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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 PluckyMomo.blogspot.com. These were on tab for this year.  Small 2in bags and festive stamps from the dollar spot.

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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.

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

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

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

 

Visiting the Mouse – Part 4

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

You probaly have most of these items around your house already so there is no need to spend an additional small fortune on these items.  The key is to find them and set them aside in a designated place so you don’t forget them when it times to pack your bags.

You’ll need a good backpack (our son’s small LLBean one was good enough for the 4 of us.   We had to pull it out at every bus stop and bag check so pick a durable one.)

Large carabiner clip, like really large, mine is called Mommy’s helper it held 2 adult water bottles.

2 regular (2in) carabiner clips for attaching hats, hand sanitizer and kids water bottles to the stroller.

Mickey & Minnie ears (previously purchased).  I will say looking back the ears with the pretty veil was kinda cumbersome as they would blow around and get heavy on her little head and get in the way of certain rides.  Also you’re never to old for mouse ears so pack yours too.

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Time to have some fun pulling out any Disney themed jewelry you owned. It worked well because than my daughter was hunting for a new charm as her self-purchased souvenir.IMG_5556

Glow sticks, are super helpful for parade events, not getting your stroller tripped over as everyone leaves the fireworks display.

Water bottles for each person that could be clipped to stroller.  We used Nalgine as they did get bumped around every time we closed the stroller.  Make sure they are strong and close tightly.  You don’t want it to spill all over your autograph book.

Extra charger for cell phones and cameras.  Disney offers free wifi but, you use a lot of battery power snapping all those pictures and referencing the Disney App.

Pennies to toss in fountains- Disney than collects the pennies and gives them to a charity of the Cast’s choosing.  Don’t need a ton just a few.

Magnet to stick to hotel room door so we could quickly find ours and others traveling in our group.  Our dog passed away just a little bit ago so he’s become the private family signal.  I ordered this free from Shutterfly with a coupon.  Please don’t put a family photo on your door or pictures of your kids for safety reasons.  img_1017

Cup holder/sling came with stroller was very handy.  I also brought our own attachable one which was nice for the extra storage.IMG_5787

There are of course tons of other things that you can toss in your pile, just keep your eyes pealed as you move about your house.  I also use this method for my kids birthday parties.  Make a note to yourself to remember where you have hidden your stash.  🙂

 

Additional blog posts and more coming soon…

Part 1: Research & Booking 

Part 2: Time to Plan & Book your Fun

Bonus: 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: Playing in the Park 

Part 8: Memories & Lessons Learned