Visiting the Mouse – Part 8

Part 8: Memories & Lessons Learned

5 days was tons of fun and we felt that we got a lot done. It was agreed that it would have been nice to extend and get a true pool day.  We did make use of the pool but it was limited to quick swims and the am before departure.


The magic bands are adjustable for adult and kid. but only one time.  My husband ended up wearing our toddler’s on his belt loop cause we made it kid size but he would play and chew on it.  Should have left it adult size.

I brought my big camera but never pulled it out of my backpack I used my phone and the Disney photo maker package.  I carried my phone with $10 cash and my ID in a cross body small purse.  PS ended up using zip tie to hold it together broke the strap on day one.

Bathing Suits:  If your kids are naturally drawn to water like mine toss in a bathing suit.  It is nice to have some down time at your hotel pool and for those rides you’ll get soaked in.  Ladies just remember that for the rides you are not permitted to wear just a bathing suit.  We had one incident where my daughter got all the way up to the front of the line, past 4 cast members, only to be told that she had to go get a shirt for on top of her bathing suit.  Rash guards and suit shorts work best with flip flops or crocs of some kind.

Notes: The refillable cups weren’t worth it to us because we’re not soda drinkers.  And they can only be used at the resort not in the parks. Next time we would only get one drink package for my husband’s am coffee.   These might come with the meal plan option or as part of a promotion, so check it out while booking.

Water refills:  We would fill our water bottle at every breakfast with water and ice.  We learned on the second meal that you can march up to any counter service and ask for ice water they have them all prepped; don’t wait in line.  Grab 2 per person and refill you water bottles too.


Trading pins. I will say our first trade happen when I was wearing my daughter’s lanyard as she had just come out of Bippity Boppity Boutique.   An older man approached me and asked if I wanted to trade.  I think if she was wearing it he would have been turned off but she traded and he nicely explained how it all works.  From that moment in she was hooked and not afraid to approach anyone. P.S. this man was a serious pin collector, I hand no idea it could be so intense.  He had a special case and not one but 3 of them where he’d pull cork boards out like they were baseball cards.  I am glad we had some extra backs too as we did catch one or two and there would have been tears if it was lost.


In the autograph book have the characters sign every other page and once you get home print a picture of them with the character. We did not fill our book so we will surely take it again the next time. It will be fun to see how the kids grow on each trip.  Disney fun fact:  Characters have to practice the autography so they all look similar park to park and year to year.

It was a wonderful and busy trip.  Truly a place where dreams are made and the magic is all around you including the below… all tuckered out and seeing Cinderella’s Castle for the first time = our magic moments.

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 6: Here We Go! 

Part 7: Visiting the Mouse 

Part 8: Memories & Lessons Learned

Mermaid Birthday Party

Welcome mermaids and mermen to ye little ladies 6th birthday party.  Use the chart and small box of treasure to help guide your way thru a day of birthday celebrations. IMG_9888

In our house mermaids are no joking matter.  Being so close to the water and having a soft spot in our hearts for Ariel the Little Mermaid it was a pretty easy theme to decorate the house with for my daughter’s 6th birthday.  IMG_9878

I love food with a good pun for the name or if I can jazz it up for something else. Seaweed grapes, Gold fish, Pirate Booty & Swedish Fish. Time for some drinks with Ocean water for the kids and Dark n’ Stormy for the big kids

Cake was tons of fun.  I was really into truffles at the time and this one was perfect.  Some sand made with with crushed vanilla cookies, blue cake with blue pudding and top it off with chocolate seashells.  IMG_9890

Each mermaid guest went home with one of these sweet dinglehoppers hair bows as part of their party favor.  They were easy to make and I did them all in about 2 hours.  Some basic stitches and threading of beads and they were ready.


Sun a fun day in the sun being where the people are celebrating my little lady turning 6!


Good Morning Kids I’m your teacher… Mom

I once wrote a post about creating a kids work station and allowing kids to have a space of their own to learn and create.  I listed a tutorial on making a work caddy from soup cans, paint and ribbon.  That was 2017.  Now in March of 2020 our world is very different.  As many Americans follow the lead from other countries we embark on a new frontier of homeschool/ distant or online learning; myself included.

Tomorrow begins un-chartered waters for the Dunn kids and their parents.   Learning 4th grade and Kinder from afar and for their parents working full time and teaching Pre-K all under one roof.

Things I’m learning as we travel these new waters.  First thing first, be kind to yourself, give yourself grace.  The teachers don’t know how to do this either.  Very few people come to this point in our lifetime with online teaching and learning as a skill in their wheelhouse of knowhow.  Last week our school district took the time to gather themselves and create their plan, and I appreciate that.  It took this mama about a week to go thru the stages of grief that my kids would not be able to hop on the school bus Monday morning.  Here we are Sunday night a week later and I am feeling much better about the whole situation.

I have followed many friends on social media posting pictures of their grand set ups, schedules, routines, workouts and behavior charts.  I’m sure I’ll get there too,  but for now it overwhelms me.  All of the suggestions for zoo tours, virtual hikes at the park, art classes, PE classes and challenges. etc.  Honestly I’ve had to just log off at different points in the day; it’s too much.  As our school district did; we too, as a family, took the week to sort ourselves out.  We tried a few structured things each day.  We practiced logging onto apps and websites in preparation of our new normal.  I have learned that it is especially hard with a non-reader; sure he can do sight words but that doesn’t help logging in and getting set up on the computer or when we have reading time.

I’ve been working this week on creating our own schedule, routine and options.  I intend to share them all over the coming weeks so my Pre-K students their families and my friends and follows can take what is useful to them.  I broke them into categories:

  • Studies -like the traditional Math and Language
  • Electives – Spanish Cooking, Sewing or Music.
  • Chores – You live here you have to help clean it
  • Activities – Legos, Play dough or drawing with chalk.
  • Recess – Bikes, soccer, hiking or tennis; get your butt outside while we still can!
  • After school Programs – Religious Ed, Dance Classes and Scout programs.
  • Free Choice- Facetime with friends, pen pal, mani/pedi.

Even if my kids don’t become #1 in their classes during this time of online learning I am okay with that.  We are blessed and I am very thankful we have a house, with a backyard and food in our fridge… and toilet paper in the cabinet.

Good luck to all those moms, dads, caretakers and teachers out there.  It will be an adventure like no other.

PS. My heart goes out to all your Seniors as your memories will differ from the ones you were lead to believe you’d get.  Also sincere thank you to people working on the front line to help and fight this fight.



Creating a Kids Workstation

Sleeping Beauty a 4th Birthday Party

Most every 4 year old dreams of being a princess, and mine was no exception.  “A dream is a wish your heart makes” according to Cinderella but sometime those dreams can become a reality when your godmother is a party planner and your mom is willing to throw in some fairy dust.

Thanks to our friend Julia at A Little Bee Told Me, invitations were fit for royalty.

Where shall a princess and her friends play?  But in a bouncy house castle of course.  Having a birthday in May and a yard with lots of green grass allowed for us to spread out and fill the yard with fun.  Every year we cross our fingers for good weather and just as a princess wants our princess got a beautiful warm and sunny day. 

*I just love this picture the princess and the king giggling over static hair.

We had just moved into our new house and with such sparse amounts of  furniture; it worked out making the perfect space for a royal banquet table on our screened porch.  Accented with pink and yellow everyone dined on pizza and anything with individual packages.  Juice bottles that had sleeping beauty tops were available for all.  Wooden pink pails were filled with applesauce, fruit snacks, and yogurt tubes.   Wooden pails are available for purchase thru my Etsy store.  The pink ones are now used in her room for holding, hair elastics, jewelry and personal care items.  Click here for shop listing. 

The birthday girl requested cup cakes for her friends and I was happy to oblige, again individual packaging.  Moms love individual packages for 4 year olds; it’s easy they are less likely to spill it and they won’t take one bite and ditch a whole plate full.  The beautiful cake for the family party was made by Mad Hatter Bakery, and cookies shaped like the number 4 were made by my mom.


Another parent favorite is leaving presents for after the party goes have headed home.  At this age they are often distracted by one really cool gift and everyone else is left watching their wrapped gift just sit and wait.  Also sometimes feeling of friends can be hurt if their gift wasn’t their favorite.   We always try to ask if there is a gift that the giver would like to see them open for example grandparents, or guests from out of town.  If you choose to wait they can be opened later that day or even all week long allowing you to know who each was from, and enjoy the gifts as they are opened.

IMG_6642Each royal guest decorated a pillowcase with fabric markers and puff paint.  We did our craft at the beginning of the party and hung them to dry; so by the end they were safe to take home.

A dream come true to all and a special little girl that will embrace being the magical age of 4.  Let’s stop here little girl and not grow up anymore.  love, Mom.



Visiting the Mouse – Part 7

Part 7: Playing in the Park

What fun and busy days we had.  We aimed to be at the park for opening each day and earlier, as we were, on property guests.  Most days we made it; some days it just wasn’t in the cards and we were there shortly after the gates opened.  Still each day was packed with all the fun the Mouse could offer.


MAGIC KINGDOM:  So magical.  Nothing beats the look on your daughter’s face when she sees Cinderella’s Castle for the first time.  I’m so happy I had read, to make sure I position myself to capture this picture

EPCOT: Never disappoints.  It was the Food and Wine Festival when we were there and it made even the adults smile ear to ear.  Still one of my favorite fireworks displays.



HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS:  Rides, rides, rides.  This is where my favorite rides are.  The older I get the more I LOVE real rollercoasters.  The Aerosmith one is a blast!



ANIMAL KINGDOM was tons of fun for the older kiddo who enjoyed the Wilderness Explorers hunt.  We grabbed a book at the front and used it all day long.


DISNEY SPRINGS:  The girls split off from the guys for an afternoon at Bippity Boppity Boutique at Disney Springs.  I’ve heard that both locations are great; the one at Cinderella’s Castle is harder to get into, but as first time visitors we had a great time.  We than caught up with our guys for dinner at Disney Springs for an unforgettable evening at Gloria Estefan restaurant called Bongos Cuban Cafe.  One of the dancers took a liking to my daughter and would come get her every 20 minutes and get her a front row seat to the show and even let her lead the conga line.  The service was on point.  Note: if you want to talk to those in your party ask for seating outside otherwise enjoy the show.



We poured our kids into bed every night but every moment was worth it.  We had very few melt downs as we aimed to be prepared for the crash.  Our double stroller saved us on more than on occasion when they just needed to crawl in and fall asleep while we waited in lines.


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 6: Here We Go! 

Part 8: Memories & Lessons Learned

Kid’s Valentines

Let’s get cute and creative.  A small gesture of love, friendship and kindness are what valentines mean to me, if you get them in the mail or at school.  School valentines can be simple and sweet.  I’m a big fan of non candy ones cause well my kids are still working on candy from halloween.

Most schools request that the valentines be non student specific, and if candy it be store bought in packages so parents can make the call on whether or not to allow their kiddo to have it.  We always goes with a blanket message of “To my friend” “from…” Which than allows each kid to write their own name.  It is a great assignment for those pre-school students and those need the extra practice on fine motor skills and writing.

These are some of the ones I’ve done over the years.

These cute little heart containers were easy to find at our local grocery store and 3in bags did the trick.  Click here for the free printable heart beat tags. There are two kinds one for friends and one for teachers.


Bouncy ball were tons of fun and the colors made them super appealing.  The practice cutting and writing was great for my little one.  Creating Really Awesome Fun Things really came thru for me with the free printable.


This was last year; as according to second graders click pencils were so much cooler.  A printer, some washi tape and we were done.  For the free printable click Heart Beat Pencil Tags


Also thanks to These were on tab for this year.  Small 2in bags and festive stamps from the dollar spot.

Stamps 2.jpg

As I look back I realize we have done tons.  Look for a second post with more ideas.  Feel free to share what easy and fun ideas you do for your valentine.


Click here for more Valentine’s Day ideas.


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.


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.


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 🙂


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