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Monday, January 31, 2011

Review ~ Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium ~ Orlando

Last month the kids and I were fortunate enough to go on a wonderful trip to Florida with some dear friends.  We were on a pretty tight budget, so the big theme parks weren't on our itinerary this trip.  I knew there were plenty of other places to visit in Orlando!  My seven year old has a huge appetite for learning, and I thought he would really enjoy Ripley's Believe it or Not! Odditorium. 

We visited Ripley's on our first full day in Orlando, which happened to be the coldest day of the this winter so far in Orlando - it was in the 20's, brrrrrrrrr!  When we arrived, the first thing we noticed was that the building is tilted!  Really, it looks like it is being swallowed by a sinkhole - yikes!

This picture is from the Ripley's website, and shows the exterior of the Orlando Ripley's Believe it or Not!

Parking is free, and there is a shopping center next door with plenty of extra parking spaces if the Ripley's one is full.   Once inside the newly-renovated, 10,000 square foot building, we started our self-guided tour with many other folks trying to avoid the cold weather! 

Each gallery you visit is full of interesting displays.  Depending on how much reading you want to do, you could easily spend a couple of hours looking at every single item!  But when you have little ones, you tend to follow at their pace, and my kids were all about looking quickly and moving on to the next thing! 

First we learned about Robert Ripley, the founder of Ripley's Believe it or Not.  He was an explorer, an adventurer, and cartoonist.  He spent much of his life on a quest for unusual and bizarre items to share with his readers through his cartoons.  He truly had a passion for finding unique things to share with his readers, and he traveled the globe seeking them out!  Eventually he began hosting a television show to showcase his collections.  There were many books written detailing his unique finds over the years as well.  David loves reading the Ripley's yearbook at the library and here he is next to an entire stack of Ripley's books at the Orlando location - my boy was in book heaven!

David with a huge stack of Ripley's books!
Even after his death in 1958, Robert Ripley's legacy continued through his cartoons and the many Ripley's museums.   Millions of visitors are entertained at his museums every year!

Soon after your tour begins, you'll find change machines, so go ahead and cash in some dollar bills for quarters.  You'll be glad you did when you enter the next gallery where you can use them in various novelty machines.  There are also brain teasers, optical illusions and interactive exhibits to try!  David used some of his change to have his fortune told, and he and Katie even tried out the passion throne (against my wishes!!)   This section reminded me of a game arcade and it was very exciting for kids.

David in the Passion Throne - it said he is passionate, which cracked him up!!

Next up is the tilted room.  It will mess with your head, let me tell you! But it's so much fun to walk through this room at an angle, and the kids loved that the balls on the pool table rolled uphill!

You will feel very off-center while walking through this tilted-sideways room!
There are a variety of collections to see in each of the 16 unique galleries.  And there are a few surprises along the way! For example, keep an eye out for tourists who aren't what they seem!  Both my kids thought the wax figures were hilarious!

Believe it or not, she isn't a tourist, she's a wax figure!! And her "hubby" is in the same gallery!

A few of our favorite things at the Orlando Ripley's Believe it or Not! Odditorium are below:

This HUGE wall mural of Jimi Hendrix was made with over 8000 playing cards!
So amazing to see an actual piece of the Berlin Wall!
There are so many exhibits of human oddities, like this man with double pupils.  Fascinating stuff for kids & adults!
There is so much more to see.  Like the lifesize model car made entirely of matchsticks, or the gallery of miniatures you can observe.  There's a real human shrunken head, and authenticated dinosaur eggs!  There is even a gallery with animal anomalies.  Check out the picture of Beyonce, made entirely of candy! Trust me, you won't want to miss any of it!

An actual human shrunken head
I didn't take as many pictures as I wanted to because I was chasing David from exhibit to exhibit! He loved it all!  Katie was with her friend and they went ahead without me - who wants to hang out with your mom (or your friend's mom) when you are a teenager?! Both girls enjoyed the Odditorium as much as David did;  it truly is fun for every member of the family!  The displays will interest young and old alike.  There are even large flat screen tv's throughout the museum showing behind-the-scenes footage and information about various exhibits.

Before you exit the exhibit area, you'll discover a trick played on unsuspecting visitors! And then there is the coolest tunnel you can walk through to get out.  It feels like you are moving, but it's really a walk-through tunnel that moves around you! If you don't want to try it, you can bypass the tunnel and exit through a hallway. We walked through it more than once, getting dizzier each time! So much FUN!

On the way out of the building make sure to take a look at the gift shop.  You'll find the usual wares - t-shirts and more bearing the Ripley's logo, plus lots of toys and fun stuff for the kids. There are items for any budget.  My son was intrigued by the insect candy.  Yes - lollipops and other candy with worms, scorpions and such! Just what you'd expect at the Believe it or Not! Gift Shop.

We really enjoyed our visit to Ripley's Orlando, and I can honestly say it is a place families would have a blast exploring together for a few hours.  As I mentioned before, there is something for everyone!

 Ripley's is very easy to find on International Drive.  The address is 8201 International Drive Orlando, FL 32819 and their phone number is 407-345-0501.  They open every day of the year at 9:30am and the website says they are open til midnight!

Visit the Ripley's Orlando website here. To buy tickets online visit here.  Tey have a Valentine's Special coming up with 50% off tickets only on February 14th.  If you buy the tickets online, they are good for one year from date of purchase, so you can enjoy the savings and use the tickets later!   Check out the details on this Valentine's Special here.    You can follow Ripley's Orlando on Twitter here.

Giveaway!

I have a coupon we received in a Kids Meal from Wendy's that is good for free admission for up to 3 kids with the purchase of an adult ticket.  It's good at any Ripley's attraction through September 30, 2011.  I'd like to give this to one of my blog followers!  If you are planning a trip before September 30 and will definitely be able to use it, please leave me a comment below and I'll draw a winner on Valentine's Day. 

Have you ever visited Ripley's? Which location did you visit, and what did you think of it?




***The kids and I received free admission to Ripley's Orlando in exchange for this review.  However, the opinions expressed are completely and totally my own! *** 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Remember Alex Brown ~ Don't Text & Drive ~ RAB

As a Mom, it is heartbreaking to watch Extreme Home Makeover tonight.  This episode is about a precious family in Texas who lost their beautiful daughter Alex to a single car accident caused by texting.  Please take a minute to visit the foundation's website here and/or Facebook page here .  Most importantly, take the pledge to not text while driving here.  Then pass it on....help spread the word that no text message is more important than your life.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Katie's new favorite: 0 point Weight Watchers Vegetable Soup recipe

It's been a crazy day here - woke up at 3 am with David, who was burning up with a 102.9 fever.  He is achy, sneezy and congested too.   He was supposed to go to a play this morning with his Grandmama and three cousins, but instead, we were trying to rest and keep him hydrated. 

So, the point of today's blog - my Katie-bug has joined Weight Watchers to tone up for Spring Break and Summer.  (I should be going, have PLENTY to lose, but I'm more a low-carb girl myself when it comes to diets and that's another story for another day - gotta get my motivation back!!)  Today Katie has been a big help around the house; she did the dusting, sweeping, general cleaning, plus cooking for herself for the next few days!  She had a recipe from her first WW meeting that she wanted to make today to have on hand for snacks, dinner, etc.  It's a Garden Vegetable Soup and being that she is like her mama, she tweaked it a bit.  I'm including her recipe here, but if you want the full WW recipe, leave me a comment and I can post it if there is interest!

Katie's version of Weight Watchers 0 point Garden Veggie Soup

1/2 c sliced carrots
2 minced garlic cloves
3 c fat-free chicken broth
1 c chopped spinach
3/4 c sliced mushrooms
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 c sliced zucchini

** In her second batch, which is pictured, she added three sliced small baby honey gold potatoes to the soup which did add a few points, but if you make it per the recipe above, there will be 0 points***

Spray large saucepan with nonstick cooking spray, and heat.  Saute the carrots and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add broth, spinach, mushrooms and seasonings, bring to a boil.   Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the zucchini, cook about 4-5 minutes more.  Serve hot!!


Katie LOVES this soup.  It smelled amazing while it was cooking, too.  She is excited about having it after school, or before dinner to fill up with all those veggies and it won't count against her daily points!!

Well, back to being my little guy's nurse.   Hope your Saturday involved getting outside if it was nice where you were.  It was almost 70 here, wish we could have spent some time outside!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review ~ Pirates Dinner Adventure, Orlando, Florida

Here it is, finally! The first of two reviews of very fun, family-friendly places to visit while you are in Orlando.  It's a very popular destination for Atlantans - several people I know are planning trips there this winter & spring!   As a child, I was fortunate enough to have grandparents living in Orlando, so I grew up visiting lots of fun places there.  Sadly, most of those attractions (Circus World, Mystery Fun House, Stars Hall of Fame, and more) have disappeared.   But there is much more to Orlando than just Disney & Universal  - just drive down International Drive to find a variety of fun places to check out on your next visit!

The night we visited Pirates Dinner Adventure was the "most fun night of our trip" according to my kiddos.  Considering one is almost 17 and one is 7 that is saying a lot!  It takes a really great experience for them to both feel entertained!  Pirates Dinner Adventure offers just that. 

First thing you should know: you'll want to get there an hour before your show starts.  Otherwise you will miss food, shopping and lots of entertainment!  You will pay for parking (I believe it was $3 per car).   When you get to the box office you are given the opportunity to upgrade your meal.  This is one thing I wish we would have done.  The standard dinner is ok, but I wouldn't have minded an upgrade!  To be honest though, though, we didn't go for the food, we went for the show!  So when you buy your ticket, you can choose to upgrade to filet mignon, salmon and other choices.  You will be given a certain color on your ticket - that is the section you will be seated in.  Then it's time to head inside the big domed building.


Once inside, you can have your photo taken by the friendly staff.  If you choose to do this, they will bring the pictures to you inside the theater for you to purchase prior to the show.   Instead, we headed to the cash beverage bar where Katie & I chose pina colada smoothies in a souvenir glass, plus an orange juice for David.  Then we checked out all the things you could do ~ Katie got her face painted (beautiful!), and David shopped in the gift shop.   There's even a VIP lounge you can upgrade to which offers more food and interaction with the Pirates!


We went with a group of friends,  and there were 11 of us all together - 5 adults, 6 kids.  While we waited for the show to start, we were treated to a mini buffet: pasta, fresh fruit, and veggies with dip.  Suddenly, there were performers up on and behind the bar!  This event is called the King's Festival, there is a lot to see!  The beautiful Princess Anita even came out to watch the show from her throne.  There was Raddo the Gypsy King, The Magical Gypsy, plus the Magic of Raddo and the Gypsy Wizard. An amazing acrobat performed incredible stunts, including "walking in the clouds" upside down across the ceiling. 



Another performer is "shot" from a cannon into a tank of water across the room.   Soon, roguish pirates led by Sebastian the Black, came out and took Princess Anita hostage and led all of us into the theater!  Our party was seated in the orange section. In front of us, surrounded by water, was a giant pirate ship! There were six seating sections of theater-in-the-round style seating.



Pitchers of soft drinks were waiting on the table, and our fantastic server brought us a pitcher of diet soda when I requested it.   If you prefer, you can get a pitcher of beer instead.   As other sections were being seated, our pirate came out to introduce himself and show us how important it was to cheer appropriately for him whenever he was on stage during the show.  


We were to stand and yell! My kids LOVED this!  They sell princess wands and pirate swords that light up and make sounds ~ they were a big hit with the kids.  If you don't want to spend the money on those, you can always bring those light up bracelets from the dollar store and your kids will have just as much fun showing off their glow-in-the-dark jewelry!

Soup or salad was served first.  Katie had the tossed salad and I chose the creamy vegetable soup.  The show began with lots of fanfare. The time passed quickly - there was always something going onstage, so you were constantly entertained!  Our main course was chicken & pork with potatoes and rice.   For kids, the entree was chicken fingers with potatoes.  Dessert was the final course and it was a delicious Apple Cobbler a la mode drizzled with chocolate.  

The show consists of dancing, music, swashbuckling pirates, a love story, acrobatic feats, and a gorgeous finale!  It's truly so much fun to watch, but don't forget to cheer for your pirate!




Since we were visiting the last week of December, we were able to see the Christmas show which featured a beautiful Christmas tree lighting plus a lovely "snow" fall during the sparkling finale. 



We attended the early (6 pm) show, so when we left, we exited right into the parking lot.  If you attend the last show of the evening, there is a Buccaneer's Bash after the show that is included in your ticket price. It's suitable for all ages.

In closing, this dinner and show are so much fun and very entertaining for the entire family. Almost a month later, my kids are still talking about it!  If you need something to fill an evening, this show is worth the drive from wherever you are staying. (it's only a few minutes from both theme parks, by the way!)

There are coupons available in a variety of publications available in Orlando, and the website offers discounts, too.  There is even an option to just see the show, without purchasing a meal, for even more savings.  

You can check them out for yourself at the links I've included, or join their email club for more discounts and news.  Pirates Dinner Adventure is on Facebook and Twitter.  Pirates Dinner Adventure is located at 6400 Carrier Drive Orlando, FL 32819  (right off International Drive), and their phone number is 800.866.2469. 

***I did receive discounted tickets for our entire party to attend Pirates Dinner Adventure.  The opinions in this review are completely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way by Pirates Dinner Adventure. ***

If this is your first time here on the blog, I invite you to follow it via email, facebook, twitter and Google Friend Connect - all linked on the right sidebar. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!  I've also got a sweet Thirty-One gifts giveaway below - you can add a comment on that post if you follow my blog and that will get you an entry in the contest!!  Thanks so much for stopping by, and check back here later this month, I've got reviews coming very soon for Orlando's Ripley's and Titanic The Experience!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Linking up with lots of giveaway and daily hops!!





Here are just a few of the hops I've linked to! If you are a first time visitor, please look at the post below to find out how to enter the Thirty-One Gifts giveaway ~ Easy ways to enter for a fun, trendy Thirty-One Gifts prize (you choose one of three cute items!)

Thanks for stopping by, if you decide to follow me, leave a comment so I can follow you back!  (GFC, Twitter, Feed, or FB!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Who's ready for a Thirty-One Gifts GIVEAWAY!?!?

My friend Jamie "introduced" me to her friend Deanna on Facebook a few weeks back, and I was excited to see that she is a Rep for one of my favorite companies ~ Thirty-One gifts.  LOVE LOVE LOVE them!! My favorite tote bag EVER is from Thirty-One.  It's several years old but looks fantastic - they have quality products, girls!! I am totally  making a "wish list" for Randy so when he feels the need to buy me something, it will be from Deanna!

I'm very excited to announce that she is sponsoring a Thirty-One gifts giveaway for Just Kidding Around Atlanta!   The winner will get to pick one of these three items in the fabric of their choice!

Winner will choose one of these super-cute prizes:

Littles Carry All Caddy ~  Retail Value $12, you choose from this or two other fabric options

OR


Small Lunch Tote - Retail Value $12.50  Winner chooses from 5 fabric options.


 OR



Mini Zipper Pouch - Retail Value $10  Winner chooses from 6 fabric options.

So how do you enter the giveaway? Well....I've got lots of chances for you to win!!

Mandatory Entry - Like Deanna's Thirty One Gifts Facebook page ~ you must do this to be eligible to win, and for any of your bonus entries to count as well.  If you are chosen as the winner and haven't liked her page, I'll have to pick another, so please do this one first!  Leave a comment below telling me you liked her page.  Please include your email so I can contact you if you are my winner!

Bonus Entries ~ completing each one of these counts as one entry. You need to leave a separate comment below this post for each one you do, and include your email in each comment so I can contact you if you are my winner! If you already follow me here, on FB, or Twitter just leave a comment telling me that as well - please also include your id or name on those accounts so I can verify your entry if you are my winner!

  • Visit Deanna's Thirty-One gifts online, check out the catalog and leave me a comment with your favorite item
  • Like my blog's Facebook page
  • Follow me here on Just Kidding Around Atlanta via Google Friend Connect
  • Follow me on Twitter www.twitter.com/aimeer68
  • Subscribe to my feed (above right, under the Twitter section) & confirm via the email you receive
  • Send your friends to Deanna's Facebook page, have them like it, then leave a comment on her page saying that you sent them from JKAA's giveaway.  (you leave me a comment with their name to count as your entry! (ie - my friend Jenny S.  liked Deanna's FB & commented)
Super Bonus Entry Option ~ worth 5 bonus entries!!
Contact Deanna at dstraw8825 at aol dot com by Sunday, January 23 at 11:59 pm EST and set up a virtual (online) catalog party.  You & your friends can shop til you drop online, and if your sales total $200 or more, you'll earn fabulous hostess rewards, too! Again, email Deanna and set your virtual party up before Sunday night, and you will get those 5 bonus entries.  Once you set it up, leave me 5 separate comments telling me you're hosting a party!

So there you have it ~ up to 12 chances to win a trendy Thirty-One accessory!  Spread the word, and get busy entering!! : )  Don't forget to leave a comment for each entry in the comments section below this post!

Contest will end at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, February 2, 2011.  Winner will be randomly picked, emailed, and will have 48 hours to contact me or a new winner will be chosen.  **US addresses only**

Thanks again to Deanna for sponsoring this giveaway!!



Sunday, January 16, 2011

Anyone have experience with shingles?

I ended up in the ER this morning - after 3 full days on antibiotics I was still sick, and feeling worse every day. So I went to a local hospital ER & was immediately diagnosed with shingles.  I had several misconceptions about this ~ I thought it was only for "old" people, but actually people my age (early 40's) are quite likely to get it if you have had chickenpox before.  I had them in 1st grade.  And now, 36 years later, they came back.  It's been agonizing pain on the right side of my face, scalp, neck, ear, throat and even teeth.  I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy!  Do any of you have experience with this nasty stuff? I would welcome ideas on how to deal with the pain, and any tips you can share.  TIA!

I am on antibiotics still, plus antiviral med, lots of pain meds, and a topical anibiotic cream.  So, it looks like I will be off from blogging a few more days trying to rest and recuperate.  The kids are home tomorrow but they go back to school Tuesday.  I really promise to be back here with my Florida reviews soon ~ I want those of you planning a spring break or summer vacation to Orlando to learn more about the three "hidden" gems we enjoyed the last week of December!

Hope your week is great, and I'll be back soon.  I'm linking up with a few blog hops in the meantime, and I'll follow back my new followers soon ~ thank you for stopping by!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Off for the weekend

We finally got out of the house yesterday and battled the icy roads to get to the Urgent Care place down the road.  I've got a severe ear infection, strep and MRSA break out on my face! Holy moly!! I don't know how/why - but man do I feel like a semi truck not only hit me, but ran flat over me! I am on antibiotics, but 3 doses in I still feel horrible.  Plus my ear is messed up - I can't hear anything out of it and the pressure feels off - I can feel fluid (maybe the drops I'm having to use) inside there sloshing around.  So I will be taking the next few days off to rest and recuperate.  I'll be back next week with Florida reviews - I apologize to my sponsors for the delay.  Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How we spent day 3 of being snowed in!

So I haven't posted much lately - it's been busy after our trip to Florida, then returning and getting the kids back to school.  We heard we'd get some snow this past Sunday night, but figured it would be the usual Atlanta snow. My husband went in to work Sunday night, his office will put them up at a hotel so they can be at work whenever there will be bad weather of any type.  He's been there ever since.  Monday was a blast - the kids played outside half the day, we baked, made snow cream, drank cocoa, we had FUN together - it was a great day. 

Tuesday, the snow had a thin layer of ice over the top, and the kids only went out twice.  The little one got hit with a snowball by the older one - which led to a long nap (which I shared!).  Today the temps are below freezing, the wind chill is in the teens, and the kids went out once.  We're almost out of milk, the kids say they don't have anything to eat (despite my stockpile, lol!) and we've all got cabin fever.

 My husband is going to be at work til Friday night.  Did I mention that Monday morning I had an ear infection start, and today my face is swollen and my ear just aches? Yeah, I'm seriously over this snow! Not to mention this is the third snowstorm Atlanta's had since December 16th!  Feels like we live up north, seriously.  Georgia just doesn't get this kind of weather often!! Well, since you listened to all that whining, here are some of my fave snow pics of the last few days:

Never in my life have I seen this much snow at once in Georgia!!
Ice, Ice Baby!!

Stepping out on the deck - wow!!



The kids chose to sled down the garden side of the yard - hilarious looking, but fun!

Homemade vanilla snow cream ~ yummm!


The woods behind the house - beautiful!

And please stay tuned - I've got my Ripley's Review coming in the next day or two, and then some more after that! So much fun reliving the fun of our trip to Florida! : ) Hope y'all are staying warm!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

PayBox

PayBox is a brand new payment website launching soon. Sign up with them today and you'll receive $25 right then, and if you log in daily until they launch you will earn even more! Refer friends to make $10 per referral! Sign up by clicking the link, then get your own link to refer your friends! : ) Fabulous way to start the new year with some easy money!

UPDATE: Just wanted to update this - after referrals and my daily log in credit for only one day,  I've already got a balance of $71.26 in my Paybox account.  I have done some reading up on Paybox and it looks like a great website will be unfolding very soon!
UPDATE 2:  After 4 days, I've earned $125.35 - I've only had 3 referrals - so I have the $25 I got for signing up, $30 for referrals, and the rest is for reading the blog daily, voting on a few debit card designs daily, and voting for merchants I'd want to use my debit card at locally, daily.  There is a daily poll to take as well.  I'd say I spend 10 - 15 minutes total on the site daily, and they add up to $25 a day for you doing the above tasks!  It all helps them develop a great payment processing website!!  And the money is really adding up fast!
UPDATE 3 ~ It's been a week and now I'm at $215. And they will be adding an affiliate program soon! You've really got to check them out - it's going to be a great alternative to Paypal!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Two great drugstore deals this morning...

If you bought a paper (or more - I bought 8 today - so many great coupons!)  check out the smaller Smart Source (there are 2) insert.   Ours had Steak N Shake coupons on the back of it, and the last page before the back cover had a $2.25 off 1 Finish Quantum dishwasher detergent.    At Walgreen's this week, these are on sale for $3.49, plus you get $1.50 back in Register Rewards. (RRs)  I bought one today, but will be going back for more.   I got 20 gel pacs for $1.25 out of pocket, plus $1.50 RR! This is a great stockup price, so I'll be getting at least 7 more!!  I won't have to buy detergent for months - and that means the $ I'd spend on it can go towards something else we need.  Timing & bulk buying is how I save the most!
UPDATE:  I have gotten 5 boxes so far: Spent $1.45 inc tax per box, then they gave me the $1.50 in RR... My stores are now out of these, so I'll check back Friday or Saturday for the other 2 boxes I want!!




Remember that you have to do multiple transactions at Walgreen's to get your RR on each box of Finish.  And you can't use the Finish RR on the purchase of more Finish.  Well, you can, but they won't give you the RR on that purchase.  So get as many boxes as you have coupons, but ask for them to ring each box up individually, so you get the RR's each time. Save the RR's for upcoming sales at Wags, or do like I do - save them for Publix, as they accept them as competitors coupons!

At CVS this week, they have a great deal.  Buy any 2 Revlon make up items or tools, get $7 Extra Care Bucks. (ECBs) I had $2.50 in ECB already, and I bought 2 pairs of nail clippers at $3.29 each.  That put me at $4.10 plus tax out of pocket, and then I received $7 in ECB to use next time I shop - yay!  I will put these in my donate box so that when David's school does another health box for Haiti drive, I can drop these two nail clippers in and they will be used by folks who really need them!  The $7 can be used for upcoming CVS sales.  I also bought 3 packs of Extra gum for $2 total, and got $1 ECB back.  We love Extra so it was a regular purchase for me. 

What's your favorite sale in the Sunday ads today?

Home Sweet Home + After Christmas deals!

It feels so good to be back home!! Don't get me wrong, leaving snowy, cold Atlanta for cold but sunshine-y Orlando was fantastic! We spent Sunday through Thursday morning there with friends at a wonderful rental house, then headed towards home, with a stopover for one night in Moultrie, GA, my hometown.   There we spent precious time with my 89 year old Nana, whom I ADORE.  It was a great week.  And Friday night we were home and had our traditional Fondue party with my husband.  The kids and I crashed by 10 so we didn't ring in the New Year like usual, but that's ok - we needed the SLEEP!

So, here's my first post of the new year.  I wanted to show some of the great deals you can get shopping for next year's decor now!!

The Walmart in Moultrie had Christmas marked 75% off, so I snagged sets of 2 potholders for 37 cents a set,  3" pillar candles for under 50 cents, and fancy-schmancy sprinkles from Wilton for under 70 cents a bottle! I'll be keeping those in the fridge so they will last and keep their pretty colors!

I did shop before then at the Walmart & Target nearest to us in Florida. I stocked up on boxed Christmas cards, lots of shiny ornaments (large & small balls), I even found super-cute ornaments for the kids for next year.  Also paper plates, napkins,  chip/dip platters, treat bags, plus a lot of things I can send in to David's school.  Every year they ask for items for stockings for the kids - so that means multiples of things - I got erasers, pencils and stickers for next year!!  Plus gift bags, ribbon, kitchen towels, bath hand towels, ziploc bags, mugs, cupcake liners, stocking stuffers and lots of decor items! I am ready for next Christmas already, at least as far as wrapping and decorating goes!!  I probably spent about $45 on everything.

So, did you do some after Christmas shopping? What were your best deals?!

Here are a few shots of the stuff I haven't packed up yet....





There are also a few things not pictured that might end up in my gift box!!  I love shopping the clearance aisles this time of year - so many good deals!!