Up to 57% off of Admission at the Discovery Center | Springfield, Missouri

Discovery Center Springfield Deal

Cooler weather is approaching (although this latest heat wave makes it feel otherwise), and it’s time to start thinking about indoor activities for the winter months.  These also make GREAT stocking stuffers! If you’re in the Southwest Missouri region, or planning a visit, you should definitely take advantage of this deal on passes to the Discovery Center!

There are 3 options available:

  • Admission for 2: $13
  • Admission for 4: $24
  • Admission for 6: $31

Regular admission prices are $8 for children ages 3-15 and $12 for adults ages 16+.

The promotional value of this certificate will expire 120 days from purchase, and the paid value will not expire.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR DISCOUNTED DISCOVERY CENTER TICKETS

Other local deals available:

My Favorite Bullet Journaling Tools

*This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our full disclosure policy for more information.

I’ve always been a huge planner fan, but I prefer structure and perfectly organized forms.  Recently, I’ve been dabbling in bullet journaling as a creative release.

I love notebooks that lay flat and have a nice, thick paper.  These Moleskin Cahein Journals (in a set of 3) are some of my favorites, and the price is great, too!

Neatness is not one of my strong points, so I prefer to use an erasable pen.  These Pilot FriXion Clicker Retractable Erasable Gel Pens are my go-to pens.  They write clearly, cleanly erase, are available in a fine point, and are clickable- all necessary to combat my sloppiness.

 

7 Adorable Easy Easter Cupcakes That You Must Make This Year

Easter Eggs Cupcake Roundup

I love making fun and cute cupcakes with the kids, and these adorable Easter cupcake recipes prove that cute cupcakes can be made by all ages.

These Gluten Free Lemon Pound Cake Cupcakes  by One Creative Mommy are a quick and tasty alternative to the typical lemon cupcake recipe.

For a more decadent cupcake, try these  Easter Bunny Cupcakes by Dorky’s Deals.  Chocolate cupcakes are topped with chocolate frosting, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Whoppers and a few candy embellishments to create adorable brown bunnies.  These could easily be swapped out with white chocolate Reese’s and gumballs to create the traditional white Easter Bunny.

A simple boxed Funfetti mix is baked into cupcakes, frosted, and topped with this surprising topper to make these Easy Easter Cupcakes by Ann’s Entitled Life.

When I saw these adorable carrot cake cupcakes, I had no idea the toppers were made with circus peanuts!  Head on over to Cutefetti to learn How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcake Decorations with Circus Peanuts.  Not a fan of circus peanuts? Check out this  Gumdrop Carrot Cupcakes recipe.

These Easter Candy Cupcakes from The Frugal Navy Wife are made from scratch, and then topped with birds nests made from common ingredients.

Peeps and Wilton icing decorations make Peek-a-Boo Peeps Easter Cupcakes by Dorky’s Deals a must have dessert for every Easter gathering.

Seven Things You Didn’t Know About 529 College Savings

Most 529 Twitter Party

 

When your children are young, your top priorities are getting dinner on the table, scrubbing grass stains out of baseball jerseys, and remembering to take the trash can to the curb (because smelling those diapers for another week is NOT an option).  It seems like a lifetime will pass before they make it to college, and figuring out how to pay for it is the last item on your to do list.  Then, in what feels like the blink of an eye, you’re filling out college applications and financial aid paperwork.

Missouri (along with many other states) offers a 529 plan to help you get a jump start on your college savings.  A MOST 529 plan can be set up in as little as 10 minutes and provides some pretty awesome benefits to both the account holder and beneficiary.

  • It’s FREE to open!  That’s right- there are no fees to create your MOST 529 account.  You can easily open one online here:  Open a MOST 529 Account. 
  • Even though your account is state specific, the benefits can be used at any eligible university or college in the United States or abroad.
  • If you’re an account owner and you live in Missouri, you can deduct up to
    $8,000 ($16,000 if you’re married filing jointly) of your MOST 529 Plan
    contributions when you file you state income taxes.
  • You can contribute up to $14,000 ($28,000 if married filing jointly) per year without triggering federal gift tax. You can contribute up to $325,000 total with a MOST 529 plan!
  • A 529 plan isn’t just used for 4-year degrees.  It can be used to pay for any eligible 2 or 4 year college, vocational or trade school, or even postgraduate studies.  This can also be used on some housing, textbook, and even computer costs!
  • You can set an account up for virtually anyone that has a valid social security number: children, cousins, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even yourself!
  • Qualified withdrawals are tax free, too! If the original beneficiary decides not to continue their education, you can transfer the benefits (with no penalty)  or withdraw the balance (penalties and taxes will be assessed upon withdrawal).

On Wednesday, May 25th  at 1:00 p.m. CST,  we’ll be co-hosting a Twitter Party with experts on the MOST 529 plan.  You can follow me on Twitter HERE or with the handle @SensibleFamily   We’ll be using the hashtag #MOSave4College and will be giving away some great prizes!

A Weekend Trip in Springfield, Missouri

*This trip was sponsored in full by the Ramada Oasis and Springfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. All opinions expressed are my own.

A few weeks ago, I was presented with a unique opportunity to become a weekend tourist in Springfield, Missouri- an area that is often too close to home to consider for a vacation or weekend getaway. Springfield is the closest city to me (about a 45 minute drive), and we visit frequently- but when we do, our days and evenings are filled with gymnastic meets, basketball and volleyball games, and more boring things like medical appointments and grocery shopping.

It has been a while since my hectic life and work schedule has allowed me to enjoy some of the more leisurely activities that Springfield hasto offer, so I was really excited to visit some familiar places, along with exploring new ones!

Five bloggers attended the event- Stefany from To Be Thode, Bobbi from Living in Retrospect, Fawn from Instead of the Dishes, Erin from Humble Hardy Happenings, and myself. Our host for the weekend was the lovely Susan Wade from the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.  Susan planned a weekend packed full of delicious food and artsy activities.

This post is written as an overview of the weekend, but I will be expanding on several of the stops in the coming weeks.

 

Ramada Oasis

 

Our luxurious accommodations were provided the Ramada Oasis.  It was such a neat and quirky hotel!  It was originally the largest Howard Johnson motel, but has been turned into a hotel that could not be named more appropriately.  The rooms all have a patio overlooking the atrium, which was full of fountains, palm trees, and the pool area.

We began our adventure with a meet and greet dinner at the Fire and Ice restaurant, which is located in the Ramada Oasis.

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We got up bright and early on Saturday morning to enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then headed to Creative Escapes Glass to create suncatchers.  I’ll admit, my creative juices are far from flowing at 9:00 a.m., so I was a bit unsure of what to create.  The technique is great for beginners, and Rebekah taught us exactly how to layer, cut, and secure the glass to make the patterns we wanted.

Once we got started, we had a lot of fun.  I would recommend it especially to groups of friends looking for something a little different and crafty to do for girls night.  Projects start at just $12 and can take as little as two hours to create, so there’s something for almost every budget and schedule.

Creative Escapes

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Photo by Susan Wade

I was a bit nervous as to how mine would turn out.  I wanted it to match my kitchen and display a lot of light, so I went with large and bold pieces.  (Have you seen my modern retro farmhouse kitchen?)  I had nothing to worry about- it turned out great!

After we left Creative Escapes, we headed on over to Springfield Hot Glass to watch a glass blowing demonstration and look over their beautiful creations.  Although both, Springfield Hot Glass and Creative Escapes, are focused on glass art, the techniques are so different that each visit was a truly unique experience. Springfield Hot Glass does offer individual classes, but it is a much more labor intensive and time consuming process.  I recommend swinging by and watching a demonstration, it is a truly mesmerizing process.

Springfield Hot Glass

 

 

We headed over to Relics Antique Mall to do a little shopping and enjoy lunch in their tea room.   I had no idea how large the store was!  We spent the better part of an hour and a half browsing and didn’t even make it through half of the store.  We were joined for lunch in the tea room by the owners, Beverly and Matthew Robb, along with the mayor of Springfield, Bob Stephens.

The tea room was very busy, and after we ate, I learned why.  The food was spectacular!  Most of us tried the locally famous Chicken Waldorf Sandwich, and we all ordered dessert.  I indulged in the Lemon Berry Mascarpone cake, which is already tempting me to make a return trip.

Relics Waldorf Chicken Salad

 

While we waited on our desserts, we walked over to see the event center that was debuted last fall.  It was decorated for a wedding show, and it was a beautiful space for any event.

Relics Flea Market

 

After lunch and shopping, we made a quick stop at the Springfield Art Museum, then headed on over to Askinosie Chocolate, where we lucked out and had a chance to talk to Shawn Askinosie, a former defense attorney turned chocolatier, about his products and truly unique mission.

Askinose Chocolate

Askinosie Chocolate is a direct trade company that is highly involved with the farmers and decision making. Chocolate is sourced from four countries: Honduras, Ecuador, Philippines, and Tanzania- each with a highly distinct taste.  Profits are  shared with communities to help create sustainable resources, such as lunch programs in areas stricken with malnutrition.

We then headed back into downtown to tour Hotel Vandivort, which is a newly opened boutique hotel located in the old Vandivort Theater.  The hotel was nothing short of spectacular, with intricate attention to detail and highly knowledgeable staff.

We followed with dinner at the newly opened Civil Kitchen and Taproom (due to the lighting, I was unable to get a clear picture of my dinenr), which was fabulous!  Being a new restaurant, they were experiencing an unexpected crowd due to some local events in town, so a few mistakes were made early on during our visit, but they were promptly remedied by a fabulous and hilarious server who more than made up for the mishaps.  I highly recommend stopping in if you are looking for delicious and unique foods and desserts.

Hurts Doughnut

 

Of course, no visit to Springfield is complete without a stop by Hurts Donut, which we indulged in on Sunday morning.  As you can see, I grabbed a half dozen to bring home to the kids!

Fantastic Caverns

From there, we headed to Fantastic Caverns, America’s only ride through cave, located just outside of town.  I was very excited to take a tour that wasn’t as a field trip chaperone, so that I could focus on the story being told, along with hearing some new, darker tales of the cave’s history such as the cave’s strong presence during prohibition.  The most fascinating is that the cave was originally explored by 12 female members of a local athletic club who answered a newspaper ad asking for explorers.

We decided to finish up our trip with lunch at the Aviary, which was fabulous, as always.  My photos didn’t do the food justice, so some things are better left to dream of.  We visited the location at Farmer’s Park, which I had never been to before.  I was delighted to see that they now have a patisserie!

It’s not often that I get to step back and enjoy the local attractions and destinations, especially with such a gracious and knowledgeable guide.  Not only did I get some time to relax and view some of the finest the city has to offer, I gained several new friendships.  I look forward to sharing more local destinations and in-depth stories in the future!

 

 

 

Guilty Pleasure Shrimp Pasta | A Budget Friendly Recipe to Please a Crowd

Shrimp Pasta Horizontal copy

I consider myself somewhat of a foodie.  I prefer high quality ingredients to generics, foods that can only be described as an acquired taste, and intensive cooking techniques.  In fact, I was almost too ashamed to post this recipe, but then I realized that posting it would, in fact, make the world a better place.

You see, this recipe includes the THREE items that make me cringe.  But somehow, when you put them together, you have this magical dish.  A dish that feeds a large crowd for pennies, a dish that they won’t just eat, but one that they will crave and request for the rest of their lives.  It’s THAT. GOOD.

This makes a very large batch, but the sauce freezes well for a quick weeknight reheat.  It comes together in just a few minutes and can easily double for big gatherings.  It is easy to throw in the crockpot and take to sports dinners, family reunions, or to keep all to yourself.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 8 ounces
    sliced mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons
    olive oil
  • 1 can cream of shrimp soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 4 Ounces
    Velveeta
  • 1 TBSP Tony Cachere Cajun Seasoning (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon
    ground black pepper
  • 1 pound small shrimp, shells and tails removed

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Chop onions, bell peppers, and celery. Finely mince garlic.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add onions, peppers, celery, and garlic. Sautee over medium heat until onions turn clear. Stir in mushrooms and cook until tender.
  3. Mix in cream soups, Velveeta, and seasonings. Stir constantly until Velveeta is melted.
  4. Turn to low heat and add shrimp to saucepan. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink.
  5. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles.

Upcoming Zaycon Deliveries + New Product | Buy Fresh Meat in Bulk For Less

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Looking for a quick way to kill your grocery budget?  Take a trip down the meat aisle.  Premium cuts are outrageous, and budget cuts are usually poor quality.  In fact, at most of my grocery stores, all cuts are poor quality.

You’ve probably heard me talk about Zaycon Fresh before and how much it helps our grocery budget while keeping my picky palate happy.  If not, check out this post detailing the service and my experience: ZAYCON FRESH: THE BEST AND CHEAPEST WAY TO BUY FRESH MEAT

I noticed over the weekend that Zaycon has added a new cut of meat to the delivery schedule.  They’ve added 80/20 ground beef (often referred to as ground chuck) to the December deliveries for just $2.99/lb.  I adore the 93/7 beef, especially for tacos, sloppy joes, casseroles, etc., but I prefer a little fattier cut for burgers and meatballs.  I’m thrilled to have the option to order both!

They have several deliveries coming up this fall.  Each area has a different schedule, so make sure you sign up to see events in your area.

You must order early, and it looks like all events are open for orders now.  The dates shown below are the general pick-up dates for the entire country.  Pickup is at a single day and time for each city.

October 2nd-16th (October 7th-8th for SWMO locations)

  • Frozen Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillets (25lbs)
    $6.99/lb X 25.00 lbs | $174.75/case
  • Frozen Premium Alaskan Cod
    $5.49/lb X 25.00 lbs | $137.25/case
      SOLD OUT
  • Bacon – Hickory Smoked, Medium Sliced – 36 lbs
    $3.79/lb X 36.00 lbs | $136.44/case
  • Pork Sausage Links
  • $2.79/lb X 20.00 lbs | $55.80/case

October 23rd-November 21st (November 3rd-4th for SWMO locations)

  • Chicken Breasts (Fresh Boneless Skinless)
    $1.89/lb X 40.00 lbs | $75.60/case

December 4-th-18th (December 9th-10th for SWMO locations)

  • Carvemaster Boneless Applewood Smoked Ham
    $3.49/lb X 20.00 lbs | $69.80/case
  • Fresh Ground Beef, Lean (93/7) – 40 lbs
    $3.99/lb X 40.00 lbs | $159.60/case
  • Fresh 80/20 Ground Beef – 40lbs
    $2.99/lb X 40.00 lbs | $119.60/case

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ZAYCON FRESH

 

Kids Eat Free at Joe’s Crab Shack Through September 30

JCS-KidsEatFree Images

Joe’s Crab Shack is offering a great kids eat free promotion through September 30th!  You can get up to 3 free kids meals with an adult entree purchase.  The best part?  Kids meals are available to kids 13 and under.  No coupon is required for this promotion. This is valid for dine in only and is not valid with any other promotion.

This is a very inexpensive way to treat your family to a dinner that may otherwise be out of your budget.  If you’re in Southwest Missouri, the nearest Joe’s Crab Shack location is at the Branson Landing.  For other areas, click here to view locations.

Here are a few sample prices* to help you plan ahead:

  • Homestyle Chicken Tenders: $12.49
  •  Joes Classic Steampot | tasty dungeness crab, sweet snow crab, boiled shrimp, and smoked sausage: $22.99

During this time, Joe’s Crab Shack will also be collecting donations for No Kid Hungry.  No Kid Hungry is an organization devoted to ensuring that no child has to worry about where their next meal comes from.  Each dollar donated can help provide up to 10 meals for a child in need.

To further encourage you, each donation will also get you a coupon to use on a future visit.  This coupon is redeemable from October 1st, 2015 through December 31st, 2015.

The coupon value is correlated to the donation amount, as shown below:

$2 donation = $5 off a $20 purchase
$5 donation = $10 off a $20 purchase
$10 donation = $20 off a $40 purchase

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I was compensated by Joe’s Crab Shack for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own. 

*Prices may vary by location.  We cannot guarantee the validity of the prices shown above.