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A Brilliant Way to Save Money on Family Vacations

2016 June 9
by Emily Hill


You probably think I’m going to suggest turning your one-day park hopper ticket into a two-day ticket by hiding in Disneyland overnight, but you’d be wrong. While a super great idea, it’s a high-risk, illegal activity and I tend to shy away from those when kids are involved. When it comes to a safer and more legal way to cut costs on family vacations, I have two words for you: Amazon Underground.

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Livi playing Cut the Rope HD from Amazon Underground
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Why is this such an awesome way to save money on the family vacay? The Amazon Underground app for Android provides access to an incredible catalog of premium, family-friendly apps and games FOR FREE as well as the ability to download the Amazon Video app to your mobile device.

FOR FREE, people.

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Amazon Underground app for Android
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I don’t know about you, but I like free, especially when it comes to games on my smartphone. It seems every game my kids or I want to play (I do enjoy Two Dots!) either costs money or boasts “free” but require—as in you can’t get past level 123 without them—upgrades and in-app purchases. It drives me crazy! Plus, how many of you have had your kids “accidentally” make an in-app purchase while playing a game on your smartphone? I’ve had it happen one too many times.

They’ve also won online auctions for Avon perfume in a Faberg&eacut;-style egg, but let’s not go there.

We’re headed to Florida and Kentucky for two weeks this summer and you know we’ll be stocking up on new-to-us apps and games to keep kids entertained and distracted long enough so we hear only one “are we there yet?” between destinations.

In preparation for our trip, I downloaded the Amazon Underground app for Android smartphones so I could take it for a test drive. I screenshotted (my new word) the process to share with you, my fabulous readers.

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Amazon Underground app for Android screenshot

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Amazon Underground app for Android screenshot
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I was seriously surprised—and I’m being honest—at the impressive list of games offered for free. Like, for reals free. (They call it “Actually Free.” Love it!)

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Amazon Underground app for Android screenshot

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Amazon Underground app for Android screenshot
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Being fans of Cut the Rope, Cut the Rope HD was my first free download.
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Amazon Underground app for Android screenshot - Cut the Rope HD
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See this pop-up? For reals free.

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Amazon Underground app for Android screenshot
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Don’t tell, but I may have spent a half hour playing Cut the Rope HD without realizing it. That little monster is so cute!

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Amazon Underground app for Android screenshot - Cut the Rope HD
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Like, for reals cute.

We used to rent movies during our travels. You know, rent them at one McDonald’s, drop them off at another. But now we’ll be saving money on apps AND movies thanks to Amazon Underground. Just think of all the “actually free” entertainment the family can enjoy allowing us to blow even more money on mouse ears and Potter wands!

Enhanced features like Amazon Video and 100% free apps and games, while available on the Amazon Underground app, are NOT available on the Amazon Shopping app from Google Play. With Amazon Underground, my kids can watch their fave movies and TV shows plus those free apps and games and leave me alone to read one of many books I’ll be packing for our family vacation.

I’m hoping it will look something like this but an airplane seat instead of a leather chair.

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Livi playing Cut the Rope HD
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You can download Amazon Underground from your Android smartphone HERE or by clicking on the image below.

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Amazon Underground app for Android
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NOTE: This link is good for downloading on a mobile Android phone only.

Using your laptop or desktop computer to read this post? Visit https://www.amazon.com/underground and follow the on-screen instructions.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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If you’re looking for more totally honest reviews, check out my ITRML reviews Pinterest board.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Sour Cream Banana Bread

2016 June 7
by Emily Hill

Sour cream banana bread is the only banana bread recipe you should make. This banana bread melts in your mouth, freezes well and is perfect for gift giving.

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Sour Cream Banana Bread -- the sour cream makes this the most divine banana bread you will ever bake. Freezes well and perfect for gift giving...and eating.


Post may include affiliate links to help support my Diet Coke habit.

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The first time I made this sour cream banana bread, I knew I’d never make banana bread any other way again. And I love a good banana bread recipe.

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Sour Cream Banana Bread -- the sour cream makes this the most divine banana bread you will ever bake. Freezes well and perfect for gift giving...and eating.

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The addition of sour cream is absolutely brilliant. It makes the banana bread extra melt-in-your-mouth moist—you may not like that word but it’s the best way to describe it—and takes it from run of the mill to out of this world.

Do people still use the phrase “out of this world”?

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Sour Cream Banana Bread -- the sour cream makes this the most divine banana bread you will ever bake. Freezes well and perfect for gift giving...and eating.

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Sour cream aside, you’ll die when you bite into this banana bread and discover a cinnamon sugar crust (for lack of a better word). Yep, the bread pans are greased and then dusted with cinnamon sugar. Once baked, it provides the loaf with this sugary sweet kick—the perfect compliment to the cinnamon banana flavor of the bread.

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Sour Cream Banana Bread -- the sour cream makes this the most divine banana bread you will ever bake. Freezes well and perfect for gift giving...and eating.

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Sour Cream Banana Bread -- the sour cream makes this the most divine banana bread you will ever bake. Freezes well and perfect for gift giving...and eating.

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If you don’t want to use 3 cups of sugar, you could try cutting it back to 2 1/2 or 2 cups. And I used low-fat sour cream without any problems, though I have heard fat-free sour cream makes it a little dry.

I like to bake eight mini loaves in a pan like this one, freeze three, giveaway two and eat the rest. Sometimes I even share.

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Sour Cream Banana Bread -- the sour cream makes this the most divine banana bread you will ever bake. Freezes well and perfect for gift giving...and eating.

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Printable recipe for sour cream banana bread below. Enjoy!
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Sour Cream Banana Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Sour cream banana bread is really the only banana bread recipe you should ever make. This banana bread melts in your mouth, freezes well and is perfect for gift giving. Makes 8 mini loaves or 4 slightly larger loaves.
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 (16-oz) container sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 4½ cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease four 7x3 inch loaf pans. (I used slightly smaller pans.)
  2. In a small bowl, stir together ¼ cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Dust pans lightly with cinnamon sugar mixture.
  3. Cream butter and 3 cups sugar. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in salt, baking soda and flour. Stir in nuts. Divide into prepared pans filling just over ⅔ full.
  4. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If loaves are browning too quickly, cover pan(s) with foil.

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Here are a few more bread recipes you might enjoy…

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Easy Apple Pull-Apart Bread -- great way to use leftover apple slices from your pies and crostatas!


Easy apple pull-apart bread with vanilla glaze

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Peasant bread recipe


Peasant bread (a family favorite for sure!)

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Honey whole wheat bread recipe


Honey whole wheat bread

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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Pineapple Coconut Mango Smoothie

2016 June 1
by Emily Hill

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of National Mango Board. The opinions and text are all mine.
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This vitamin-packed pineapple coconut mango smoothie features fresh mango, frozen pineapple, banana, coconut milk & low-fat Greek yogurt for the perfect post-workout snack.

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Pineapple Coconut Mango Smoothie -- This smoothie has only five ingredients and is packed with antioxidants and vitamins. It features fresh or frozen mango, frozen pineapple, Greek yogurt, coconut milk and banana. So yummy and great for workouts!

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After last week’s antioxidant-packed tropical berry smoothie and this week’s amazing pineapple coconut mango smoothie, I may switch to a smoothie-only diet, especially as the temperature hits 90-something this weekend. In fact, today’s smoothie is so good, I may end up bathing in it.

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Pineapple Coconut Mango Smoothie -- This smoothie has only five ingredients and is packed with antioxidants and vitamins. It features fresh or frozen mango, frozen pineapple, Greek yogurt, coconut milk and banana. So yummy and great for workouts!

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The two things I love most about this mango smoothie is the short list of ingredients (only five!) and the creamy, smooth flavor combination of pineapple, mango and coconut. The recipe makes two 12-ounce servings and I nearly polished both of them off before the photo shoot was over.

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Pineapple Coconut Mango Smoothie -- This smoothie has only five ingredients and is packed with antioxidants and vitamins. It features fresh or frozen mango, frozen pineapple, Greek yogurt, coconut milk and banana. So yummy and great for workouts!

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Why do I think this pineapple coconut mango smoothie a great workout companion? Like the aronia berry in that tropical berry smoothie, mangos are a superfruit packed with antioxidants and over 20 vitamins and minerals, plus a 1-cup serving of mango is only 100 calories.

Gotta love vitamin-packed, good-for-you food that’s also low cal!

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Mangos - basket.

Here’s what you’ll get in 1 cup of fresh mango:

  • 100% of the daily requirement of vitamin C, an antioxidant that boosts immunity.
  • A good source of fiber, which makes you feel full faster and longer (bonus!).
  • An excellent source of vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy skin and is important for immune function and bone growth.
  • An excellent source of folate, a B vitamin with many functions throughout the body, including cardiovascular health.
  • 10% of the Daily Value for both vitamin B6 and copper, to support healthy immune function.

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Mango infographic
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For athletes, mangos and other superfruits can help optimize physical activity and performance by delivering readily available carbohydrates in a perfect 100-calorie portion. That’s good news for spin class attendees like me, especially when it’s the monthly 90-minute endurance ride…

Before making this smoothie, I had never purchased a mango. I’d purchased mango salsa, which is almost the same thing, but never fresh mango. I had no idea how to pick one out, and I’d heard cutting one was tricky. After a bit of quick reading, I learned mangos come in a variety of colors and many mangos show more than one color. As beautiful as they can be, don’t focus on color when choosing mangos. A ripe, ready-to-eat mango will give slightly when gently squeezed. If you plan to eat mangos a few days later, choose those that are a bit former and then keep them at room temperature. They will continue to ripen, getting sweeter and softer. Once ripe, you can move mangos to the fridge where they can be stored up to five days.

Never refrigerate mangos before they are ripe!

As far as cutting a mango, I found this tutorial super helpful. I totally nailed it the first time using the slice and scoop method. Easy peasy!

For more information on everything from choosing mangos to mango varieties, visit the National Mango Board. You can also find all things mango on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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Pineapple Coconut Mango Smoothie -- This smoothie has only five ingredients and is packed with antioxidants and vitamins. It features fresh or frozen mango, frozen pineapple, Greek yogurt, coconut milk and banana. So yummy and great for workouts!

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Printable recipe for pineapple coconut mango smoothie below. Enjoy!
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Pineapple Coconut Mango Smoothie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This vitamin-packed pineapple coconut mango smoothie features fresh mango, frozen pineapple, banana, coconut milk & low-fat Greek yogurt for the perfect post-workout snack.
Author:
Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • ¼ to ½ cup low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup fresh mango (if using frozen mango chunks, you may need to increase the coconut milk)
Instructions
  1. Place ingredients in blender in order listed and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

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Here are a few more delicious smoothie recipes for you to enjoy this summer!

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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie - This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate.


Antioxidant-packed tropical berry smoothie

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 - only 3 ingredients and so yummy!


Pina colada smoothie

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Tropical tart cherry smoothie


Tropical tart cherry smoothie

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Emergen-C orange vanilla smoothie


Orange vanilla smoothie

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Island green smoothie


Island green smoothie

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Copycat Peanut Butter Moo'd Smoothie


Copycat peanut butter moo’d smoothie

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Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Shake -- packed with over 30 grams of protein and less than 13 grams of sugar (8 grams from banana). Delicious chocolate peanut butter smoothie taste!


Double peanut butter chocolate protein shake

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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie

2016 May 25
by Emily Hill

This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate.

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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie - This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Superberries. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Every time I make smoothies I wonder why I don’t make smoothies more often. They’re not hard, they taste good, they’re good for you and the entire family loves them. And thanks to making too much of this antioxidant-packed tropical berry smoothie, I discovered some of them can be refrigerated for hours.

I’ve shared a handful of smoothies on this site, from my favorite island green smoothie to the slightly decadent copycat peanut butter moo’d smoothie, but I’m pretty sure none were as rich in antioxidants as this tropical berry smoothie.

Spinach leaves can only do so much…

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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie - This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate.

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I lightened up this berry smoothie by using unsweetened almond milk instead of regular milk and low-fat yogurt instead of full fat. I also substituted my favorite light orange juice (Tropicana’s Trop50) for the typical higher calorie, higher sugar standard. Throw in a frozen blend of tropical fruit (mangoes, pineapple, strawberries), banana and Organic Aroniaberry Concentrate and you have one delightfully delicious, good-for-you smoothie!

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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie - This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate.

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I bet many of you haven’t heard of the aronia berry. I was totally clueless before this smoothie. The antioxidant-rich aronia berry (aka chokeberry or chokecherry) is native to North America and provides the most balanced protection against the five most common free radicals which can lead to illness. Science has confirmed that diets rich in antioxidants can help us maintain good health, especially with respect to aging and age-related disorders.

You better believe I’m all over anything that fights aging!

This tropical berry smoothie features Organic Aroniaberry Concentrate from Superberries, a brand of health and wellness products featuring aronia berries. Their Organic Aroniaberry Concentrate has over 7 pounds of aronia berries pressed into the 16 ounces of juice. Thanks to all that superfruit goodness, the concentrate is full of powerful nutritional compounds like anthocyanins, polyphenols and flavonoids that help deliver health and wellness benefits to your eyes, joints, cardiovascular and other body systems.

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Superberries Organic Aroniaberry Concentrate.

I bet you could use Organic Frozen Aroniaberries in this smoothie; just add a little extra almond milk if it gets too thick. Frozen aronia berries would be great atop yogurt or cereal or in your favorite dessert sauce. Aronia berries have one of the highest antioxidant ratings of any fruit and vegetable (hence the name superfruit), so if you have a favorite berry recipe, trying adding frozen aronia berries instead.

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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie - This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate.

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I’m anxious to try the Aroniaberry+ Daily Wellness Shots, an energy enhancer with both aronia berry, aceroal berry (naturally rich in Vitamin C) and green tea . These shots are a convenient way to enhance energy without the big jolt that usually comes when using other energy enhancers.

Plus I’m pretty sure these shots are healthier for me than the Diet Coke ones I’m downing all day.

If you’re planning to vacay with the family this summer and want to provide a healthier option to typical road trip or airplane snacks, add Aroniaberry Gummy Chews to your packing list. They don’t take up much space and won’t put you over that 50-lb limit but they will provide everyone with a powerful burst of berry flavor and antioxidants.
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*** Get $5 OFF all Superberries products through June 30th with code INVacation. ***

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Printable recipe for antioxidant-packed tropical berry smoothie below. Enjoy!
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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate. Makes approx. two 16-oz smoothies
Author:
Recipe type: Smoothie
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or coconut milk or regular milk)
  • 1 cup Tropicana Trop50 orange juice (or your favorite OJ)
  • 2 tsp Organic Aroniaberry Concentrate
  • ¼ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt (or Greek yogurt)
  • 1 banana
  • ½ (16-oz) package frozen tropical fruit blend (approx. 1½ cups)
Instructions
  1. Place ingredients in blender in order listed and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

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Here are a few more of my favorite smoothie recipes. Mmm…

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 - only 3 ingredients and so yummy!


Pina colada smoothie

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Tropical tart cherry smoothie


Tropical tart cherry smoothie

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Emergen-C orange vanilla smoothie


Orange vanilla smoothie

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Island green smoothie


Island green smoothie

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Copycat Peanut Butter Moo'd Smoothie


Copycat peanut butter moo’d smoothie

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Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Shake -- packed with over 30 grams of protein and less than 13 grams of sugar (8 grams from banana). Delicious chocolate peanut butter smoothie taste!


Double peanut butter chocolate protein shake

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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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12 Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes Perfect for College Students

2016 May 24
by Emily Hill

Quick and easy make-ahead breakfast recipes with budget-friendly ingredients are perfect for college students with little time and money.

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12 Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes Perfect for College Students - short list of ingredients and little time required. Perfect for students on the go!

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My oldest daughter heads to BYU in the fall and I’m in denial. I’m definitely not old enough to have a graduate and I’m definitely not ready for her to leave home, but apparently I have no choice. Like me, she’ll be staying in on-campus housing, but unlike me, she’ll have a kitchen.

I was all about the cafeteria my first year…and the freshman 15.

Hopefully with a kitchen she can eat a bit healthier and avoid those first-year pounds. I thought I could help her out by rounding up 12 make-ahead breakfast recipes perfect for college students. Because most college students are on a budget, I chose recipes that required fewer—and fairly normal—ingredients. Of course, these recipes aren’t just for college students; they’re perfect for anyone on the go!
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Make ahead breakfast quesadilla
Make Ahead Breakfast Quesadilla with Cheese Spinach and White Beans from Well Plated

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Peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough overnight oats
Peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough overnight oats from Fit Foodie Finds

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Perfect freezer friendly breakfast burritos
Perfect breakfast burritos (freezer friendly) from Ten at the Table

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Cheese and Bacon Hash Brown Muffins
Cheese and bacon hash brown muffins from Recipe Tin Eats

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Toasted almond and honey overnight oats
Toasted almond and honey overnight oats from Back to Her Roots

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Freezer breakfast sandwiches
Freezer breakfast sandwiches from Damn Delicious

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Make ahead smoothies
Make ahead smoothies from Baked Bree

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Southwest make ahead breakfast burritos
Southwest make ahead breakfast burritos from The Cookie Rookie

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Hash brown egg nests with avocado
Hash brown egg nests with avocado from The Cooking Jar

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Strawberry overnight oats
Strawberry overnight oats from A Pumpkin & a Princess

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Make ahead breakfast bakes
Make ahead breakfast bakes from Sugar Dish Me

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No-bake peanut butter oatmeal protein bites 1 -- THE BEST recipe for energy bites I have ever tasted!
Peanut butter oatmeal protein bites from Is This Really My Life

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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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“Best Buds” Father’s Day Gift Idea

2016 May 20
by Emily Hill

Remind Dad he’s your best friend—and you’re his favorite—with this quick and easy Father’s Day gift idea with free printable tag.

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Best Buds Father's Day printable gift tag - you will be the favorite with this Fathers Day gift idea!

Post may include affiliate links to help support my Diet Coke habit.

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Sometimes it’s really hard to come up with a Father’s Day gift idea, especially if you’ve celebrated multiple Father’s Days. You for sure want to avoid these 10 gifts, and yet that 3D TV Dad wants is probably out of the budget.

At least it’s out of mine.

But who doesn’t love a new pair of earbuds? I’m constantly misplacing mine (or the kids steal them), and I love having a spare pair in multiple places. Plus, unless you’re going for a pair of serious audiophile-friendly earbuds, you can get a pretty great pair for under $10. The Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud Headphones in blue and orange are around $7 and have fantastic reviews. The Panasonic earbuds in black are around $12 and include a mic/controller, which is a must-have for Nathan and which I find super handy for conference calls or long chats with my mom.

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Best Buds Father's Day printable gift tag - you will be the favorite with this Fathers Day gift idea!

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Pair your pair of new earbuds with this super cute Father’s Day printable gift tag, and you’re sure to be Dad’s favorite. Nothing says “I love you the BEST!” like the perfect practical gift AND a reminder YOU are Dad’s “best bud.”

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Best Buds Father's Day printable gift tag - you will be the favorite with this Fathers Day gift idea!

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I’ve created both a PDF with a single tag and one with multiple tags in case you’re using this as a fun Father’s Day activity with a small group or class. Note: They print slightly darker than pictured. Natural light was not my friend when photographing.

To download your Father’s Day printable gift tag, click on an image or link below the image and save the file(s) to your desktop. But before you do, please read the following rules:

  • Is This Really My Life printables are for personal use only.
  • If you decide to re-post or use the image, you MUST cite the source and include a link to this post.
  • Personalization and other customizations are not available on free printables; they’re offered “as-is.”

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Best Buds Father's Day printable gift tag - you will be the favorite with this Fathers Day gift idea!

Download the free SINGLE Father’s Day printable gift tag HERE.

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Best Buds Father's Day printable gift tag - you will be the favorite with this Fathers Day gift idea!

Download the free FULL PAGE Father’s Day printable gift tag HERE.

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If you’re looking for another fun Father’s Day gift idea, you could totally use this Mountain Dew printable gift tag for Dad. Nothing like keeping Dad happy and caffeinated!

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Mountain Dew printable gift tag -- perfect for teacher appreciation or any Dew-lover appreciation!

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Visit my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board to see what else I’ve been creating!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Coconut Monster Cookies

2016 May 17
by Emily Hill

These non-traditional coconut monster cookies feature M&Ms, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips & coconut…and they’re monstrously good!

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Coconut monster cookies -- a tasty variation of the tradition monster cookie. It features peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, M&Ms and coconut. So yummy!

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Sometimes I browse the grocery store baking aisle much longer than I should. I can’t help it—so many fun things line the shelves and you never know what you’ll discover. On my last visit to Walmart, I stumbled across the new Sam’s Choice recipe mix-ins. There were at least three varieties and I couldn’t resist grabbing a couple. You know me, I’m all about taste testing new dessert ideas.

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Coconut monster cookies -- a tasty variation of the tradition monster cookie. It features peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, M&Ms and coconut. So yummy!

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These coconut monster cookies used the Dream Bars recipe mix-in, and yes, you’re supposed to make peanut butter bar cookies with them.

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Sams Choice Recipe Mix-Ins Dream Bar Blend 2.

While I’m sure those are delightful, I wanted to test it out in my favorite cookie dough. Pretty sure they were just as delightful because I couldn’t stop eating them.

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Coconut monster cookies -- a tasty variation of the tradition monster cookie. It features peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, M&Ms and coconut. So yummy!

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You could totally make these without the pre-packaged add-ins, but sometimes you’re lazy and don’t always have peanut butter chips or M&Ms on hand because if you did, you’d eat the entire bag before baking anything with them.

It’s a real problem.

But if I had to guess, I’d say there’s about a 1/2 cup of each mix-in, so you can totally make these without the Sam’s Choice Dream Bar Recipe Mix-Ins. Either way, they’re absolutely delicious fresh from the freezer…

Printable recipe for coconut monster cookies below. Enjoy!
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Coconut Monster Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A tasty variation of the traditional monster cookies recipe. If you don't have or want the Sam's Choice Recipe Mix-Ins Dream Bar Blend, see the notes for substitutions.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookies
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (3.4-oz) package vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (12-oz) package Sam's Choice Recipe Mix-Ins Dream Bar Blend
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl. Beat in instant pudding mix until blended. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well.
  4. Add flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in Dream Bar Blend.
  5. Place rounded tablespoonfuls of dough on ungreased cookie sheet or silicone baking mat. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. Let cool 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes
If you don't want to use the Dream Bar Blend, try substituting a ½ cup for each mix-in (1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, ½ cup peanut butter chips, ½ cup M&Ms, ½ cup dried coconut).

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Here are a few more of my favorite cookies that are super freezer friendly.

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Grandmas Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies -- you will be amazed how the addition of chopped pecans makes these cookies totally irresistible. Trust me on this one.


Chocolate chip pecan cookies

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Brownie Cookies - decadent, chocolaty and super chewy. To die for!


Brownie cookies

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Amazing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - the best oatmeal raisin cookies you will ever bake!


Amazing oatmeal raisin cookies

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Butterfinger Pudding Cookies - the perfect cookie for Butterfinger lovers! Soft and chewy with chunks of Butterfinger candy.


Butterfinger pudding cookies

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M&Ms Pudding Cookies -- the softest, chewiest cookies packed with M&Ms in every bite!


M&Ms pudding cookies

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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

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