Visiting the Mouse

Part 1: Research & Booking your trip to Walt Disney World

In November 2016 our family went on  a trip to pay homage to the Mouse.  We planned an awesome 5 day 4 night trip for 2 adults, 2 kids (ages 6 & 2.5) 1 teen (age 17) and 2 grandparents (who well, could have been considered teens themselves; they went on so many rides).  This only represents our trip; there are tons of suggestions out there on the internet.

Have fun and enjoy the planning.  Do not let it overwhelm you, as it can easily, but enjoy talking to friends, family, hunting thru blogs and talking to the people behind you at the grocery store.  Everyone will have had a different trip, but take all the pieces and create your own.  I created a Pinterest board and my mother-in-love and I had a bit of fun pinning all the ideas, must dos, and suggestions to it.

Do your homework there are always packages out there.  We researched online at AAA and Disney direct.  We went with AAA cause they had better pricing.  We booked flights separately as we used our credit card points and frequent flyer miles.  If you book your flights separately be sure to give this information to your travel agent as they are able to link your itineraries together.  This will eliminate any gaps, or misinformation between your travel and your Disney experience.

You will only have access to booking the Disney meal plan when you book your room and tickets.  You can’t add it on later, so know if you want this option.  We took the meal plan and it worked well for us.  It’s a sit-down, quick service, and snack each day.  We had a small soft cooler and zip lock bags and squirreled away food that wasn’t eaten within the meal time for later.  Think college days in the mess hall.  All transactions are done thru your magic bands for meal plans and room charge purchases (i.e. bottle of wine at dinner, meals not covered in the Disney meal plan, souvenirs etc.)  Sometimes the meal plan is free depending the time of year you are booking.  If we had gone a week later they were offering it as a promotion.

There are never discounts on park tickets (only FL residents)  I’d say just get passes for every day.  Even if you spend a whole day at the hotel pool, you can go into the park for dinner and fireworks.  I think it would be hard to pick which day you’re doing fun in the sun poolside and not buy passes that far out without a weather report.  There is one park that is open late each night.  It rotates so grab a schedule and plan from there.  For us the Park Hopper was a must.  This additional charge isn’t cheap but allows you to go between parks within a single day.  We would go to one park for the day and than cross over to another for dinner and fireworks.

We booked our flight for early in the AM.  We left our house at 4am and arrived in MCO at 11:30am.  We were in our room at the hotel by 1pm.  We took advantage of the Disney Magic Express which is the free bus service from the airport to your hotel.  With this service your luggage is handled by airport employees and than Disney Cast members (they aren’t called staff or employees).  You won’t see it or have to pick it up in the airport upon arrival.  They do say it can take up to 3 hours from your arrival time to when your bags arrive in your room.  We chose to take naps and unpack taking time to get settled before we  hit the parks.  We had dinner early at our hotel at 5pm and went strait to the late night park for fastpass+ rides, character meetings, and fireworks.  Worked well for us.  It was a week day so the fireworks started at 9pm and we were back at the hotel and in bed by 10:30pm.  Where we all crashed.

Learn some fun facts about the time of year you’re planning.  Mickey Mouse’s Birthday is November 19, 1928.  What type of weather or crowds are expected?  What holiday will the park be decorated for?  If in November you can get an awesome Christmas card photo without a lot of work.  Arriving at the same time as Santa?  Ship your items already wrapped via Amazon or set up delivery for your hotel.  All deliveries are held at the luggage room so you don’t have to worry about little people walking in on them at the wrong time.

Remember this trip, if it’s your first time, can be overwhelming so seek help, support, and enjoy the process and excitement.  Happy planning and by the time you get home you’ll be in love with Mickey Mouse and planning when you can go back!

 

Blog posts coming soon…

Part 2: Time to Plan & Book your Fun

Special Adventures

Part 3: Time to Shop

Part 4: Packing & Hunting

Part 5: Here We GO!

Part 6: Playing in the Park

Part 7: Memories & Lessons Learned

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Best Teachers Hands Down

How do you thank the people who nurture, teach, inspire and love your child(ren) each day?  The end of the year gifts are always so special.

These are some of the ones I’ve put together and received over the years. Each is so unique.  My absolute favorite are the notes that are hand written with such care and love by students.

Helping Me Grow is so easy to make and and totally affordable. IMG_8704Use a terracotta pot I chose 2 sizes one for the Director and the 2 smaller ones for the supervisors.  I used a 6 inch pot and 4 inch pots.  Use a little yellow paint and a sharpie marker with a ruler to get good spacing and off you go.  Trace your little one’s hands and glue to Popsicle sticks, fill the planter with mints and a I tucked in a gift certificate to a local nail salon and bingo; adorable.   P.S. This is still on the Director’s desk filled with mints (new ones) 3 years later.

For those classroom teachers I grab something I hope that they will use and think of my kiddo.  A chiller cup and gift card to a local coffee shop.    Another trip through the coffee shop will take care of those bus drivers and monitors that wake up oh so early each day to meet your kid with a smile at the bus stop.  These gifts also work great for crossing guards if you’re a non-bus family.  Usually can’t go wrong with a good bottle of wine, especially if you can get a good spy to find out their favorite. But remember it’s best not to send this gift into school with your underage student.  A quick trip into the school office to tuck it in a mailbox is wise.  I found these and had to buy them, honestly I bought them in the summertime.  They screamed elementary teacher cute.  They are salt and pepper shakers 

What ideas do you have for your teachers this year?  Feel free to share below because there are about 18 years worth of teachers to buy for.

Why do I have a blog?

I was giving a gift that keeps on giving.  My grandfather who I admire immensely wrote short stories during his adult life.  Stories about people he worked with, people he meet, people he admired especially his family.  He wrote these stories and had them put into binders with pictures and all.  He graciously gifted these stories, all 5 binders 2inches a piece to each of his 5 grand children and his 2 children.  These binders have moved house to house, town to town, state to state and honestly collected dust.

My sister about a year ago took her to be spiral bound and said that they now sit on her coffee table, bedside table and elsewhere she’s likely to pick one up.  No story is longer than a few pages; so to sit for a moment and get lost in a time period when monthly rent was $1.75 and you walked to get where you needed to, go is special.  Christmas rolled around and I was jealous that she was enjoying her books and mine were collecting dust.  I requested that she have mine bound not an expensive items but one that took time.  She did and I have been enjoying them so much.  Escaping from my little New England town in Rhode Island to his little New England town in Massachusetts.

As I’ve been reading these books I realize why I enjoy writing this blog.  I’m not one for story telling and not one for keeping journals in a timely fashion; but I do want to leave my mark, even if it’s little.  I feel like these small snapshots into my wacky world and personality perhaps will one day be read by my kids and perhaps their kids.  They’ll look back on the memories that they help be a part of or were based around them.  Some glowing and some not.  They will look at the crafts and say I remember and perhaps try them with their kids.  They will go thru the piles of art work I’ve collected or made over the years and understand why it was so special to me.

So yes I enjoy my little blog with my few followers, but hopefully when they are older and past the hatting mom teen years, my favorite followers will be my kids.

A Pink & Green 1st Birthday Party

A first birthday is a BIG deal.  It’s a year full of first for your little cutie but it’s also a year full of first for the parents.  I like to call it a congratulations parent party.  Congratulations you made it, with a lack of sleep, new routines, and milestones galore.  That all being said celebrating my daughter’s 1st birthday was pretty special.  I was lost on a good party theme so we stuck with two colors that were fun, happy, and welcomed summer; pink and green.

Shout it from the roof tops my little lady is turning ONE.  My friend Julia at the blog A Little Bee Told Me made these adorable invitations.  All I said were the colors and that I wanted a picture of the birthday girl.  We had a bit of fun with a photo shoot and Julia took it from there. Hailey1bday_webOnce I had some basic details set it became a lot of fun.  I pulled all sorts of things that are fun when you’re one, toys and bubbles etc.

I set a special place for cake time, and remembered the background.   There will be tons of cameras clicking that day, having a neutral and nice backdrop will allow the focus to be on your little one.   These photos are bound to become a special part of your memories and scrapbooks.  IMG_0291

IMG_0269Time for CAKE!  Cake it’s the best part of a 1 year old’s birthday party.  Watching them potentially smash into that much sugar, as an adult, can be hysterical.  We had two little cakes as my husband was away at work; so we celebrated once when he was home and again with family.  He melted my heart by having flowers delivered to both my daughter and I that day.

 

IMG_0262Kids and balloons, can’t go wrong with fun decorations.  I also had pre-made a little frozen treat full of toys for our two pup friends to keep them busy on the warm day. Think of it as a puppy pinata.

I was exhausted after a busy day of fun and hosting.  It was amazing to be surrounded by the people that will make up my daughter’s “village”; cause lord knows I’ll need a village.

To see my son’s 1st birthday party with an UNO theme click here.

A Girl Scout Cookie Thank You

Now everyone loves a sweet little hostess gift. It doesn’t have to be anything big or elaborate and that is why my new go-to is a box of Girl Scout thanks-a-lot cookies.  A little bow and personal note and it’s ready to roll. On each order that left our house we made sure to include a thank you note.  I will say that this served two purposes.  One side was a thank you and cute photo of my kiddo. The other side was the count and total sheet for customers for easy reference.   It worked well for us as it had the number of boxes, amount due or paid and info on how to order more. Now to thank the saints that keep this whole thing rolling.  Each troop has a cookie Mom (or Dad) that keeps everyone and everything organized. These people  have a special place in heaven.  Not only do they keep it on time and collect the money they also anwser your texts, emails and your panicked phone calls.

My daughter and I collected empty cookie boxes and took them to our local print shop where they cut and bound the cover into small notepads.  Finally we had to thank everyone that bought, packed, donated, liked, shared or visited a booth. I did do a bit of social campaigning for my daughter as it’s the new wave. When all was said and done I posted a final shoutout… at least until next year. More posts about Girl Scout Cookies coming soon

The New Season-Cookies

Cookies on the Move

Dr. Seuss 

In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2nd.  Our play date this week took a wacky turn.  Spending a lot of time working with elementary school aged kids I’ve found that Dr. Seuss is a language that everyone understands and finds humor in.

With Dr. Seuss it’s all about the books.  Here are a few of my favorite ones.  I based the day off of some of his classics.

 We had to include a craft with our play date, cause they are a quick and easy way for the kids to have a focus.  I chose to use the book The Lorax.  These crafts came out so cute.  I had pre-cut the orange tissue paper to help little fingers.

 

In honor of the book Bartholomew and the Oobleck, we had to make some oobleck.  We got messy and loved taking them home.  We used the following supplies and this recipe thanks to Sugar, Spice and Glitter.

I started to have a bit of fun in making a Dr. Suess themed photo booth.   I took an old picture mat and glued some paint stirring sticks on the back to give it strength and make it not to heavy for the little hands to hold up.  I put out all sorts of wacky props, books, boas etc.  I placed the real camera on a tripod to make it stable and less likely to get dropped.  I also placed toy cameras so the littlest of fingers could have fun snapping pictures too.

 Check out these cuties as they pose in the photo booth.  IMG_9561.JPGTime to fill those after school bellies with fun snacks.  Each book paired up with a special food.   A yummy ham and yellow pea soup.  
We all had so much fun and it was a great way to honor such a talented man who bring so much joy to myself and my kids.

Any Excuse to wear PJs

Who doesn’t love PJs? We sure do. During school vacation week we decided to host a pj party play date. We invited some friends over required pj’s for both moms and kids and had ourselves a blast.We served a backwards dinner, cause well life is short, eat dessert first.  We served bowls of popcorn and than allowed kiddos to add their favorite candy, sprinkles, and yummies.

All the kids donned their pjs climbed into sleeping bags, a huge piles of pillows and blankets. We filled their bellies with popcorn while watching a movie. Us mommies sipped some “mommy juice”.  Dinner was served and we munched on breakfast for dinner, always a big hit, in our family; eggs, pancakes and muffins.  I had made a new crockpot breakfast recipe I’ve been dying to try.  It was delicious and I found it here thanks to A Latte with Ott A.It was a good time and the perfect way to mix up a regular play date during vacation week.  Mommy’s favorite part was everyone was almost ready for bed when they got home.