Essentials for Surviving a Theme Park With Small Kids

August 4, 2015

Theme parks, Disneyland in particular, were a huge part of my childhood, and my husband and I have been taking our little girl to various amusement and theme parks since she was 9-weeks old. I've learned a few things along the way that have made our trips over the years much easier and far more enjoyable for all of us, and I shared them recently with a some friends who are taking their little ones to an amusement park for the first time in a couple of weeks. As I told them, a meltdown at some point in the day is kind of expected (at one visit to Disneyland we actually heard parents negotiating with their children at every turn), but it doesn't have to ruin the day. Dress them in comfy clothes and shoes, then have these essentials on hand to help make it a great day. 

Baby wipes/sanitizing wipes
Between the petting zoo, shaking hands with the characters, and waiting in lines at the rides, your kids hands will come into contact with countless germs. And that's all before the little one drops ice cream down the front of their shirt. The point is, wipes are beyond necessary, so pack plenty.

Small snacks
After hours of waiting in lines, weaving in and out of crowds, or being scared half to death on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, a treat might be in order to prevent a meltdown. Time is of the essence, so tracking down an ice cream or churro vendor and then waiting in that line is out of the question. Keep small treats like tootsie rolls or DumDum lollipops on hand. If you're averse to giving them candy, have freeze dried fruit or energy balls at the ready.

You may think your five-year old will be fine without his stroller, and maybe he will, but it's still a good idea to bring one just in case. Your little one may not need it, but coats, bags, and any souvenirs you pick up throughout the day will find a happy home in the stroller basket and seat.

Though you may not even need them (hopefully you won't), have band-aids handy so there's no need to find a park employee or hightail it to the first-aid office in the event of a minor injury. Plus, most kids love wearing them (so you may want to offer them even if you little one doesn't have an ouchie). Bonus points if they have fun characters on them. 

Extra Clothes
You probably already pack extra clothes for babies and toddlers, but sometimes it's a good idea to have a change of clothes for school-aged children too. Accidents happen, spills occur, animals at the petting zoo can be unpredictable, and water rides, though enticing on a hot day, will leave them sopping and uncomfortable. 

Because when a favorite ride is shut down or a beloved character isn't available that day, a great big balloon might help, and many of the wandering vendors at amusement parks only take cash. And at our most recent Disney trip, we had to wait for one vendor's credit card machine to reboot before we could pay, which it never did (we ended up getting free Mickey Mouse lollipops after waiting patiently for five or six minutes).

Pajamas, Blankets, and Stuffed Animals
If you opt to drive home instead of staying at a nearby hotel, have soft clothes or jammies to make their ride home more comfortable (plus you can put them right into bed once you're home), as well as their favorite blanket and or stuffed animal. They'll no doubt be wiped, and making them as cozy as possible will be the happy ending to their fun day. 

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15 Fun Things to Do With the Kids in August

July 31, 2015

Coming up with new ways to keep your little ones entertained can seem an impossible task at times, so each month I will offer up a few fun ideas that you and your children might enjoy. Have fun!

1. Make and share a milkshake together.

2. Make up a silly song that includes a verse about each family member. 

3.  Put together a Welcome Back to School care package for their teachers. 

4.  Fill up all the buckets, water balloons, and squirters you can find for one final and epic water war before school starts.

5. Buy a backpack to donate or give the money  to an organization that purchases them for donation. Check your local area to find out where you can donate.

6. Take one last summer road trip, even if it's not an overnighter.

7. Host a game night and invite the neighborhood kids over for a boardgame tournament.

8. Declare Backwards Day and do as many things as possible in reverse, including eating dinner foods for breakfast.

9. Have a family read-a-thon and read as many books as you can in a designated time frame.

10. Make musical instruments out of household items and have your own battle of the bands.

11. Have ice cream sundaes for dinner. 

12. Watch Frozen, or whatever their favorite movie is, for the zillionth time and sing all the songs at the top of your lungs (and don't pick up your cell, or find any other excuse to leave the sofa).

13. Make bathtub paint and let them get creative as they get clean. 

14. Play flashlight tag in the backyard.

15. Go for an evening stroll and talk about plans, hopes, and goals for the upcoming school year.

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Friday Favorites

July 31, 2015

My baby turns two today! While I can barely contain my excitement (birthdays are a really big deal to me) I can't help but feel a little sad that she's no longer, and will never again be, my tiny baby girl. When I kissed her goodnight last night I said to her, "This is your last goodnight as a one-year old.." and I nearly burst into tears. To celebrate her big day, (and combat any melancholy feelings I'm having), we're spending the day at the happiest place on earth. I'm looking forward to lots of giggles and excited squeals, and I can't wait to spoil both of my babies with all things Minnie Mouse and Disney princess. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. God bless!

The first picture I posted of my little angel about a week after I had her. Happy birthday, sweet girl!

Cute little cake toppers

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

The perfect crab boil. I'm still determined to have one before summer's end.

This lovely door. (I'm telling you, I'm obsessed. I never could have imagined I'd fall in love with a door!)

10 Best IKEA Hacks for Kids' Rooms

July 30, 2015

For anyone who loves to DIY, it doesn't get much better than a good IKEA hack; there are dozens and dozens  and dozens out there, and probably even more than that if you're willing to search. Lately, I've been itching to make something really sweet and special for my little girls, and since I'm not a master builder I'm trying to find an IKEA hack that is equal parts adorable and easy to execute. Here are ten projects that I know my babies will love. 

A painted Fado table lamp becomes the cutest nightlight ever. 

A special little table for coloring, playing with Play-Doh, or building with Legos. 

The most adorably colorful stepping stools for little feet.

A basic and, let's face it, boring rug literally becomes the sweet spot of the room when it's painted like a donut covered in colorful sprinkles.

An angelic face painted on an IKEA Skurar vase makes it totally appropriate for a child's room or play area.

A custom play kitchen built from IKEA furniture. 

An IKEA Expedit bookshelf turned banquette makes for an ideal reading spot. The baskets below are perfect for storing books and small toys.

Painting the drawers of the IKEA PS 2012 gives it a girly and whimsical feel. 

Bekvรคm spice racks as an unexpected but totally genius way to display books.

The sweetest little dollhouse made from a cabinet and some imagination.
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