My Life

Tips for Traveling to Disneyworld with a Toddler

Posted by on Jun 5, 2015 in Family, Mom tips, My Life | 1 comment

I have to admit, I was both super excited and kind of nervous about taking my toddler to Disneyworld. My husband, my mom and I planned a trip there for my son’s second birthday (after our first trip got cancelled, but that’s another story), and we had an excellent trip.

First things first, to save my sanity and keep my expectations in check, I really made the goal of the trip to just have a leisurely, relaxing, fun time doing whatever my little guy wanted to do. This didn’t have to be the all out, non-stop trip it can be when he is a little older and appreciates every detail more. That being said, it was 100% worth it to go as he loved it! At first my husband was a little skeptical if he was old enough to appreciate it, but he definitely was. For this trip I really made my objective just to introduce him to the world of Disney, so we didn’t have to hit every single ride and attraction, didn’t need to feel rushed, and could make an easier decision on what to hit and what to skip. Maybe not everyone is as crazy of a planner and traveler as I am, but I point this out because since he is so little (and frankly this trip will be something I remember much more than he does), I didn’t want to be disappointed we wasted money on stuff he didn’t get into or that we didn’t “do enough.”

That all being said, I learned a lot from friends before I went and had several things that helped me prepare in advance. Here are my tips for traveling to Disneyworld with a toddler, but a lot of these apply to Disneyland and even Universal Studios, too!

tips for traveling to disneyworld

Pack your own snacks. 

Disney prices for snacks (that’s lets face it, your kid may just throw on the ground) can be a bit overpriced, so before you leave, stock up on favorites like fruit snacks, granola bars, goldfish, applesauce pouches, etc. If nothing else, you may eat them yourself! Plus sometimes hunger hits while you’re waiting in line so having plenty as a back up is a lifesaver. That goes for a water bottle too! Don’t forget you need to hydrate.

Get Fast Passes and Rider Switch Passes 

If you stay in a Disney resort you can sign up for three passes per day per person so you can skip a long line for a shorter one (I believe this only applies at Disneyworld, not Disneyland, but I could be wrong). If the wait time is 60 minutes, the Fast Pass wait line may only be 20 and when you’re traveling with a toddler, skipping that wait is vital. They also have a rider switch option so if you have a child that is too small to ride on the ride, you simply go up at your fast pass time with your kid with you, then they’ll give you a ticket or a badge so that you can swap out and ride again. For instance since we had myself, my mom and husband, we would all go up to the entrance with my son, they would give us a ticket, and one of us would stay with my toddler. The other two would ride, get off and then the person who stayed out would go with one of us that already went. You need three people old enough to go (so invite Grandma and Grandpa or Auntie), but at least that way you can experience rides together still.

tips for traveling to disneyworld

Stay in a Disney Resort for convenience. 

You might think staying in the park would be pricey, but it was a great value and convenience for us with a toddler and less expensive than I would have thought. 1) We got Fast Passes which saved us time so we got to do more with a child with a small attention span. 2) We got shuttled to and from parks so we didn’t have to hassle with where we were going, didn’t need to rent a car (more savings!), and didn’t have to haul his car seat on the plane across the country. 3) It was really extra magical! For us, since we traveled in the off season it only ended up being $95/night most nights we were there, which I thought was totally reasonable, especially since we didn’t need a rental car.

tips for traveling to disneyworld

Pack layers! 

I didn’t do the best at this because I thought it would be warmer in Florida in February, but you forget that you’re not just out in the high temps of the day, but also the chilly morning and night. Brrrr! It got cold. Think of the time of year and bring light/heavy clothing and blankets with that in mind. Even in the summer you may want layers since being in the AC when you’re wearing shorts and a tank top can get chilly too.

Bring a carrier. 

Even though my son is two and likes to walk or ride in his stroller most of the time, I was really happy to have my sling to pop him on my hip while we were in line. There’s a spot for stroller parking by most rides, so carrying your kid in line can get heavy and putting them down and expecting them to stay by you isn’t always realistic either, so that helps. Which brings me to…

Don’t be afraid of the toddler leash. 

I’m going to be totally honest — before I had kids I judged parents with children on leashes. I said I would never be one. My child would learn to stay by me. Ha! Well, he is pretty good, but at a big place like Disneyworld I didn’t want to risk it and I’m sooo glad I didn’t. He actually (mostly) liked wearing a big boy backpack and the leash part just helped keep him by us in line or while walking. We got the Skiphop bee backpack which has a detachable leash and also has a handle up top so even if I tucked in the leash part, I could grab it up top to keep him by me. THIS IS ESSENTIAL.

tips for traveling to disneyworld

Buy souvenirs in advance.

That may sound weird because that’s the opposite of a souvenir, right? You can still get a thing or two there, but if you buy Disney shirts, toys, etc outside the park it’s so much cheaper for essentially the same or similar stuff and your kid won’t really know the difference. I bought my son Mickey Mouse shirts to wear while we were there for $6 and $7 at Ross and Amazon (compared to similar ones there for $25+) and a stuffed animal for $8 versus $30 in the park. I just gave it to him at opportune moments and he had no idea where it came from. There still may be stuff you want specific to your trip, but you can save by thinking ahead what your kids may want and buy the more special stuff you can only find in the park.

 

tips for traveling to disneyworld

Plan to have stroller naps. 

I wasn’t really sure how naps would work out, but my son was great sleeping in his stroller. Unless you know your kid will really not tolerate sleeping there, make sleeping in the stroller on the go your plan. We planned our best so we wouldn’t be transferring on the shuttle between parks during naptime (they have to get out of the stroller on the shuttle), but otherwise he was so exhausted from all the fun he just conked out.

tips for traveling to disneyworld

Have a plan, but be flexible. 

I feel like that’s sort of the motto of most parents with toddlers, but it’s most definitely true for a trip to Disneyworld. I think with Disneyland you can sort of just go with the flow, but Disneyworld is so big with its four parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot) you need to decide what is your priority, what days you want to hit what, and time out your Fast Passes and which rides you want to hit at naptime versus when your kid is awake. That way you can make the most of your time. You obviously still have to go with the flow and not have crazy expectations you’ll hit it all because with a toddler in tow, because that just isn’t going to happen.

Prioritize your favorite rides and parks. 

Since my son is 2, Magic Kingdom was his favorite, but all the parks offered stuff exciting for his age. His favorite rides from each were the following (though we didn’t hit everything available):

Magic Kingdom: Flying Dumbos, Winnie the Pooh, Prince Charming Carousel, Mickey’s Philharmagic, Aladdin’s Flying Carpet, It’s a Small World, and Peter Pan. Also the fireworks show is an obvious favorite, but if you have more than one night there, I suggest doing one night in the front of the castle with the huge crowd, and another night over by the carousel behind the castle. That’s the spot in between the places they shoot them off, so not only is it fairly deserted, it also is super cool to be surrounded by fireworks in every direction of you!

Animal Kingdom: Petting zoo, Flying Triceratops, the Lion King show, and the animals on the Tree of Life. And from an adult perspective, don’t miss Expedition Everest! That’s worth the Fast Pass wait.

tips for traveling to disneyworld epcotEpcot: The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Finding Nemo Aquarium, Journey into Imagination with Figment (which took me right back to the early 90s…ha), and the Gran Fiesta Tour. The World Showcase is also great as it basically takes you through mini representations of countries all over the world showing off cultural features condensed into a little area and it’s a pretty walk. I highly recommend the crepes and gelato over by France and Italy!

Hollywood Studios: Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure (which I actually remember playing on as a kid!), Toy Story Midway Mania, and Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Also I have to say I think this probably had the least in terms of stuff for my 2-year-old, but it also probably had the most characters wandering around the park which made it easier to get pictures and meet and greets.

Overall, really just focus on letting your little one(s) enjoy the trip and don’t stress hitting it all. Seeing them take in the magic is so fun!

 

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The Cutest Toddler Leggings from Fancy Frogz

Posted by on May 15, 2015 in Mom tips, Reviews | 0 comments

Toddler arrow leggings

So I’m all about the printed leggings trend for toddlers, and as a boy mom I think it can be especially hard to find cute clothing that isn’t only focused on trucks or puppy dogs. When I first saw the leggings at Fancy Frogz I fell in love! From foxes clad in glasses to wild horses, their designs are simply adorable. I’m a graphic designer myself and I can be kind of particular in that realm, so that’s saying something.

The owner, Carola, is super sweet and I love supporting fellow mompreneurs. She shipped me off some leggings which arrived to me super fast. When I got them I was so impressed by the quality! The fabric is a soft, stretchy organic cotton which even held up to my son rough playing in them (much to mommy’s dismay since I didn’t want him to ruin them…boys!).

I love these arrows because they are so versatile to match lots of different things. So far I have paired these with basic tees and some of the tees I have made using vinyl designs from my Etsy shop. Adorbs!

fancyfrogz3

toddler arrow leggings

fancyfrogz4

What’s also great — they are perfect to wear for those evening parties since not only are they adorable and comfy, they could transition into jammies if your kiddo falls asleep on the drive home like my little guy always does. He wore them to a barbecue at my friend’s house the other night, and not only did we get many a compliment on them, but when it was time to go, I didn’t even worry about changing him before we left!

cute toddler outfit

ALSO she has a 20% off coupon THANKS20 running right now through June, so hurry on over and get your own! You can find them here.

Note: I did receive free product for this review, but my thoughts are my own.

 

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Baby’s First Year | Month-by-Month Photos

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Mom tips, My Life | 0 comments

I’m just getting around to blogging Zach’s first year of baby photos. What?! I know, he’s two. But looking back now on how much he changed that first year is just so crazy. And, let’s be honest, makes me a tiny bit baby hungry. Just a tiny bit. Probably because I forgot how hard it was — motherhood is good like that.

Anyway, I had a lot of different ideas for his first year photos, but I decided to do one with both of us and cute little notes on how much he was growing and what new he was developing, mostly for my own memory! Plus it was fun to share with friends and family each month to get an update on my little guy. I also put a Sticky Bellies month by month stickers on him, and was really grateful to have been holding him for these toward the second half of  he year since he always wanted to roll away and take the sticker off otherwise! Ha!

Baby's First Year Month by Month photos

Looking at them all together is so fun, and I’m sure it will be fun to compare his development with his future sibling’s later down the road. My Zachy is just too cute!

For more ideas, check out my bestie’s blog with more ideas for documenting baby’s first year.

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Tips for Busy People Cooking at Home

Posted by on Apr 14, 2015 in Household Tips, Mom tips | 0 comments

I love cooking. I really do, but after a long day at work, taking care of my toddler, dog and household, sometimes working out, running errands and/or [insert a billion other things that take over my life] it’s hard to make myself cook. I get tempted, and too often give in, to grabbing take out or something easy. Now if someone who loves cooking is feeling that, certainly those of you on the edge probably give in too. 

That being said, I have figured out a few things that actually help me to make better decisions and make food at home, often healthy meals and very often fast and easy! 

 tips for busy people cooking at home  

1. Do bulk cutting ahead of time. I’ve started to make it a habit to buy a 10-pack or so of chicken breast and chop it all up on the weekend, store in little freezer bags (1 breast per bag), and put in my freezer. I have found between the ick factor and the inconvenience of needing to wash a knife and cutting board, that is one of the biggest holdbacks from making myself cook. Plus having little baggies of chicken breast allows me to grab just what I need for my recipe and without any mess. 

2. Cut up foods over time. When I am already cooking with fresh produce, I chop up a little extra and store it in te freezer. Sort of the same concept as above, but this time it’s just when I have extra or if something is about to go bad. For instance if I am cooking with half an onion or half a zucchini, I’ll cut up the whole thing, use half for what I’m making and toss the other half in a freezer bag. Then when it’s time for dinner I can just open them up and bake, sauté or whatever. 

3. Double up slow cooker recipes. When you’re lazy, slow cooker meals are your friend! There’s nothing better than walking into your house after a busy day to discover your house smells amazing and dinner is ready. Yes! So when I prep a slow cooker meal, I’ll chop up double, add half in my crock pot, half in a freezer bag. I’ll hold off on liquid ingredients and such, but all the veggies and sometimes even mean depending on the recipe can go in ready for an extra lazy day when you’re in need. 

4. Grab healthy premade meals. I try to stay away from foods that have a crazy amount of preservatives and all that, but having a few easy to throw together meals will really help you stay in. One of my favorites is the frozen bag of teriyaki chicken from Trader Joe’s. One bag comes with two packets of sauce so you can split it up or make it all. I just make it all and add in some frozen stir fry veggies and then take the leftovers for work the next day. Voila! 

5. Grab pre-prepared produce. Okay, I’ll be honest, I’m kind of cheap in this realm because I hate paying for someone else to cut up my produce when I’m perfectly capable of doing it myself and paying half the price. It bugs. But here’s the thing, if instead I decide I’m too lazy to actually follow through I have rotten produce, wasted money, aaaand even more waste goes to me eating out. Nobody wins with that. I have learned there are a few staples I like to have so I actually eat what I buy. For instance, I love grabbing pre-made chopped salads that come with the toppings and dressing. I split those in two, sometimes add lunchmeat or chicken on top, and my hubby and I will each take one to work. Or I’ll grab broccoli slaw for an easy side salad. Fruits I try to mostly stick with ones I can eat without too much work cutting like strawberries, grapes and bananas. I’ll still grab plenty of others, but having a few easy, go-to meals allows me to hit my goals of saving money and eating healthy. 

What foods help you stay in? 

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Two Year Old Easter Basket

Posted by on Apr 4, 2015 in Mom tips, Motherhood | 6 comments

Happy Easter lovelies! I can’t believe how fast this year is already flying and there’s something about holidays that just reminds me of that. I meant to share this earlier in the week, but I was going non-stop! Better late than never.

I love Easter, and now that I have a little one to celebrate with, it makes it even more bright and fun. This is his third Easter, but as he is just barely two, this is the first one that he is really getting into the magic of the Easter bunny, the egg hunting, and all that.

easter egg hunt in water

We did a super fun Easter egg dive yesterday where we came home with a huge bag of candy, which honestly I think might go in the trash… Well after I pick out the chocolate maybe. But either way, the last thing we need is a ton more sweets or toys around here, so I tried to keep it fun, but practical for his Easter basket this year.

Here’s what I put in his basket. Pretty reasonably priced too!

easter basket ideas

1. Keychain kite: these are so cool! I snagged this one off of KidSteals.com and I can’t wait to see what he thinks. I know he will love the doggy and it’s perfect that it’s just his size!

2. Sandra Boynton Bunny Rabbit Show: I love Boynton Books and so does Zach, so obviously this one is perfect for Easter. So cute!

3. A bathtime book: this is too cute to go in the bath and even squirts!

4. Finger paints: thank you Dollar Tree! This is obvious fun for a two year old.

5. Lindt chocolate bunny: okay so here’s where I splurged. I could have gone for the $2 Hershey’s bunny, but frankly, mommy will need to have some of this one so I went for my fave.

6. Custom iron on vinyl “Word to your mother” tee: I just started selling these in my Etsy shop! I’m making lots more designs coming soon, and can even take custom orders.

7. Thomas the Train and Cars socks: this is one of the most practical, and yet I know he will totally love them. And score from the dollar section at Target!

8. M&M egg: my monkey really isn’t into most sweets (I know, weird). He is more of a fine dark chocolate kind of guy…yes he is two. Anyway, but he does love M&Ms and I wanted an egg in there since I honestly think he will like that even more than the chocolate.

Hope you all have a wonderful day with your families!

 

2-year-old easter basket

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10 Steps to Surviving Toddler Tantrums 

Posted by on Mar 5, 2015 in Mom tips, Motherhood | 0 comments

Ahhh the terrible twos. What a wonderful time…uh not! What the hell happened to my sweet little baby boy? I mean okay, he still is sweet, but MAN can he throw a tantrum. And these days he is very very deliberately, and mischievously disobedient. Yes, I have become that mom with the kid the runs away and makes a mess in stores too fast to catch him. Oh yes, and the same one that screams at the top of the restaurant, not because he is sad or mad, but just because he wants to scream. Did I mention flailing, biting, and pulling hair? This is all in one lovely evening people!!! Tonight to be exact. So when I got home I had a survival routine and I am going to share it with you.

10 tips to surviving toddler tantrums

1. Lock yourself in the bathroom.

2. Take a deep breath.

3. Unlock the door, don’t look at your child. Pour glass of wine.

4. Grab chocolate bar.

5. Return to bathroom.

6. Take a sip. Take a bite.

7. Close your eyes. Pretend you are in the Caribbean in a bikini and you have a body like Gisele.

8. Take a moment to listen for destruction, or perhaps worse, silence…

9. Finish glass of wine and chocolate.

10. Return to motherhood, as usual.

Here I am drinking a glass of wine whilst sitting on the beach in St. Lucia…errrr…my bathroom floor. Good luck, mommies! Cheers! ????????

#momproblems

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