Planning a Disney World Vacation on a Budget – Part 3: Entertainment

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Saving Money on Tickets and Attractions in Orlando, FL, and the Walt Disney World Resort

 

Disney Park Tickets, Universal Studios, and More!

Our family will be going to Magic Kingdom one day and Universal Studios another day while we are in Orlando, FL, on our vacation (only 7 days away!.)  Park tickets are around $100 per ticket, depending on what kind of ticket you purchase.  So, naturally, I searched for ways to save on Disney Park tickets and Universal Studios tickets.  Here is a list of great resources to help you find discounted Disney Park Tickets and Universal Studios Tickets.

  1. The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2012 : This book has many great pointers on saving money while you’re in Orlando, FL, and having fun in the parks.
  2. Mousesavers.com:  This website is my favorite resource for ways to save while you’re on vacation in Orlando, FL.
  3. Florida Hospital for Children:  This is how we purchased our tickets for our day at Magic Kingdom
  4. Ebay:  We purchased discounted Universal Studios tickets through Ebay and also received free parking passes with our ticket purchase.  When purchasing through Ebay, always make sure that the seller has a great rating and don’t buy any tickets that have been used or are signed.
  5. Entertainment Book
    Save on all the things you love to do!
    (purchase through Ebates.com and get 17.5% cash back):  I was able to get an Orlando Entertainment book at a great price by purchasing through Ebates.com and waiting for an Entertainment.com 50% off sale
  6. Free Orlando Magicard Discount Card

 


 

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Gluten Free Moist Sour Cream Swirl Coffee Cake

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This is probably the best gluten free cake I’ve ever made.  It was AMAZING!  Waaaay better than any coffee cake I’ve ever tasted before.  And, it just so happens to be gluten free.  That’s gluten free, NOT sugar free.  YUMMY!

So, here it is…

 

Swirl Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 5.1 oz. (1 large pack) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk

Filling:

  • 1/3 cup gluten free flour (I used 1/3 c. Betty Crocker yellow cake mix for this)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cream together butter and sugar
  3. Add eggs and beat into butter and sugar mixture
  4. Stir in sour cream and milk
  5. Sift together rice flour, potato starch, pudding mix, and baking powder in another bowl
  6. Combine wet and dry ingredients and pour into 9 x 13 inch greased baking pan (batter will be dough-like)
  7. Combine ingredients for filling and pour over batter
  8. Take a fork and “swirl” the filling and batter, but do not combine them
  9. Bake for 40 min. in preheated oven
  10. Best if served warm with buttercream frosting drizzled over the top
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Giveaway

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Enter to Win Two Free Bestselling Christian books by Gary Thomas!

 

I will be giving away, absolutely free, two amazing books by Gary Thomas.  My husband and I are currently reading through “Sacred Marriage” and have recently attended a Sunday school class based on the book “Sacred Parenting.”  I discovered these books at the perfect time in my life.  I was just beginning to think to myself, “What are the things that make marriage and children a blessing?  Why are blessings such a burden sometimes?”  I love my husband and I love my children.  These books helped me to discover God’s plan for marriage and parenting in a new and fresh way.  I now see my struggles in my marriage and within parenting as a blessing now more than ever.
I would love to be able to send all of you a free copy of these books.  Unfortunately, we don’t quite have the funds for that (bummer!)  So, this giveaway will be part of our giving for the month of May.  I hope that even if you do not win these free books, you will seek them out in your church library or purchase a used copy for a couple dollars.

 

Book #1 – Sacred Marriage

What if God designed marriage to make us holy instead of happy?

Scores of books have been written that offer guidance for building the marriage of your dreams. Yet, what if God’s primary intent for your marriage isn’t to make you happy . . . but holy? And, what if your relationship isn’t as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God? In this popular bestselling book, Gary Thomas uncovers how your marriage can become a doorway to a closer walk with God and each other. You will learn how to:

  • Turn marital struggles into spiritual and personal appreciation.
  • Love your spouse with a stronger sense of purpose.
  • Partner in the spiritual growth and character formation of your spouse.
  • Transform a “tired” marriage into a relationship filled with awe and respect.

Book #2 – Sacred Parenting

How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls

Parenting is a school for spiritual formation—and our children are our teachers. Instead of discussing how parents can change their kids, Gary Thomas turns the tables and demonstrates how God uses our kids to change us. You’ll be encouraged by stories that tell how other parents handled the challenges and difficulties of raising a godly family. Grow closer to Christ and your children as you learn to:?

  • Freely enjoy your kids for who they are.
  • Build a closer, grace-based family.
  • Reduce the pressure felt for your kids to turn out perfect.
  • Manage anger and negative responses towards your child’s behavior.
  • Increase your sense of worth and respect as a parent.

Fill out the form below to enter our giveaway.  The winner of these free, brand new, paperback books will be chosen at random on June 15th and will be notified by e-mail.  The books will be shipped by Amazon.com by the end of June.

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Easy Gluten Free Moist Chocolate Brownie Cake Recipe

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Easy Gluten Free Moist Chocolate Brownie Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cans (30 oz.) garbanzo beans
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp powder sugar for dusting

gluten free brownies

Step 1 – Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees F

Step 2 – Blend together garbanzo beans and eggs in blender

Step 3 – Melt chocolate chips in microwave until smooth, stirring every 30 seconds

Step 4 – Add melted chocolate to blender and blend until smooth

Step 5 – Add sugar and baking powder and blend again until smooth

Step 6 – Pour mixture into 9 x 13inch greased baking pan and bake for 40min or until knife inserted comes out clean

Step 7 – Allow to cool for about 15-20 min and dust with powder sugar (optional)

 

This gluten free cake is really moist and rich.  AMAZING, melt in your mouth, gluten free cake that goes down great with a tall glass of milk.

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Discount Entertainment Books Only $8.58!

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Get your Entertainment Book for only $8.58…

Entertainment.com’s Tax Day Sale (April 16th Only) and Ebates.com’s 17.5% cash back!


Save on all the things you love to do!  

 

Plus, if you make your purchase with a cash back credit card, you could get an additional 1% cash back.

How’s that for savings?

Entertainment Books can save you hundreds of dollars on food and entertainment.  And, if you’re planning a vacation this summer, now is the perfect time to get an additional Entertainment book for your vacation destination.

 

CLICK HERE —->  and search for Entertainment.com

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  I only post about products and programs that I have used personally and have had a positive experience with.

Want to learn more about saving on Entertainment and being frugal?  Check out Christian PF and read their post “How to Save Money on Entertainment

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Gluten Free Baked Oatmeal

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I have changed this baked oatmeal recipe multiple times and have settled on this particular version of baked oatmeal.  There are many varieties of baked oatmeal and I’ve shared some links to other baked oatmeal recipes at the end of this post.  Enjoy!

Baked Oatmeal

  • 4 c. regular or instant oats
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 2/3 c. water
  • 2/3 c. vegetable oil or melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat eggs and add oil or melted butter.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour into greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  Bake for 30-35 min. and serve with milk (optional.)  Yum!

 

These other baked oatmeal recipes look very promising and have great ratings…

Baked Oatmeal with Raisins and Nuts

Baked Oatmeal with Dried Cranberries

Taste of Home Baked Oatmeal Recipe

Quaker Oats Baked Oatmeal Recipe

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Debt Reduction Progress

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We paid off a credit card!!!!!!

The month of March was full of uncertainty.  My husband had just found out that he would be unemployed as of April 1st if he didn’t find a job by then.  So, we were hesitant to take our tax return and apply it to our debt reduction efforts.  We kept the $8000 in a savings account until he was hired by one of the premier marketing companies in Milwaukee.

Once he started his new job, we felt it was a good time to pay off one of the credit cards.  So, we’re excited to announce that we’ve paid off about $5000 more of our debt!!  Plus, we now have an emergency fund of $1500 and another $1500 set aside to do some landscaping this spring.  And, last but not least, our income has increased!!!!  So, we are now planning on applying at least $700 a month toward what is left of our credit card debt.  We should be “debt free” (not including our mortgage) by the end of the year!!!

We have two cards left to pay off.  One is still at a 0% APR until the end of August, so we will pay that one off first.  And, the other one is a fixed 1.99% for the life of the balance.  I will have mixed feelings about paying that 1.99%APR credit card off.  Once we pay off that balance, there will no longer be a 1.99%APR.  That credit card offer was a Godsend!  It came at the perfect time too.  I remember when we were considering buying a house and we couldn’t afford it because of our car payment.  Then, we got a balance transfer offer in the mail from our bank credit card.  The balance on our bank credit card was $0 at the time, so I could tell that they were trying to hold on to us as a customer/consumer.  They offered us 1.99%APR for the life of the balance with a transfer fee of 3%, which would end up making our transferred balance nearly $12,000!  Although our balance increased by about $300, the APR decreased along with our monthly minimum payment.  Our monthly payment decreased so much, actually, that we were able to qualify for a mortgage.  About a month later, my sister called to say that the house next door to her would be up for sale soon.  It was all perfect timing, so we made an offer on the house before it even went on the market.  The seller was eager to close and we got the house at a steal of a price.  So, even when the housing market crashed, we still came out of it with equity.

Through all of our financial ups and downs, I can see the Lord’s grace and guidance that has lead us to this point.  Praise the Lord!  Living debt free is just around the corner!

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Planning a Disney World Vacation on a Budget- Part 2: Food

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Saving Money on Food When You’re on Vacation

 

Entertainment Book, Kids Eat Free Cards, and Grocery Shopping

 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to cook when I’m on vacation.  As a 24/7 cook for three growing children, one hungry husband, and myself who needs extra calories for nursing, the last thing I want to do on vacation is worry about food.  I’ve lucked out when planning our Orlando, FL, and Walt Disney World vacation.  We will be staying in a time share condo and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law will be cooking many of the dinners.  So, we are only planning on eating out for dinner a couple of times.  Still, there will be times that we’ll be out and about with our tummies rumbling.  So, I’ve found a few ways to cut back on food and restaurant costs while we’re having fun around Orlando, in the Disney Parks, and also in Universal Studios.

List #2  Food

  • Entertainment Book– Go to Ebates.com and sign up, then search for Entertainment.com and shop through Ebates to get 17.5% cash back.  Wait for Entertainment.com to have a 50% off sale.  That is how I got my Orlando Entertainment book for only $12.37!  *Since purchasing my book, they have changed the website to focus more on the digital membership.  So, when you go to the website, you have to scroll to the bottom and click on “interested in the book membership?”  You will only get the Ebates cash back on the Entertainment Books.
  • Kids Eat Free Cards– If you have children, you will want to get one or two of these.  They are only good with the purchase of an adult meal, but that shouldn’t be a problem.  Who takes their kids out to just watch them eat?  They sell for $19.99 retail, which seemed a bit much to me since we will only be in Orlando for 7 days.  So, I scoured the internet for discounted Kids Eat Free Cards.  I ended up on eBay and found a few that may work out.  Some are selling for around $16, plus $0.99 shipping.  You just have to make sure that they are unused and unsigned Kids Eat Free Cards.
  • Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free in Orlando – The Kids Eat Free Card is great for those that will be going out to eat a lot, but I’m not sure we would use it enough to even make up for the cost of getting the card.  So, I went to a website called My Kids Eat Free and found a list of restaurants in Orlando, FL, where kids eat free on certain days of the week.  Some of the Restaurants include Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, Denny’s, and Perkin’s.  The list includes a few that will only have free kids meals for a limited time, so make sure you visit the restaurant’s website or call for details.  Most of the restaurants have Kids Eat Free Tuesday nights, so we will be going to Magic Kingdom on Tuesday and out for dinner later that day.  We will not be eating at any of the sit-down restaurants in the parks.  Most of them require a reservation 6 months in advance, or you’ll be waiting for a very long time.  They are also super pricey.  They can be between $30 and $50 per person.  Yikes!
  • Grocery Shopping– Make a shopping list of everything you’ll need while you’re there, and search for any coupons you can find that will help you save on the food and items on your list.  We will be doing most of our shopping once we get to Orlando.  That way, we will save on luggage space.  So, here is a list of what we will most likely be getting once we’re there.
    -Milk
    -Cereal
    -Bread
    -Eggs
    -Juice
    -Peanut Butter
    -Jelly
    -Butter
    -Bananas
    -Apples
    -Salad
    -Pretzels
    -Nuts

I may add some more things to the list as our departure gets closer.  For now, I would say we’re sticking to the basics and things that we can take into the parks.  The Disney Parks used to say there is no food allowed, but they have since changed their policy.  You are now allowed to take in food and drinks that do not require heating (click here for Disney Park’s FAQ.)   This makes it a lot easier to save on food while in Orlando, FL, and the Walt Disney World Resort and Theme Parks.

 

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Planning a Disney World Vacation on a Budget – Part 1: Travel

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A 2012 Disney World Vacation

Save on Travel, Food, Entertainment, and Shopping

 

We’re going to Disney World in May!

 

My husband’s family will be going with us on our Disney World Vacation, which includes his Mom and Dad, brother and his girlfriend, and sister and her husband.  My mother and father-in-law gave us a week at the Sheraton Vistana in Orlando, FL, for Christmas.  So, we have one big expense covered.  However, there are many other expenses associated with a Disney World Vacation.  In order to plan for a Disney World Vacation on a Budget, I’ve started off by making a few lists.

List #1

Travel

Saving money on the way to Orlando, FL, and the Walt Disney World Resort

List #2

Food

Saving money on food and restaurants in Orlando, FL, and the Walt Disney World Resort

List #3

Entertainment

Saving money on tickets and attractions in Orlando, FL, and the Walt Disney World Resort

List #4

Shopping

Saving money on gifts and memorabilia before and after you go and while in Orlando, FL, and the Walt Disney World Resort

List #1 – Travel

The expense of getting to Orlando, FL, and the Walt Disney World Resort depends largely on where you’re traveling from.  We are located in Wisconsin, so we will be traveling quite a distance to reach the magical world of Disney.  Half of the family will be flying and my husband’s parents will be driving along with us (my husband, me, our 6 and 4 yr old daughters, and our 2 and 5 month old sons.)

So, before starting your travel list, you need to decide on the type of travel.  How are you going to get there?  If you will be taking a plane, you’ll need to think about how you’re getting to the airport and possibly renting a car to travel around Orlando, Fl, and the Walt Disney World Resort.  Write down everything you will need to take for travel purposes, such as plane tickets and luggage.  Here’s an example of my driving travel list I made for our 22 hour car trip.

  • Rent or Borrow a Large Van to fit all of us – My mother-in-law has this covered
  • Car top carrier for all of our luggage – Will have to rent or borrow
  • Baby carrier – already own
  • Car seat – already own
  • Booster seat – already own
  • 6 bags of luggage – borrow any suitcases needed
  • 6 pillows – already own
  • 4 water bottles, 1 sippy cup, and 2 baby bottles to fill and reuse along the way – Don’t buy water!
  • Small cooler – already own
  • Drinks – buy juice boxes and sports drinks from Costco
  • Snacks – buy a large bag of trail mix from Costco and separate into sandwich bags
  • Ice – get from store the day before departure
  • Sun Glasses – already own
  • Hats – already own
  • iPad – already own
  • iPod – already own
  • Portable DVD Player, batteries, and charger- already own
  • DVDs – borrow Disney DVD Collection from sister
  • CDs – already own Disney Songs collection and other Children’s Travel Songs
  • Books – children’s activity books and The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2012
  • Magazines – Disney Magazines, Parenting magazines, and other fun stuff to look at
  • Garbage bags for garbage
  • Plastic Ziplock Bags for anything that needs to be saved or separated after opening, like food or crayons
  • Entertainment Book and other coupons
  • Money and credit cards – We use the Blue Cash Preferred Card and get 6% cash back on groceries, 3% cash back on gas, and 1% cash back everywhere else!  The cash back we get on groceries is more than enough to cover the annual fee.

 

Part 2: Food Coming Soon! Subscribe to FamFinFun by Email to Get Part 2

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