Thursday, March 31, 2016

Currently // March

Watching// Superstore with Brian because we are "testing out" Hulu (air quotes because Brian is d-y-i-n-g to subscribe.) It is so funny!!! Amazing! It reminds me of The Office and Parks and Rec but without the interviews. 
Reading// I am back on track! The Lacuna has been back-burnered and I have read two books and started a third, since last month! The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Storiesby Marina Keegan hit me hard. That beautiful girl on the cover is Marina and she died at the age of 19, right after graduating from Yale. These collected essays and short stories are the culmination of her passion for writing and it makes me feel so sad knowing she never got to fulfill her dreams. This is a hauntingly beautiful reminder to live life fully and with appreciation. Big Trouble by Dave Barry is a hilarious and quick read. I actually saw the movie first (I fell in love with Zooey Daschenal in this!) and didn't realize it was a book until finding it in the little free library box a couple of weeks ago. I just started Cheryl Strayed's Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail and will follow it up by watching the movie, ha!
Dreaming of// One of my besties Dana will be visiting next week and I literally had a dream about her and it made me so happy!
Eating// Ham. Forgive me non pork eaters, but once Easter hits, all I can think about is honey ham. 
Wishing// we could do over the month of March. How much fun was packed into these 31 days?! 
Obsessed with// Our garden; I may not know what I am doing, but I'm having fun playing gardener anyway! Funny how a box of dirt and some sprouts make me feel so productive and hopeful.
Loving// On my sweet girls! 
Planning// Brian's 30th Birthday is in April and I want to do something fun. Any ideas?!
Pinning// Holiday foods and spring outfit inspiration.
Wearing// My white Converse !

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***And check out the Mrs Meyer's variety bucket giveaway! Four are up for grabs!***


Linking up with ShaySheaffer and Mel and Stephanie.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Celebrating Easter {Spring Fun}

We had a fun and full Easter weekend (sorry about the 3-days late recap but I just can't organize my photos that fast after a holiday- major props to those of you who do!) with lots of seasonal celebrating from dyeing eggs to making and decorating sugar cookies to having a couple of egg hunts. Praise the Lord the tomb is empty!

Egg Dyeing//
Celebrating Easter {Spring Fun}
PAAS makes the neatest kits, we got a Gold and Glimmer one for $2 at Target and Kinsey had a blast painting on the shimmer paint. I think next year I'll try the all natural route though because when it came time to peeling the eyes, the paint was all tacky and slimey (yuck.)

Egg Hunt//
Celebrating Easter {Spring Fun}
Our only non-family Egg hunt was at our local mall and it was so well done! We got a map for 6 stores in similar areas that we could visit, get eggs and have our stop checked off the list. Once one was completed, we went back for another map and did it all over again! We had a little over an hour to do 3 maps but we only did two. We got so many goodies though (and a work out haha) that Kinsey wasn't even disappointed. My favorite score of the day (besides the See's chocolates I picked up) was these two coupons for free kid's meals at CPK.

Easter//
Celebrating Easter {Spring Fun}
Celebrating Easter {Spring Fun}
Easter morning arrived and with it the finding of the Easter baskets. This was the first time I've hidden them since the St Patrick's Day scavenger hunt was such a hit. We used Courtney's printable (she is freaking fantastic!!!) and just might have to make it a yearly tradition. We celebrated Easter at my In Laws and it was so nice and laid back. This was Brielana's second Easter but first proper egg hunt and she was running around grabbing up eggs like a pro. I guess that's how it is when your big sister is an egg finding champion. And I insisted on a family picture but didn't get any using my phone and I fear they may never make their way to me, oops.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! For nostalgia sake here is Easter 2015 and Easter 2014.

And checking off some more items from our Spring Fun List:
Spring Fun List// celebrating Easter

***Don't forget to enter the Mrs Meyer's Variety Bucket giveaway! There's four up for grabs!***

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Re-purposed Storage Solutions {Spring Cleaning & Organization}

I hate cleaning. But I love to organize. Confusing? Cleaning consists of dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing, ew. But organizing is tidy, pretty and does a good job of hiding the mess in a fun way. The golden rule in this house is, "a place for everything and everything in its place." So, I may not have the cleanest house but it sure is an organized home.

One of my favorite ways to organize is by re-purposing items; turning already used items that didn't necessarily start life out as the way I intended it for, and making it fit my needs. Affiliate links used. A small compensation may be received if you make a purchase using one of my links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Photo boxes//
Re-purposed Storage Solutions: photo box to DVD holder
These photo boxes are great for storing our DVD collection. They hold approximately 14-16 DVDs and keep the mess contained. Speaking of re-purposing, this bookcase actually holds all our photo box DVD collection! (this shows only half of our unit.)

Glass Candle jars//
Re-purposed Storage Solutions: candle holder to storage jar
Just by rinsing out the nub of wax at the bottom of the jar (I used this tutorial, the step-by-step with pictures was so helpful!) you have a perfect sized container that looks great holding a variety of items. I use mine to house cotton balls but hair ties/bobby pins, q tips, etc. would fit perfectly.

Wine Rack//
Re-purposed Storage Solutions: wine rack to shoe holder
This square wooden wine rack is the perfect size for my daughters shoes. I love the unexpected design element it brings and it just looks great! This is my grandparents so I have no idea when or where they got it from so I linked a similar item and "feel."

Hanging Shoe Organizer//
Re-purposed Storage Solutions: hanging shoe rack to toy holder
And what really is made to house shoes can be used to hold all the things. This one hangs in my daughters' closet and corrals dolls, seasonal scarves and hats and other assorted toys. And sometimes the odd shoe ;)

And there you have it; my re-purposed storage solutions for fun and easy, spring organization! Check out these other amazing bloggers for more cleaning and organizing inspiration!


SURPRISE! There's also a giveaway! Use the Rafflecopter below to enter to win one of four Mrs. Meyer's Variety Gift Buckets (a $37 value) Good luck! This giveaway is open to US Residents and runs from Tuesday, March 29th- Tuesday, April 5th.


Linking up with Beth.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Courtney of Sweet Turtle Soup {The Mommylogues Series}

You are in for a treat! Today's guest blogger is one of my favorite's and I can't say enough good things about Courtney! Her Disney wisdom is unparalleled so take notes!

Hello! I'm Courtney and I blog over at Sweet Turtle Soup. I love to post about anything to do with holidays or kid crafts & activities, and I especially enjoy sharing our love of Disney World. And, the star of the show is my three year old daughter, Aria! My one and only little love. The one that made me a mom. Today Whitney is letting me take over around these parts, she is just the best. Thanks for having me!
Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

I thought I would share with you my favorite Disney World Mom tips. Going to Disney World with young children is pretty daunting. But, with a little planning before hand and a very flexible attitude during your trip it can be one magical vacation!

Aria took her first trip when she was 1 year and 4 months old, and now she is a seasoned pro with 22 trips under her belt. So, we've had a good bit of practice when it comes to spending a day at Disney World.
Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

Here is what I've learned in my role as a Disney World Mom:

#1. Go early in the day. 

Beat the heat, beat the crowds. Arrive 30 minutes prior to park opening. That way you are going on rides with little to no wait while everybody else is still trickling in. Do the rides with the longest waits that are on your must do list first (Peter Pan, Safari, Test Track, etc).

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#2. Have a game plan. 

Before you arrive do your homework. Check out the rides, see what the height restrictions are, and get a feel for which ones you and your family would probably enjoy the most. Pick out a few things each day that you want to do. As a general rule we plan on doing 3 things each day of a visit (one for each family member), everything else is bonus. There is nothing worse than stressing yourself out because you have to do every single thing in Fantasyland see all the parades and make 2 different dining reservations. Educate yourself beforehand, make a wish list of only a few things per day, and then remind yourself to...

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#3. Be flexible. 

Being rigid is a sure fire strategy to wasting time and making your family miserable. The line you thought was going to be short is now 45 minutes, skip it. You can always try again later or make a fastpass+ for it. The most we will wait in a line with Aria is 20 minutes, and we will only wait 20 minutes if it is an absolute favorite. 15 minutes and lower is preferable. Any longer and Aria starts to turn into a gremlin. Or, you are on your way to Dumbo and you spot a street performance, stop and watch even if just for a minute. Aria loves the trolley show on Main Street USA. Or, you spot a short and sweet line for something you don't have on your plan but you just bet your kids will love, go do it. You can make some wonderful memories in those spontaneous moments.

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#4. Do make fastpasses.

Disney World has moved from paper fastpasses to electronic ones that you can reserve via my disney experience either on your computer or phone app. You get three. Make three. Check here for an overview of the fastpass system AND see which attractions they suggest you need a fastpass for at each park. That way you can make educated choices. Fastpasses are important, they let you essentially skip to the head of a line. On some trips that we've taken at busier times of the year the only things we were able to do were the 3 fastpasses we made.

Bonus, after you've used up your three fastpasses you get a 4th one. The downside is that you can't book it on your phone with the app. You have to find a fastpass kiosk in the park (find them on your park map) and book it that way. Once you've used that 4th one you get a 5th and so on.

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#5. Do make your fastpasses as soon as you can.

If you are staying at a Disney World resort you can book your fastpasses 60 days in advance. There are a few attractions that are extremely hard to get fastpasses for that also have insane lines. I'm looking at you Anna & Elsa meet and greet. If you wait until your trip is closer you may end up not being able to book certain fastpasses. The early bird gets the worm. But also, if you couldn't snag that Anna & Elsa fastpass 60 days in advance don't give up hope. Keep checking back and you might be able to snag one somebody else discarded. That's how we ended up finally getting one ourselves. Miracles can happen!

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#6. Drink water.

Bring it, buy it, sip it from a fountain. You can always get free cups of water at any counter service restaurant. Any time we get something at a counter service spot we also get two or three cups of free water.

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#7. Some bathrooms are better than other bathrooms.

There is a bathroom across from the Swiss Family Treehouse at the Magic Kingdom. Don't use that one if you can avoid it. It's always busy. It's also an older bathroom so it just isn't as nice as the newer ones. Keep walking towards Pirates of the Caribbean and take a right at Tortuga Tavern. It's one of our favorite bathroom stops because it is almost always empty. The Tangled bathrooms to the left of Small World on the map are also nice, and the ones behind Gaston's Tavern as well. Both of those are newly built with the Fantasyland expansion.

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#8. Don't overlook nap time.

Do your kids nap with anything special? Bring it if you can. Aria sleeps with her swaddle blankets as a comfort, we always bring one so she can snuggle with it for a nap. Aria doesn't nap at home anymore but almost always takes a nap at Disney. Some people like to go back to their resort, but since most of our trips are just one day trips she just settles down in her stroller for a recharge. If we are at the Magic Kingdom (and we almost always are) when Aria naps my husband and I like to head to Liberty Square and wander around looking at the details, or if we need a/c we wander through the gift shops. If we want to rest our feet we usually head to Tortuga Tavern because they almost always have a table to sit at.

If nap time decides to overlap with one of your fastpass times make sure you have the my disney experience app on your phone so you can easily change the time for a little later.

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#9. Eat dinner early.

Not only are there fewer crowds if you eat at off times, but I find that the later it gets the crazier Aria gets. A full day at Disney World is a lot of work for all involved, it's downright exhausting. You don't want tired from too much fun to turn into hangry and tired. If that happens, break out the snacks really quick. Raisins were our only saving grace on one particular trip.

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#10. Ask to sit in the front.

You can ask to sit in a certain spot on certain rides and the cast members can almost always accommodate you. We've never been turned down for a request yet. If your children are little being in the front can give them a better view on certain rides like Small World. Or, maybe they just want to be in the front on Barnstormer. It's totally okay to ask the person directing you to your row.

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#11. Mark your stroller in some way.

There are stroller attendants that move strollers all the live long day. As people come back for their stroller the attendants will shift everything to keep the rows organized. Chances are wherever you park your stroller will not be where you find it. It will be in the same general area, but not the exact same spot. Although, if you do park your stroller in a no stroller parking area you may find your stroller relocated to the nearest one. Point being that sometimes it is a little tricky to find your stroller among the sea of strollers. So tie a bow to the handle. I suggest the handle because that is usually the only bit you can see when you are glancing down rows.

And while we are on the topic of strollers always leave the canopy extended just in case it rains. It may not help much in a downpour, but during a Florida sprinkle your chances of a dry seat are better with the canopy open. It also keeps the sun off the seat somewhat so that your kid doesn't have to pop their butt on a hot from the sunshine seat.

Also, if you are on the fence about needing a stroller or not chances are that you do. Unless you are totally sure your kid is fine walking miles in the hot sun, bring a stroller. 

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#12. Make breakfast dining reservations for before the park opens.

Not only are you not wasting precious morning hours when crowds are low and lines are short, but you also get to go into the park before everybody else. It's a great time to take some pictures and have the place to yourself somewhat. And, similar to booking fastpasses - make any dining reservations you want as soon as you can (180 days in advance). It's very hard to walk up to almost any sit down restaurant at Disney World and actually get a table. Most of the time they've been booked up for months.

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#13. Schedule in down time.

If you are staying for a few days, don't do a park all day every day. Schedule a morning to sleep in as long as the kids do (keep your fingers crossed it is past 8am), bring Mickey waffles back to your room for a slow breakfast in bed, and then spend the rest of the afternoon at the pool. Pool time is definitely high on Aria's list of favorite things to do at Disney.

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#14. There are places to let your kid run off some energy.

Disney World is tiring, but it is also restricting. If you hit a time when your kids are itching for a little freedom to run around check out the play areas. At Magic Kingdom they can run around and get wet at the Splash N Soak Station, explore Tom Sawyer Island, or play at the playground in Dumbo's line. At Animal Kingdom there is a large play set called the Boneyard, or even walk one of the two jungle treks. At Epcot they construct playgrounds during the Flower & Garden Festival but I've never seen any at other times, but Aria loves walking the world showcase to stretch her legs. At Hollywood Studios they have nothing that I know of, and I actually find it the least toddler friendly of the parks - very few rides.

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

#15. Smile.

You are on vacation! Enjoy yourself. If Disney World isn't your thing just watch the joy on your kids faces as they experience the magic. And then add a Lapu Lapu from the Polynesian Resort's Tambu Lounge to your must do list.

Sweet Turtle Soup guest posting Mommylogues - 15 Tips from a Disney World Mom

I'm always happy to chat about Disney World. Feel free to shoot me an email (sweetturtlesoup@gmail.com) if you have any questions!

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