We Got the FUNK

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

So I Guess I am 33, Let's go Back to the 80's!

For months I have thought and even argued a bit with myself that I was turning 34 this year.  Math is clearly not a strong point 😝.  Well, today is August 15th and at 1:00 am on the dot 33 years ago (thankfully, my sister, friends and google can actually math), I came screaming into the world.

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For a terribly grainy photo, you can clearly see how adorable I am right?

Ok, not actually, apparently the whole birth story is dramatic and full of chaos, basically like my life currently.  The way mom tells it is that she was 3 weeks overdue and every time she would stand up she would get a bloody nose. I was due on July 25th, they didn't have insurance, so doctors wouldn't induce, therefore, my mom was tortured with my still present, tardiness.  The night before I was born, my dad insisted on taking my mom and going to some friends to hang out (give him a break he was a teenager).  They came home, she started having contractions and went to the hospital.

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I think they were happy here?

The nurses told her that she wasn't in active labor, gave her a sleeping pill and sent her home.  Well they didn't make it home.  In the car, I apparently decided it was time RIGHT NOW.  So this is the point that my dad will step in and tell you that he looked over and saw my head sticking out.  He reached over, held my head in his hand, drove like a maniac, got pulled over at or near the hospital and was quickly sent on his way, only for the doctors and nurses to run out to the parking lot, and realize that apparently I was um...stuck.  They moved my mom into triage, re-adjusted me, removed the cord that was wrapped around my neck several times and out I flew, blue and screaming.

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My dad and his gloves...sweet outfit man

I don't remember any of this, but it sounds like a really awesome way to enter the world, so I sort of love it. I also love those two young awesome people because this is not just my day to celebrate, but theirs too!  We are a close knit family and a bit quirky if you couldn't tell already.  These people are pretty awesome and I am thankful that they accidentally decided to have me 34...err 33 years ago. Mom tells me that I am not an accident, I just showed up earlier than expected...Dad tells me I am an accident but he loves me either way.  Thanks Dad.

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This outfit is on fleek

Honestly, I was a cute as heck accident and I lived the 80's in corduroy, floral prints, bangle bracelets and neon, like a true 6 year old would (let's be honest here, I would likely rock this now).  Those were the good ol' days with my Smurfs and Rainbow Brite and some creepy clown toy that I apparently loved.

So today we celebrate me, and my parents who made me (ok gross) and for this, I am giving away $25.00 to one lucky winner.  So enter below and wish me Happy Birthday, because as a Leo, I basically thrive on that attention.



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3 Easy Ways to Prepare for House Guests on Short Notice

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Bestway and BraVoMark. All opinions are min

Three weeks ago, I was basically the worst host ever.  With the summer of surgeries occurring, the pain meds taking effect, my cell phone deciding to just not work properly and a whole spur of the moment trip to Disneyland on the horizon, I completely screwed up hosting my best friend and her family for the weekend.  After that fiasco, I decided I needed to prepare myself for entertaining house guests on short notice.

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You guys, I never put any of the conversations that I had with my friend together and several of the phone calls and texts she had made, never came through.  I felt so bad.  I only get to see her every few years and she was coming out for her high school reunion.  She had wanted to stay at our house which I found out last minute and unfortunately I just couldn't make that happen.  My house was a wreck.  Like embarrassingly dirty, and disorganized (which if you know me or you read this blog often, you know this is NOT me).  I basically lived on the couch for 2 weeks while I recovered from my hysterectomy and I just could not get my home ready for house guests...only to also leave for our own little vacation during the time they were here.

See terrible planning and worst host ever, right?  Well, I wanted to be prepared in the future if my friend (who forgave me and still loves me and also got a sweet hotel room that was much nicer than the hot mess she might have had to stay in) and her family decide to come visit again!  So I came up with 3 Easy Ways to Prepare for House Guests on short notice.

1. Call a Cleaning Company: This was an afterthought on our 15 hour car ride to Disneyland.  I totally could have just had a cleaning company come and put my home back together, with little to no stress on me, which would have also left me time to get other things ready.

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2. Order In: From delivery services to groceries, everything is at the touch of a phone (or screen) at this point.  Stop stressing about feeding people and just plan to order in.  You can easily have groceries ready for pick up and make a fun evening with your guests cooking meals together and laughing.  We all know that the kitchen is where the party is anyway!

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3. Purchase an Airbed: We have 1 twin bed and that is it for a "guest bed" in our home.  We also basically have filled every nook and cranny of our house and I had no idea where I could have 4 grown adults sleep.  Having an air mattress like this Fortech queen airbed would have been an easy fix and quick set up and take down for my house guests.

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I actually saw this at Walmart last week and thought it was surely something that I needed to purchase.  Some of the selling features for me are below:
  • Queen size Fortech airbed measures 80in. x 60in. x 17in. (2.03m x 1.52m x 43cm). Includes built-in 110-120V~ electric AlwayzAire pump (ETL approved) which continuously monitors and maintains air pressure. 
  • Inflates in 150 seconds. 
  • Clear, user-friendly pump panel. 
  • Easy, one click operation. 
  • Three options for airbed firmness. 
  • Internal sensors constantly detect air pressure and silent pump engages to maintain constant firmness. 
  • Soft back light easily displays level settings even in a darkened room. 
  • Great for indoor use, with canvas-feel fabric top, sides and bottom. 
  • Unique rib and surround frame design offers advanced support and helps to eliminate roll offs. Designed with sturdy Y-beam construction. 
  • Includes one airbed and one travel bag.
This is basically perfect for me and any house guests that stay with us.  Just lay it out in my living room, click a button and it inflates. Boom, instant comfortable bed!

Bonus for my readers and anyone that purchases, is that Alwayzaire is giving away a sweet SaluSpa Miami, which would make entertaining those house guests even more awesome just by entering their Facebook Giveaway.  Follow the directions below to enter!

  • Purchase an Alwaysaire bed from Walmart.com or Walmart.
  • Take a photo of yourself using the bed or next to and be fun and wacky
  • Post your photo under the comment section of the Bestway Facebook contest post. 
Bestway will be picking 5 winners on September 15th and I know we will be entering!  

I now have a plan in place to entertain and host any house guests on short notice.  I would love for my readers to share some of their quick preparation tips when they have guests staying.  I could use all the help I could get.  

So tell me, how do you prepare for house guests?


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Friday, August 11, 2017

8 Genius Tips to get the MOST out of Disneyland during Peak Season

Disclosure:  My family and I received free tickets to enjoy the park, however, I was not asked to write a post or share a thing. I just did because Disney is Life and everyone needs some tips on how to enjoy some Pixie Dust. 

I cannot believe that it has already been nearly two weeks since we took our crazy 32 hour road trip to Disneyland!  You guys, we had the best time, even though we only had one day in the park to take it all in during peak season!  I thought I would share some of our vacation photos and some tips on how to get it all done in one day!

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We literally had 1 day to go to both Disneyland and California Adventure.  We purchased the 1-day park hopper passes and on our long drive west we made a list of absolutely must do's when we were in the park.  Since this was our second time as a family going to Disneyland, we had a pretty good idea of what we really wanted to do and things that we were ok skipping if we had to.  I do have a couple tips to share with you, if you are in the same boat as we were.

1. Schedule Character Dining: We have done this every single time we have been at a Disney park and it has been worth every single penny.  The food is always great, you get photos with the characters without a line and by doing this you will not be using valuable line time for rides to wait to take photos with some of your favorite characters!

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We went with Goofy's Kitchen the night before we headed into Disneyland and it was perfect.  After 15+ hours in a car, we were so ready to sleep, but the minute that we got into the restaurant the fun started and we were all laughing, eating, and building the excitement for the following day.

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2. Fast Passes & Park Hopper Tickets:  I swear every single time I return to my home away from home the fast pass policies change.  Bottom line, get them use them and plan accordingly.  My advice is to download the Disneyland app and watch it for a few days/weeks prior to your attendance date.  Figure out which rides have the longest wait times and plan out your fast pass attack then.

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Fast passes are actually connected to your park ticket now and although you go to the kiosk (like you see above) to insert your ticket and receive your passes, the fast passes that are printed are just a back up of sorts now.  What really matters is that your park ticket scans and if it wont scan then the fast pass barcode number MUST match the barcode printed at the bottom of the fast pass.  We learned that there was some serious fast pass black market business happening and people were digging out fast passes from the trash and selling them for like $50.00!

In addition, if you are limited on time and want to see as much of the parks as possible, you will need a park hopper ticket.  For Disneyland in particular this is so important because the parks are literally right across from each other and hopping from park to park takes less than 5 minutes (including walk time).  You can also set up fast passes in both parks from your phone on the Disneyland app (using Max Pass), which if you are park hopping, this is a great way to get even more out of your tickets!

3. Make a Park Plan:  We had a long drive to do this, but most people actually plan their Disney vacations with a little more time.  If you are going during peak days where crowd indexes will be high and wait times will follow, you must have a plan.  You can use the Disneyland app to look up all that information and make a list of rides and attractions that you must see and do.

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For us we absolutely had to hang out in Cars Land and ride the Radiator Springs.  That was number one on our list.  We got to the park at opening, headed straight to the fast pass line and got our passes, then we grabbed breakfast and once we were done we were able to walk right onto the ride.

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The Radiator Springs Racers will run out of fast passes quickly and it is worth the wait honestly.  The ride is spectacular and although I was recovering from surgery, it was not painful in the least to ride. It is a smooth ride, with stunning views and a great race at the end.  We rode this twice and both times our kids came off the ride smiling from ear to ear and laughing a ton!  Bottom line, if you are going to the parks during their peak time, you need to get fast passes or you will be waiting in lines more than you will be enjoying the park.

4. Locate the Short Lines: Do not just wait around for your fast passes to become active, look on the Disneyland app or even on the park maps and find some rides that are in close proximity to your location and that have short wait times and get on them!  You will see and do a lot more if you are proactive.

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We definitely took advantage of the short lines.  There was several rides that were easy on my hysterectomy incisions and those lines were amazingly short.  Even during the peak hours, we were waiting maybe 10 minutes to get on these or to see a little show.  Our kids were content and busy the entire time and hardly complained.

5. Utilize Photopass: The Disney photographers are in every area that you will want to get a picture at.  Use them.  They will take your photos with their fancy cameras, which you can elect to purchase, but they are always willing to grab your phone or camera and snap them for you as well.  When the park is busy, sometimes a little photo break is fun and typically there is no line to take a photo!  Oh and bonus, you can now use Photopass on your phone and purchase something called Max Pass which gives you access to all the photos they took in the park for something ridiculously cheap.  

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6. Prepare for a Detour: Like I said above, I am a huge proponent of character dining because you do not have to give away your ride time to character picture lines, however, I will say that if there is not a line and the characters are in your path to your next adventure, stop and snap a photo! Live in the moment and know that even though you have a plan, something will detour it a bit and it is easier to go with the flow. I have a very awesome story to share in the next couple weeks of a HUGE detour that involves a fire, evacuation, going BEHIND THE SCENES at the park and some really awesome cast members.  

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The photo above just happened.  We were on a potty break for the boys, and Snow White needed to set up shop where we were sitting, so she approached my little girl and asked for a photo, all while mom got the hint that we needed to shift over a bit.  This is pretty much all my daughter has been talking about since we got home. Pretty sweet detour if you ask me!

7. Prepare your kids for a long day: If you have one day, and two young kids and you know their temperament is not going to have them last for 12-16 hours in the parks, then prepare accordingly. We saw far to many upset kids who were overtired and parents who were frustrated and overwhelmed with the amount of people and the sheer exhaustion that can set in when you are navigating all that Disneyland has to offer.

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A year ago we would not have been able to take this trip with our kids.  They would not have been able to hang and the little one was even more unreasonable than she is now.  We told the kids that the day would be very long, but it would be very fun.  We also let them know that if they were done and wanted to rest, that we could go back to the hotel and nap or find something to do to relax in the parks.  What we found was that allowing them to have a little say and preparing them for the long day was actually great motivation.  If they got tired of walking, we had a stroller they could sit in, if they wanted to just sit for a bit we found some shade or took in a quick show, if they were hungry we fed them essentially whatever they wanted (maybe not the best idea, but it was fun).  The key was that we kept them busy and moving and that we also listened to what they were saying to us.  We only heard them tell us that they were tired one time and it was at 10:30 pm when we had been in the parks for 14.5 hours and we were all tired. The Disney high is real people and I am certain my kids caught it.

8. Get Reserved Seating: If you are going to watch the parades or the World of Color, you need to get reserved seating.  With the World of Color you basically get a fast pass which gives you an area to be in to watch the show.  This is great because you have a place to go, you can spend a little extra time on rides and then you can just go check into your reserved seating area and watch the show.

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Number two on our absolutely must do list was the World of Color.  This is one of the most beautifully orchestrated shows that Disney puts on.  We have seen nearly all of the Disney evening shows and World of Color gets me every single time.

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For the evening parades and fireworks (and World of Color), you can get reserved seating with the dining packages.  Just call Disney dining and they can set you all up.  You might pay a little extra, but if you are limited on time, and the park is busy, by the time the evening hits and you are exhausted, that won't even matter, you will be done fighting the crowds and oh so thankful that you have reserved space to take in the final moments of your magical day!

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We had an absolutely amazing time in the parks and are so glad that we went in with a plan, prepared for a detour and walked away with some memories we will never forget.  It was the perfect way to end our summer and will be a hard vacation to beat in the future!

Do you have any tips to add?  Leave them in the comments!

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Nominate a Child in Need with #Visionworks and their #LetsGoSee program

Disclosure: I am partnering with Visionworks for this post. All opinions are my own.

Today is the first day that I report back to work. I am sitting here, going through my class rosters and looking at my students needs and one of the biggest needs jumping out at me is vision.  This is not a surprise, and in fact I only see this need getting larger.  So when Visionworks reached out to me to talk about the Let's Go See Program they are offering, I jumped at the chance to not only share the information, but to help kids (and parents) in need!

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The Let's Go See program is a nationwide movement to help raise awareness for the need of annual eye exams for children as part of their yearly check ups. Visionworks and Davis Vision has set a goal to donate 15,000 comprehensive eye exams and 1 complete pair of glasses each year with the Let's Go See program and they are already seeing huge success with it!  As parents, we are so good about getting our kids in for their annual health check ups, their dental check ups and everything else needed to keep them healthy, so adding an eye exam into the mix should be right there with those appointments. 1 in 4 school aged children have vision-problems, which if left untreated can affect learning ability, personality and adjustments in school.  I see this in class constantly, and am such a huge proponent of annual eye exams!

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The teacher in me loves this program, the parent in me, loves it even more.  I love that they are focusing on getting kids in need, eye exams.  The program is pretty simple.  A person can go online to nominate a child or an organization that they feel will benefit.  Once the child/organization is approved, they will issue a voucher for the eye exam and glasses.  The parent of the child will then need to call their local Visionworks to schedule the appointment and present the voucher upon completion of the exam.

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The kids and I were in the mall and decided to stop into Visionworks to talk to the doctor and employees about the program and to take a look at what they have to offer.  My children loved checking out the awesome glasses that they have.  So many different frames to choose from and OMG how cute are my kiddos in glasses.  

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Last year my son's school sent home a letter stating that he had failed his vision test at school and that he would need to have an eye exam with a licensed optometrist.  I wasn't exactly surprised.  Like most children these days, technology and screens have always been a part of his life.  We always have the TV on in the background for white noise and both my children have access to an old iPad and old iPhone to play learning games (and watch youtube kids, because, parenting). In addition, my husband and I both wear glasses.

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We scheduled him an appointment at our local Visionworks back in January.  The eye exam went well and to our actual surprise, my kiddo was probably just distracted at school, because he passed his eye exam with flying colors.  However, not all kids are as lucky and glasses are so important. From the teacher perspective, at least 25% of my students wear glasses or contacts already and I would bet that at least another 25% could use them.

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Although my kiddos currently do not need glasses or contacts, we suspect they will in the future.  We are fortunate though because we have insurance and it covers vision, but many families are not.  If you know of a family that does not have vision insurance, medicaid or are part of the ACA and cannot afford an eye exam or glasses, or you know an organization or school that has children that would benefit, please nominate them for a free voucher at letsgosee.net.  The voucher is good for a comprehensive eye exam as well as 1 complete paid of eye glasses (valued at $69.99)

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The Let's Go See program wants eye exams for every child, every year and if you know a child in need, make sure to nominate them now.  This is an excellent program and one that I am proud to stand behind.  I know a few kids that I will definitely be nominating!

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Do you know someone who could benefit from the Let's Go See program with Visionworks?

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature #PrizePack #Giveaway

This past weekend we were invited to screen The Nut Job 2 and unfortunately we were unable to make it.  My kids are so bummed, but I promised them that we would go see the movie this weekend when it arrives in theaters on August 11th!

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We often watch the first Nut Job and it is such a crack up.  Well now Surly Squirrel and the gang are back to stave off the evil mayor and his plans to bulldoze Liberty Park and build a dangerous amusement park in its place.  I know this will be fun to watch, with tons of laughs to be had. Check out the trailer for a little more Nut Job fun!



I have a special offer for those of you that live in the Denver Metro Area.  This Saturday, August 12th from 10:30-2:00 at the Jeffco County Fair, there will be fun activities, awesome prizes and an appearance from Surly himself!  If your kids are Nut Job "nuts" then they will love this experience. 

In addition, one lucky person from this blog will win a fantastic Nut Job 2 prize pack that includes a T-shirt, ROE tickets to the movie, PB Crave peanut butter, and Blue Diamond Almonds.  Just enter the rafflecopter below for your chance at this fantastic prize pack!




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Monday, August 7, 2017

How to End your Summer with an Adventure! #DanimalsDoesSummer [AD]



It seems as though we have crammed an entire summer into just a couple weekends, and it has been worth every single moment.  This weekend was no different and was exactly what our family needed to close out the summer adventures!  Check out how we ended our summer and gain some ideas on how you can too!

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We were supposed to be in Disney this past weekend, but my grandparents needed help clearing out brush, deadfall and creating a space for family to come camp on their property.  Naturally, we pushed our Disney trip up and made sure that we were there to help grandma and grandpa out with their beautiful Colorado mountain real estate!

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We had three days (2 half days and 1 whole day) to clear about an acre of land, build a wall between property lines and enjoy some great family time.  We all came together and were able to get a lot accomplished and have some end of summer fun too!.  The wall is still a work in progress, but it is looking great so far and in the next year it will be really awesome!

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While the men were working (sterotypical right...😜), the women were also...working.  Look people, raising kids and cooking in the mountains is not for the faint of heart...throw 6 large dogs in the mix and you are up for a challenge.  The ladies did our fair share but we also made sure that our kids were having an epic time.  The littlest learned to ride his first ATV and was such a crack up when he figured out how to push the button.

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The oldest and I also wanted to enjoy some ATV time so we took off on a little adventure.  First, we packed our Danimals yogurts to go and some waters and headed out for a little mother-son time on the trails.  I love Danimals because they are a quick and delicious snack that we can take anywhere.

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They are great for camping and keep well as long as they are in a cooler or camper fridge.  They are full of calcium and vitamin D which we all know are super important for kiddos growth and they are tasty too!  The price point at Walmart is perfect as well and I love the 12 packs that come with a good variety of flavors.  Our kids love the strawberry and watermelon flavors!

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We stayed on the well maintained trails because this mama still needs to take it easy, but we were able to really enjoy the scenery and each others company.  I think my little guy needed some mom time because his sister has been pretty demanding lately.

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Next, we stopped for a yogurt break and my son notified me that this was the exact spot that him and his dad had saw a moose that morning.  I was immediately jealous because I have never seen a moose and this 7 year old of mine has now seen three.  Moose or no moose, that view is amazing.

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A little ways down the trails we found some friendly horses who also wanted some yogurt.  Not kidding, they were trying to go after his Danimals the entire time we were over there.  The horses were super sweet and you could tell that they really loved people.  We kept our distance but they were quick to follow us along the fence line and let us know that they were there.

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No summer camping trip is complete without a little BB gun competition.  My little man is getting really good at aiming and I am so proud of the responsibility and pride he takes in handling his gun and being safe.  He also whooped us all at the competition!

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We ended our last night camping with some delicious s'mores and of course the kids had their Danimals in hand as we enjoyed a fun and colorful fire.  It was a great way to send summer off and awesome to be with family.  We were able to accomplish everything that we came up there to do and spend time with each other. Everyone got some time for fun in and we cannot wait to get back up there for even more!

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Tastiest Mint Cheesecake Cookies & Cream Ice Box Pie

Oh do I just LOVE ice cream, cakes, pies and everything sweet.  I had to put some of my favorite ingredients together to create this super tasty Mint Cheesecake Cookies and Cream Ice Box Pie.  It is to die for!
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I was inspired after seeing some other ice box pie recipes, but most were on the fruity side and I am a creamy and rich sweets gal.  I knew exactly what I wanted to create so I ran to the store and grabbed some easy ingredients to make this amazing ice box pie.

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It doesn't require much, some cheesecake flavored pudding mix, Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, some butter, water, mint extract and chocolate sandwich cookies will get you the tastiest ice box pie you have ever tried!

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Using a food processor just grind up the sandwich cookies into a fine crumble.  Then add the cookie crumble to some melted butter and press into a pie pan.  Place in the freezer to set while preparing the other ingredients.

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Next combine some water and the cheesecake pudding mix over a light heat until the pudding mix is completely dissolved as you see above.

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While the pudding mix is dissolving, start working on the final set of ingredients.  In a mixing bowl combine water, the Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, and mint extract.

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Next, combine the dissolved pudding mixture into the mint cream mixture and whisk.  Once the ingredients are all mixed well, you can then pour the mint cheesecake mixture into the cookie crust.

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Place the ice box pie into the freezer and freeze for 3-5 hours.  Then cut and serve with your favorite toppings.  We love a little whipped topping, some cookies and mint sprinkles on ours.  Soooo good!

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Feel free to print the recipe below or save it to Pinterest.  This is one you are going to want to make over and over and over again!  



print recipe

Mint Cheesecake Cookies & Cream Ice Box Pie
This is the tastiest ice box pie you will ever have. Combining the rich and creamy flavors with some scrumptious crunch you cannot go wrong!
Ingredients
  • 1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/4 of a stick Butter
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 15-16 cookies Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
  • 1/4 tsp Mint Extract
  • 1 box Cheesecake pudding mix
Instructions
1. Using a food processor, finely chop the sandwich cookies.
2. Melt the butter and then mix your chopped cookies into the butter.
3. Press the cookie mixture into a pie pan and place in freezer until the other ingredients are ready.
4. Over a low-med heat, dissolve cheesecake pudding mix and 1/4 cup of the water in a sauce pan, remove from heat after pudding is dissolved.
5. In a mixing bowl, combine the condensed milk, mint extract and 1 cup of water.
6. Next stir in the pudding mixture into the condensed milk mixture. Make sure to use a whisk!
7. Remove the cookie crust from the freezer and pour the liquid mint cheesecake mixture into the cookie crust.
8. Place in freezer for 3-5 hours and then serve with your favorite toppings!
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 servings

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Disclosure:  This post was written in partnership with Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, however all opinions and ideas are my own.  This post was not paid.