Kings Island The Great Pumpkin Fest

This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand, and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.

As you know, my family loves a good fall festival; we hit up the Old West Fest, Renaissance Festival and quite a few other general fall festivals in the area, but I was super excited to head over to Kings Island for the Great Pumpkin Fest last weekend.


Every Saturday & Sunday’s in October you can join the family fun that includes live Halloween themed shows, a pumpkin patch, hay bale maze, petting farm, a costume contest, trick-or-treating, coloring station, a talking pumpkin and a lot more! Not to mention all the rides in Planet Snoopy that are just for kids!


From 12 to 6 Saturday and Sunday you can join the Great Pumpkin Fun which is held over in the water park area of Kings Island (take the train, or just a short  walk past Planet Snoopy to get there).  There’s a ton to do (plenty to fill up your day) but my son’s 2 favorites were the petting zoo, and the games!


What kid doesn’t love a petting zoo?


The other really great thing about the Great Pumpkin Fest? All the kids games have a winner. Nathan was so excited to win a Minion winter hat when he played Tower (or high striker as they call it) for $2 per play, to try your strength at the game, there’s a winner every time! I love that they’ve done this, since you already pay money to get in the park (and pay for parking, food and drinks). Though it was a bit warm, he’s excited to wear his hat this winter!


There were plenty of things to do to keep the kids active – and tons of stuff to look at. I was totally obsessed with the creativity used for the hay bales.



The Great Talking Pumpkin was pretty fun as well – all the kids were getting a kick out of the pumpkin talking to them, and answering questions about what they were wearing or doing.. they were mesmerized!


It was a long, hot day (though the rest of the month’s forecast is supposed to be nice and cool – perfect for fall festivals!) so we took the train back to the park and called it a day!


For more information about The Great Pumpkin fest, including park hours check out their website here.

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Inexpensive Exercise: Build a Home Gym on a Budget

A home gym can make keeping fit a lot easier. Whenever you feel like working out, you only have to wander into your gym in your workout clothes. There’s no need to drive anywhere or pack a bag. You can save a lot of time and perhaps some money too. However, if you want to save by building a home gym, it could take a while before your investment pays off. If you can keep your budget down, it will be less time before you’ve made a saving compared to a gym membership. Setting up a home gym doesn’t have to be expensive, so follow these tips if you’re on a budget.


Try Before Buying


One mistake that many people make when they set up a home gym is to buy equipment they have never tried. They research what they should have in their gym and buy the recommended items. But then they don’t end up using several things, so have wasted their money on their purchases. Before you get anything, it’s always a good idea to try it and see if it’s right for you. That goes for anything from running machines to yoga mats. There’s no point getting something you’re never going to use. Go to a few sessions at your nearest gym or take some classes to find out if a piece of equipment will be useful for you.


Choose Equipment for Full-body Workouts
If you want to save money, the less you buy, the better. However, you probably think that you need different equipment for various purposes. You might want to lose weight and work on toning various areas of your body. Before you start buying everything under the sun, consider the things that can give you a full-body workout. For example, a rowing machine or cross trainer are great options for larger machines. However, there are cheaper things to consider too. For example, a simple yoga mat can help you improve flexibility for your whole body. If you can buy fewer pieces of equipment, you’ll save more money.


Find the Best Value Items

Whenever you buy anything, you should compare prices before you buy. Don’t go straight for the most popular and expensive choice before you know your options. It can be hard to find the right balance between quality and cost. However, if you learn what to look for, you can make sure you get a good deal. There are always cheaper versions of the things you’re looking for. If it’s your first time buying, it’s often better to go for the less expensive option. For example, if you’re looking for spinner bikes, there are some great low-budget choices. Once you know you get a lot of use out of the bike, you could trade it in for something of higher quality.


Avoid Buying Machines

Another option to help you save is to avoid buying any machines at all. They are by far the most expensive pieces of equipment, especially if you choose the better quality ones. Other equipment, such as free weights, can get expensive too. But it’s often the kind of thing that will allow you to start small and build a collection. For example, you might begin with just a few dumbbells of varying weights. As you start to use them more, you can get some heavier weights or some different styles. There are lots of other things you can add to a home gym, from yoga mats to aerobic steps or exercise balls.


Buy Used Equipment


The thing about setting up home gyms is that many people do it, and many don’t last long. People set themselves goals, but they barely use the equipment they buy and quickly sell it on. If you want to save on anything for your home gym, don’t forget to look for second-hand equipment. You should be able to find items suitable for you all year, but you could see more a few months after the new year. It’s common for people to try and get fit as a New Year’s resolution and give up before the year is halfway over. It’s a great way to save on larger equipment.


Get Good Deals on Gym-quality Equipment


The items you buy are home aren’t likely to be as heavy-duty as what you would find at the gym. But if you want to get serious, you might look at gym-quality equipment. Unfortunately, you can pay a lot of money to get that sort of thing. Another option is to find a great deal from a gym or a retailer or manufacturer. Gyms often go out of business so it’s easier than you might think to snap up their equipment. You could still pay the same prices as you would for new home-quality equipment. However, you’ll get something that lasts longer and could do more too.


Source: stevepb


Use Your Bodyweight


If you want to keep your gym equipment costs low, you should try to use your bodyweight to work out. There are cheaper items you can buy to help you do this so you don’t need expensive equipment. For example, a chin-up bar is inexpensive and easy to set up anywhere. You can put one in a doorway and start working out in seconds. It can even be a portable item you can take wherever you go.


Know Your Goals


Before you start building your home gym, make sure you have an aim in mind. You should know what sort of exercise you want to do. Otherwise, you run the risk of choosing things for your gym at random. You don’t want to find a list of items and just buy everything on the list. You need to set clear goals and understand how to reach them. A home gym shouldn’t just be a one-size-fits-all model. It should be different for everyone, depending on what sort of workouts you want to do.
Your home gym doesn’t have to be flashy and expensive. It only takes a few items to provide you with the equipment you need.

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Tips on Helping Your Baby Sleep Through the Night

Nothing is sweeter than watching your little one sleep – peaceful…and quiet.
But that can be short lived if they are not accustomed to sleeping through the night; which can be a task in itself. Now this Mama does not do well with interrupted sleep, so there’s a few things I did to ensure that my little ones learned to sleep through the night – as soon as possible.

Now when they are infants (usually the first few months) no matter what – expect to lose sleep. They have to eat every few hours, and no amount of routine or well wishing will change this. Usually between 3 and 6 months your little one will get to a point where they can at least sleep a straight 6 hours – and this is when you want to implement a routine to help keep it that way.


Routine. As I mentioned, implementing a routine is the best way to get your baby to sleep through the night. Whether its a bath then cuddle time, or story time, pick a routine and then stick to it. When my kids’ are on a night time routine not only do the evenings go smoother, but they fall asleep a lot faster. So pick what your doing and when, and stick to it!

Put Baby to Bed…Alone. Ok this one was especially hard for me – but if your little one gets used to sleeping on you, or with you – well Houston, we have a problem. I got a bit laxed when my son was born (#3) and allowed him to sleep in bed with me since his Dad was traveling so much – he is now 8 years old and there are still nights I have to fight to get him into his own bed. . and even then, he wants one of his sisters to lay down with him. Lay them down when they are tired, but not all the way asleep, and allow them to get used to being alone. Let them cry it out a bit (if needed) but eventually they will get used to being in bed and falling asleep there. This will also help a lot when it comes to waking up – most babies that go to bed and learn to fall asleep on their own, will also learn how to entertain themselves a bit when waking up (you’re welcome).

Put Baby to Bed with a Full Belly. This was key for my kids; breast milk or formula won’t always keep baby in bed for the entire night – giving them a full belly before bed with GERBER CEREALS.

GERBER CEREALS are also amazing as you mix it yourself – this way you can use your baby’s own breast milk or formula – a taste they are already familiar with – to help them make the transition. It’s a flavor bridge into solid foods. Plus you can mix a perfect ratio of cereal – breast milk to give your baby just the right texture, thin or slightly thicker for those early spoon feeding experiences – and it’s really fun to let them feed themselves!


Not only is it delicious and filling, but it 2 servings provide 90% of the iron babies need! 


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Spooky Bat Bites

Prep Time: 1 minute| Cook Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 6 minutes

Miniature Reese’s Cups
Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Chocolate Frosting (store-bought or homemade)
Edible Candy Eyes



1. Remove the Reese’s cups from the wrappers.
2. Twist the sandwich cookies in half, and separate. Scrape off the frosting (discard, use for other recipes, or eat it plain!). Using a knife, cut each side of the sandwich cookie in half and shape into two bat wings (or you could simply break in half).

3. Fill a plastic bag with the chocolate frosting. Cut off the tip of the bag pipe frosting onto the back corners of the broken cookie pieces.
4. Press one cookie piece on the left of the Reese’s cup and another cookie piece on the right of the Reese’s cup – letting the two sides meet in the middle.

5. Pipe frosting on the back of the edible eyes and secure on top of the cookie “wings” in the center of the Reeses cup.


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6-Minute Small Batch Salted Caramel Sauce

Fall is one of my favorite times of year – and the food that comes with it. We always attend the local Apple Festivals, and my favorite thing to eat with those juicy apples is some delicious salted caramel sauce. Wayy better than that stuff you pick up in the store – and also super easy. 6-minutes and you have yourself a delicious snack!

Yields: 8 oz jar of Salted Caramel Sauce

Prep Time: 1 minute| Cook Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 6 minutes




2 tablespoons salted butter

½ cup light brown sugar, packed

¼ cup heavy cream

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon vanilla




In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together butter, brown sugar, heavy cream, and salt.



Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes – whisking frequently.

Whisk in vanilla, and then remove from heat.

Pour caramel sauce into heatproof jar and allow it to cool.

Notes: This sauce will burn easily if not consistently whisked. Do not leave unattended while cooking. The sauce will thicken as it cools. It is perfect for dipping apples, pouring over warm apple desserts, ice cream, or using in various fall recipes that call for caramel.

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