Life in Lape Haven

Category - Tried It Tuesday

My Best Christmas Gift Idea Ever…so far

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Best Christmas Gift Idea Ever...so far. Creating an original personalized storybook photo book for my son.

Sometimes the best Christmas gift require a little advanced planning. My “best Christmas gift” idea was one of those, but it was completely worth it. It’s an original Tried It Tuesday idea born out of need. Here’s why.

Any parent of two or more children can tell you that making the jump from being a one-child family to a multiple-children family is daunting. The adjustment from one to two (or more, if you get blessed with multiples) is a big one.

However, the adjustment for an only child to go from “it’s just me” to “it’s my little brother/sister and me” is just as big and can be harder for little ones to navigate.

When Elijah learned that he was going to be a big brother, he was just over two years old, and he was ecstatic. He liked babies, so for him, it was going to be tons of fun to have one to play with.

Brad and I did our best to prepare him for the changes and talked to him about how his little brother was going to need Mommy and Daddy and Elijah, too, to do things for him for a while because, as a baby, his little brother wouldn’t be able to do them on his own yet. I made sure that Elijah knew that if he ever felt lonely for Mommy or Daddy, all he had to do was ask us for a hug or come sit with us.

Even with all the preparation, we still had some rough days, and there was a point, after the initial “I’m a big brother now” stage, where it seemed that Elijah was constantly getting in trouble, especially for being defiant. I’m sure part of it was just the natural phase of becoming more independent (he was 3), but the timing didn’t help.

It was heartbreaking because not only did I feel guilty for having to spend so much of my attention and time on Josiah when I knew Elijah could still use some Mommy time, but my sweet, joyful Elijah was becoming moody and difficult. I remember telling Brad that I missed “our Elijah.”

It was a situation that we prayed about constantly and one for which I was always on the lookout for a solution.

Then one night while I was up nursing Josiah, God gave me an answer, or at least part of it. He gave me the seed of an idea that took root so quickly that I couldn’t go back to sleep until I’d written it down, even though it was four in the morning.

I was going to write a book for Elijah, one all about him and the many reasons I loved him. Since it was later in November, I think, or maybe even already December, I wanted it to be one of his Christmas gifts.

In my mind, I could see a book with illustrations and knew exactly how the wording would be laid out and what the font would look like. However, with a limited budget and timeline, I decided to do the next best thing – use pictures that I already had and match them to my story.

(By the way, this post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage if you make a purchase through the link, at no extra cost to you.)

Having used Shutterfly for a few photo album-style photo books in the past, I decided to see what photo book themes they had that might work for Elijah’s book. Thankfully, it didn’t take long to find one that worked really well, and I began laying out the story.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Best Christmas Gift Idea Ever...so far. Creating an original personalized storybook photo book for my son.

The story was really simple. I was recounting our day with Elijah at bedtime and using the events of the day to illustrate all the things that I love about him, such as his creativity, his kindness, and his courage. The final pages also reassured him that even when he wasn’t kind or brave or obedient, we still loved him very much because God has given him to us. I titled it, “Why I Love You.”

On Christmas morning, it was the gift I was most looking forward to him opening, and I was praying that it ministered to his unsettled little heart.

From the moment he saw it, he loved it. A book all about him, written by his mommy, was a big deal. The words were exactly what he needed to hear.

That book instantly became his favorite. For weeks we were reading “Why I Love You” every night and sometimes during the day.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Best Christmas Gift Idea Ever...so far. Creating an original personalized storybook photo book for my son.

And my sweet Elijah slowly reemerged, calmer, more secure, and more willing to listen and help. (He was still stubborn and independent – that’s just him, but it was more manageable.)

I am confident that God gave me the idea and the story because He knew what Elijah needed from us and how he would best receive it.

The book became the best Christmas present that year for all of us.

468x60 logo

Since my first personalized book was such as hit, the next year I created two more books: one for Elijah and his cousin Christian that was all about their friendship and an ABC book for my little Josiah that featured words relating to him and our family. Each book contained pictures that I had taken throughout the year, so it served not only as a fun storybook about them, but also as a way to share our memories.

In addition, Shutterfly often features great coupons for everything photo-related, including prints, calendars, and the photo books. By planning ahead and having my stories ready for when they had special offers, that year I ordered three books and only paid full price for one of them (and I don’t think I had to pay shipping on that one)!

And again, those books became instant family classics.

Feel free to borrow this idea. I’m sure it’s not unique to me, but the cool thing is, when you write your own stories, your book will be completely original and special for whomever you write it!

(If I see any new Shutterfly coupons coming up, I’ll be sure to share them on my Facebook or in my emails. Follow me or sign up so you don’t miss out.)

What is the best Christmas gift you’ve ever given someone?

 

Get more ideas & encouragement from this real-life mom as I experience God’s faithfulness through the joy and chaos of motherhood.

Join my email list!  

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Why We Don’t Need More This Christmas

Our Four Gift Christmas

Why You Can’t Give Jesus a Dinosaur: Christmas According to My Children

Inexpensive Crafts That Make Great Christmas Gifts for Grandparents

Tried It Tuesday: Stitch Fix-Take 4

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Stitch Fix, Take 4

It’s been a while since I ordered from Stitch Fix, the online clothing subscription that I first tried out last fall. I had placed my account on hold for the summer because I didn’t really need to add much to my warm weather wardrobe. However, I recently received a referral credit, so I decided to see what they would send me to update my closet for the fall.

In case you aren’t familiar with Stitch Fix, they are a clothing subscription site that offers personalized styling based on information you give them – your style, sizing, likes. Their stylists send you 5 pieces of clothing to try on based on that information and your requests. Each time you receive a box, you are charged a $20 styling fee, but if you keep an item or two or all of them, the $20 goes toward the purchase. You have 3 days to try on the pieces and decide which you want to keep and which you want to return. When you decide, you go to your profile and check-out. Then you drop the stuff you want to return into the provided envelope and mail it back for free (free-ish if you didn’t keep anything). They ask you at check-out what you like or don’t like about each item, so the next box should be even more tailored to you.

This morning I checked my front porch, and there it was: the priority-shipped cardboard box with the Stitch Fix tape sealing it shut. Every shipment feels like Christmas because you just don’t know what to expect, and you get to anticipate great things. I always get so excited to see what they’ve sent.

However, there has always been a bit of the anticlimactic letdown with each shipment as well because while I often like a couple of pieces, I have yet to like all of them. I was kind of hoping that since this was my fourth time around that the box would be full of more likes than dislikes.

The boxes are never a complete disaster, though – the fit is almost always really great – so it’s sadly more of a *sigh* of disappointment that they’ve just missed the mark with either the color, the style, or the comfort, and I just can’t make myself pay (a lot) for what I know I’m not completely happy with.

For this fix, I asked the stylist to send me a little of everything – pants, tops, skirt or dress, and even a necklace, since I could use a little sprucing up in pretty much every area of my fall collection. When I opened today’s box, I found two tops, a cardigan, a sweatshirt, and a pair of jeans. So kind of a little bit of some things.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Stitch Fix, Take 4

Item #1: Laila Jayde “Malaga Drape Cardigan”($48) – This is a thin cardigan, but it’s super soft and comfy and fits well. I love when I find a top with sleeves that are long enough! The black/gray color would be easy for me to mix and match with pretty much anything. The downside is that it is hand-wash, and I think this must be a thing with Stitch Fix pieces because nearly everything I’ve ever received from them has been hand-wash only. Not what I need as a busy mom. Also, I just bought a very similar cardigan at Target on my birthday, although it was green and cost a lot less. The cardigan is being considered.

Item #2: Kut From The Kloth “Kate Distressed Boyfriend Jean” ($78) – (In all the pictures) I liked the feel of the denim and most of the fit, but not the rise. I’m not a lower-rise kind of girl, especially when I need to bend down often in playing with my boys. Plus lower-rise will nearly always equal a muffin top. No thanks. I also am not a fan of having holes in my jeans when I buy them. I know it’s a style thing, but I have boys that like to mess with stuff, and that hole will grow by several inches when their little fingers get near it. It’s better to let this one go. (I did leave the jeans on the whole time I was trying on the tops, just to see how they felt. I loved everything about them except the holes and the lower rise. Too bad.)

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Stitch Fix, Take 4

Item #3: Market & Spruce “Corinna Striped Dolman Top” ($48)– My stylist suggested that I pair this top with the boyfriend jeans “for a day at the park with my boys” with “flats or ankle boots.” Hahaha…oh, sorry. But yeah, that is not an ideal park outfit for keeping up with my active boys. We go to the park to play – all of us – and we do a lot of climbing, running, and there will probably be some dirt (or a lot of it). So, nice try at visualizing my life, but…no. Aside from that humorous advice, the shirt was okay. Gray is not my best color, nor are horizontal stripes my best pattern. The fit was a little large in places, but fit well elsewhere, which was confusing. And since I have a gray and black striped Dolman sweater from a previous box, this feels redundant. Hmmmm.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Stitch Fix, Take 4

Item #4: 41Hawthorn “Colibri Solid Tab Sleeve Blouse” ($48) – While I like the color, fit, and the style of the shirt, I’m struck again with the maintenance of the piece. Another hand-wash. Plus, it’s a thin polyester, which means I’m pretty much guaranteed to have to iron it every single time I want to wear it. Not decided on whether it’s worth the extra effort. *Sigh*

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Stitch Fix, Take 4

Item #5: Loveappella “Evie Draw String Funnel Neck Sweatshirt” ($64) – Just the name of this one had me leery, and then I tried it on. It’s a navy blue and white sweater with a drawstring around the base of the funnel neck…because I need a new way for my children to choke me? I really don’t get this one, but maybe that’s just me. On the plus side it was machine washable on delicate, although still a “lay flat to dry” item. The length on the torso and sleeves were a bit short for me, so the style didn’t even have to come into play. Overall, it just felt odd. So, nope. It’s just not me.

So, after waiting all summer to jump back into the Stitch Fix game, I was left a bit ho-hum about this box. Thankfully I do have a referral credit to make it a little easier. If I had loved the whole box, I could get the 25% discount for buying all 5 pieces, plus the credit, and that would make the total about $190. As it is, the credit will make something closer to about $25 for me.

I love the idea of Stitch Fix, trying unique items, and the convenience of the whole thing. They generally send me items that fit well, and I’ve really liked some of the pieces, so it’s been worth doing up to now. However, I’m not sure how many more boxes I want to get that are just okay. I’d like one that was fabulous all the way around.

What do you think of this box for me? What piece(s) should I keep? Help me decide by leaving your vote in comments below.

If you haven’t tried Stitch Fix and would like to, here is my referral link https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/4200121. (Anytime someone signs up through your referral link, like this one, you get a $25 credit when their order ships. It makes continuing to use the service a lot more feasible for me.)

If you have you tried Stitch Fix, what has your experience been?

Tried It Tuesday: My Favorite FREE App for Kids

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Favorite Free App for Kids - The Bible App for Kids

Each night in Lape Haven finds my husband and me guiding our little boys through their bedtime routine. Some nights it’s sweet and easy, and some nights it’s a struggle because “I DID brush my teeth” and “I want you to hold me” or “I’m too tired.” (That’s the boys, not Brad and me…usually)

However, no matter how delightful or frustrating the getting-ready-for-bed goes, we always finish the night with Bible reading. We generally have a bedtime story before our Bible time, but we have found that when the boys are not behaving during the getting-ready time, losing their bedtime book can be a rather effective punishment. However, we never take away Bible time.

Since our guys are little, we have various kids’ Bibles and books that we pick from for our nighttime reading, but our absolute favorite way to study the Bible with the boys is doing “Bible Guy” on Mommy’s phone or Daddy’s tablet.

The actual name for the app is The Bible App for Kids, but around here it is affectionately known as “Bible Guy” because when we first started using it, Josiah was just starting to talk. One day he wanted to play on my phone and kept asking for “guy.” It took a second, but I finally realized that he was referencing the icon for The Bible App for Kids, which is a cute cartoon Jesus. I asked him, “Do you want to play the Bible?”

His reply, “Bible guy.”

And there you have it.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Favorite Free App for Kids - The Bible App for Kids

The Bible App for Kids is from YouVersion (makers of The Bible App, which is a great regular Bible app to have on your phone or tablet), produced in  partnership with OneHope, and is a FREE app of interactive Bible stories, with new stories added regularly. Each story is age-appropriately told without sacrificing the truth of the Word and features narration, touch-activated animations, questions throughout the stories, and special activities and challenges to help children enjoy and remember them.

One of the things I love is that fact that they don’t just tell your cookie-cutter “for kids” Bible stories. While they do include Creation, Noah’s Ark, David & Goliath, Daniel & the Lion’s Den, and Jesus’s birth and death, they cover the whole Bible. Some of the Old Testament stories include Adam & Eve’s first sin, Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son, the plagues in Egypt and Passover, Samson’s disobedience, Elijah’s challenge on Mt. Carmel (my Elijah LOVES that story), and Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. From the New Testament, they have stories about Jesus’s baptism (which sparked the conversation with Elijah that led to his baptism this year); Jesus being tempted in the desert; several of the parables that Jesus told; miracles that He did (including delivering the demoniac); His death, resurrection, and ascension; the coming of the Holy Spirit, Paul’s conversion and travels; and a glimpse into Revelations about Heaven. There is even a story that ties the whole Bible together, showing children God’s plan of salvation for them. And, as I said, they are updating and adding new stories frequently.

The characters and animation are adorable, and my kids love to see what part of the pictures “does something.” The creators of this app clearly love children and have a great imagination and a good sense of humor. My boys are engaged in each story, which means they will remember the truths they are learning. While their site says the app is for children 2-8 years old, my littlest guy loved it when he was even younger, and so do my hubby and I (and we’re slightly older).

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Favorite Free App for Kids - The Bible App for Kids

This app is also available in many different languages, which I think is awesome. This means that children around the world are learning God’s Word through this app. In fact, one of our missions for the children at our church’s Vacation Bible School this year was raising money to help get this app translated into yet another language. (If you’d like to support OneHope, you can check out their ministry here.)

I should mention that there are NO in-app purchases, and it is not easy for your child to accidentally download something else. Just to rate the app, I had to hold down on the “Rate This App” button for 3 seconds before it would open up an outside link. As a mom who has found random apps on her phone from my child clicking on a button while he’s playing, I appreciate the child-proofing they’ve done with the app while still making it easy for my kids to navigate through it.

The only issue we’ve had with the app is that it used to crash at random times. However, they seemed to have fixed that issue lately, as they’ve brought out updates and new stories.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Favorite Free App for Kids - The Bible App for Kids

The Bible App for Kids is easily our favorite FREE app for kids, but I would pay for it in a heartbeat. When something as simple as a phone app can get your child excited about the Bible, spark important conversations about their relationship with God, and help them see His love for the whole world, I’d say it’s worth it.


*Logos and The Bible App for Kids pictures are copyrighted by OneHope and YouVersion. *

Get more ideas & encouragement from this real-life mom as I experience God’s faithfulness through the joy and chaos of motherhood.

Join my email list!  

 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

4 Reasons Why Bedtime Is Our Best Family Time

Our “Vision Verse” for Our Kids

How God Can Use Your Faithfulness in Motherhood

Trusting  God Through Kindergarten

Tried It Tuesday: Our Experience with ABCMouse.com

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Our Experience with ABCMouse.com

When I was pregnant with my second child, part of my “nesting” involved preparing Elijah to no longer be the only child and planning for ways to make that transition easier for him and for us. Knowing that I would be occupied with his little brother quite a bit in the first few months (nursing, changing, rocking, repeat), I was on the lookout for an activity that he could do somewhat independently, that would keep him quiet(ish), and that would be educational, if possible.

I had seen numerous commercials for ABCMouse.com on the preschool channel we watched, and one day I decided to see how much it was and if might be a good idea for Elijah.

When I pulled it up on my computer, I was almost overwhelmed by all that the program offered, but in a good way. I started to sign up, but then decide that maybe I should talk to my hubby first about committing us to a subscription of about $8 a month (billed yearly), even though it did include having two children on one subscription. However, since I’d already entered my email, after I closed out the sign up, I got either a pop-up or an email that gave offered me a “special” rate to join, which brought the price down to about $5 a month. I knew we could do that, so I signed Elijah up, and the two of us began exploring the site. (Since this was a couple of years ago, I’m not sure they still do that, but it’s worth a try!)

From the get-go, he loved it, and I loved it. The program, which is for ages 2-6, starts off with very basic “Toddler Time,” where children learn shapes, colors, letters, and numbers by completing lessons along a curriculum-driven learning “path.” Each lesson is made up of four to six activities (as they graduate up to higher levels, lessons can have more), including coloring pages, games, songs, puzzles, and stories. As the child learns, you can adjust the difficulty levels of the each activity, so even though they might repeat a puzzle as they progress from Toddler Time to Pre-K and Kindergarten lessons, they are still learning new things.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Our Experience with ABCMouse.com

There are plenty of incentives for your child to keep moving along and completing lessons. For each activity completed, they earn virtual tickets to spend in the “stores,” where they can buy outfits for their avatar, items to decorate their “rooms,” or they can even buy and care for numerous virtual pets. At the end of each lesson, they win a “prize,” and at the completion of an entire section – they graduate with a printable certificate and a bigger prize. In our house, we celebrate a graduation with a special treat, too.

Not only can the child follow the specified curriculum in their “classroom,” they can also explore a zoo and a farm, where they learn all about different animals; complete individual basic activities to really focus on a certain area; and watch tons of music videos at the theater. My boys LOVE the videos, which all teach something, including letters, colors, numbers, and seasons. Each child also has a fish tank and a hamster that they can visit and design the tank/cage for. (Elijah and Josiah love rearranging the hamster tubes).

Each time they move through a set of lessons, they are also able to learn about different environments in the world, including the animals and plants that live there, so they are getting some basic science added to their reading, math, art, and music.

LifeinLapeHaven.com: Tried It Tuesday - Our Experience with ABCMouse.com

When your child first starts, you definitely need to help them in some ways, but the program is designed so that they will easily be able to move through it independently eventually. One of the first lessons when you set up an account is on how to use a computer mouse, and Elijah picked that up really quickly. Of course, you can also access the site through tablets and smart phones, so touch-screen is also an option. And we all know how quickly little guys can learn technology!

The only downside to them being able to move around so easily in the program is that they can leave a lesson without finishing it, click in to exploring the zoo instead of finishing a story in their lesson plan or deciding it’s time to play with the hamsters rather than color the letter P. They won’t move forward in their lesson without completing the activities, though. This mean that most of the time I need to be right beside them, Josiah especially, or at least nearby (doing dishes with him at the kitchen table), so I can monitor what they are working on. Plus that way I also can encourage them or talk them through something if they get stuck.

In our house, the rule is for Elijah to complete two sets of lessons before he can go “off-roading.” For Josiah, it’s at least one whole lesson. (Josiah started even younger than Elijah because he kept watching Elijah use it. Since you can have two children on one subscription, I just added him in when he was old enough, and he started at the beginning, just like Elijah had). We try to have them do ABCMouse (or “B-Mouse” as Josiah calls it) a few times a week at least, and most times, we don’t even have to remind them. They ASK to “play” ABCMouse, sometimes even fighting over who gets to. While I could do without the fighting, I’m thrilled that my boys are so excited to learn.

LifeinLapeHaven.com: Tried It Tuesday - Our Experience with ABCMouse.com

I’m also very certain that these lessons helped Elijah be more than ready for kindergarten. For example, he knew 22 of the 35 site words for his class the first time he saw the list! He just rattled them off, running right down the page. While I have worked with him a little outside of ABCMouse (not really on words, though), and we read together every day, I was surprised. I know that working in this program, or “playing” it, helped prepare him.

So after at least two years of “trying” ABCMouse.com with our boys, I can easily say that, for us, it is a keeper.

How about you? Any experience with this online program?

Tried It Tuesday: My Social Book

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Social Book. My experience with the online printing company that makes your Facebook posts into a keepsake book.

When Elijah was first born, I wanted to document everything: the first visitors at the hospital, his first night at home, his first smile, his baby quirks (he laughed in his sleep all the time as a newborn) – everything about him. (I’m a documenter: If I can’t photograph it, I video, journal, or post it.)

I filled in all those cute little blanks in his cute little baby book about all the cute little things he did while he was cute and little, at least whenever I had the energy or time to do it. As he became more mobile and slept less, my time to find the right blanks to fill out in his baby book and the energy to do it were being spent keeping up with his cute, little self, and his baby book fell by the wayside. To make up for that, I started jotting down notes occasionally in a notebook about what he was doing, accomplishing, and learning, but even that was hard to maintain, especially when I became pregnant with his little brother.

And poor Josiah! His baby book is sadly lacking a lot of information. In my defense, I have a lot of the usual baby details scribbled out in a notebook about him, by month, but I’ve never transferred it to the organized pages of his baby book. Of course, as he got mobile and napped less during the day, we had two active boys to corral during the day and two restless boys who could wake us throughout the night. I found myself praying that my memory would just be excellent when my boys later asked me about their toddler and preschool years because the only documenting I’d been doing was posting their funny comments or silly pictures to Facebook.

I remember telling my husband that I wished I could just print off my Facebook wall because everything was there.

Then one day I saw that a company had decided to do just that. According to the ad along my Facebook newsfeed, My Social Book could capture all my postings and turn them into a book. What a brilliant idea!

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Social Book. My experience with the online printing company that makes your Facebook posts into a keepsake book.

I looked into it and was disappointed to see that, in order to get everything I’d shared since Elijah was born in 2010, it was going to make a paperback book 500 pages long, cost me almost that many dollars (Okay, not quite that much, but it was about $150 before shipping), and not cover more than four years. If I wanted more of Josiah’s life, I’d have to get a second book. There was no way I could afford that anytime soon.

Then back in June, I saw another ad for them, only this time it was a deal for 60% off their regular price and free shipping. So I talked to Brad, and we decided it would be worth a try for $40.

I clicked over to their site, added my information, linked to my Facebook, selected the date range for the book, decided what type of posts to include or exclude, and picked a color and picture for the paperback cover (they offer hardback & matte cover books, but they are more expensive). Before too long, I was looking at a sample proof of my book (It doesn’t show the whole book since they are big – mine is 494 pages). I decided to go from January 2008 through February 2012 (as far as I could) because that included my pregnancy with Elijah, his birth, and those first 18 months with him.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Social Book. My experience with the online printing company that makes your Facebook posts into a keepsake book.

 

It took a good two weeks from the time I ordered it to the time I received it in the mail, but I knew it would take a while as it was coming from overseas (I’m not sure where they print, but the company website says that their offices are in Belgium, Israel, and Hong Kong).

However, once I opened it up, I was very glad that we decided to take a chance and order the book. Everything is presented chronologically, with not only status posts, but pictures, comments, likes, and even links for the videos you’ve shared, separated by month. For the videos, you scan the QR code (that square bar code thing) with your smart phone, and it will pull up the YouTube or Facebook link for you to enjoy all over again. (Of course, should those videos ever get deleted from online, you’d be out of luck.)

The print quality is pretty good, with bright colors and legible fonts. (For pictures, the quality does depend on what you uploaded originally.) When I was first looking into getting a book, I read another purchaser’s comment on the layouts that pointed out the numerous blank spaces and pages throughout the book. While my book does have those same spaces and blank pages, it doesn’t seem to detract from it. I think that just comes from having an automated layout program pulling whatever you’ve shared and making it fit.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Social Book. My experience with the online printing company that makes your Facebook posts into a keepsake book.

My favorite thing about having the book is getting to go back, easily, through all the Facebook posts and pictures, and read about how we announced our first baby, see what we shared as he was growing in those first few months, and remember all the funny things he did when he was just a little guy.

Our boys absolutely love going through the book. Since I’ve posted a LOT of pictures, they have plenty to look at and ask questions about. Elijah even asks us to read it to them at bedtime sometimes.

Now all I have to do it wait for another discount or coupon code to order the following years with my second pregnancy, Josiah’s birth, and everything they’ve gotten into since then.

That is the big down side to the books. They are pricey. However, if you share a lot on Facebook (or Instagram) and want to keep a physical copy of it all, and if you can catch a sale like we did (and are planning to in the future), they are definitely worth it.

*Not an affiliate story. Just wanted to share our experience.*

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Social Book. My experience with the online printing company that makes your Facebook posts into a keepsake book.

 

 

 

Tried It Tuesday: Kings Island Blue Ice Cream Copycat Recipe

LifeinLapeHaven.com: Tried It Tuesday - Kings Island Blue Ice Cream copycat recipe. This creamy, slightly berry flavored blue ice cream is a close substitute for Kings Island's famous blue, blueberry, Smurf ice cream. Yum.

For several years, the company that Brad worked for rewarded their employees with tickets for them and their families to different special events. When we were first engaged, in fact the day after we got engaged, we had passes to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio (the BEST amusement park EVER). I spent the day staring at my ring, getting used to the feel of it, and answering congratulatory texts from friends and family while waiting in line to face down some epic roller coasters (Millennium Force, anyone?)

Over the next few years, we got to pick between either Cedar Point or Kings Island (since both parks are owned by the same company). When Elijah was a little over two, we decided to use our tickets for a family day and introduce him to one of the parks.

Since Kings Island was closer to home, and since we knew we’d be in the kiddie area all day (Planet Snoopy features all the Peanuts characters, and Elijah has ALWAYS loved Charlie Brown), we headed to Cincinnatti for a little getaway. We spent the morning at the park, then checked into a hotel in the afternoon so that our little guy could get a good nap before we went back to Kings Island for the evening. The next morning, after time in the pool, we headed home, taking our time and finding a few other adventures along the way.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Kings Island Blue Ice Cream Copycat Recipe

It became an instant tradition for our family, and when Josiah was all of four months old, he enjoyed the sights and sounds of Kings Island from his stroller or being snuggled up to mommy in his carrier.

Then a couple of years ago, Brad’s company changed plans, hosting their employee outings at the zoo instead. It was still a great event, but Elijah missed our tradition.

So that year we made sure to set aside a day to visit Kings Island. Elijah even saved up his birthday money to pay for his own ticket because he REALLY wanted to go (and we were trying to teach him that if you spend a dollar here and a dollar there, you don’t get to do anything big with it).

Having grown up in Ohio, I remember going to Kings Island when I was about Elijah’s age, and it was something special to see my little guys smiling at the fountains at the entrance and leaning way back to look up at the (replica) Eiffel Tower. With two boys big enough to enjoy the park, or at least their portion of the park, we knew it would be a wonderful day.

And it was…even when it stormed. And it did, as in thunder and lightning and downpours stormed. After hanging out in a gift shop until the rain let up, we wandered out to see what rides were open. That was when I noticed the blue ice cream.

Even though I’d been to Kings Island often in my lifetime, I’d never paid any attention to the blue ice cream sold in the park. However, a few days before this year’s trip, someone mentioned it on Facebook. So when I saw it, I was curious. What does blue ice cream taste like? Why are there so many people in line for it? Have I been missing out on something all these years???

I had to know. I suggested we have some ice cream while we waited for the rides to dry off. Hubby requires very little coaxing about that kind of thing, so that’s what we did.

One bite, and the long lines made sense: Creamy and sweet with a subtle blueberry-raspberry flavor. Yum!

We were all pleasantly surprised and immediately hooked, and it was declared that blue ice cream would become part of our Kings Island tradition from that day forward.

Only I didn’t want to wait until next year, so a few days after our trip, I was on Pinterest, looking for a copycat recipe for Kings Island’s blue ice cream, or blueberry ice cream, or Smurf ice cream (The blue ice cream was originally created in 1982, when the kiddie area was all Hanna-Barbera, and they introduced a Smurf ride – That was my favorite ride when I was a little girl).

However, if someone has a copycat recipe for this blue ice cream, they aren’t sharing it. After Pinterest, I tried Google. The only thing I learned was that there is a small ice cream shop near Cincinnatti that buys the same mix that Kings Island uses, and they serve it year-round. Nice for them, but no recipe for me.

I went back to Pinterest and pulled the recipes for any blue ice cream I could find, even though none of them said anything about Kings Island. One did mention Smurf ice cream and used raspberry extract, so that’s the one I tried.

In case you’re wondering, here’s a link to the ice cream maker that we use. (It is an affiliate link which means that at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you purchase something through the link.) —> ICE CREAM MAKER

 

The first time around I followed the recipe exactly and was rewarded with a blue ice cream that tasted like Froot Loops milk. Boo. The boys liked it, but eh…not me. The lemon oil really takes over.

The second time around I left out the lemon completely, hoping that the raspberry would shine through more but still be subtle.

Now, since it had been a few weeks since we’d had the original ice cream at the park, it was hard to say for exactly sure that it’s a 100% copy of that ice cream, but it was close enough and tasty enough that my household was happy. This recipe will definitely work for us to satisfy those blue ice cream cravings until we can get back to the park each summer.

Note: If I weren’t making this to show others that it tastes like the blue ice cream at Kings Island, I would not have added any blue food coloring. It really isn’t necessary. Also, I might play around with how much raspberry extract I add the next time I make it. I’m just wondering how a little more would taste…

If blue ice cream isn’t your thing, you can always check out my recipe for homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, too. 🙂

 

 

Get more ideas, recipes, & encouragement from this real-life mom as I experience God’s faithfulness through the joy and chaos of motherhood.

Join my email list!  

 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

How We Made Our Family Vacation about a Little More

 Simple Ways to Spark Joy in Your Children

How We Changed Our Family Atmosphere with One Question

Chocolate Cake with Simple “Bavarian” Cream Filling & Chocolate Ganache