Tips for Taking Littles to Disneyland

disneyland

It’s been almost a year since Ben turned two. For his second birthday we went to Disneyland. It feels like every day I run into a parent telling me they’re planning their first trip to Disneyland.  I’m going to share with you my tips and advice for your first trip to Disneyland with your children.

  1. Choosing your hotel.  We went for two days. We stayed off property in a nearby hotel that was only half a mile away. The hotel had a free tram to Disneyland. Most hotels nearby have a free tram to Disneyland and are half price compared to the hotels on Disneyland’s property. However, with that being said there is a lot of convenience to staying on property. It does take two trams to get to Disneyland. With two babies under two years old and all of the stuff we had to bring it would’ve been more convenient to stay on property for sure.   If you’re going to Disneyland and trying to keep a budget then I recommend staying off property, but if you’re concerned about handling the two trams then it might be worth it to pay the extra money and stay on property.
  2. Take advantage of stroller rental.  Immediately upon getting through the gates at Disneyland we had to take our second tram. The first day we drove our car and parked at Disneyland. You can purchase a discounted parking pass online when you purchase your tickets. The parking lot is pretty far from the entry into Disneyland. This presented an issue for us, our double stroller, and all of our stuff. We had to collapse the double stroller, put the boys on the bus, and also carried the double stroller on the bus-it took up a lot of room.  The second day that we visited Disneyland I went by myself with my boys. As you enter Disneyland there is stroller rental which is rather affordable. So I simply wore Adam in a baby carrier all day and had the stroller for Ben.  The strollers that they have at Disneyland are large jogger style strollers with a good amount of storage. img_4986
  3. Get your celebration buttons!  For special events there are buttons you can wear as a group that lets the Disney characters know that you are celebrating. We all wore Happy Birthday buttons to celebrate Ben’s birthday and characters spent a little bit more time with my boys because of it. We were given these free buttons as soon as we entered Disneyland.  Just ask at the first kiosk you see.
  4. Dress comfortable. I highly recommend having your kids wear long, light clothing as the Disneyland chairs, rides, and changing tables are heavily trafficked public areas.  Wear sneakers, hats, and bring sweatshirts for the cool California nights!img_5026
  5. Bring supplies from home. Take hand sanitizer and use it repeatedly, take sunscreen, water bottles,and snacks. The food at Disneyland is expensive. You can cut costs a lot by bringing some sandwiches and some water bottles.  Our hotel also had a complimentary breakfast that we took advantage of every morning.
  6. Kids love meeting the characters!  To see and interact with the most characters definitely check out the restaurants. We went to Goofy’s Café and the boys were able to meet Mini Mouse, Chip and Dale, and Goofy.  The boys had a truly magical experience there. We ate there one night and the next night we just ordered pizza to our hotel room. It’s definitely worth a splurge.
  7. img_4991
  8. Get a free line hopper app.  I did not plan on standing in line for hours on end with two babies under two years old to go on rides. So I downloaded a line hopper app and used it the whole time. I also recommend bringing a back up battery pack for your phone so you can charge it throughout the day. Between the battery running out for pictures and the line hopper app it’s good to have a back up.
  9. Nap time.  For nap time I did not go back to the hotel. If the boys were tired I would just take a break have a snack some water relax with my phone somewhere shady. Whichever boy was tired I put him in the stroller and let him relax.
  10. Cool off at the shows.  There are so many free entertaining shows on property and it’s one of the best ways to stay cool in the summer sun. We were at Disneyland in the end of June and it was so hot and humid! We went to every single one of the shows and despite my boys being very young, their jaws were on the floor at each show. They sat quietly and paid attention as soon as the characters came onstage. Most shows run about 20 minutes to 30 minutes.
  11. Cool off and shop!  We didn’t do too much shopping but on property there is the world’s largest largest Disney Store. So I had to check that out! They have items there that I’m not gonna find here in Vegas at the mall or online. I definitely think it’s worth splurging on and it’s another way to cool off! 

My Wink Naturals Review

A month ago I saw an ad for a product on Facebook promising to assist in better sleep for babies.  I have not had one full, uninterrupted night of sleep since Adam was born. In fact, I have been waking up 4-6 times a night since he was 8 months old to nurse.  That’s not bad compared to the 8 times a night prior!  

Ben was never a frequent waker.  He would wake 2-3 times a night as an infant and by the time he was 12 months old he was sleeping in his own room and waking once a night. 


So I’ve been trying to night wean the  Dr. Jay Gordon way.  Lay him next to me, massage him, sing to him, etc.  I was awake from 1am-4am when I tried it because he wouldn’t stop crying!


I knew I needed help so I was excited to try Wink Naturals Pure Sleep and Breathe Rub.  It’s an all natural ointment with ingredients like lavender and eucalyptus to help relax your baby and also open up their sinuses so they can breathe better. I think it would be really great when Adam has a cold to help him breathe better at night. Right now, though,  I want to use it just to help him sleep. I want to help take that extra little edge off so he can relax and ease into sleep without a lot of crying.  When the rub arrived I applied it on his chest and he really enjoyed breathing in the smell-he even held the jar in his hands to smell it. I noticed that the first night we used it he did sleep longer than he’s ever slept in one time.  He actually slept seven hours straight! Normally he only sleeps three hours max.

I have now weaned him from daytime feedings except for going down for nap and I also weaned him of his bedtime feeding. He has overall been sleeping better at night-which means fewer night feedings.  Now after a couple weeks of continued use I can say it is a great all natural product to help my baby sleep better.  

Wink Naturals has a whole line of Sleep products for babies and toddlers that can be found at http://winknaturals.com.  Always check with your doctor before using any supplements or holistic products.

Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies 

garbanzo bean cookies

I have not been quiet about the fact that my Ben is a picky eater.  He’s a total carbaholic, he eats tofu, and that’s about it.  Getting fruits and veggies into him can be a struggle.  One way I do manage to get veggies in him is baked goods.  I have tried black bean brownie, garbanzo bean cupcakes, and pumpkin loaf made from scratch with shredded carrots.  I find myself baking him healthy treats each week and he seems to love them!

This past week it was Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies. They come out soft, and I do refrigerate them to be on the safe side because they have a lot of egg.  When I need one or two I pop them in the oven or microwave quickly.

These cookies are high in protein as they have 3 sources of protein: eggs, peanut butter, and garbanzo beans.  They’re actually a healthy indulgence for me as I’m trying to lose the last bit of baby weight.

Ingredients:

1 can of garbanzo beans rinsed

3 eggs

1 cup of flour

1 cup of coconut sugar

2 tbs. creamy peanut butter

1/2 tsp. baking powder
Directions:

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend.  Using a tablespoon spoon not a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place in a 350 oven for 10 minutes.  Cool after you take them out and enjoy!

I’ll share some pins below of tried and tested hidden veggie recipes.  It’s amazing how much like the real thing they taste and it’s reassuring that my boys are getting some good nutrition with their treats!

Easy homemade banana zucchini bread, perfect for freezing! Toast a slice and add a pat of butter for an amazing after school snack.:

 

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Banana Muffins - a perfect use for overripe bananas and a great way to sneak some veggies into your child's diet. They're picky toddler approved too!:

These delicious dark chocolate flourless brownie muffins will satisfy your sweet tooth without sabotaging your diet. And they're gluten-free! Click through to get the recipe and find out what the secret ingredient is. // desserts // healthy recipes // cheat clean // gluten free // Beachbody // http://BeachbodyBlog.com:

How My Family Stays Cool in the Summer With Honest Co.

honestSummer is serious in Las Vegas!  With temperatures reaching 125 degrees we take a lot of precautions as parents with our children’s safety in the heat.  No, we don’t stay inside all day in the air conditioning, however, we do choose how and when we go outside!

Most mornings in the summer we get up early to enjoy the outdoors.  The boys have water tables and a sand pit in the backyard.  We go to the park, play in splash pads, and walk the dogs before 10 AM.  By 10 AM the temperature can easily be 95 degrees, so that’s the time we do our indoor play.  When the boys are outside, even though it’s not during the high heat, I put sunscreen and hats on them.  These simple blue hats from Honest Co. go with most of the boys’ summer outfits and have SPF 50 built in! They’re also waterproof for the beach, splash pad, and water table fun my sons’ have every summer!

The hats fold up small and can fit easily in my diaper bag for busy days and trips. When we went to Israel they came in so handy!

Another way we have fun in the summer is swim classes. We actually do swim classes year round at Water Wings Swim School. They have indoor heated pools. Ben just moved up a level and is so proud! We go 1-2 times a week. I still get in the pool with Ben, but next month when he turns 3 I won’t need too I the water with him, so I will start Adam too. While we currently don’t have a pool, we are looking to move to a house with a pool so swim gear is so necessary. Even though Ben is potty trained I do still put a swim diaper on him and I love the swim diapers from Honest Co. They come in many sizes and cute prints, which is Honest Co.’s specialty.

When the boys’ are swimming even though the pool is inside I don’t want them catching cold, so they wear a swim shirt to the pool. It’s also a great cover up for the beach, outdoor pools, and at the splash pad. I don’t want them to get a sunburn!

Click here to get 20% off your child’s summer sun essentials!
20% Off Sun Care from The Honest Company. Use code: SUPER 20

DIY Father’s Day Gifts

 

My husband says in Israel there’s only Mother’s Day so he was surprised that HE gets a day too!  Finding DIY gift ideas on Pinterest is tricky though because he’s not into American sports, so no handprint baseballs for him.  He’s from another country and they have their own games, sports, etc.  So that cancels about 75% of what I found for the boys to make my husband.  Although, I did get some cute ideas for grandpa pretty quick.  Here are some pins I love for Father’s Day gifts made by little hands. Click on the pictures to be linked to the actual pin.

Image result for homemade gifts from toddlers to grandparents:

saved from Pinterest.com

Dad's Day Coffee Mug | DIY Father's Day Gifts | Father's Day Gift Ideas:

saved from Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts

 

For Grandpa, the golf and baseball fan I thought these would be a great start:

DIY “My Heart Belongs to Dad” Baseball Plate ~ cute Father's day gift... would also be cute as "My heart belongs to Grandpa":

saved from getallfiredup.com

 

Father's Day card. Hole in one. Golf club footprint, golf flag handprint:

from elitelinks.co.uk

Bananas Foster Protein Shake with Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla 

bananas foster
I’ve gotten really into lifting heavy weights lately. I’m finding that it’s making the most difference in shedding my baby weight.  Of course any weightlifting routine means an increase in protein, which can be problematic if you’re a vegetarian like myself. This shake is not only high in protein and vegan.  It’s the perfect pre-workout shake!

Recipe:

In a blender combine:

1.5 tsp. Trader Joe’s Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract

Ice

1 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 scoop Trader Joe’s Vanilla Protein Powder

2 bananas


Blend it up and enjoy either before or after a hard workout!  I added a packet of Stevia to my shake because I have a sweet tooth, but it’s not necessary.  The Bourbon Vanilla tastes amazing in cookies and I used it in Adam’s Birthday cake icing.  It’s good stuff!

Floral May Crafts for Toddlers

may flowers
April showers bring May flowers right? So this month I’ve been doing a lot of floral crafts with my boys. The first one I shared on Instagram and in a previous post which is a Monet Waterlilies craft.  Monet was a French impressionist painter in the 19 century who built an incredible garden in his home complete with a Japanese bridge and water lily pond which he painted over and over again. This is a simple process art project that then gets turned into a craft.  For more information on how to make it you can check out my previous post here.

monet 2Later on for Mother’s Day we made paper plate flowers which are also a simple process art activity. The boys use bright colors and painted paper plates. Afterwards we practiced cutting with our safety scissors little slips along the side of both plates. Then we bent the tabs that we created to resemble petals on a flower. To finish we added a green construction paper stem and leaf.  Both boys painted a paper plates, Ben helped with the cutting, and Adam helped with the gluing.

flower cardWe created some friends willows based off of a Pinterest pan I found last month. We did this project in play group along with the water lilies. For this project I pre-drew the willows on white card stock sized 9″ x 11″. Are used a sharpie marker, but any permanent marker will do. You don’t want to use Crayola markers because they will smear when the paint is applied. We then dipped hour some into different colors of paint and pressed around the flower. It’s a simple cute process project that could then be turned into a card or framed.

I did a willow, but on Pinterest it initially came to me as a dandelion.  There are so many cute thumbprint flowers on Pinterest.  I’ll share some pins below.  Let me know if you try any in the comments below.  Happy May!

Thumbprint Dandelion - Kid Craft - this idea would be a great gift for a teacher or a DIY project for grandparents!:

Thumbprint Art Project For Kids - Easy craft idea! Painted flower pots make cute homemade Mother's Day Gifts. Crafts:

Mother's day gift idea from thebubblegumtree.blogspot.com:

 

Best Laid Plans-When Birth Doesn’t Go According To Plan

birth
I’m a planner.  Being a teacher lends itself to my belief that planning ahead is the best prevention to anything going wrong.  So I planned ahead for my first birth down to the last detail.

I hired a doula, used my friend’s OB/GYN, and put a down payment for a birthing tub.  I listened to hypno-birthing CD’s, I wrote 3 drafts of my birth plan, and had my hospital bag packed a month in advance.  I was ready.  Then my first son’s birth took a strange and difficult detour.

I knew he was big.  I was a high risk pregnancy and had over 20 ultrasounds during my first pregnancy.  His size resulted in me getting PUPPs a month prior to my giving birth.  PUPPs is a prenatal rash starting around the belly and spreading outwards across the body.  It’s common in first pregnancies with large babies or multiple babies.  It’s an inflammatory response to the severe stetching of the skin that takes place in larger pregnancies-and I had it everywhere except the bottoms of my feet, my face, and the palms of my hands.  I was miserable.
I remember sitting in a bagel shop on my birthday with my husband 3 days into the PUPPs wondering if I would go back to work and finish the school year.  I got my answer that night.  I couldn’t sleep-I sent my husband out to every health food store, the grocery store, and the pharmacy to find a cure.  I had none.  I couldn’t sleep as I was itching so bad.  I was put on bed rest by my high risk pregnancy specialist during the next day’s appointment when I was in tears worry my baby was itching like crazy too.  Thankfully it only affects the mom.  Ben was fine and growing.

My due date came and passed.  I soaked in multiple oatmeal baths everyday.  Friends helped me close up my classroom for summer break. No labor.

Another five days passed and in my OB/GYN appointment my doctor began mechanically inducing me with a balloon.  I was nervous.  If this didn’t work they would use Pitocin to induce labor.  My baby was late and my only relief from the PUPPs was birth.  Nothing happened for two days.  I was supposed to be admitted to the hospital at midnight on June 26th, but as the heat rose in Vegas women were going into labor left and right and there was no room for me.  It was midnight and I was stuck waiting at home.

The next morning I didn’t feel Ben move and I started to get nervous as I waited for a hospital room to open.  Then my contractions started and as they got closer to each other my husband and I drove to the hospital.

I had planned to have a beautiful, soothing, water birth experience for my son.  That is not the way it turned out.  I labored in the waiting room for an hour before I got a hospital bed.  My doula came and we walked the floor.  My contractions were close to each other but not powerful.  The nurse informed me I needed to put on an oxygen mask and that Ben was having trouble getting oxygen, also his heart rate had increased.

As the night wore on we realized we would not need the water tub, I would be hooked up to monitors the rest of the night.  They kept increasing my Pitocin to help Ben move along as he was in distress and needed to be birthed.  My epidural had to be repeated as there was a hole in the catheter and the intensity of my contractions was extreme to say the least.

After 26 hours of labor my baby was born.  Rather than being placed in my arms he was rushed to a NICU where he stayed for 5 days.  I was hospitalized 3 rooms away from, conveniently enough, due to my PUPPs for the same amount of time.  He was beautiful and he was alive, I was grateful for that.  I was close to needing a C-section, and thank goodness that didn’t happen as I would continue to have complications.

My husband camped out with me in the hospital, and we attended every one of Ben’s feedings.  I wanted to breastfeed, but the NICU staff were more concerned about measuring how much Ben was drinking and didn’t help me as much as I hoped.  I was given pumping lessons and my milk was having a hard time coming in as I was on 3 antihistamines to help with my itching.  Coming off the epidural and other medications had caused me to be very itchy and I scratched the dickens out of my legs!

Five days later we were allowed to go home together, and I was so glad to go home with my baby.  For the next week family and friends visited and we had the traditional Jewish Brit Milah after being cleared by the pediatrician.  On a return visit to the pediatrician I mentioned how I had developed large welts on my legs and she told me to see a doctor immediately.  I went to the Quick Care by my house and they put me on Cephlax and sent me home.  I developed a fever and began vomiting.  Turns out I’m allergic Cephlax.  It was the weekend and the doctor’s offices were closed.  I contacted the dermatologist and he saw me on Tuesday, 5 days later was diagnosed with an illness I contracted from the hospital.  I was told over the phone by a nurse the dermatologist would not treat me as I was post-partum and breastfeeding.  She also told me to not even be in the same room as my baby!

My mom came to stay with Ben while I saw another dermatologist who had success at curing my illness in other patients.  After two weeks of intravenous antibiotics I had a clean bill of health. I was able to start my life as a mom and go forward.  There were tough times during this as you can imagine, but I never quit.  You can’t.  You have to do what you have to do for your baby.  If I couldn’t hold him, I rested while I knew my mom was taking care of him.  If I couldn’t nurse him safely, I pumped and dumped because I was determined I would be a breastfeeding mom.  For some people faith in G-d and prayer gets them through these tough times.  With this situation I believed in tomorrow.  Tomorrow I would be one step closer to being with my baby.

Writing this today seems like a different life.  Those couple of tough months would be followed by one of the sweetest times in my life. I fell in love like crazy with my baby and was so happy to be a mom.  Every moment with Ben was so special and I treasured our time together. Before I knew it, nine months had passed and I saw a pink plus sign.

A Day in the Life of a Mom

momI realized a couple months back that I am in a unique situation in that I have been a full time working mom, a work at home mom, and a stay at home mom.  I think every new mom questions her choice to work or stay at home at some point.  The purpose of this post is to share with you what my schedule was like in each of these parenting situations.  Whether you are working and thinking of taking time off or staying home and starting to work in your home office part time, you can see how I managed and hopefully I will pass on some wisdom.

My Full Time Working Mom Schedule

5 AM:  Wake up, nurse and pump.  Put the baby back to sleep.  Get dressed for work.

6 AM: Make breakfast, run the Roomba, feed the dogs.

7 AM: Pump, wake up husband to be with the newly woken up baby and leave for work.

8 AM: Get to work, pump again, check emails, set up classroom, meetings, playground duty.

9 AM-11:30 AM: Teach

11:30 AM-1 PM: Lunch, pump, lunchroom duty

1 PM- 3:30 PM Teach

3:30 PM Leave work

4:00 PM Pick up baby from daycare or meet baby at home with nanny (we did both). Bath myself and baby.  Nurse, pump.  Baby napped.

6:00 PM Make dinner, make lunch for work, get bottles together for the next day or set aside frozen homemade baby food (my Saturday night project).

7:00 PM Read three books to baby, nurse and put to sleep.  Pump.  Watch a little TV and go to sleep.  I typically awoke 2-3 times a night to nurse and one time to pump.

My Stay At Home Mom Schedule

7 AM: Wake up with my baby and nurse. Change baby and go downstairs.  Coffee, let baby play while I catch up on the news.

8 AM: Toddler wakes up.  Change him, he comes downstairs too.  Feed the dogs, and give the boys milk.

8:30 AM: Wake up husband for work.  Get myself dressed, make breakfast for everyone.

9:30-11 AM: Clean up dishes, get the boys ready to leave, take them to their mommy and me class.

12-3 PM: Come home, have lunch, shower, and put the boys down for a nap.  Nurse the baby.  While they nap I start dinner, clean the floor, wipe off the countertops, do laundry, and dust.

3-5 PM: Let the boys free play.  I usually have a quiet play activity such as puzzles, a sensory bin, or an art activity as well.

5-6 PM: Make dinner, eat with the boys.

7-8 PM: Clean up dinner, put on our PJs, read stories and nurse baby.  After they go to sleep I could read or watch TV.

Schedule Variation -Work at Home Mom

7 AM- 8 AM: I work on the blog while the baby plays.

8 PM-10/11 PM: Work on my home business after putting the kids to bed.

 

Packing Tips from my Instagram Feed

packing tips

 

About a week ago we went on an 8 day family vacation in Sedona, Arizona.  Our Jeep was packed!  We have a shelf for our trailer hitch that we bungeed our suitcases and Ben’s sleeping bag on.  The dogs were in the trunk with the double stroller folded flat.  We had a cooler, diapers, and snacks for the trip.

I made three short videos describing how I packed for the trip and entertained my two toddlers.  Check them out and check out my Tips for Packing for Kids on Vacation.
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​If your not following us on Instagram, please check out our feed as I update it almost daily with tips and fun kids art ideas! I also have a Twitter account that I update daily with great art and parenting tips.  If you have any awesome traveling with kids advice to share, please do so in the comments below.