Disneyland Discount and Win a Gift Card

March 4, 2016 in Mailbox, Out the Door


It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Disneyland. I spent almost 40 days at the Happiest Place on Earth in 2015. We had so much fun, and I would do it again in a heartbeat! It takes us some time to save up for our big annual pass year, and it’s always worth every sacrifice we make to save up those pennies. So I’m super excited to help you save more than just pennies on your Disneyland vacation!

Disneyland just raised their prices again, but you can still get the old lower prices until March 8 at Get Away Today. It’s all about who you know, and luckily for both of us, you know me! If you’ve never booked with Get Away Today before, you should definitely check it out. They are fabulous to work with, have really awesome deals (like everyone plays at the kids price!), and even send you fun gifts. With a savings of up to $36 on each ticket, the savings can really add up.

Disneyland discount 2016

After you get a great deal on your Disneyland vacation at Get Away Today, you’re going to need a little extra cash for some Dole Whips and churros. So I’m having a little contest over on Instagram with a $25 Disney Gift Card as the prize! Here’s all you need to do:

  • First, follow 40eighteen on Instagram and watch for my Disney photos for the next few days.
  • When you see one, guess where we are in the Disneyland Resort in the photo. It’s okay if you don’t get it right. Your guess = one entry.
  • If you have the first correct guess on a photo as it shows up in my feed, you’ll get a little extra reward. First correct guess = one extra entry.
  • Tag a friend who is a Disney fan for an extra entry. You can tag as many friends as you want. It’s ok if they’re all in the same comment. Each tagged friend = one extra entry.

That’s it! Follow, guess, tag. Simple!



Remember, you have to follow 40eighteen and make your guess for any of the entries to count. This contest will run from 10:00 am March 4 until 11:59 pm March 8 MST. Several photos will be posted each of the 5 days of the contest, and one winner will be chosen from all of the entries. The winner will be announced on March 9 in an Instagram post and must claim their prize within 48 hours or forfeit to the runner up. Prize will be awarded as a $25 Disney gift card mailed to the winner. This contest is not affiliated with Instagram, Get Away Today, or Disney.

This post contains affiliate links. Your price is the same, and I earn a small commission on each sale. Thank you for supporting Forty Eighteen. 

16 Eggs-cellent Easter Ideas

March 21, 2015 in Family Room, Guest Room

Easter is right around the corner, and I have gathered a fabulous batch of Easter recipes, crafts, and ideas to help you plan your Easter celebration.


Broccoli Ham Ring • Forty Eighteen

Easter Egg Hunt Quiet Book Activity • Mommy Envy

What to put in your toddler’s {candy-free} Easter basket • xo, lauren & jane

Family Fun Easter Scavenger Hunt • Stuffed Suitcase

Stenciled Easter Sign • Occasionally Crafty

Easter Paper Carrot Garland • A Sparkle of Genius

Easter Egg Wreath Tutorial • A Vision to Remember

DIY Stenciled Easter Sign • The Happy Scraps

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Springtime Chips • Mirlandra’s Kitchen

Weight Watchers Easter Recipes • Simple Nourished Living

Oreo Bunny Truffles • Key Lime Digital Designs

Easter Nest Rice Krispie Treats • The Things I Love Most

How to Make a Chocolate Nest • I Really Love Chocolate

Book Page Easter Egg Banner • Creations by Kara

Baymax Easter Eggs and Chalkboard Paint Easter Eggs • R & R Workshop

I love Easter! This Broccoli Ham Ring is one of my favorite things to make with our leftover Easter ham.


I always include these Brown Sugar Carrots as part of our Easter feast.


These amazing Cherry Cheesecake Bars would be a perfect Easter dessert.

cherry cheese bars

How do you celebrate Easter?

It’s Time that I Make Time for That

May 25, 2014 in Family Room


As I have noticed time marching lately, I have realized that I don’t always use the time I have in a way that I won’t regret. I can’t imagine looking back and wishing I had written one more  blog post or checked one more social status or even kept a cleaner home.

But I can imagine looking back and wishing I had made one more memory with my little cuties before they were grown and gone. Wishing I had done one more hard thing that taught me a great lesson and helped me grow. Wishing I had strengthened one more relationship that really mattered.

So in the spirit of making time for the things that really matter, here are the TOP 10 Most Important Ways to Spend My Time. Or… “It’s Time That I Make Time for That” Top 10:


♦ 1 ♦

Take every chance to hug and cuddle with the kiddos


No matter how much I think the whining and mess making will never end, I know one day I will look around and my house will be empty and my arms will ache to hold those little whiny mess makers. So while they are here now, I will ignore the whining and messes and cuddle up with those little cuties and get plenty of sticky kisses and grimy hugs — and love every second of it.

♦ 2 ♦

Make date night more than just a nice idea


Before we were Mr. & Mrs., we were the cutest little college couple in the history of college couples. Seriously. Random people in elevators and total strangers on campus would tell us what a cute couple we were. All the time. One of our secrets to being such a cute couple was that our relationship was so important to us. We moved schedules and changed plans to make time for each other.

Then we got married and thought “responsible adults” had to put everything else first. Over 16 years later we understand that our relationship really should come first, and we can move scheduled and change plans to make time for each other and still be “responsible adults.”

“I’m sorry, I have a previous commitment” is my new favorite phrase. I don’t have to explain myself or justify my reason for not committing to every demand on my time or obligation that is thrown at me. My family comes first. Period.

♦ 3 ♦

Fill my own bucket

dreamer silhouette

Do you ever feel that you put everyone else’s needs first and spend all of your time and energy for everyone else until you have nothing left for yourself? How can I help my family when I have nothing left to give? I have to take some time to do something for me, to grow as a person separate from my roles as wife and mother and chauffeur and cheerleader and chef and on and on…

So for me, I am finally going to learn how to take beautiful pictures with my fancy camera. I am going to write — really write — just because I love it. I am going to get outside and enjoy the beauty and majesty all around me. And I am going to find a way to prove to myself that I am still just as smart as I was before childbirth turned my brain to mush.

♦ 4 ♦

Be consistent even when it’s hard


We all have those things that we KNOW we should be doing, but it’s so hard to actually do them! For me the number one thing is piano lessons. Not to be braggy, but I really am a great pianist. So when I had kids I decided I would teach them all to play. Think of all the money we would save on piano lessons if I was their teacher!

I remember sitting in music class in 6th grade when my music teacher asked anyone who takes piano lessons to raise their hand. BUT, he said, if your mom is your piano teacher, that doesn’t count. I thought that was rude. My piano teacher was someone’s mother, and she was amazing!

I totally get it now. Beth started taking lessons when she was 4, and she’s on level 3 now. Yep, 11 years to get to level 3. Why is that? Because when you teach your kids — and only your kids — piano lessons get pushed aside for everything else that is going on. I am pretty sure there have been years when she has only had 2 lessons throughout the entire year.

When I taught piano lessons to other people’s kids, we always had our weekly lessons, but with my own kids, I am not nearly as consistent. Therefore, even though they can all play something, they really can’t play much of anything. That’s all going to change, baby, no matter how much kicking and screaming we have to deal with (even if I’m the one doing the kicking and screaming).

♦ 5 ♦

Yell to save a life; otherwise, keep my voice down


Our city library is located on the corner of Center and Main. Center is a lazy small town street with hardly any traffic, but Main St. really is the main road running through town and by far our busiest. One day a few years ago, we were coming out of the library. The car was parked on Main, and Chuck took off running straight for her side of the car, which was on the street side, not the sidewalk side.

So in my fierce mama voice reserved for life preservation, I yelled to her to stop. I got some of the dirtiest looks I have seen in awhile from people walking into the library who couldn’t believe I would dare yell at a child, but I didn’t care because I saved my baby girl’s life.

Unfortunately, there were times earlier that day when those looks may have been completely deserved, and that’s when I need to learn to keep my voice down. Yelling to “encourage” getting the chores done, stop the sibling squabbles, or keep the tired little kidlets in bed is not the right time to bring out the screaming banshee in me. So, life-saving yells are in. Non life-preserving yells are out.

♦ 6 ♦

Read one more story. Sing one more song. Give one more kiss.


Is bedtime really so vitally important that a few minutes are going to upset the delicate balance of life? They’re not going to be asking for *any* bedtime stories soon. They won’t want me to sing silly songs to them. They will think they’re too old and too cool for kisses. So while they are still asking for stories and songs and kisses, one more couldn’t hurt. In fact, one more is a great idea. And maybe one more after that.

♦ 7 ♦

Capture the magnificent and mundane moments


If the reason I take photos is to capture moments I want to remember forever, why not capture the everyday moments that I so often take for granted. I won’t always have little girls enjoying tea parties, having sleepovers in each other’s rooms giggling about nothing late into the night, or even all my young family together at the dinner table talking about the day. It’s fun to capture the special events, but I want to remember the non-events that I know will mean even more when they’re gone. I’m sure I won’t take a photo every day, but I will take photos more days than just holidays.

♦ 8 ♦

Be at the crossroads


I have noticed an amazing phenomenon in our house, and maybe you have seen the same thing in yours. Steve can walk through a room and everyone keeps on doing what they’re doing. They know he’s there, but it doesn’t disrupt their focus and they happily stick to the status quo. I can walk through the same room, and I get bombarded with “I want…” “I need…” “Mom, will you…”  Steve can find a quiet place to be alone. As soon as I follow him there to enjoy the quiet, the entire gang follows me.

Instead of being frustrated at the complete lack of solitude, I have decided to embrace the magnetic qualities of mother hood and put myself in the middle of everything. If I am in the middle of all the comings and goings in our home, then my girls will know I am there for them. If I make myself available for the small things, they will trust me to be there for the big things. If I listen to the trivial things, they will want to talk about the heavier things that really matter. If I put myself in the crossroads of our home, I will find myself in the crossroads of their lives.

♦ 9 ♦

Have more dancing days


Really great days in our family always seem to involve dancing — whether it’s the girls and I dancing to make the chores more bearable, Steve dancing me around the kitchen when he gets home from work, or the girls just being silly dancing for fun around the house. When we’re happy, we dance. We need more dancing, and more of the kind of days that make us want to dance.

♦ 10 ♦



I am a smiler. Well, maybe not as much as I used to be, but I want to be. It’s amazing how quickly a smile can change my whole outlook and attitude. I wholeheartedly believe in “fake it till you make it” when it comes to smiling. Even when I don’t feel like smiling — or maybe especially then — I am going to smile and let it work its magic in me. Even if I have to fake it at first, I know after awhile it will be the real deal. A smile is one of those things that you can give away and it keeps coming back to you. The more you give, the more you get.

What do you need to make some time for?


U-Pick Farms Tips and Tricks

May 20, 2014 in Out the Door

Happy National Pick Strawberries Day! Do you have ripe strawberries where you live? One of my very favorite things about summer is all of the fresh produce that is in season. yum! Do you know how to find a farm where you can pick your own???

strawberries on the vine


PickYourOwn.org is fabulous website I found when I was searching for you-pick farms near me. They don’t know who I am and I’m not getting any kind of compensation for this post. I just love this fabulous resource! There’s nothing better than fresh fruits and veggies you picked yourself.

PickYourOwn.org is a great place to find you-pick farms in any state and even some other countries.  Farms and orchards are listed by county and include the information you need to plan your visit: when they’re open (months, days, hours), what they grow, what kind of pesticides they use, where the farm is located, contact information, a website link if they have one, and often you can even find reviews from other patrons!


When you find a farm or orchard near you, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your visit.

♦ Call before you go ♦

Mother Nature doesn’t really follow our schedule, we have to follow hers. So you will want to call ahead of time to make sure the crop you’re hoping to pick is ready.

♦ Dress like a farmer ♦

Have you ever noticed that farmers tend to wear hats, good shoes, long sleeves and pants? There is a reason for that! You will want to protect yourself not only from too much sun but also from cuts and scrapes prickly vines and bushes and even bugs. You may even want to bring a pair of gloves.

♦ Bring containers ♦

Often the farm will have containers you can use to hold what you pick, but even if that’s true you will probably need containers to carry them home. Keep what you’re picking in mind when you choose your containers: shallow for berries, ice packs if it’s hot enough to welt your produce, etc.

♦ Know your crop ♦

Do you know how to tell if what you’re picking is ripe? If you’re not sure how to pick ripe produce, ask for help. In general, fruit and veggies will feel heavy for their size when they are ripe.

♦ Respect the farm ♦

You need to know and follow the farm’s rules. Every farm is different, but in general you should respect the farm. Stay in rows and don’t step on plants. If your kids know what

♦ Don’t go crazy ♦

Picking your own produce really is fun. So fun, in fact, that you can get a bit carried away and keep picking and picking. You need to know if your farm charges by the pound, container, or count and don’t end up walking out of there spending five times as much as you planned with more fruit and veggies than you can eat or preserve.

♦ Let your kids know what to expect ♦

This is just a great tip for anything you do with your kids. If you let them know what you expect, they will understand better how they need to behave and you will all be happier.

♦ Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! ♦

Definitely bring water to keep yourself hydrated. You may want to bring a snack, too. You probably won’t be allowed to snack on the fruit as you pick. You will need to have it weight so you can pay for it first.

Above all, have fun!

You can find more tips and tricks specific to each crop at PickYourOwn.org. Happy picking!

March Madness: Family Style

March 17, 2014 in Playroom

Are you a basketball fan? Truthfully, I never watch a single game unless someone gives us tickets. I would rather do just about anything than watch sports on TV, but I love to go to a game in person.

Steve, on the other hand, is a HUGE sports fan. When we coordinate the family calendar, he makes sure the important games are jotted down so we can plan around them. Which doesn’t always happen… but we try – because I’m an awesome wife.

Every year Steve brings home NCAA tournament brackets for us to fill out, and every year the girls protest louder and louder. “But Daaaadddd, it’s boooorrrriing!!!”

We’re totally awesome parents, so we just laugh and tell them to fill out their bracket. Joy actually cried about it tonight. Real tears. Streaming down her cheeks.

I’m telling you — Awesome. Parents.

So after the torture (who knew choosing a few random names on a piece of paper could be so traumatic???) we got to the fun part.

The prizes.

I don’t think we have ever played for good prizes before, and that’s probably why the girls hate it more and more every year. Why play a game with no incentive to win???

So just in case you need ideas for your own tournament family fun (doesn’t it sound like fun???) here’s our plan in 4 easy steps.

1. First, everyone has to choose their winners. And let me tell you, it’s hilarious to listen to a bunch of kiddos who don’t know or care a bit about college basketball fill out a tournament bracket.

Kid 1: “Villanova? I bet whoever named that team was hungry.”
Mom: “Why?”
Kid 1: “It sounds like vanilla!”
Kid 2: “Yeah, or a villain!”

Villanova was chosen as the champion twice in our family because it sounds delicious. Or sinister.

2. Next, figure out how you will score your brackets. We’re going with a very simple scoring system: 1 point for every victory. It doesn’t matter which round it’s in or if it’s an upset… just choosing the right winner gets you a point. If you choose the final champion, you get a bonus point.

3. Finally, decide what awesomeness the winners will win. We tried a new recipe for dinner that turned out pretty gross, so I think everyone was a bit hungry when we came up with the prizes. You’ll see…

First Four: Most correct picks in the First Four gets 4 regular candy bars.

South: Most correct pics in the South gets a movie date at the theater on the south end of town.

West: Most correct picks in the West gets a shopping trip to the Disney store (because it’s in Anaheim, of course).

East: Most correct picks in the East gets a pizza of their choice (because it’s in New York, and apparently that’s what my hungry kiddos know about New York).

Midwest: Most correct picks in the Midwest gets ribs at Texas Roadhouse. yum! I suppose they could choose something else if they wanted, but why would they? Have you had the ribs at Texas Roadhouse??? The. Best.

Sweet Sixteen: Most picks in the Sweet Sixteen gets a visit to the Sweet Tooth Fairy.

Final Four: Most picks in the Final Four gets a 4-part date: lunch, nickel arcade, ice cream, and then back home for a movie.

Championship Game: Must pick BOTH teams in the championship game to get a 2-layer cake. (When I win that one, I’m getting an ice cream cake. mmmm)

Champion Pick: Choose the champion to get a parade around the neighborhood. Of course, it will just be our family involved in the parade – the single float, the only spectators, and the ones throwing confetti and candy – but if any neighbors happen to be along the parade route, we’ll toss them some candy, too.

Most Points Overall: If you win the whole enchilada, you get to go out for enchiladas and bring home your very own carton of ice cream.

Least Points Overall: If you managed to pick the fewest winners, you get a trip to the dollar store for a single item.

4. Now Steve will watch the games, tell us who the winners are, and someone ends up with bragging rights… and probably a few extra pounds. Let the fun begin!

Is it just us, or do you make your kids play with you, too?

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