Sunday, April 15, 2018

Disney Bounding

As an adult, it's somewhat frowned upon when you show up in Walt Disney World in a full costume.  Unless it is Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, then by all means... dress the part (some rules do still apply)!  But, the way around the no costume rule, is an awesome thing called Disney Bounding.  There are sites and Pinterest boards dedicated to this movement.  To be a successful Disney Bounder, you can utilize clothes straight from your closet.  

As a Disney fan, and a fan of dressing up to play a part, be it for Halloween or a play, Disney Bounding is definitely right up my alley.  So, I decided to give it a try during my latest trip to Mickey's House.  I had to pad my wardrobe a bit, but thanks to some local Thrift shops and sales, I was able design 4 different Disney Bounding outfits.

there was a girl who was not only a fan of Star Wars, but a huge fan of Han Solo.  That seems like a valid reason to create a Han Solo inspired outfit.  I found an awesome pair of capris with eyelets along the side, perfect for adding Corellian Blood strips, at my local Marshalls.  The Henley shirt and black denim vest were both found on Amazon for a decent price, and thanks to Amazon Prime, shipping was FREE!  Naturally, this Han Solo had a meet and greet with the number one Wookiee, who recognized his best buddy immediately. 

My three old son is quite the fan of Big Hero 6.  What's not the love?  A big huggable robot who moonlights as a Super Hero!  I knew that I was going to have the opportunity to visit Baymax in Hiro's workshop.  Every Baymax needs his Hiro.  And that was my choice for Disney bounding in EPCOT.  I found a red tee at a Thrift shop, that was perfect to use my craft skills, and add the robot as seen on Hiro's tee.  I only had to go as far as my closet for the cargo capris and the blue hoodie to complete the ensemble.  The photo opportunity would not have been complete with a Ba La La La La La La.

Animal Kingdom took a little extra thought.  I knew the Wilderness Explorer was an obvious option, because the Wilderness must be Explored!  
But I also wanted to incorporate something from the new World of Pandora.  Well, there are two groups who help provide us Terrans an unforgettable experience in Pandora: Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE), the eco tour group responsible for getting us to Pandora.  And Pandora Conservation Initiative (PCI), the group of scientists and conservationists who give us the ability to "fly"on a Banshee through the Mountain Banshee Project. 

  I am a scientist at heart.  In fact, there was a time in my life I was going to be a Marine Biologist, and science still is a passion of mine.  If I were relocated to Alpha Centauri, I would see myself working as a member of the PCI.  In my imagination, I wouldn't just be a part of research, I, through my Avatar, would be an Ikran Makto... a Banshee Rider.  And that is just what I became on my visit to Pandora, thanks to my Disney Bounding idea.     

There we have it.  My first attempt at Disney Bounding in Walt Disney World.  I hope to incorporate more ideas on our next visit.  I'm always looking for the not so obvious.  

Earning the Keys to the Kingdom

  It was a different way to spend St. Paddy's Day...  awake before the sunrise, a quick stroll from the hotel, and a non-alcohol related tour in Walt Disney World.  This was the day we decided to take the Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom, and it was MAGICAL!

  A little bit about the Keys to the Kingdom tour... it is a 5 hour walking tour.  It is primarily outdoors, so dress for the weather.  Tour-goers must be at least 16 years old.  A discount is available for Annual Passholders, DVC members, and Disney Chase Visa Cardmembers.  You may not use a camera, video equipment or a cell phone during the tour.  Yes, they know you will most likely have these things on your person while in the park.  Just do not have them out and in use during the tour.  Keep the cellphone in your pocket, or backpack, and you will be golden. 

  We started our day bright and early at the Contemporary Resort, with a little breakfast to gear us up for our day.  We utilized the walking path from the Contemporary to Magic Kingdom.  This is a fantastic benefit of staying at the Contemporary...a few minute walk from door to gate.  We were so early, the security checkpoint along the path was not yet open.  Perfect opportunity to grab some beautiful shots of the scenery.

  When we were able to continue on our path, we were able to proceed to the gates at the far left, bypassing the other park goers waiting to enter the park.  Those who have pre-park opening dining reservations and early tour reservations are let in through that specific gate when the all clear is given.  Yes, there is a list, and they verify that you are on it. 

 This was our view upon entering Main Street...  a clear line of sight occupied only by Photopass photographers. 

 That allowed us to get a fantastic shot with Cinderella Castle with barely a person in site!  Well, a person in site.  Disney fanatic achievement unlocked, nonetheless!!!

  After taking a few minutes to take advantage of the opportunity to catch the photographers along Main Street, we walked over to the Town Square Theater where we checked in, selected our lunch items from the menu provided, picked up our name tags and listening devices, and patiently waited for our tour guide, Caroline,  to gather us up to begin.  

The tour began just outside the Town Square Theater, with some information about Main Street itself.  I, as a Disnerd, have read quite a bit about Walt Disney World.  I knew some of the information our Tour Guide was sharing, but still learned so much more.  Plus, it was great to have someone point out the tidbits I had read and be able to see it in person.  Our tour went in a clockwise direction around the park with detours into backstage areas, including the Utilidors.  
The tour includes a ride on some attractions.  Our tour included Haunted Mansion and the Jungle Cruise.  The attractions the tour include vary per tour.  There is no guarantee what attraction a
particular tour will include.  We also enjoyed a nice lunch break at the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe.  As I mentioned we had preselected our lunch from the menu provided at check-in.  By the time we arrived at Pecos Bill's, our food was ready in a closed off area of the restaurant, reserved for the tour. 

As the tour concluded, we were brought back to Main Street via a backstage area just behind the Town Square Theater.  We discovered that Caroline had just completed her first ever solo tour, with her assessor/mentor acting as just another member of the tour. She passed with flying colors!  We all congratulated her on her newest accomplishment.

The Keys to the Kingdom tour was completely worth it!  If you are debating on booking this tour, DO IT!  It was a great way to spend part of the day at the Magic Kingdom.  Never did I feel that the magic was ruined.  In fact, I think it added to it.  This is definitely a must-do for any Disney fan.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Just imagine how cooler I'll be....IN SUMMER!!

Olaf has been waiting for his moment in the sunlight!  
It's finally Summer!!!

With two boys, Summer can be a fun...and interesting time.  School's out, which means that Littlehead's year in 1st Grade is over, and Momma's Preschool year is over as well.  And Littlesthead is just enjoying being a 1 year old.  So, that means Summer adventures can commence.  

There will be some Cub Scout fun throughout the Summer.  Our local Cub Scout Day Camp is fast approaching.  And of course there are Pack and Den activities to keep us busy.  Vacation will be another week of awesome fun.  BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF SUMMER??!!!!

I'm a typically active person.  I like to be outside when it's possible.  Filling up the baby pool, turning on the slip-n-slide, riding bikes, going on hikes... all of these are things we like to do.  Rainy day?  Board games, Legos, reading and whichever subject we have chosen to study throughout the Summer.  We've learned about bugs, birds, the human body, robots and currently learning about astronomy.  All these fun ideas, but how to make sure we do them and not end up at the ol' standby... TV, Ipad, Video games?  It does make for a challenge to not turn into screen time zombies.

Thanks to this wonderful thing called the Internet, I have found a few solutions to solve this Summer bummer situation.

First things first.....
How do we limit some of the screen time?  It's way too easy for my littlehead to plop down with his Ipad or Netflix.  I found quite a few screen time charts or incentive systems.  I came across one in particular that I felt like would work with my 7 year old from the Shady Lane.
This is the blank version, but there are other versions as well, including a different color scheme and pre-filled in items.  I printed out a copy, filled in the tasks and slid the sheet into a clear plastic sheet protector.  As my littlehead completes a task, we can color in the meter with a dry erase marker until he earned his screen time, wipe clean and start again.  I incorporated reading time (which goes along with our local library's summer reading program), easy chores, and activities from two other summer boredom busters I will mention in just a minute.

My littlehead has always loved activity books.  It could be my doing.  Ever since he was old enough to wield a crayon, we carried coloring books or activity books where ever we went.  Going out to dinner,  a long ride in the car, the doctor's office?  Let's load up the backpack with activity books.  In more recent years, a majority of those activity books became Math related.  Man, does he love Math. We have inadvertently been preventing Summer Slide with these fun activity books, but he doesn't need to know that.  

Of course it was a no brainer when I came across the Summer Brain Camp binder printables from Imagination Soup.  There are activities for Reading, Writing and Math.

The free printables include 3 lists of various activities and reward coupons.  They also provide links to various resources to accompany the listed activities.  It's pretty easy, print, slide into sheet protectors, and put in a binder.  I put a binder friendly pencil pouch to hold dry erase markers.  

My FAVORITE Summer Boredom Buster that I found is from Over the Big Moon: 60 Days of Summer Fun!  All you need is some Popsicle sticks, a way to color code them, and the printable activity cards. 

At Over the Big Moon, they created a color coded system:

ORANGE= Art, Activity or Craft

PURPLE= Cooking

GREEN= Field Trip (Museum, Zoo, Etc)

BLUE= Water Activity

YELLOW=  Science Experiment

SILVER =  Special Activities

There are completed activity cards and blank cards that can easily be edited in Photoshop.  I really only had to edit the Green Field Trip cards and the Silver Special Activities.  This year, with my Littlehead being in Cub Scouts, I added a new color category:  RED = Hiking Locations.  

What on earth do you do with all these popsicles?   At the beginning of the week, Littlehead picks a popsicle from each color, except for Silver.  We find the coordinating activity card, and refer back to Over the Big Moon for activity information or recipes.  That's right, they have all the needed information and resources linked right on the website!  We try our best to complete the activities before the week is up.  Sometimes we end up a little more busy with camps, doctor appointments, sleepovers at the grandparents', or some much needed errands.  

With all of these Summer Boredom Busters combined, I should never hear the words "Mooommmmmmmm..... I'm booorrrrreeeeeddddd..."

I hope these suggestions can work for you family as well as it did for mine.  Have a great Summer!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

We forgot the introductions!

Oh how rude of me.  I completely forgot the formal introductions to our littlesthead.

It was a pretty cold day on February 16th.  There was some snow left on the ground when we went to the hospital.  It was a planned c-section, so there was no rush to the hospital.  After all the pre-op and such, the littlesthead was officially born at 11:24 am.  What this mama remembers from the operating room... some super silly things.

When asked how I was feeling after getting epidural and whatever other fluids they were pumping into me, my response was "I'm actually hungry".  I was!  I wasn't allowed to eat anything for breakfast since my food/liquid intake had a midnight cutoff.

Right around that 11:24 mark, Dr. Gotzman, who was performing the procedure, says "What are you holding onto in there?" Apparently, the littlesthead was a grabby little guy and got a grip on something.  Good news, he did not bring any kind of souvenir out with him.  And, the presentation to mama and daddy over the blue curtain...littlesthead proceeds to show his love by spitting at his mama.  Yeah... love you too buddy.

Littlesthead weighed 6 lbs 5 ounces and was 18 inches long.

So, now, here we the 3 month mark.

Wait?!  What?!?!  3 months already?!?!?  My how time flies. And look how impressed he must be to be 3 months old.

Littlehead and littlesthead are getting along well.  Big Brother is enjoying his promotion.  He loves holding his little bro, and entertaining him.  It's fun now that littlesthead smiles and laughs.  He is even starting to recognize familiar faces, including Big Bro.  I mean, look at the brotherly love.

And let's say, these two definitely look like brothers.  Don't believe me...see for yourself.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Cloth Diaper Chronicles - Lil Helpers

So, yes, we are in the midst of the Cloth Diaper adventure with the Littlesthead.  We are quickly approaching 3 months since the littlesthead was born.  We have been cloth diapering for a little over a month, well part-time.  I have a few different brands that I purchased to try out.  One of the brands that I came across thanks to Fluff Love University, is Lil Helper.  Lil Helper has been around since 2009.  The company was founded by Mohammed Gandhi and Nader Abu El Samid,  and it's sole mission is "to provide quality products and fantastic customer service".  "Apart from providing parents with a greener alternative to disposable diapers, Lil Helper also started the Baby Do Good program, which gives 1 brand new cloth diaper to a family in need for every 3 diapers they sell."

After finding out about Lil Helper, I decided to give them a try.  At the time, they were running a special, 50% off on 2 Diapers and FREE SHIPPING!!  Why would I not take advantage of that?  The catch, I had to select 5 of my favorite colors, and they would pick 2 to ship me.

Well, apparently word got around, and the good people at Lil Helper actually had to wait for their diapers to get restocked.  I received an email from Mohammed informing me of the delay and that this was "not business as usual".  Okay, so my order is delayed.  No problem, especially since they notified me.  A check mark in the great customer service column.

Before I knew it, I received my package from Lil Helper!  And it didn't just have my diapers!

I was surprised to see some extra goodies included.  They sent a cloth wipe, a hand-written thank you note, tea and some treats!  Another check mark in the great customer service column.

Next step, I prepped my new diapers for use, and was a little sad to discover (dun dun dunnnn) that one of the inside snaps that connects to the liner was missing!

So, I sent a nice email informing them of the missing snap, and even sent the picture.  Well, guess what?  Shortly after, I received a response that (1) they needed me to resend the picture b/c they were in the midst of migrating to a new help system and (2) they would send me a replacement  cover.  I asked if they'd like me to send the now defective one back and the answer was...No, go ahead and keep it.

After I got them all prepped, we gave them a test run.

 I do dig the Lil Helper diapers.  They fit pretty darn good, and are fairly trip.  Now, they came with two inserts, a large and a small that snap to the cover.  They are made to attach to each other and to the cover.  I have only been using one at a time.  If/when I decide to cloth at nighttime (we do disposables now) doubling the inserts would probably be a good idea.

What do I say about Lil Helper?  All good things.  The product is great.  The customer service is fantastic.  And the fact that have the Baby Do Good program is AMAZING!  Two thumbs up from this mama.  And if he could do it, another two thumbs from my littlesthead.

If you are thinking about trying Cloth Diapering, please consider Lil Helper.  They are always running specials it seems.  Go ahead.  Check them out!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Preparing for the littlest-head

It's the final countdown to the arrival of our littlest head.   Plenty to do in a little over a month.

Let's go back to July 4th weekend, where the Big news was revealed to the Big Brother (and everyone else for that matter).  We were attending a Maryland Blue Crabs baseball game, and thought it would be a fun way to let the Littlehead know that he wasn't going to be the only littlehead in the family anymore.

Obviously, it was a bit of a shocker.  But we had more people to share the news with.  How to do it?
Well, good thing Mommy designs shirts for such an occasion.  We had to improvise since it would have taken too long to order a real shirt from my Cafe Press shop, but it worked great.

Littlehead walked into Mimi and Poppy's with the shirt on, and didn't say a word until someone actually read the shirt (which says "Big Brother To-Be : Loading in Progress").  Lot's of excitement ensued.

When it was time to find out if it was a Baby Mickey or Baby Minnie, we decided to involve the Big Brother in the reveal! He was at school while mom and dad were at the doctor's getting the results.

It's another BOY for the Goldman family!
Good thing we've held on to all if little head's clothes and such.  We just have to supplement a few things since the littlest head will be born in the winter instead of the summer. 

Now it's January, and it's a little less than a month before the  little guy is due to arrive.  (Well, due is a little different in this case as it will be a scheduled C-Section).  And there's plenty to do.  The lists have has the nesting it seems as I have just spent the past few days tackling some organization in the kitchen.

One big thing on my mind lately... Cloth diapers. Now, big brother was a solely disposable diaper baby, until the cloth training pants stage.  Now...I have quite a few friends who are experienced cloth diapers, and I have hit them up for suggestions and advice.  I've also done research via Pinterest.  I found a decent sale on Zulily on FuzziBunz,and ordered a few.  Just waiting for them to arrive.  I also found a local gal who runs a cloth diaper business from her home.  A shout out to Tiffany at FiggyFuzz for letting me stop by and explaining all things cloth diapering.  It was very helpful to see and touch all the varieties of cloth diapers.  From pre-folds, to pockets, to all-in-ones.... it actually really all started to make sense.

So, this is the beginning of this new endeavor.  I hope to keep sharing as I learn more about cloth diapers and how they work or don't work for us and the littlesthead.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Yet more Disney inspiration... Tinkerbell Gifts

As the 1 year anniversary of our trip to the Mouse's house approaches, I am still reminded of all the fun we had.  I'm also finding some useful tips, tricks and fun information that was useful during out trip, that would be useful for others.

Last year was our now 5 year old's first trip to the World, and we wanted to make sure it was the most magical trip ever.  I scoured the web for any helpful information.  The result.... an overflowing Pinterest board.

Let's talk Tinkerbell Gifts, because this is one of the most fantastic ideas to add a little extra magic to any kid's trip to WDW.  The idea is that Tinkerbell, or whomever your child's favorite character happens to be, leaves a little something special in your room each day.  I personally thought this was brilliant!  Not only does it have that magic factor. it also creates a method of reducing the
meltdowns for souvenirs, and may even encourage good behavior.  In the weeks leading up to our trip, I searched through the clearance section at Walmart, the $1 spot at Target, and our local Dollar Tree for gifts.  I also made use of my creativity for a few of them.  The biggest purchase was pins for trading/collecting from eBay.

***Time for a Public Service Announcement... when purchasing pins from eBay... DO YOUR RESEARCH!!  Google "Disney Scrapper Pins".  They exist, and unfortunately, the trading pull on any given Cast Members' lanyard in a park has been "diluted" with these scrapper pins.  They are not illegal, and some are cool, but still...  Also, make sure you purchase from an eBay seller with a high ranking to reduce your chance of being scammed.   ***

Back to Tinkerbell Gifts... I did end up with a pretty darn good stash of gifts for my littlehead.  Next step was to organize and write cute little messages to accompany them.  This is definitely fun.  Let me show you how my notes turned out.

The first gift was came the night before the trip.  Littlehead found a nice surprise waiting for him on his bed.  Mickey had somehow left a package with new Disney PJs and a set of activities for the plan.  He also included a reminder to wear the "I'm going to Walt Disney World Resort" shirt littlehead had gotten for his birthday.

Then next gift was delivered very early the next morning (it's amazing how Mickey mail works).  Russell (from Up) was kind enough to send a note of encouragement for littlehead's first plane ride.  There was also some animal guides and an invitation to become a Wilderness Explorer at Animal Kingdom, as that was the planned for after check-in at our resort.

Every morning, a new gift was waiting somewhere in our room at Caribbean Beach, and sometimes next door in Mimi and Poppy's room.  The character who sent the package usually corresponded with the activities of the day.  Gifts included:

    • Glow sticks for nighttime activities
    • Activity books
    • A printed passport for EPCOT
    • An autograph book for Universal Studios
    • A Trick or Treat bag for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
    • Buzz and Woody figures

And each day, there were pins to either use for trading purposes, or just to add to the collection.

Here are the notes that were left each day.  The littlehead was very excited to see who left him a gift each day.  There was one day taht two gifts were delivered.  That would be the day we had breakfast with Lilo, Stitch, Mikey and Pluot at 'Ohana's before heading to Magic Kingdom for half of the day.  We took time for a nap, during which the second gift was found, before heading back to Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.



For the day that we visited EPCOT, this "communicator" note was left by Major Monogram, in addition to the note from Duffy.  M.M. was recruiting our little agent to take part in the Agent P Adventure throughout EPCOT.  That was a fun addition to the World Showcase.

Were the Tinkerbell gifts a success?  I'd say so. Littlehead did not pester us every minute of the day for a souvenir.  We did find some special items through the parks, like tshirts and even took the time to have a silouhette done.  oh, and Pressed Pennies.... those were a hit as well.

About those Pressed Pennies... littlehead loves them.  And they do make a pretty cool souvenir.  Collect your pennies and quarters prior to your trip.  Then get a container.  Those M&M Mini cannisters are the best.  You can easily find printable wraps around the Internet, or you can design your own.  Use this pattern to load your quarters and pennies for the most efficient method:  Quarter, Quarter, Penny.  You will need $.51 cents per each pressed penny.  Want to be even more efficient, have a list or map of the pressed penny locations printed, or saved on your phone.  You can find a good up to date list here or some maps here.

I hoe your find this helpful.  If you have any questions about Tinkerbell Gifts or the notes I created, don't hesitate to ask.  And if you're planning your next trip to Disney, good luck and I hope you have a magical time.