni mixture. Bake 40 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.
If desired, top with additional fresh sage leaves.

Makes 6 servings.


I use the green Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge for all of my stainless-steel pots and pans. It does a great job of cleaning them, and removes tough, baked-on messes 50% faster than other competitive sponges.


You can find Scotch-Brite™ Brand Sponges in different size packages, the 3-Pack: $2.96, 6-Pack: $5.48, and 9-Pack: $7.97.

And Save $1 on any two Scotch-Brite Products (Scrub Sponges, Lint Rollers and Scrubbing Dish Cloths) by going here.


If you want help making your home cleaner and brighter for the holidays, look for Scotch-Brite™ Brand products in the cleaning aisle at your local Walmart. If you use the right tools for each surface, cleaning your home will be easier and faster.

Be sure to visit this site to see what other bloggers have done with their Scotch-Brite Scrub Sponges.

Do you have a favorite holiday recipe that leaves your pots or pans needing some extra clean-up?

Leave me a comment below, I'm always looking for yummy new recipes and I'd love to hear about yours!


-Post by Patricia
Share:

Friday, December 2, 2016

Legoland IS Awesome! Park and Hotel Review #LEGOLANDCA

*Disclosure: I received complimentary passes to Legoland.  This is not a paid post. All opinions expressed are my own.


~by Laura

Over time celebrating my son's birthday has turned into an annual tradition to take a road trip to an amusement park. To celebrate my son's 7th birthday we decided to plan a trip to Legoland CA. Legoland has only recently come onto my radar of cool places to go since at 5 my son started to have interest in Legos. My son and husband now play a Lego video game called Dimensions and it has been the cutest thing ever to see them both get into a video game so much. They build stuff together, they play games, they watch the movie all the time and we knew Legoland would be a perfect place to celebrate his birthday.

As we began to plan our trip I would ask other parents if they had been to Legoland and did they have any tips or advise on planning a trip there. Most parents that had been said they loved it and would ask how old my son was. I realized after going most people asked how old he was since it is a park geared at younger kids.


The park is awesome! Everything was made out of Legos, the rides had Lego themes, the decor was Legos too. Everything from Ninjago, Nexo Knights, Chima, Lego City and our favorite Star Wars, was there. As huge Star Wars fans we were thrilled with all the cool displays in Lego Miniland. I was really Wowed by this place. I had no expectation for it since no one I know closely has been there. We did not watch any videos of the park as to not spoil the surprise of what would be there. I did however download the Legoland app. It helped tremendously for showtimes, food choices and the best part, coupons for savings on merchandise.


I loved that the majority of the rides were family friendly. We love going on rides together, my son can be a little apprehensive of rides when we first arrive at a park so being able to go on as a family warmed him up to going on the kid only rides. We definitely have our favorite rides. My favorite ride is Skipper School were you get to drive a Lego boat through twists and turns in the water, there are no tracks so I was able to speed by my husband and son in their boat. My son's favorite is Driving School, where he drove a mini Lego car through a Lego town, he rode it a few times.


My husband loved the Pirate theme area and Captain Cranky's Challenge was his favorite. It is a big pirate ship that is on a U-shaped track that makes you feel like your in the sea swaying in the waves. Police and Fire Academy ride was a family favorite of ours. Its super interactive as you have to push up and down on a handle as a group to get your car going, then jump out of the ride when you reach the town "on fire" using a water cannon to blast the building. Its a challenge of your family vs another, it made it competitive and fun. We were laughing so much and giving it our all to beat the other families. We also LOVE the characters that walked around. We met Benny from Lego Movie, Kai from Ninjago and Lance from Nexo Knights.


Another aspect of the park that we found fun was the Lego Mini Figure Trading. You can trade a mini figure that you have with any Legoland staff member. They have them displayed on name badges, near food stations and stores. When we first arrived at the park we asked a worker named Steve about the trading figures and where can we get one. He pulled out of his top pocket a Lego guy mini figure and gave it to my son, then said Happy Birthday. So nice of him! The hotel gave my son a Happy Birthday pin and First Time Visit pin and anytime a worker saw his pin they told him Happy Birthday, he loved the attention and birthday wishes.

I would liked to have seen more Lego themed Live Shows. We did watch all the 4D shows which were cool but I do love a live character show. It has been a few years since the Lego Movie has come out so there was not as much Wildstyle or Emmett as I thought there would be, but we did get to meet Benny the Astronaut character. I will admit we turned on the song "Everything is Awesome" a few times on my phone so we could dance to it as we went through the park.


Miniland, USA was an amazing display to see! We spent over an hour looking at the displays of cities and my son even was able to drive a Lego tug boat in the water. We saw mini Las Vegas ( we have family there so it was a cool thing to see) there was New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Hollywood and so much more.


The Star Wars displays were my son's favorite. He wanted his picture with all the cool stuff he saw. We even saw his favorite President, Lincoln.




We stayed in the Legoland Hotel and I will say its worth the money! It really made a huge difference in our experience. We were given early access to the park with the cool Lego yellow bracelets we were given as hotel guest. During the Fall the park closes early, staying at the Legoland Hotel extended the Lego infused fun. The hotel has a giant castle made out of Legos where the kids can play and build Legos in the Lego pits. There is even a Lego playing area in the lobby where you check in at. The elevator is the coolest elevator I have ever been in! My son squealed with joy and started dancing when the disco ball lit up and the music started playing as we made our way to the 3rd floor. We stayed in an Adventure themed room that had bunk beds, a treasure chest, a view of the pool and filled with many cool Lego builds like a scorpion, a monkey and a parrot.


My son's birthday happen to be on a night that the Legoland Hotel was having a Disco Party for the kids. When we arrived my son asked me if they were having the dance party for his birthday, I told him they most certainly are, go have fun! It was so cute to see him dancing his heart out including his cool break dancing moves. I even joined him on the dance floor showing off my embarrassing Mom moves! I will say I did throw in the "sprinkler", some "robot" and a tad bit of square dancing moves. We had such a fun time. Seeing him smiling as he danced around with the disco lights flashing, beams of colored lights all around him made me realize how precious moments like these are. That the time and money spent on our annual birthday adventures are so worth the cost to make memories this awesome.


The room had a locked treasure chest in it with a list of clues to find the code for the lock. We loved doing this as a family. You make your way around the hotel using clues to find numeric answers for the code to the lock. I suggest doing this treasure hunt since it will be fun for your kids to explore the hotel and there is a very special prize inside for your child. We sat outside by the firepit near the pool for a while just enjoying the crisp Fall air and my coffee. My son loved the complimentary apple juice pouches in the room too. After coffee we went to Skyline Cafe to enjoy some cake and sing Happy Birthday to my son. The receptionist at the restaurant named Kaylee was so nice and when I asked her if I could buy a cupcake or slice of cake she said it was free and for us to pick a spot to sit and she would be right out. She was so sweet, she put the number seven candle I brought with me and the waiters and her all sang Happy Birthday to my son. She even re-lit the candle after my son blew it out when they started singing. She went above and beyond for us and made it so special.


A few of the things I loved about the hotel was the bunk beds for the kids. It was so cool and made it feel like a true Adventure room. My son requested that my husband sleep on the bottom bunk, cutest thing ever to see them sleeping in the bunk beds when I woke up that morning for the Free breakfast buffet at Bricks Restaurant. Each night you stay at the hotel you get free breakfast buffet at the Bricks. It is a delicious variety of breakfast items, coffee and even a kids buffet area with huge waffles and fruit. We had fruit smoothies too! One of the Nexo Knight gals that was at the disco party was also at the breakfast buffet. She came over to talk to my son and he told her he remembered her from his dance party the night before. She was super nice to him as were all the Legoland park and hotel employees.


There was so much to do at the park and hotel that we did not get to it all! I recommend a 2 night stay and the 2 day park hopper passes. We had so much to do at Legoland we did not make it to the Sea Life Aquarium. For our next trip there we will stay more days so we can swim in the pool and see the aquarium.

I definitely recommend Legoland and the Legoland Hotel for family vacations! We had an awesome time and made priceless memories that we will treasure forever. I have so many more amazing pictures of Miniland, the rides, the food and hotel, too many to share all in one post. It fills me with joy to look back at the pictures and relive our awesome trip.


Share:
© Frugal Family Tree | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig