The 10 Essentials To Bring With You To Disneyland

This last week my family and I went to Disneyland and it was magical. Mostly due to the kids excitement but a few key items made it more ‘magical’ and worry free for me aka mom.


Happiest Place On Earth


  1. Sunscreen – being a mother of two small kids, sunscreen is a big one for me. I’ve had long conversations with my mom friends about what sunscreen if the safest and most effective. Some of my friends swear by the Honest brand while others are a fan of Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen. Neithe for me; I buy the CeraVe Baby Sunscreen Lotion for my kiddos with their sensitive skin.
  2. Lunchbox – with my kids’ feeding schedule of every other hour, I was worried my food bill would be huge at Disneyland. Most fast food meals for my family of four costed around $50 so one of my carry ons was a cooler bag filled with snack food and breakfast supplies. I’ll write another post on my tips and tricks of bringing food on the airplane.
  3. Phone lanyards – so I was surprised I didn’t see more people walking around the park with this type of lanyard but I loved mine. You use your phone so much checking line waiting times, reserving Fastpasses and linking pictures on the Disneyland app. Losing your phone at the bottom of the purse means losing time or a precious moment when your kiddos see Mickey Mouse for the first time. I loved having my phone easily accessible.
  4. Power bank – As I mentioned before I used my phone a lot and the power didn’t last the day. By about 2pm, I was trying to make that 1% last for emergency calls only. If you forget a power bank, Disneyland does have charging stations in just about every land.
  1. Poncho – this is only important if you plan on going on Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Run or if there is a chance of rain in the forecast. But picking one up at the dollar store or in bulk online is way cheaper than at the park.
  1. Power cord – so important if you want to charge your phone halfway through the day. I forgot mine the first day. Not a mistake I made twice.
  2. Small backpack – this was a common thing in the park. I noticed a lot of parents with a small backpack that was easy to take onto the rides.
  3. Reusable water bottled – there are a lot of water fountains at the part. We would start the day with juice in the bottle from the hotel room while we finished breakfast then switched to water for the rest of the day.
  4. Stroller – aka the napper. My toddler took a nap in the stroller on the first day which was such a blessing. Naps are so rare these days that when she takes one she usual stays up until 9:30-10pm. This is way past her bedtime of 7pm but with the fireworks starting at 9:30 she was able to see them before going to bed that day.
  5. Large pens – for the characters to hold while signing your autograph book. On the last day, we went to the Princess Breakfast Adventure and one of the souvenirs from the experience is a oversized pen. As soon as I saw it, I knew we should have gotten one for the whole trip. The characters have such big hands. I bet they would have appreciated it.

Bonus

11. Pennies and Quarters – a great cheap souvenir. There are some great penny press machines throughout the park so remember to bring a coin purse full of shiny pennies and quarters to operate the machines in the parks. Each machine costs 50 cents plus a penny to press.

Weekend in Cle Elum, Washington

Hello. My family was fortunate to go to Suncadia in Cle Elum, Washington over this midwinter break from school. This is my fourth trip enjoying this large resort that includes indoor and outdoor activities like swimming, wild life encounters and trails for every age. Here is my detailed review of this beautiful resort.


4 Out Of 5 Stars


Suncadia has some of the best views as you walk through the lodge. This resort has an Inn as well as a Lodge. We stay at the Lodge that over looks the valley. Here are some positive points about our trip.

Customer Service

The staff is kind and helpful in every area of the resort from front desk to the restaurant staff. We were very pleased with their help.

Rooms

Relaxing in the bedroom while the kids and husband make a snowman.

The bedrooms have a cozy fireplace, comfy beds and clean bathrooms. Just big enough for my family of four to play. The room we stayed in had a small kitchenette that included a cooktop and fridge. It was stocked with plates, cups and utensils for four. There was a k-cup coffee machine with coffee and creamer (my life support). Plus a toaster which we used for waffles in the morning.

A huge plus for me is their 100% cotton bedding and towels for my daughter who has eczema. I didn’t have to worry about them making her itchy.

Restaurant (Portals)

Beautiful views from every seat in the restaurant overlooking the ridge. The food is high quality and fancy and I was loving it. My kids had tater tots and chicken strips with ranch or ketchup (no bbq; just a heads up).

Pool

The pool isn’t connected to the hotel. Though includes a indoor and outdoor pool with 2 water slides (outdoor pool isn’t open in the winter). Kids must be 42″ tall to ride the slides and no double riders. Only single riders so my kiddos were interested in the slides. But the pool is warm and they have indoor and outside hot tubs for kids 6 and older.

Activities

There is a kids junior club which we didn’t try this trip (I feel my kids are too young) but they had great indoor kid activities in their conference room. These activities are an additional charge. Here are some of the activities we participated in:

Outdoor activities include:

  • Sleigh ride
  • Sledding
  • Cross country skiing
  • Skating
  • Visit the elk

Why Suncadia lost a star?

It all comes down to poor communication. I made an reservation for dinner and didn’t know they only have buffet right now. This is new. If I knew I was going to eat a buffet maybe I’d skip lunch.

Another area of miscommunication is on their website. The double queen description states there is a fridge in the room. When I walked into the original room we were given, I asked the bellhop where the fridge was and he stated not all rooms have fridges. I thought weird and asked if I could get one. He said I’d have to switch rooms with the front desk. We switched rooms to a king with sofa bed to meet my needs but I felt it was a little false advertising.

Either way, I recommend calling to make a reservation so you know exactly what you are getting. Ask lots of questions.

Conclusion

We had a lot of fun and look forward to going back again soon. I recommend to my friends, family and readers a trip to this growing resort on a ridge in the middle of the forest. Wishing you the best on your next family adventure!!

Bead Snowflake Ornament

While on vacation, my family took advantage of their winter activities which included this cute snowflake ornament made of pipe cleaners and beads.


Snowflake for Kids


To start this easy craft, take 3 pipe cleaners and twist them together in the middle then separate the end out to look like a 6 point snowflake. I had to twist it together for the kids before they added the beads to each end. This is a great eye hand coordination activity for the kiddos. My toddler was very focused on adding the beads.

When you get close to the end, you will want to hot glue or super glue the last bead on the end so the beads don’t fall off. On one end, tie a ribbon so you can hang it on the tree.

Viola the snowflake is completed. It is an easy and fun activity for all ages. For a complete diy video, check out Crouton Crafts’s YouTube channel here.

For older kids, I recommend making it more challenging by following a pattern to transform this activity into a coding exercise.

14 Heart Day Movies and Shows For The Whole Family

Happy Belated Valentines Day! Here are 14 kids tv episodes to celebrate hearts day. These shows and movies include some classics that I loved as a kid as well as some new characters that my kids love today.


Happy Heart Day


As I watch some of these shows, I’m surprised that many of them refer to Valentines Day as Heart Day. Maybe it is more politically correct? If you are looking for a DVD, PBS has combined 8 of the Valentines Day shows on one DVD. Click Here to check it out on Amazon.

In addition to the shows, PBS has free printable Valentines too. Check out their VDay page here.

If you are looking for some recent or classic ideas available on Netflix and other streaming apps, here are my recommendations:

Tv Shows:

    True and the Rainbow Kingdom – Season 3, episode 0 – “Happy Hearts Day”
    Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – Season 2, episode 14 – “It’s Love Day/Daniel’s Love Day Surprise”
    Cat In The Hat Knows All About That: Valentines Day – Available on Amazon
    Winnie the Pooh: A Valentines for You – Available on Amazon
    Word World – Season 2, Eposide 1 – “My Fuzzy Valentines”

Movies:

    My Little Pony, Friendship Is Magic – Season 2, episode 17 – “Heart and Hooves Day”
    The Magic School Bus – Season 4, episode 9 – “The Magic School Bus Gets Charged
    Lady and the Tramp (my childhood favorite)
    Beauty and the Beast
    Tangled (my favorite)
    The Sound of Music
    The Princess Diaries
    Cinderella
    Madly Madagascar

Hope you enjoy your weekend!

Merry Christmas Eve

We tucked in the kids while letting them know Santa knows when you’ve been sleeping and he knows when you are awake. Thus my 5 year old daughter goes to tell my husband that he needs to go straight to bed too. No laying around and watching tv. My husband assured her that he would go right to sleep. Believing in Santa is so magical.

Before bed, we put out the cookies on our holiday plate that we made this year at Color Me Mine. Check out my earlier post about this family tradition. My daughter included a note to Santa letting him know she was a good girl this year as well as her sister. Then we picked out an assortment of cookies from the cookie exchange. Now we are ready for Santa to come.

Today and tomorrow are great days to reflect on your holiday season and the fun tradition you created as a family. Here is a review of our holiday season.

  1. Carousel and Winterfest
  2. Teddy Bear Suite
  3. Snowflake Craft
  4. Giving Tree
  5. Cookie Exchange
  6. Holiday Pajamas
  7. Teacher Gifts
  8. Holiday Lights
  9. Holiday Movie
  10. Nutcracker Ballet
  11. Reindeer Feeding
  12. Gingerbread Houses
  13. Baking Treats
  14. Food Bank
  15. Visiting Santa
  16. Make a Plate
  17. 24 Book Advent Calendar
  18. Holiday Cards
  19. Festive of Trees
  20. Snow Day
  21. Gift Exchange
  22. Samaritan’s Purse
  23. Dickens Village
  24. Christmas Tree Decorating
  25. Tree Farm

I am looking forward to tomorrow and seeing my kids joyful faces. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! I would love to hear about your holiday tradition in the comment field below.

Seattle’s Carousel and Winterfest Miniature Village

If you are looking for an activity after Christmas, the carousel in the Westlake Park is beautiful and fun for all ages.

We started this family tradition years ago when my husband’s coworker invited us to join them on the half day from school before Christmas Eve. The coworker wanted to meet our new daughter but it transitioned into a yearly tradition. We park our car at the Seattle Center and go to the Armory to view the miniature village at Winterfest then drive the miniature trains. There is a suggestion donation of $2 to maintain the trains and village. While waiting in line, there is a scavenger hunt to look for homes, businesses and animals in the miniature village. Lots of fun!

Miniature Village Dates:

November 23 – December 31, 2018

Hours:

10am – 6pm daily

Special Holiday Hours:

Dec 24 – closes at 4pm,

Dec 25 – closed)

Control the model train: 

10:30am – 12 noon, 1pm – 2:30pm, and 3:30pm – 5:30pm daily.

Fee:

$2 suggested donation.

From the Armory, we ride the Monorail to Westlake Center. The track is above the cars and buildings making it so much fun for the kids to experience. We always race up front for the clearest vantage point of everything below us.

Monorail Hours of Operations:

Monday-Friday: 7:30am-11:00pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8:30am-11:00pm

Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Winter Hours of Operation (January-May 2018):

Monday-Thursday: 7:30am-9:00pm

Friday: 7:30am-11:00pm

Saturday: 8:30am-11:00pm

Sunday: 8:30am-9:00pm

One-Way Fares:

$2.50 for Adults

$1.25 for Youth ages 5-12

$1.25 for Reduced Rate

(Seniors 65+, disabled, persons with Medicare cards, & U.S. military with ID)

Finally we end up at Westlake Center and walk across the street to the park and carousel to meet my husband whom works in downtown Seattle.

Downtown Seattle Association historic Holiday Carousel in Westlake Park for over 31 years. Suggested donation of $4. Each donation benefits Downtown Seattle Association, a nonprofit organization, that brings year-round activities and events to Occidental Square and Westlake Park. For more information, check out DSA’s website here.

After you hop off the carousel, pick up some lunch from the Food Trucks just a few steps away before heading back on the Monorail.

View more events for the holidays at downtownseattle.org/holidays.

Dates:

November 23, 2018 -January 1, 2019

Carousel’s Hours of Operation:

Sunday – Thursday : 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m.–9 p.m.

Special Holiday Hours:

Nov. 23: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Dec. 24: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 31: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Jan. 1: Normal Hours (see above)

Fairmont Teddy Bear Room

If you are visiting Seattle before Christmas, I recommend taking a look at the Teddy Bear Room at the Fairmont Hotel in Seattle, Washington. It is a hotel room draped in silk and elegantly filled with teddy bears and festive decor.

As you walk in the room, there is a beautiful fireplace adorned with teddy bears and silver stockings.

Teddy Bear Suite:

Location: Fairmont Hotel, Seattle

Date/Time Information:

November 22, 2018 – December 26, 2018 from 10am to 6pm daily

Fees/Admission: no fee

There are many places to take adorable pictures of your kids. My favorite place for a photo op is on the bench in front of the teddy bear filled bed (since you can’t sit on the actual bed). I love seeing their happy faces.

There are 3 large teddy bears and this one is right at the kids level. They got to snuggle the life size teddy bear. The bears were very soft.

The room and tree theme this year was white snowflakes. I love the glowing icicles wrapping the room. The snowball ornaments are very original.

This experience is totally free however The Fairmont asks for donations to the Seattle Children Hospital. The hotel room is located on the second floor.

While at the Fairmont, check out the life size gingerbread house with candy cane lined windows. The house is located at the lower lobby by the valet entrance.

Gingerbread House:

Location: Fairmont Hotel, Seattle

Date/Time Information:

November 17, 2018 – January 1, 2019

Fees/Admission: no fee

It is really hard to keep the kids from picking at it and trying to eat it but there are beautiful ornaments, lights and nutcrackers to keep the kids distracted.

The guests can race through the gingerbread hallway that smells delicious and made with more than 4,000 real gingerbread bricks. For a list of all the events, go to the Fairmont’s website.

Snowflake Craft

Looking for a cheap but beautiful craft for your kiddos. These snowflakes ornaments are perfect for kids of all ages.

I saw this picture online and it makes the popsicle stick ornament look so elegant.

This project began when I was on Facebook and saw my friend’s son made this popsicle snowflake ornament for his Christmas tree. I showed my daughter and she wanted to make them for our tree too.

I’m lucky all the supplies can be found at the dollar store.

Supplies:

  • Popsicle sticks
  • Glue
  • Paint and brush
  • Mod podge
  • Glitter
  • Ribbon
  • Hot glue and gun
  • Festive stickers

For toddlers, I recommend pre-gluing the popsicle sticks together to avoid a big mess. But painting can be messy too. Good luck either way. We used acrylic paint because it is permanent. Though washable paint would work fine (just beware the paint can run if it gets wet).

Steps:

  1. Glue 2 popsicle sticks into a plus (+).
  2. Repeat step 1 so you have 2 pluses (+).
  3. Glue the 2 pluses (+) together. Let dry.
  4. Paint the popsicle sticks. Front and back. Let it dry in between.
  5. Once dry, add MOG PODGE then sprinkle the glitter.
  6. My daughter finished the ornament with adding a couple festive stickers.
  7. Add a ribbon loop to one end with hot glue.

Here is the the finished craft. I’m so proud of my daughter!! She loves the color blue and made it just her style. Happy holidays!

Cookie Exchange

Yummy treats during this festive season should be a part of everyone’s family traditions. We have a tradition of making sugar cookies. A Jenny Cookie recipe; check out her blog and book here. I went to one of her cookie decorating classes almost 10 years ago. These cookies are so delicious and wonderful that my daughter requests them by name. I realized this year that Jenny Cookies are a part of her Christmas traditions.

Besides a small batch of sugar cookies for my daughter, we made stampede brownies and Christmas tree brownies. Check out our earlier post about stampede brownie recipes.

Christmas tree brownies are very decorative and easy to make. They off set the extra work to make the stampede brownies. Betty Crocker has a great recipe for Christmas tree brownies.

Here is an idea of the assortment of cookies from our cookie exchange. I’m so grateful for everyone who participated. Everything from sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, molasses, spritz, snowballs and peanut butter blossom cookies.

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