Did you guess Santa? While that might technically be true. Someone else is coming beforehand!
Disclaimer: In exchange for this post I have received complimentary tickets to a performance.
Disney On Ice is coming to Orlando! September 2-4, 2022.
Are you local to Orlando? Don’t miss these showtimes.
Amway Center Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures Amway Center – September 2-4, 2022 Show Information Friday, September 2 – 7:30pm Saturday, September 3 – 11am, 3pm, and 7pm Sunday, September 4 – 1pm and 5pm ** Doors open one hour prior to show time. ** Any child who has reached their 2nd birthday needs a ticket.
Save 20% off on select seats when you use code MOM22 online at www.DisneyOnIce.com. Offer valid on select price levels and performances.
Offer valid only on the following performances: Friday, September 2 at 7:30pm; Saturday, September 3 at 7pm; Sunday, September 4 at 5pm. No double discounts. Service charges, handling and facility fees may apply. Tickets are subject to market supply and demand. Offer expires 9/1/22.
This was actually our second time hosting a birthday party in a WDW resort lobby. If you were following back in February we had my 30th birthday at Riviera Resort!
Rule number 1: To throw a WDW party you need to be a guest of that particular resort.
I recommend ordering online 3-4 days in advance. Make sure you select the Kissimmee store for delivery. You’ll be able to select a 2 hour delivery window at checkout.
Don’t know your resort address? You can find the exact address on your “my plans” page in the Walt Disney World app.
Both our party cakes have come from The Naked Cupcake. I recommend ordering at least 6 weeks in advance if you want a custom design. They delivery to Walt Disney World and allow you to choose a 2 hour window. You can use code “mouseears” to save 10% on a custom cake order from The Naked Cupcake. Order here!
So how does it actually work? Well we pick a 2 hour window and set everything up to arrive during that time. Your friends will be able to come visit on at the resort. They just give your name and room number at the gate.
We always tell the lobby cast members what we plan to do, you can’t reserve a section of the lobby, but all the CM’s have been amazing at finding us a great spot to celebrate.
I always bring party items with me, but if you’re not local it may be easier to order plates, napkins, candles, utensils, etc from Party City. They will deliver it all! Don’t forget a cake knife and a lighter. (We always forget the lighter).
If you have a WDW birthday celebration tag me! I’d love to see it!
As a Walt Disney World local I was so worried I would be disappointed by Disneyland. I need this all the time from avid WDW fans.
“It wasn’t as big and I was disappointed”
I’m here to tell y’all that the intimate feel is what I enjoyed most. Disneyland only has two parks. Park hopping at DLR (Disneyland resort) takes 3 minutes. Everything is close together. There aren’t tons of dining options, but still enough to satisfy.
A large part of the reason I became a travel agent was because I got tired of seeing people on the verge of tears at Walt Disney World. It feels like you need a degree in WDW to enjoy it. There is so much to remember and so many options to choose from.
At Disneyland you can still benefit from tips and tricks, you can book a trip with me in the link on my home page. But you get that intimate casual feel. More importantly you get to spend time family instead of stressing over getting across the parks or maximizing Genie +.
No more needs said. Avengers Campus is amazing. It’s only a year old but the most immersive experience I have done at Disney. Due to copyrights with Universal it’s unlikely the Avengers will ever been represented at WDW. Go to Disneyland! Break the Guardians out, meet Captain America, eat food at Pym’s. I’ve been dreaming of Avengers Campus for a year and it lives up to the hype.
Another cute land you won’t find at WDW. Cars land has the cutest vibes especially at night.
But the biggest reason you need to plan your next trip to DLR is the price. I just quoted a family of 4 at the Grand Californian for 3 nights. 4 day ticket with park hopper for under $5k. I was shocked and am currently planning a trip for my family this December.
I’m an avid WDW fan, but Disneyland was magical. The two are more different than the same and you should definitely check out Disneyland!
As the kid of a teacher and someone who has worked in and out of the school system. I’ve always celebrated the minor holidays.
Then I became a mom…
I thought I loved holidays but this girl LOVES holidays. She asks about them all the time. Recites their calendar order. She will tell anyone who will listen what her favorite holiday is and asks them what they’re doing for… (insert next holiday)
She knows what my favorite holiday is. So I’m peppered with different questions. Like…mommy when are we decorating for St. Patrick’s Day? Mommy can I help decorate? Mommy can we go buy more St. Patrick’s day decorations?
With the rise of social media and home decor in general it’s easier to find St Patrick’s (or New Years, 5th of July) decor than it used to be.
Still it’s not easy. So this year I’ve rounded up some decor links and ideas.
Bullseye’s Playground is a great place to stock up on obscure holiday decor. I picked up both these planters there for $3. You can also repurpose everyday green items, like this vintage green vase. Find a similar one here. Top it off with green silk flowers.
In addition to being a decor lover, Sharkie also loves seasonal books. In store prices for seasonal books are sometimes high, but you can usually pick up some for less than $5 on amazon. Linking Sharkie’s here.
Looking for an easy activity for your preschooler to do on March 17th. Keep it simple by grabbing a box of Lucky Charms and sort/count the marshmallows. It’s always a crowd pleaser at our house.
Decorating for St. Patrick’s is always the first sign of spring in our house! I hope this helps you create a little magic!
Trigger Warning: The following post will discuss health issues such as infertility and weight gain.
Every December I set one lofty goal for the next year and one realistic. When I think of my goals I always say a silent prayer for gratitude for my health.
Born a little over 2 months early with a heart murmur I know how very lucky I am to have always been fairly healthy. The only other long term complications I have from being so premature are crooked fingers and lungs that take longer to heal after a cold etc.
When you’re 29 years old you begin to think you’re in a good spot health wise. Too old for develop anything hereditary, too young for chronic health issues to develop.
Or so I thought.
My Nana had endometriosis, my mom had undiagnosed fertility issues, when it took a long time to conceive my daughter I wasn’t surprised. But the majority of the pregnancy went well. I had some issues in the last month and right after she was born that led us to close the door on having more children. But otherwise things were good.
Early this year I developed debilitating cramps, cystic acne, unexplained weight gain, and a tiredness all the time. For around 6 months I didn’t tell anyone. I’d always heard PMS is worse after childbirth.
In August I finally told Chase and made a doctors appointment. My doctors in Lexington did some minor blood work and sent me away with a diagnosis of painful periods and of course a prescription for birth control.
I knew it was more than that. So the minute we moved I made a follow up appointment at a new GYN and primary. Fortunately doctors in Florida were more through. After tons of visits to the doctor I have endometriosis and high cholesterol. (They aren’t related, but I have both lol)
I feel like a stranger in my own body. I’m in pain almost all the time. Earlier this month Chase and I had to make the decision to lock the door on having more kids. I had an IUD implant put in. Supposedly this will lessen the symptoms. So far I still feel horrible, but it’s early.
Aside from the pain this has been a confidence destroyer. Gaining weight has been super hard. I don’t know how to dress anymore and my clothes don’t fit. It’s superficial, but it’s so frustrating. The cystic acne is no fun either.
The internet is a great place to highlight our successes and the goodness in our lives. So much so that we start to think no one struggles but us.
Every person you meet is going through their own battle. Be kind.
And stick up for yourself. Doctors may be experts but they don’t know you better than you know yourself.
I hope that 2022 is your year. I hope it finds you happy and healthy.
If your the parent of a young child chances are you’re moving an elf on a shelf nightly this month.
Just take a quick look around Pinterest and you’ll see tons of elaborate scenes of constructed mischief these guys are getting into.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m gonna give you three methods of elf magic that take less than 10 mins a night.
1) Hanging Garland Method: our elf is pretty well behaved. I’m pretty anti mess, so Lilly doesn’t create messes. (Know what you can and can’t live with mamas) I can’t live with leaving a mess out all day.
So when I want Lilly to be a little mischievous I use a cheap $1 garland from Dollar Tree. I just get one and reuse it. We hang here from windows or light fixtures and secure with tape.
2) One Spot Toys: This easy peasy method takes up 1/4 of my elf days. Lilly brings a Christmas themed toy or item from Bullseye’s Playground with a quick little note. Definitely save these for when you’re busy or sleepy.
3) Have your elf bring something you were already gonna do for your kid.
Doing the elf doesn’t mean you have to drive yourself crazy this season! There are super simple ways to make it fun for your little and easy on yourself.
It’s been a long time since I had time to write. We’ve officially be Florida residents 3 months and it feel like a lifetime. Everything with our house was the absolute cluster we expected it to be. The dust has settled and we’re enjoying our house more. Being close to Disney is a dream. There is so much to do in Orlando. I can’t wait to share it with you all!
I can’t wait to start blogging again for y’all. In the meantime please enjoy these scavenger hunts I created for Sharkie. Each park has golden statues for the 50th anniversary.
You can save them images and print off at 88% for a full page. We use star stickers Favorites
Last month we lost our Guinea pig Jacque. He was five years old. I knew he would probably be Sharkie’s first heartbreak, but I thought we had a couple more years with him.
It’s hard because she’s old enough to know he is gone, but not old enough to really understand death. She’s had a hard time time with it, but here are some things that worked for us.
1) If you can let your child say goodbye. I took Jacque to the emergency vet right after Sharkie’s bedtime. I had a feeling he wouldn’t be coming back home from the emergency vet, so I made sure she said goodbye and snuggled him before I put her to bed.
2) Don’t hide the truth. I didn’t get back from the vet until after 1 am. Sharkie had been restless so she was up when I got home and asked about him. It would have been easier to say let’s talk about it in the morning, but I couldn’t lie to her. So I told her the truth.
3) Decide what you want to tell your child before talking with them. Try to deal with your own emotions first if you can. This way you’re calm when talking with your child. We decided to tell Sharkie that Jacque was very very sick and the doctors couldn’t help him, so he went to Heaven to be with his brother Gus Gus (our other Guinea pig who died in 2018). That he loved her and he’s watching over her. No matter how many times she asks to talk about Jacque we tell her the same things.
4) Be prepared to have the same conversation over and over. Try to be patient. Even though they’re asking the same questions over and over, they’re just trying to deal with their grief.
5) Help them heal. We sent Sharkie flowers from Jacque. We got a couple books on dealing with the loss of pets. Now a month later we’ve worked up to going to look at Guinea pigs at Petsmart. She wants another one, but I’ve been explaining just because it’s a red and white pig it’s not him. For now she just enjoys going to see them.
Losing a beloved pet is hard for anyone. Really the only thing that helps is time. But these tips helped Sharkie. If you’re in this unfortunate position. I hope they help you too.
To be honest it was only on mine in a “see all 50 states way”, but surprisingly we had a great time in Charleston, WV over the 4th.
5 reasons to put the Mountain State on your travel list.
1) The people are so incredibly nice. I mean nicer than Disney Cast Members. Everyone we met from people in the service sector to random folks on the street was so nice. Honestly, dealing with pleasant people is the best. Everyone was so friendly and so very kind to Sharkie.
2) The Weather! It’s been hot as hades in Lexington. It felt like summer, but enjoyable in WV. Warm, but not hot and no humidity. When I got out of the car back in Lexington I wanted to melt.
3) Cute and Walkable downtown, we stayed at @embassysuitescwv which was beautiful and super clean. We were in walking distance of pretty much everything we wanted to do. We never got back on the interstate once we checked in. We walked to @charlestontowncenter, we were in walking distance of several amazing restaurants, and some cute stores. The whole vibe I got walking through downtown was very 70s. Which my vintage soul enjoyed.
4) Speaking of food, we were pleasantly surprised to find so many dog friendly restaurants. We traveled with Tia and sometimes it’s hard to find places, but @blacksheepwv and @piesandpints both are. Several others are as well, but these are the ones I called. We are ate Black Sheep and the food was really good! I recommend the Nashville Hot Chicken Burrito.
5) The Capitol is beautiful. I love historic and state buildings and the WV state Capitol is one of the prettiest I’ve seen. It’s definitely worth the walk around and across from the river which is beautiful as well! I harbored my own prejudices about WV being a backwater. But I was glad to be wrong.
We did a ton in our 36 hour trip to Charleston, but the atmosphere still made it so laid back and relaxing. We had a great time. It’s a very affordable city to visit, perfect for a long weekend.
*Disclaimer* This was a hosted experience, but all opinions and experiences expressed here are my own.
I grew up semi local to Dollywood. Being from Asheville I knew tons of people who had been. From what they said I was under the impression the majority of the park was thrill rides.
I’m thrilled to report that nothing could be further from the truth. Dollywood is so much more than rides and there was no shortage of activities for Sharkie.
The ride measuring station is the most genius thing I’ve ever seen, and I’ve only seen it at Dollywood. Once inside the park head to your left. Just past the Emporium gift shop you will see this area.
An attendant will measure your child and provide them with a color coding wristband. This completely eliminates measuring at the beginning of each ride. Saving so much time and toddler sanity.
The bands are color coordinated so you know exactly which rides to look for. The attendant also gave us a chart to carry around with us so we knew where everything was.
I didn’t! We downloaded the app when we got there and from ride times to food options it was super helpful! Don’t worry about battery drainage. There are tons of recharging stations throughout the park!
Let’s talk about rides. There were so many options for Sharkie, but her favorite area was Wildwood Grove so that’s where we stayed.
Themed to nature and the mountains the entire area was geared toward younger children. Sharkie who measured in the lowest (grey) height category could do almost all the rides in this section.
Great Tree Swing
Black Bear Trail
Frogs and Fireflies
The Mad Mockingbird
Sharkie’s top 5 recommended rides. The wait times are very toddler friendly as well. We didn’t wait longer than 10 minutes for anything.
Don’t worry if your little isn’t ride ready yet. There is plenty of other stuff to do. There are a couple of options to get wet throughout the park like the Wildwood Creek area so I recommend bringing a swimsuit or a change of clothes.
Sharkie loves birds, so Eagle Mountain was right up her alley. She’s enjoyed looking at all the beautiful birds.
While not ever toddler can enjoy a museum, Sharkie who is a fashion lover, loved the Chasing Rainbows exhibit.
We chose to eat at Red’s for dinner and this was the one experience we had that was lacking. The service was average. 3/4 of the soda fountains were broken. The condiment bar was empty. We were pretty disappointed by our dinner, although the food was decent I can’t recommend this restaurant.
You can’t take a toddler to a theme park without getting a little treat and a souvenir or two. We finished our day with a visit to the candy shop and it didn’t disappoint. I came home with a bag of taffy.
I was pleasantly surprised with the gift shop prices! Very affordable for a theme park!
I’m so glad we got the chance to experience Dollywood. It’s not just for the thrill rider. It’s for anyone in your family and it truly is a blast! We recommend going if you get the chance.
Chase and I both come from poorer backgrounds. Money management wasn’t a strength for us in the beginning, because we had never had money to manage. We were also very young when we got together.
During the first 3 years of our relationship we racked up debt. Chase was relocated to Minnesota and we spent a lot of money traveling back and forth to see each other. In 2015 we got married, another expensive endeavor, and we still didn’t make a lot of money.
In 2016 Chase was relocated to Kentucky and we were thrilled. Not only would we be closer to family, the cost of living was so much cheaper than Minneapolis. We knew our debt had to go before we could have a baby or buy a house. So we set out to pay off our debt.
The first thing you need to do is get a clear idea of how much debt you have. Including separate accounts your partner may not know about. This can be a difficult conversation, but it’s important to be honest and open.
Make a list. For us we had a credit card with a small amount, two with larger amounts, two car payments, one medical bill, and two student loans.
We used the snowball method. Paying the minimum amount on all debts until paying off the smallest one, then applying that money to the next smallest one. Any extra money we received, like for selling something or as a gift was also applied to the first debt.
Not everyone gets a Christmas bonus. But Chase gets them with his company. We always picked a debt to pay with them. Once bonus money goes into the account it’s easy to spend it. We discussed before it came exactly what we wanted to do with it. Once it was deposited it immediately went to debt.
Paying off debt is a long process it doesn’t happen overnight. We started doing this in 2016. We paid off our last debt: one of Chase’s student loans in 2020. Keep chipping away and don’t get discouraged.
Now for my tips that are more unique to my family. I’m an “extra” person and I love to shop. I spend money on gifts, themed play dates, and other extras. But that all adds up and we didn’t want to fall right back into debt. I also didn’t want to give those habits up. They bring joy to myself and others.
So I sought out ways to be extra on the cheap side and here’s what I do.
1) I started a side hustle. This isn’t going to be something everyone can do, but it’s more accessible than you think. I started a blog and a reselling business on Poshmark. But it can be something as simple as selling old items on Facebook marketplace and saving that cash for fun stuff.
2) Speaking of Facebook Marketplace. I make our items work for us. If we’re done with something I always sell it. Whether on marketplace, eBay, Poshmark, consignment , the local mom page, or at a yard sale I always sell the items we’re done with.
3) Shop Used. Not only is this more economical. It’s so much better for the environment. We recently redid Sharkie’s room. I shopped on Facebook marketplace and Goodwill and was able to re-do the room for 1/3 of new.
Yard Sale Pages
These are all great places to start looking for great items.
4) Shop Off The Wall Places. I know some people are off put by places like TJ Maxx. They can be disorganized, but I find the best stuff for the best prices.
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet
5) Shop Ahead. This one requires a little extra room and money but if you have both this one will save you a lot money in the long run. When I see sales or find something great but maybe seasonal I go ahead and get it and hang onto it.
Every family is unique, but this is what helped us pay off our debt. The other tips help me maintain my “extra-ness” without breaking the bank.
Currently the only debt we have is our mortgage. Hopefully we can keep to our plan and remain debt free. It’s so easy to get into debt; but getting out is 100% worth it.
June is a busy month. Most are getting out of school, it’s a popular wedding month, summer has started, graduations galore, and of course Father’s Day!
I love Father’s Day. I love any excuse to celebrate. I love celebrating Chase and the wonderful father he is to Sharkie and our fur kids. I love watching others celebrate their amazing dads, granddads, uncles, or other amazing men in their life. But it always makes me a little sad, I don’t have a dad to celebrate.
Maybe you don’t either, if you don’t this post is for you.
Growing up I knew my Dad loved me. Problem was he could only love me and my brother in a way that was convenient for him. Unfortunately my dad was a 3rd generation alcoholic.
As a kid I knew my dad would be there for the important stuff. When you’re little that means holidays and birthdays. I only realized as an adult my mom had probably both begged and threatened to make that happen.
As I got older he was less and less reliable for even those occasions. Eventually my mom gave him a shape up or ship out ultimatum. Like so many addicts he left when I was 8ish. I saw him a few times a year until I was 16, I haven’t seen him since. My parents divorced after I graduated high school.
I have never admitted to a single non familial soul in my life that my dad was an alcoholic who choose booze over his family. But I think it’s important to break stigmas. In 2021 we still don’t discuss alcoholism as much as we should. It still carries a stigma. Just as being a fatherless child does.
Everyone thinks they have the best mom on the planet but I actually do. My mom is the most amazing parent. She never taught me to hate my dad, never once vented to me how he treated her, she shielded me from a childhood of pain. All while teaching me to love, remember the good times, but to stand up for myself and know you don’t have to put up with things that aren’t right. My mom was patient and taught me that while alcohol isn’t evil, it’s addictive. Alcoholism can hereditary. Whenever I think about booze I thank Heaven for a mama who taught me that it was okay to enjoy in moderation, but like any drug it was warrants caution. My brother and I have broken 3 generations of alcoholism and her thoughtful parenting is 100% responsible.
When you grow up in a bad situation it can be so easy to blame yourself for what happened. As you grow up it can also be easy to blame your shortcomings on things you feel like you missed in childhood. For me I missed out on a normal Dad. Neither is the case.
It took me a while to get here. But I’m in a place now where I’m at peace being estranged from my dad. After Sharkie was born he wanted to communicate again. I was okay with doing so via social media because I didn’t want any regrets on my heart. I gave him a chance and he blew it.
That’s okay. When people, even family, show their true colors, believe them.
Sometimes I remember the good things about my dad. If he was home he usually wasn’t too busy to play board games. He made me pancakes on the weekends. Sometimes we played catch in the yard. It can be healthy to remember good in a person. No situation is 100% black or white. Not yours, or mine.
Still, a few happy memories aren’t enough to erase the hurt and the pain he caused. I don’t want a relationship with my dad, but Father’s Day is still hard.
The good news: Father’s Day isn’t exclusively for Dads. When I was little I had 3 amazing men to celebrate.
My amazing Grandaddy. He was always there for us. He took me for rides on the four wheeler. Came to my elementary school for birthday parties. He and my Nana took me on $100 shopping spree at Walmart every birthday. He gave me my first car, and nobody adjusted my side view mirrors better.
We’re as different as night and day. Eight years older than me, most people don’t even know I have a sibling. We fought like cats and dogs. But I could always count on him. Fixed my car, helped me with chores, always there for advice.
Lastly, my moms brother. The most amazing uncle ever. He sent me a card on every occasion. He always slipped me a little money, and bought all my favorite snacks.
Father’s Day can be hard. Growing up fatherless is hardly Having an alcoholic family member is hard. Both can come with such stigma. But you’re not alone. Others can relate. If sharing my story can help one of you reading, then it was worth sharing.
You are still worthy and chances are you have other remarkable men to celebrate. Whether it’s your husband, uncle, grandfather, brother, or step father.
If you’re like so many Americans you’ve got the travel bug. Being home all last year has us all itching to go somewhere.
Some may not be ready to fly yet, or maybe you’re just partial to road trip, our family is. My husband is tall and planes are uncomfortable. Plane tickets for three are expensive, so we road trips 95% off the time.
We always pack a tablet, but I try to keep Sharkie off it as much as I can. She doesn’t need 13 hours of screen time. So I always pack a road trip kit.
When we head to Disney next week we’re also traveling with my 7 year old nephew. So I made a boy box too! Honestly preparing these before a trip is super fun. Sharkie helped and we spent the better part of a day getting them together.
Dollar Tree, Five Below, and Target One Spot are great places to stock up. For Sharkie’s box I added this microfiber cleaning cloth (we’re gonna use it as a puppet) $1 at Dollar Tree, a bag of candy $1 at Dollar Tree. We also got the small Disney figure at Dollar Tree. They almost always have these in a ton of choices and they’re great for car play.
We already had the tiny magna doodle, but it was $1 at One Spot. The coloring pads are $3.
For my nephew I packed a lot of similar things so we didn’t have any arguments, but age appropriate since they’re 4 years apart.
Since for my nephew this is a once in a lifetime trip I tried to make it a little extra. Y’all know I love to be extra. So I got each kid a Disney Parks Wishable from Five Below for $5.
Hope these kits help you plan an awesome summer road trip with your kiddos. Whether you’re going to Disney or somewhere else.