Archive | 2015

First Day of Kindergarten and All The Feelings I am Not Supposed To Feel

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Mason baby pic

2 weeks old

mason baby pic 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow, August 24th, marks the day my oldest child has his first day of Kindergarten and I am HAPPY. I had a mom look at me like I was nuts this weekend when I said I can’t wait! Apparently you are supposed to be tearful and sad that your little one is growing up and if you aren’t, just pretend. I think I might have different feelings if he was going into a traditional school. We have chosen Montessori for his preschool and early elementary years though so instead of being the youngest at his school, he’s one of the oldest kids. Instead of being the tiny little kid in a sea of big kids, he’s the big kid.

School Supplies

 

As we were school supply shopping he asked “Mommy, is Kindergarten a big deal?” I guess after multiple people stopped and asked him about his grade he got that it just might be something big. My response “Yes! You get to be one of the leaders in your class!” He was so proud of his pencil box filled with fun pencils, he carried it around the house for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

We spent a full year deciding where he would go to Kindergarten and early elementary school. Yes, I am especially Type A when it comes to education. I bet you’re not surprised! I know we made the best choice for him because tonight there isn’t anxiousness, there’s just peace and calmness. The supplies are labeled, clothes are set out, breakfast planned. Sorry teachers, but they are getting donuts because it’s also my birthday and birthday donuts are a must do! We will throw in a little fruit juice to balance it out a bit.

Very first day of school pic age 18 mos

First day of school at 18 months

2 years old school pics

First school picture at 2 years old

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have nothing but excited feelings for him tomorrow. He has grown so much in his self confidence in his classroom and this year will be even more opportunity for that. He is starting his kindergarten year already reading, which is something he is so proud of and he can’t wait to get started on the second level. He has confidence in his abilities and is ready to be a big buddy to a new friend. He knows he can help other children with their lessons and is excited to do that. If there are any tears tomorrow, it won’t be sad tears or wishing he was home all day. They will be happy tears over the incredible little boy he has become. He has empathy, confidence, kindness, and creative problem solving skills. These are all qualities his amazing teachers have nurtured and I have complete faith they will continue to nurture his gifts during his kindergarten year.

 

PK4 First Day

PK4 First Day

PK3 First Day

PK3 First Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope all of you have the same happy feelings tomorrow as you send your kindergarteners off for their first day. Happy tears mamas and daddies, you’ve all done well!

Stay tuned for first day photos to be added to this post tomorrow.

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It’s Back- Disney Free Dining 2015 is here!

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free-dining

While other blogs are anxious to report rumors, we hold off until Disney announces an offer. There’s no reason to get all excited over what may come to be. BUT NOW DISNEY FREE DINING 2015 IS HERE!!!  We are as excited as you are! When you use Trips To The Mouse as your travel agent, they have you covered on all offers so you don’t have to worry about the rumors. You sleep in and know they are hard at work for you!

The Disney free dining offer has a few twists this year. The first is the requirement you must have a park hopper or a water park & more park ticket for your stay. Excluded hotels are: Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort(only the Little Mermaid rooms), campsites, and all 3-bedroom villas. There appears to be limited availability and possibly exclusions for Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside as well as Disney’s All Star Movies as well. For value resorts you will receive the quick service dining plan and for moderates and deluxes you will receive the plus dining plan. You can upgrade as well if you want to go from the quick service to the plus or from the plus to the deluxe. It is reported you must have a six night stay but that has yet to be confirmed if it is being enforced. Honestly, we can’t imagine staying less than six nights anyhow so of course that’s a non-issue.

The promotion is for most nights arriving:

August 28-October 2, 2015

October 25-31, 2015

November 8-November 19, 2015

December 15-December 21, 2015

The availability for this promotion is extremely limited. We encourage you to complete a quote request form Trips To The Mouse  and include as much information as you can so they can secure a courtesy hold on your booking. Please include all names of the travelers as well as the children’s ages and your preferred resort and dates. Remember when you book with Trips To The Mouse  you get so much more service. They handle your dining reservations, your fast passes, and provide you with a custom itinerary.

Happy Monday everyone! Where will you be staying for Disney Free Dining 2015?

 

Free Dining

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#DisneySide @Home Celebration Recap

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Balloonsimgres

I was honored when our family was selected to host another #DisneySide @Home Celebration this year! I think all of our friends were as excited as we were! At first, I considered keeping it small but as you guys know I am incapable of a small gathering. It is just too hard to limit our guest list. So we went all in and threw the best party we could! We had over 120 people who all had a blast. We had a lot of help from some incredible businesses and of course the party would have not been possible without Disney! All of the photos you see below are courtesy of Emily Cannata Photography. She is truly gifted with children and adults. She captures the moment in such a real way that I love. She has done photos for us with our kids as Jedis and it remains to be some of my all time favorite photos ever of our children. We also added a twist this year and decided to help Austin Diaper Bank with a diaper drive. Every pack of diapers gave people another chance to enter the raffle drawings. It was a win win for all! The Raffle Table was full of prizes once again. Most of these were courtesy of our hostess kit. Wonderful companies like All, HP, Duff, and Twinings to name a few. I supplemented with a few items from the Disney Store Online also.

BLUFULLIMG_1936w

 

Party Favor BagsOur theme was Cars this year. We tried to recreate Radiator Springs from Disneyland for our guests to experience! As you entered, there was a welcome race track leading the way. Then in the entry room there was all kinds of information dedicated to the Disney Destinations: Disneyland, Walt Disney World, The Disney Cruise Line, Aulani, and Adventures by Disney. It seems a lot of people were interested in the Disneyland 60th Celebration this year and Aulani! Then the guests saw the make your own party favor bag. The table was filled with stickers, Disney Play Packs, Star Wars goodies, bags, and of course the most adorable Cars inspired hair clips from OMG Adorable!

 

Freestyle Baking Cars treatsOne of the biggest hits of the party were the sweet treats provided for by Freestyle Baking Company! Jenny is creative beyond belief. She came up with three desserts. I think we can all agree, the donut cakes that looked like tires was the overall “winner” of the sweet treats! They were like taking a little bite of heaven and really did look like Luigi’s tires! She also created a cake inspired by Carsland. We all know how much kids love their decorate your own cookie and these did not disappoint. And yes, I did save the leftover frosting and might have had a few spoonfuls following the party. Jenny’s cakes taste as good as they look. Buttercream is always used which is my favorite. And one of the best parts about using Jenny is that she delivers and does the set up for you! Talk about making the party day easy. She joined us for the event as well but generally she sets up and heads out. I also learned how to cut the tiered cakes properly. I have been doing it wrong for years. You don’t remove the top layer first. You make small slices around the outside bottom layer first. This was genius!

Popcorn

 

I tried desperately to find a way to serve food in cones just like the Cozy Cones at Carsland. I could not find a cost effective way to do this so I opted for just serving the popcorn in cones instead. It wasn’t quite what I wanted but the kids loved it and the cones were still fun.

 

 

HEB Tray WrapsThis year instead of doing all the food ourselves, we decided to enlist the help of HEB Catering. Guess what Austinites, they deliver now too! They arrived right on time with the best looking party trays I have seen. I have ordered trays before from HEB and the food is always amazing. I had no idea they would add decorations to your trays if you ask. These came Cars inspired! We had veggies, fruits, a cheese tray, and a wraps tray. More than enough food for all of our guests. The only recommendations I would make when ordering the cheese tray for a kid inspired party is to sub out the speciality cheeses for the colby jack cheese and cheddar cheese.

 

 

 

Carsland Table

And now for the entertainment we offered. The weather cooperated. We were so worried about rain this day and weren’t quite sure what we would do if it did rain but it held off. We cleared out our playroom and only left the Carsland Cars Table. Yes, it is like a train table but with Radiator Springs set up. Snapology of Austin came and entertained the kids, and parents, as well. We intentionally had them come just a little bit after the party. I kid you not, every single child that walked into our house before they were set up started to head directly upstairs first to find the LEGOS. If you haven’t had a party with them yet, book it now. They also offer camps and after school workshops. Legos

 

 

Coloring table

 

Entertainment for Anything

The coloring table was set up inside the kitchen and tattoos were outside. Then came the other big entertainer, the balloon guy! Adam with Entertainment for Everything had even the adults talking! He was recommended by several neighbors and he really blew away my expectations. Let’s be real-a lot of balloon and clown type entertainers are a little wacky. Adam was just entertaining! He had the adults laughing and the kids lined up constantly. Weeks later, we still have a balloon octopus he made floating around. He throws in a little magic while kids are waiting and is funny. The kids also played outside on the playscape and ran around.

 

It wouldn’t be a #DisneySide party without the photobooth from Say Cheese. We did move this to the garage in anticipation of rain. I was worried about the location but Jenny helped by sending people out that way. Kids and adults love the Say Cheese Photobooth. They come and do the set up for you and they provide the fun props! They also let you adjust the size of prints and everything. Super fun! Their team is so professional and their quality of photos that their photobooth generates is the best I have seen.

Adults Disney Side Princesses

 

 

 

Our guests all showed their #DisneySide too!

 

 

 

 

While we did have a lot of similar things as our last year’s party, the theme of Cars was new and really cool to get to explore and go with! Now, if the powers that be are reading, the kids have asked if there could be a Star Wars themed #DisneySide Party next year! I have a feeling they are already planning such an event in their heads. I also may be creating little party planning monsters by going all out for our #DisneySide party but these smiles are totally worth it! This was certainly the party of the year for us. Check out the #DisneySide, #MainStreetTales, and #TripsToTheMouse for more pictures and fun on any social media site.

Family Disney Side

 

*As a #DisneySide @Home Celebration Hostess, I did receive a party hostess kit. I opted to share almost everything in the kit with our party attendees. The reviews and opinions in this post are my own.

Below is a list of our major sponsors. Please show them some love and like their facebook pages! 
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10906569_318541015016592_599658830711980344_n Say CheeseHEB10250314_719780604784985_543562459491644184_n
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Disney Cruise Line Summer 2015 Itineraries Announced!

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It is an exciting day around here! The Disney Cruise Line has announced the itineraries for the summer of 2015 and there are some new destinations on the list! Check them out and check out the video too! 

Norwegian Fjords Itineraries
On 7- and 9-night sailings departing from Copenhagen, you will be immersed in both the splendor and charm of Norway with exciting new ports, steeped in Viking history. These will all be on the Disney Magic.
NEW 7-night Norwegian Fjords
Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger and Bergen, Norway
Departure Date: June 6
NEW 9-night Norwegian Fjords
Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger, Molde, Olden and Bergen, Norway
Departure Date: June 20
NEW 11-night Norwegian Fjords and Iceland
Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Oslo, Kristiansand and Stavanger Norway; Akureyri and Reykjavik (overnight), Iceland; Torshavn, Faroe Islands; Dover, England
Departure Date: June 29
Northern Europe Itineraries
These itineraries depart from Copenhagen, Denmark and Dover and are also on the Disney Magic.
NEW 7-night Northern Europe
Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden
Departure Dates: May 30, June 13
12-night Northern Europe
Ports: Dover, England; Copenhagen, Denmark; Warnemunde, Germany (July 10 cruise only); Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia
Departure Dates: July 10 and 22
Then in August, The Disney Magic will also return to the Mediterranean to popular European destinations on 5- and 7-night sailings departing from Barcelona, Spain. 
That is the line up for the new destinations. 
The Disney Wonder will return to Alaska for 7- night cruises departing from Vancouver, Canada.
The Disney Fantasy and the Disney Dream will continue to sail to the Bahamas and the Caribean from Port Canaveral, Florida for the summer months. Every itinerary on the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy will include a stop at Disney’s own private island- Castaway Cay!
The itineraries are released, now what? If you are a Platinum or Gold level Castaway Club member, I can start your bookings Wednesday March 26th at 7am. As you know the best possible rooms are selected first! All other bookings can start on Thursday March 27th. Email me today to get lined up so we can secure your room on one of these amazing itineraries!  It is never too early to plan your 2015 Summer vacation!  
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