Why Percieved Value is worth looking into before you buy.

I love the Bare Necessity song from Jungle book- When you find that you can go along without thinking about it- I'll tell you something true- The Bare Necessities of Life will come to you.

Perceived Value. Let's talk real for a second. Perceived Value is something not to gloss over when you are going to purchase a big item or something that you have been saving your money for. 

In marketing terminology, perceived value is the customers' evaluation of the merits of a product or service and its ability to meet their needs and expectations, especially in comparison with its peers.
Marketing professionals try to influence consumers' perceived value of a product by describing the attributes that make it superior to the competition.

Things are not always what they seem when perceived value comes into play: In a very real sense- Things are valuable by the way we view things. That is why there is competition in the piece of the pie for your hard earn dollar.

Here is a great example of what perceived value:

Let's take Serius XM- the Radio service that I love. ( I love having it in my car, and online.)

We got a new vehicle and it came with Sirius XM. I love free things, like the regular radio that I get free, But I saw value in Sirius XM after our free trial.

Why? Because for only $13 a month- a Price of a couple cups of coffee or hot chocolate per month I wouldn't have to listen to all those commercials, and I get to cherry-pick what I listen too.

They Marketed it as a being able to get all these channels, and don't miss your favorite baseball game! Okay- you got me!

So that $13 a month subscription didn't seem like a big deal, but then when you do the math it's over $ 150 ($156) to be exact, They advertise it at $8 a month, but with the luxury tax it comes out to be $13 a month. Geez! 

I can I spend my money a bit better, Maybe- But for me having Kid's Place Live, No Shoes Radio, The Garth Channel,  and the Beatles Channel, It's awesome! I can't live without it now.

Einstein famously said "It's all relative", and we see that pricing is no different - we just need something to make it relative to.

 Check out this other Case study about perceive value from Ninja Outreach

So getting to the root as to why I am writing this article.

A discussion between my husband and I have been: 
When and how to go back to Disney?
 Do we stay at Disney World or do we stay off "campus"
 Do we buy into Disney Vacation Club?

 This conversation has been going on for months. We are to the point that we all want to go back to Disney as fast as possible. I have a Whatever it takes attitude to get back to the Magic Kingdom. AS FAST AS I CAN! 

So after a good long week of talking about should, we or shouldn't we do DVC We came across this article that really talks about the perceived value that DVC offers.

DVC Fan mentions Perceived Value as Pixie Dust- so clever how Disney does that right?

 I encourage people in the strongest sense of the word to do their homework if they plan to finance. Look at it from all angles while doing your best to remove pixie-dust from the equation. Pixie dust is only allowed in if the monthly payments of financing a DVC contract do not present a hardship. If you have to give up other things, if you have scale back on your lifestyle or any meaningful necessities, then perhaps it’s not the right choice. 

 He also argues that not all luxury Items like Vacationing at Disney through Disney's Vacation Club is a luxury item, It's all in how you perceive your time and money, and what it's worth. Click here for here the whole article 

If your hobby is to plan a Disney vacation and go to Disney- and that is how you want to spend your hard earn money then the perceived value for you- is in a positive light. Some friends and family would think your crazy for spending that much money on a vacation. (I agree it's a ton of money) However I love, & My family loves everything, Disney, so for us, it's a no brainer to go to Disney as soon as we can. (it's our hobby) and everyone needs some kind of Hobby to keep you sane. Here is a great article as to why we all need some kind of hobby in our life! 

As of today, we haven't decided if we are going to go with DVC, Were still trying to decide if we want to spend our money on this.  (I don't think we will finance DVC if we can make it work.) 

What luxury item do you feel is worth every penny? 

Bernie's Barnyard at Adventureland

photo credit: Adventureland parks

Bernie's Barnyard And what you need to know:
-Like all the rides and attraction, it's free with paid admission, or with a season pass. 
-Located by the entrance by the Tornado
-Toddler area and older/bigger kid area are separate
-2 new rides perfect for families.

Photo Credit: Adventureland Park
It's finally open I thought to my self, it' better be worth the long wait! Yes, I believe it was, Bernie's Barnyard was THE PERFECT PARK FOR KIDS AND PARENTS!  I am happy that Adventureland has this new addition to its park, A much-needed place for elementary kids to play and explore. We were able to go on the second day of its opening. Of course, these pictures are what my kids loved about the park, We easily spend the whole afternoon here, I had to pry them away and say if you want to swim at the wave pool we need to leave! (that's how much they loved this park)

E loved the slide, underneath was a fruit stand that my daughter and son loved to play store at. 

C enjoying the new slide, (perfect for all children. I even went down it, it's a bumpy as it looked.) Part of the fun.

The fruit stand, they loved playing store in this. Great place to learn and play pretend!

Why do all kids love tunnels? this one reminded me of a tunnel at a park we use to love until we moved. Thanks for the happy memories of that park Adventureland, I am glad to see another play area with tunnels. 

When you walked in there is a "life-sizexylophonees, drums, and other musical instruments that the kids loved to play with. This musical feature captured all my kid's attention for a long time, more time than I expected. 

Lot of ways to climb, this is just one of them, it's a rope latter, one of E's favorite part.

Everywhere you look there is something for little hands to be busy with, I counted like 4-5 gear stations for them to explore. 

another way to climb, can you tell my kids are part monkeys?

one of many views of the playground.

C's happy dance, she loved this area!

At this park inside of Adventureland, they have two rides, shakin Bacon, (as C pointed out, it's like the Falling Star for kids)  and pictured here is the horse ride, if your kid is less than 42 inches, a parent has to ride with them. It was fun to hear the giggles from my 4-year-old while on the ride. (one of my new favorite family rides.)

They also have a toddler section, pictured above is my 4 yr old in the toddler section. It was filled with houses and other little tike toys for the toddlers. 

For an art project in the spring, our elementary school chose some students to paint a birdhouse, my Niece was able to be part of this collaboration, she was so sad she couldn't take home the birdhouse until she saw it proudly displayed at Adventureland in Bernie's Barnyard. It was such a treat to see her work and see her smile bright as she realized that it's part of her new favorite park! 

My thoughts: this is a great place for families. They had lots of picnic tables for families to enjoy, It's very open, I was able to chat with the mother I was with while watching my kids. Bernie's Barnyard is the perfect size for kids to explore while moms/parents/ caregivers can sit down and relax a tad bit. There are concessions, that sell kid food ( Peanut butter and jelly, milk, animal crackers, and other kid-friendly snacks.) 

I will continue to make my way towards the tornado (the park is right by the entrance of the Tornado roller coaster) when we visit every week (Adventureland passes are worth every penny in our family.) Because it's the perfect size for our family. 

Well done Adventureland! Thank you for providing a great play area for my kids to explore and enjoy!

Check out my other post about Adventureland Day Trips, to help make your day at Adventureland as stress-free as possible. 

Back to School shopping Check list

Des Moines Register contacted me, about how  I save money during tax free weekend in Iowa, I am happy to share with you a lovely conversation I had with Mackenzie, from the Des Moines Register, truly a fun conversation, lots of great tips are in her article, by none other than my self and another blogger from the Des Moines Area as well!

There are some really great ways to save money this month, I love spending money this month because there are some great deals that I can only get in August, Stock up and save!

Read about what was said in this conversation, and to view the whole article.

Learn more about Tax-free weekend go here

Here are my go-to things I get for during Tax-Free weekend and why:

Underwear: They almost never go on sale, but usually, I can get a buy one get one half, or they are just reasonable. My price point is about $2-$4 per pair of underwear.

Socks: Same thing, but I get just the fall/ spring socks, not the heavy socks that you would wear in the Winter.

Jeans: Can you see the pattern? I stock up on the essentials, The things that never go on sale.

Clearance items are a huge way of saving, I am always looking for the next size up for kiddo's, the next season's pants, and jeans. I will also look at clearance racks for shoes, especially for kids, like gym shoes, or dress shoes.

Happy Saving! or in this case Happy Shopping!

Thank you Des Moines Register, and a big shout out to Mackenzie, she did an amazing job with the article!

Colored Rice: How to make my 3 year old's favorite sensory table activity

My kids love playing in the sensory table! I often have to think outside the box for new ideas on what to put in my sensory table. Some things just make sense, rice, beans, corn...

AWESOME things happen when we give kids open-ended material to play with! My kids play with the colored rice a ton more than if I were to just give them plain rice. Thier imaginations run wild, sometimes the rice is a habitat, other times it's a birthday cake or a secret ingredient to solving a crime, it's so fun to see what they come up with!

Here is how you make Colored Rice (1 cup) I like to do this 4 times with 4 different colors of Rice
In a quart size bag:
Take 1 Cup of Rice (4 parts)
1/4 Cup of rubbing alcohol, or vinegar (1 part)
add food coloring, or if you have it liquid watercolor (my favorite way to die rice)
The knead the color around in the closed bag, once all the rice is colored lay out the colored rice on a pan.  Let the rice dry for about 6-12 hours, I did mine in the morning and by the afternoon it was dry and ready to go.

I did have each color of rice in a bag for each color for longer than I thought, then I let them play with all the colors together and that was entertaining a bit more, now we just have Rainbow rice and it's so fun to play with!

This is such a great book That has great ideas, to do with young kids

Here is how you make Colored Rice (1 cup) I like to do this 4 times with 4 different colors of Rice
In a quart size bag:
Take 1 Cup of Rice (4 parts)
1/4 Cup of rubbing alcohol, or vinegar (1 part)
add food coloring, or if you have it liquid watercolor (my favorite way to die rice)
The knead the color around in the closed bag, once all the rice is colored lay out the colored rice on a pan.  Let the rice dry for about 6-12 hours, I did mine in the morning and by the afternoon it was dry and ready to go.

I did have each color of rice in a bag for each color for longer than I thought, then I let them play with all the colors together and that was entertaining a bit more, now we just have Rainbow rice and it's so fun to play with!

Craftsy free Beinge watch day is Labor day

On Labor Day, enjoy 1,200+ Craftsy classes for free - for one day only. 

Click here for all the information

All you have to do is to get a login (be a member that is free)  to view any class on Craftsy for FREE! This is such a great deal, I am so glad I am able to carve out some time to watch a couple classes. You really don't want to miss this!

Here are some of my class reviews.

My tip on how to make the most of this day would be to add classes that you want to watch on your wish list before Labor Day, so  Monday comes you know what you want to watch! I can't decide between food classes, paper craft classes, or painting!

Here are some of my favorite classes if you are curious what classes I have taken from Craftsy:

Pair ups
Class reviews
My favorite class in food
Favorite class in watercolor
Favorite class in card making

Some of the classes that I hope to watch that I am so excited for are

Radiant Stamping because I love love love stamping with my Misti!

Silhouette Savvy: Design, Cut, Create with Paige Evans  Becuase I love my Silhouette and I am always wanting to learn more!

Cracking the Egg: 25 Ways to Transform Your Cooking with Chef Kyle Shankman Because my family loves eggs!

Jacques Torres' Ultimate Box of Chocolates Becuasea I love Chocolate and am always looking for ways to make a sweet gift for Teachers, family, friends and as thank you gifts

Venture into Vinyl, because a good friend of mine loves using her Silhouette to cut vinyl, and I want to try! 

Adventureland day trip tips

Summer is almost over! I can't believe it, and I thought I would share how I use my Adventureland pass this summer!

For the past4 consecutive years of owning a season pass for the whole family, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on how to make a day trip to Adventure land worth your time.

Kids and Adventureland go together very well, Adventureland does a great job of keeping the park clean, the kids happy and most of all entertained.

you know those days that you love, that live in your memory for the whole year, until next time you can have the same experience? yup those happen in June for our family Here is what I like to do:

We love to go on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday to the park. We start the day with our regular morning routine, then head to the park at opening. I like to get into the parking lot about 10 minutes before the gates open (9:50.) That's in a perfect world, usually, we are good if we get there sometime before 11!

From the main gates, the train ride, and the carousel are next. Depending on how busy it is we go towards the left where all the rides are, not down main street. and do all those rides first. However there is NO SHADE or very little shade, so if it's hot we by pass this group of rides.

Here are some of my quick tips:

If it's raining there is the arcade that is actually really reasonable, we love the air hockey game, for .50 cents it's worth waiting out the rain, also the G-Force is in the arcade, and it's one of my kids favorite rides, and no it doesn't cost anything to ride it.

There is enough variety of rides that my children never feel like they are waiting on a sibling, Adventureland laid their rides out perfectly, for example, my older kids can ride the bumper cars while my youngest ride the trucks, I have eyes on both of them.

I consider Adventureland a two-day thing: one trip just rides, in June usually. The other trip is spent at the water park lots of time spent there in July.

I LOVE THE WATER PARK, yes it does take you about 20 minutes from the time you park your car to the time you walk across the park to get to the waterpark. Here is my view on this: Yes I would love for season pass holders to have access to parking by the water park, until that day happens, I am happy that I am getting my steps in for the day, and I make it fun, by walking by our favorite rides, and saying yes you can ride that 1 ride, on the way to the waterpark that is your favorite ride aka tilt-a-whril.

AdventureBay has a big sandpit for kids, it's awesome to play in!
Water Park Prep: I don't mind the changing rooms at AdventureBay, but there are only two spots for family restrooms, we Change at home, wear our swimming suits to the park, with a simple change of clothes for the way back. We are usually dressed in our swimming suits, and a cover up, I like wearing shorts and a shirt, and just bring underwear to change into- keeping it simple and real!

I am not a huge fan of bringing tons of stuff into the park, So that means on a water park day I bring a towel for all of us to use, it's usually one that I don't love, so then when we are done drying off I donate the towel to the Animal Rescue league bin by the gift shop. It's a win for everyone!

Lazy River and sandpit
I also love the Sand Bar/pit, but I always forget to bring sand box toys, so we usually cover up our legs in the sand and then wash the sand off and then get into the lazy river that we all love to swim in, my Kindergartener can swim in it with out floaties.

The clear tubes you can rent and they can be used in the lazy river and the wave pool, both of which are really fun and relaxing. Season pass holders can rent them free with a $5 deposit that you get back when you return the tubes.

Water park nerves: I have three kids, that all want to do something different at the waterpark, I have the safety on my mind and it's not a break for me when it's just me and my 8yr, 5yr, and 3yr old. We stick mostly to the pirate pool, and the wave pool. Then if my kids are awesome like they are, I let the older kids play in the Kokomo Cove play area, and watch them as close as I can while the youngest and I play at the splash pad. I love the waterpark for this reason: there are always life guards on duty, and if you tell the life guard your situation, and it's not crazy busy (weekdays) they will be another set of eyes for you when you can't always watch them like a hawk.

I am not a park foodie, I don't mind the food, but if I am trying to feed my whole family I am usually the one to suggest Culvers across the street from Adventureland, Otherwise, I pack a lunch or better yet we leave the park when everyone gets hungry,

The Main Street Cafe gives pass holders a 10% discount on food, so I like to fill up our drinks there, hey every little bit helps to save some money.

Things you may not have realized
Parking is $10. If you have a season pass it's free. 
Adventureland has the longest running magic show in the nation, Way to go Ben Ulin! and it's worth seeing, my kids love it and he is quite humorous for the adults as well.

Want a Season pass for next summer? Adventureland usually puts the season passes on sale in December (Christmas presents from Grandma.) So look for that on their website in December. usually, they are about $30 off the regular price.

No Mess Summer Sun Catcher

Start with a piece about 5x7 of clear contact paper taped sticky side up on the table top

Add a die cut and then some  colorful tissue paper I cut mine to about 1" squares 

Trim the paper around the contact paper

Tape the sun catcher to a window with some clear tape. 

This is always a fun way to bring smiles to everyone, I like making them for Fall too! I used a Silhouette to cut out the butterfly, I also like to do this with every season, it's always a fun time with my kids and my house is colorful!

Distress Crayons and Gesso

 Gesso and Distress crayons

To prepare this card, take your favorite stencil, I used a stencil I made with my Silhouette using a background cut file and some heavy craft paper, but any stencil would work well for this card and gesso.

Lay the card down with the stencil and apply gesso with a pallet knife to the stencil as if you were frosting a cake. Let it dry for at least 4 hours.

Then add 3-4 colors of distress crayons over the gessoed panel. With a baby wipe blend the colors together until you get the blending to where you would like, remember that gesso will act as a resist, so the more you rub on the gesso part, the less pigment will be left. The paper will keep the pigment rich, so you can really get some neat blending!

Then assemble the card with your embelishments and sentiments, easy peasy!

Desing Tip: To make some easy cards I like to stamp or print the sentiment on cardstock and then cut a strip of paper to work with the stencil graphic so the whole card will marry nicely together.

To find out other ways to use this technique below is a great YouTube Tutorial

To find out other great ideas on how to use water-soluble inks to use as watercolor check out 

How to learn more If you are like me and always love to learn more about watercolor cards there are two classes that I recommend you take:
Angela Fehr's Creative Watercolor class: This is a great class for anyone that wants to add watercolor to cards, art journaling, and Calligraphers.  This link will get you 20% off the class I am in the works of making a review for this class, I highly recommend this class, it is a great class! Here is the Class Review post

Watercolor Card's Made Simple on Craftsy. This is the perfect class for all paper crafters you can see my class review here

Happy Creating!

I use Affiliated links to help support my blog.

Whats for dinner? Menu planning is worth the time!!

Summer is always a great time to just eat whatever for supper and not worry about the timing issues. When school starts up (which I dread for lots of reasons) you are a slave to a schedule, that is if you are me it is... Bedtime is like a ticking time bomb at our house... I need to know what we are having for supper that morning or the whole evening goes downhill fast.

With Menue Planning,  When I am able to plan a good week or dare I say a month of good meals that are family-friendly usually we save more money and my time is spent better in ways that can enrich my life.

Where do I Begin?

I like two methods: 1 start where you are, and give your self permission to be flexible.
why am I meal planning?  and What is my goal?

How to implement the Why you are menu planning:

1. How am I going to remember the meals that I have planned out?

2. How am I going to implement meal planning and follow through?

3. Do I like prep work, Or how much of a cook do I want to be? 

4. How much time do I have to get dinner on the table each day?

These 4 questions are so important for a good menu, once you know those answers to these 4 questions, then you can start menu planning.

I have two ways that work the best for my family,

Option 1 (great for procrastinators)

Menu plan week to week

build your menu around what is on sale.

Use the sales and adds that are current for this week when you go grocery shopping to help you buy meat, produce dairy, and perishable items that are on sale from your local grocery store.

 For example, if Chicken is on sale I will have at least 3 meals of chicken that week. I will sometimes roast two chickens so I have one to eat for supper and the other chicken to shred for quesadillas. I will also decide what to do for lunches and breakfast, but I don't worry too much about those meals because cereal and muffins are not that hard to plan for. I really love this blog for all their amazing easy recipes

When planning for a week of dinners, I write it down on a post-it note and have it in the fridge for the week, that way it's an easy reminder. I will often make one trip to the store the day after the add hits, so I have time to see what's on sale and what I need for the week. super simple, and my go-to when I don't have a plan like Option 2.

Get this free template here

Option 2 (great if you have a plan and a trying to stockpile good deals on groceries.) 

Monthly menu planning is fun... (I can't lie, I have to tell myself this because if I don't I won't get my monthly menu plan going.)

You will want a good foundation to start with if you have a freezer, and storage space this may be the way to go.

For a month of dinners, I use a cheap calendar. (you know the ones that you get in the mail, or are at the dollar store.) Or I print them like this one from simply unscripted

I start by labeling each day of the week a category for dinner: Monday-Pizza, Tuesday-Mexican, Wednesday-Italian,  Thursday-Meatless, Friday- Grill, Saturday-Comfort food, Sunday- quick and easy.  These categories make it easy to plan each day of the week instead of saying hmm... what should we have on this Tuesday, also My family likes knowing that it's Friday pizza night! Wha Who! It makes your life easier having a label for each day of the week. That is why you are only going to have some type of spaghetti once or twice a night in a month... and so on. does your family get tired of spaghetti too because you make it too often?

 Then I plug in what I think my family will eat, and then make notes for when I need to go the store for an item. it's really that simple!

Tips for doing a Monthly meal plan

When I first started I spent a good hour looking through my cook book, or Pinterest to see what sounds good for supper, I still do but more as a free time thing than for meal planning.  So give yourself a good hour to plan, make yourself a good snack, and plan during a quiet time when you can focus and not be interrupted. I have even prayed to my father in heaven to help me plan, and those months always seem to go smoother.

Some of my great meals are the ones that I can make from memory, like a chili dinner, or a pork chop dinner, and casseroles. I like to keep things simple.
I use a menu planning software called Cook'n, I like it, but I usually find that a cheap calendar works just as well, especially if you are not "a cook that has to have a recipe" and just wants to have supper on the table.

Stock up on items you use often when they are on sale, this helps save a lot when menu planning, I know that I can use Pasta Sauce in lots of other ways than just pasta sauce. so.... I have about 30 jars stored because I got them on sale for half the cost. I like to stock up on about 25-50 items per year so about 1 item per week that I know will last for at least 6 months.

My favorite way to meal plan is to always have a couple oops meals, you know the nights when your not feeling like cooking, or getting dinner on the table, that is when I have frozen pizza or everything I need to make a soup, or a salad, or even mac and cheese for the kiddos. Those meals come in handy, but don't make it a crutch!

If you like to cook, use your kitchen tools, that will also help with knowing what you want to cook and what you have time for... don't underestimate the power of your mixer and food processor!

Here is a link that I thought was also helpful and full of great advice!

If you are wanting a good footing on how menu planning works, MomsByHeart.Net has some amazing blog posts.

I would love to learn how you get supper on the table, are you the family where you are like- let's go out every night and now you need to "figure it out" been there-done that lots of times!

What is your reason for or your WHY you want to start or keep doing Menue planning?

Stencils and Watercolor A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN!

I love when two crafty tools come together and you can get some really great cards! I made both of the stencils, the triangle one and the mermaid scales stencil using my Silhouette, I cut out a back ground file to use as a stencil on brown craft paper that you get at your box craft store.  This card is easy and you can make a ton of these cards, ahem.... (Christmas) 

Watercolor panel cut to 4.25x5.5
Watercolor: two color friendly colors, like teal and purple
Medium flat brush
Container of water to watercolor
Stencils (I chose a triangle and a fish scales)
White cardstock for die-cuts
Flower die cut (2 medium and 1 small flower) for celebrating card, Star fish from Silhouette Design Store
3 Gems for the middle of the flower
A2 Card base

Start by adding a two toned flat wash to the card, making sure that the two colors blend well in the middle. Let it dry, or use a heat tool to dry it quicker

Place stencil onto the card base, tape it down so it doesn’t move with some painter's tape or artist’s tape. Add the stencil image onto the card by using the same color you used for your background, use the purple on purple, blue on blue. Get some pigment onto a sponge that is a bit damp, (you don’t need to much water. I like using a spray bottle to get the sponge and the pigment wet just wet enough to pick up the pigment and stencil it on. The pigment should be fairly thick, like a creamy consistency). Making sure that in the middle blends well together. Let it dry.

Add the die cuts, I used two small flowers and a medium flower from the die cut set. Then add them to the card as if they were growing on the stenciled flowers.

Adhere the card panel to the card base.

Learn more about how to use watercolor in these classes I love them both!

How to learn more If you are like me and always love to learn more about watercolor cards there are two classes that I recommend you take:
Angela Fehr's Creative Watercolor class: This is a great class for anyone that wants to add watercolor to cards, art journaling, and Calligraphers.  This link will get you 20% off the class I am in the works of making a review for this class, I highly recommend this class, it is a great class! Here is the link for the review of this class

Watercolor Card's Made Simple on Craftsy. This is the perfect class for all paper crafters you can see my class review here

Happy Creating!

I use Affiliated links to help support my blog.
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