HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICKEY

Visiting the Mouse – Part 6

Part 6 Here we go!

Had to post today because it’s Mickey’s 90th Birthday!

We decided that we wouldn’t tell the kids until that morning and let them figure it out; the crafty girl in me was dying.  I was dropping hints like a crazy lady!

For dinner each night leading up to our departure I had to toss some Disney Magic into each meal.  Served rolls in our Mickey towel,  pizza the night before featured ears.

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For a few days leading up to our trip I started wearing all the Disney jewelry I owned.  and my mother-in-love and I split a pack of Jamberry Nails featuring Mickey and friends.  IMG_5556IMG_5559

I laid out my daughter’s clothes this week so she wore a sweater, that was knit by my grandmother for my brother some 25 years earlier.

The night before, I told them I got them new pj’s, that just happen to be covered in Mickey and Minnie, Shhhh.

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I had ordered sweatshirts ahead of time and we put them in them; in the wee hours of the am to keep them warm.  As my husband said, as we were in the shuttle to the airport, someone might blow up our spot, but no one did; I think they all enjoyed  playing along too.

We’re here! Let’s go, I’m so excited!  The older one still hasn’t figured it out 🙂

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Happy 90th Birthday Mickey Mouse.  Can’t wait to come visit you and your friends again soon!

Additional blog posts and more coming soon…

Part 1: Research & Booking 

Part 2: Time to Plan & Book your Fun

Bonus Section: Special Adventures

Part 3: Time to Shop things I purchased ahead of time…

Part 4 Time to pack/hunt; things I brought from home…

Part 5: Final Countdown

Part 7: Playing in the Park 

Part 8: Memories & Lessons Learned

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Thanksgiving Time

Gathering friends and family around a table for a break from the daily routine and grind is a welcome season in our house.  After 4th of July, Thanksgiving is my favorite.  Are you looking for simple ways to keep things festive, fun and stress free.  Start by deciding what type of Thanksgiving you are going to host a buffet or sit down.  Divide duties from there.  Everyone is usually happy to help so don’t feel bad for dividing up the work.  Our assignment last year was kid friendly place cards, the centerpiece, and some desserts.

Using toilet paper tubes we cut them in half and pulled out the construction paper.  Off we went to tracing hands.  The kids loved this part and since they have different sized hands they fit perfectly fanned out as feathers.   A little glue and a marker and we were done.

Center pieces don’t have to be crazy massive or over the top, unless you want to go that route.  I chose to go with a pre-arranged beautiful piece last year.  I was drawn to this arrangement because it was all in a cornucopia.  I realize that my monthly decorations are not as vast for Thanksgiving so I love items that can be repurposed for the next year.  This cornucopia could be saved and used again as a floral arrangement, or mantle piece.

Let’s talk culinary talent.  My mother-in-love found this butter made in the shape of a turkey.  Well above my pay grade and skill set. 

Let’s talk pie.  Each family has their own traditions when it comes to dessert.  We always have an apple and pumpkin, from there it just grows.  Favorites include maple walnut cake, pumpkin cheese cake, chocolate chiffon, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, and some turkey shaped sugar cookies.   Yum!

 

With less than a week til Thanksgiving what’s on your family’s dinner table that is unique or special?  Share below.

Visiting the Mouse – Part 5

Final Count Down You’ve made it you’re just a little bit away.  You’ve done so much good work, now you’re finally starting to get excited.   A few last things to put into place to make your trip easy breezy.

img_8104img_8105Strollers -Which would you rather roll in for the day?  Photo credit: Mom Endeavors. Kingdom Strollers worked out to be awesome for us.  I booked a city mini double.  It arrived clean, on-time and was great.  My 6 year old enjoys ridding and it was so much easier to just have both kids sitting safely when navigating crowded parks or late at night.  It was nice using the stroller from our hotel room door and back.  The park strollers have to be handed in prior to park departure where as we would keep ours as we stood in line for monorails, trams, and busses loaded with sleeping children.   The 2016 pricing for a double was $18 a day for Stroller Kingdom and $27 per day for the Disney stroller. (Note that if you keep your receipt and are using a park hopper you can show it at the next park and get another stroller.)  Also if your hotel is along the monorail you’ll never have to remove sleeping kids just roll them on and roll them off.  A note that if you have 3 cuties you might consider the Bob Stroller.  You can tuck a 3rd on top of the third wheel when all 3 start to fade on you.

We had a small insulated cooler, that came with stroller company’s rental; super helpful

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I placed an order for groceries from Orlando Grocery Express for room delivery… order at least 72hrs in advance. Use coupon from an order with Stroller Kingdom for free delivery.  Our order included…

  • Sandwich size Ziplock bags (ice for cooler, unfinished snacks & toys)
  • Diapers, if necessary
  • Wipes were so helpful for diaper changes and messy fingers/spills.
  • Individual peanut butter
  • 1 loaf of bread
  • 8 bananas
  • 1 package of granola bars- avoid chocolate they melt.

We would have ordered more but because we were up and out every day and back late we weren’t really hungry than.

I did bring peanut butter sandwiches, granola bars, bananas and random leftovers from previous meals into the park to ward off the 10:30 snack munchies.  I also spent the extra money on individual packaging because whatever wasn’t used I packed in my suitcase and brought home.

Each morning we would toss in some ice from the hotel ice machine into a ziplock and toss it in the soft cooler.  We would also load up our water bottles with ice to help keep things cold.

credit cardsCall your bank and credit card companies and put travel notices on your accounts.  Nothing more frustrating that arriving for a week of fun and being frozen out of your accounts.

Plan out any final details, who’s going to watch the dog?  How are you getting to the airport? Do you need a house sitter to grab your mail and water your plants?  Having your plan set, even if only in your head.  It will make your trip smoother and more enjoyable for all.

 

Additional blog posts and more coming soon…

Part 1: Research & Booking 

Part 2: Time to Plan & Book your Fun

Special Adventures

Part 3: Time to Shop things I purchased ahead of time…

Part 4 Time to pack/hunt; things I brought from home…

Part 6: Here We GO!

Part 7: Playing in the Park 

Part 8: Memories & Lessons Learned

In the Thick of School Days

I hear it often you’re so organized how do you contain all that school art work, parent letters and permission slips?  It’s no secret it’s a lot of work.  Welcome to October, you thought you had a handle on it and than you realize…

1. You’re new to this game

2. There is just so much

3. Now you’ve added another child

4. You’re overwhelmed

5. All of the above.

Just like a new calendar year; back to school time can be a chance to get ready for new routines, clean out new spaces and start again. I try to start in August with a clean slate and designating appropriate spaces, but sometime it takes me til October.   Designate a space in the garage or perhaps right inside the main door.  You know your family will dump their stuff might as well make it a functioning space.  

In our house it is time to prepare the space for those little ones to display their hard work.  We have the following area set up juts inside our garage door next to the kitchen for my kids and I to hang our favorite pieces of work.  I borrowed the ideas from 2 friends of mine.   The first from a military mom who knew all the good ones.  The two black frames are lil’ Divinci frames (don’t get the knock offs, not worth it)  They each open and can be hung in either direction or use the screw insert to make them table top frames.  The top glass is on a hinge and can open to add more pieces of art work.  Each frame holds 50 sheets.  I have one for each kid.  They come in two sizes so get what works best for you.  The second was from a crafty mama who ordered the wall decal for $5 from Amazon and added the string.  My kids can choose whatever they want to add here but in August it get cleared off.  (These frames made awesome Mother’s Day gifts for the grandmothers one year.)

This is where they display their favorites and it gets cleared each August. There are only a limited number of clothes pins so they have to learn about what really is worth hanging and what they will let get tossed. And I can Frame my favorite (one per kid) they are called lil Davinci frames. Each holds 50 sheets of art work. I figure when my kids stop with making all the art work I’ll still have my favorites to rotate them. Also we’re great grandma gifts but don’t get knock off springs aren’t as good for holding art


I also am a big fan of capturing their art work that won’t fit in these frame by snapping a picture and using one of the many apps or just a folder on my computer to store these special pieces.

I have series of command hooks inside our pantry closet.  The top hook is for school calendars, meal calendars and special rotations. I used sheet protectors and a key ring.  The second and third hooks are given one per kid.  This is a place where they keep homework, permission slips and important info for that week only

I have also seen this hanging organizer from Thirty One designs.  Again a nice place to have a command center, or family calendar.  Our family also operates off google calendars.  I gave each child when they were born a google email account and use the calendar feature.  So we have one for each kid, one for each adult and a family account which is nice for all the school emails, troop or sports club emails etc.  Each of these calendars is color coded and loads into the calendar feature on our phones.  It helps my husband and I communicate on where we or the kids will be as well as which location the kids are at.  I try to always include directions, notes, reminders on things to bring such as when we’re the snack family or it’s our turn to do carpool.  It looks overwhelming but is easy to sort by day, person, activity.  I would truly be lost without it as it’s in real time and can be pulled up anywhere.  googlecalendar-hero

Have a little fun preparing for school and enjoy the season of growing and learning.  Please share any ideas you use to make your morning and school year a little less crazy.

 

For more of my Back to school posts check out…

Back to School

Creating A Work Station

Car Hacks to make Life Easier

How much time do you spend in your car each week?  If the answer is too many than you’re like me.  Moving kids from school to sports and activities, as well as normal household duties and my own work; my car is my office.   Below are some tricks I use in my car to keep it clean, organized and functioning.

 

I have a mini carabiner on my keys and it is so helpful to just hook them on a buckle of my purse or to the outside strap of a bag.  It is time consuming if you’re always digging to the bottom of your bag to unlock the car.  I also love my pink key chain that holds all of my mini business cards thanks to moo.com.

 

Next time you’re out grab a few plastic straws and toss them in the glove box.  These come in handy as not to spill on your commute.  Never-mind being able to keep visual contact with the road instead of tipping one back to get the last sip.  If you want to go green feel free to join me in the straw free movement by using dishwasher safe reuse-able straws.  My Etsy store will soon carry adorable cases with some funky straws.

 

This one evolved over time.  I took a key ring and just leave my mostly highly used cards in the center console.  I don’t keep more than $20 on these gift cards, in case they were to be stollen, but it’s enough for munchkins for my munchkins and a coffee.  It also makes it easy to get my gas rewards without remembering my phone all the time.

 

Keeping it clean is hard with muddy feet in the backseat.  I found this awesome plastic protector to do just the trick.  Now they, won’t last forever but hopefully long enough for their legs to grow and not have their muddy little feet stick strait out.

I also use clothes pins to attach a small plastic bag for the little wrappers and trash that would otherwise get tossed around and end up in the impossible spots for retrieval.

 

Love this one.  Bought a car hook off Amazon for under $10. It was advertised to go on the back seats and hold your grocery bags up right. I use it in the front seat to keep my purse off the seat and eliminate the, ding, ding, ding put your seat belt on warning; because lets be honest I carry a BAB.   Don’t know what a BAB is ask any mom of small kids it’s a Big Ass Bag!

I will say it is super handy too when I have to reach for something in my BAB it’s much easier than reaching down.  When I do my craft deliveries I know the pretty packaging and product won’t get crushed by all of the other stuff I have.

 

This one came later as well.  I use to just toss a small fleece blanket in my trunk. Later I realized that too often I’d have to shake it out, and twice a year I’d be so grossed out I would have to wash it just to get the beach sand or winter dirt out.  I re-purposes a clear zipper plastic bag that originally contained a bed skirt. Plastic storage bags for blankets are now the way to go.  There is always a clean warm cozy blanks for our kids and it is quick to find in the trunk or under the seat.

 

Now those up north think it’s a bit overkill and those in the south think it’s a must have.  Honestly they are pretty cool and nice to have.  It totally does keep the car cooler.  It also saves the interior especially the dash from cracking , splitting and getting gross.  Think about how many hours your car sits in the beating heat. It is also nice with leather seats not to burn your buns or scald yourself with the hot buckle.

 

I also have small kids toys stashed in each of their doors with things that would keep them busy if we’ll be on the road a bit. It has saved me from WWIII in the back seat.

 

What tricks or hacks do you have in your car?  Summer beach season car hacks post will follow soon.  Drive friendly.

 

You’ve waited long enough…

My dear sweet friends and family, students and parents; You’ve waiting a long time for a good laugh and who am I to disappoint.   May is National Water Safety Month and all month long my little swimmers, during their classes, have been learning about ways to be safe, smart and a friend to mother nature when it comes to time around the water.

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Below is my 2005 attempt at poolside education with Gus & Goldie the spokes fish for the National Spa and Pool Institute.  That’s right I’m Goldie and my assistant was Gus.  We spent the morning on the pool deck passing out coloring books, stickers and posing for pictures.  Totally smiled for my first few photos.  We spent the afternoon curb side waving to honking cars.  Not a typical day in the office but where we spent the day laughing and not doing budgets and reports.  Gus & Goldie

After the success of Gus & Goldie; Josh the Baby Otter came into my life in 2008.  I got to rock this costume at a local safety event.  If you’re ever going to be a costume character make sure you have an “escort” so you’re not stuck in the costume the whole time.   Your escort can get you away when you’re melting on the inside.  Sometime being the escort is harder, you have to be the one talking, smiling and dealing the kids that freak out around costume characters.

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There is no shortage of kid friendly curriculums out there to help you broach the subject with your kids or students.  Some of my favorites include.

Josh the Baby Otter Click Here

American Red Cross’s Longfellow’s Whales Tales American Red Cross’s A Whales Tail

Gus & Goldie Gus and Goldie thanks to the El Paso, Texas Parks and Rec Dept.

Remember as we all gear up for a summer season of splashing poolside, at the beach or on the family boat, even the littlest swimmer can help in an emergency.  Ask your swim instructor to include some safety lessons and topics during class time.

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Some additional resources, and groups to help you prepare for a busy May.

National Water Safety Month Organization

World’s Largest Swim Lesson

 

Cookies on the Move. 

Looking for some ideas as you look to off load some Girl Scout cookies this season?  My daughter and I painted her lemonade stand changing it into a cookie booth for the season.  We had fun getting it ready and it was super cute when stocked with piles of cookies and adorable Girl Scouts from her troop outside the local markets. In addition to the cookie booths that she hosted with her troop we loaded our wagon and headed out to the streets to finish off the last of our stash.  Remember don’t underestimate the power of pig tails.  Cute scouts sell cookies!

 

For more posts about Girl Scout Cookies click below

The New Season

A Girl Scout Cookie Thank You

For how to build your own cookie booth click here