Disney World Planning

Disney_planning

I have been quieter than normal here on the blog because I have been busy planning Elin’s 3rd birthday, re-organizing many of my closets, and last but not least–planning our first ever Disney World vacation!!!

The countdown is on and we will be going to Disney World very soon! Due to the fact we booked our trip rather recently, we have not had a lot of time to prepare and research as much as I thought we would. However, I have come across some excellent resources that I thought I would share in case anyone else out there is planning their first Disney trip!

1.)  Chatting over Chocolate: As soon as I booked our Disney vacation, I knew I had to immediately visit one of my favorite Disney blog/vloggers. Brenda and her family know their way well around Disney and I just love reading all about her tips and tricks for navigating the parks. Plus she and I have been having fun chatting Disney together. Here are just a few Disney blog planning posts I really enjoyed:

Choosing the Perfect Disney Character Meal for Your Family:

 

10 Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Your Disney Character Meal:

 

Dozen Ways to SAVE Before, During, and After Your Disney World Vacation:

 

2.) WDW Prep School: is another great blog that has tons of Disney world information on it. I based our trip on her crowd calendar information. In fact, I noticed she just recently posted the crowd calendar for 2016.

 

3.) Packing List: I am working on a packing list and I came across this packing list and thought it looks very helpful for anyone packing with a toddler. I will be using this packing list along with one I customize for myself.

 

4.) Disney Dining: There is a lot of debate as to whether the Disney Dining Plan. I think everyone just needs to decide for themselves and their family if it makes sense to purchase one. This app is great for looking at all the different dining options and pricing.

 

5.) Disney Resort Guide: When it comes to Disney World, the endless choices do not end with the lodging options. There are so many different price points and there are pros and cons to each resort. This guide helpful with very in-depth reviews of each resort.

 

All these websites and blogs have played an integral part of my  planning process. I hope you will find them interesting and helpful if you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World.

 

Toddler Snacks

Elin is a pretty healthy eater but lately she has been trying more sweets and snack items and I am trying to steer her back toward healthier items. She got lots of Easter candy and that’s great, but I don’t want her to start to favor these sweets over her current favorite snack options.

I think toddlerhood is such an important time to introduce and form healthy eating habits.

Here are just few of Elin’s favorite snack items.  Hopefully they give you some ideas of what to try with your toddler.

 

Water and Milk Only: Elin drinks exclusively water and milk right now. The day will come when she starts to like juices and soft drinks, but right now is not the time for that. She loves water and milk and they are the healthiest options out there for her right now. I literally shudder to think of the day I hear her whining for juice.

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Yogurt: Elin loves yogurt with snacks and with her meals. She has recently starting loving Chobani Tots and Chobani Kids. It’s healthy greek yogurt in fun portable tubes. I love how the tubes make it mess free and easy to travel without using a spoon.

Baby carrots: These are great because they are already cut to the perfect size so all they need is a quick rinse and they are ready to be eaten. This is helpful when she is following me around the kitchen asking for a snack right this instant.

Pretzels

Pretzels: When Elin asks for chips, I usually give her small individual bag of pretzels. I love the holiday packs we find at Target in the seasonal section. Elin loves that it’s in a little individual bag that she can hold.

Slice of Bread: Elin loves bread! She will sometimes just ask for a plain slice of bread. Sometimes I put peanut butter on it and sometimes she just wants it plain. So far she likes any kind if bread I have bought, so we have been able to get her wheat instead of white.

 

What healthy snack items do you suggest trying with a toddler? I feel like we stick with the same things and would love new suggestions.

Easter and Four Egg Hunts

Elin celebrated her Easter with many celebrations and four Easter egg hunts. The first egg hunt took place on Saturday at my parents’ church. We showed up on on the time but apparently the egg hunt had just started. Despite a late start, Elin found tons of eggs and we had to cut her off from collecting them because her basket was actually overflowing. After the egg hunt, she had a great time going through all her eggs and finding all the candy, toys, and stickers inside.

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The next day on Easter she was so excited to get downstairs and see what the bunny had brought her. She was thrilled with her basket of goodies. The standout item was the Cinderella magic clip doll, of course! She was so excited to get them out and immediately start playing.

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Angel decided to pose and look cute with the Easter basket.

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The bunny of course dropped off some eggs in the yard to hunt which was fun to look for. The morning was so beautiful and springy. Perfect Easter weather.

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Then it was off to Nana and Papa’s for Easter lunch and another Easter egg hunt. Elin had a fun time playing with her cousins and getting another basket of goodies.

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Then later in the afternoon, she went on another egg hunt at my husband’s sister’s house. Her Oma made her a basket to collect all her eggs in.

She got lots of goodies at all her celebrations and had so much fun.

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Bunny and Lamb

Elin was one lucky girl last weekend when she got to have her photo taken with a real bunny and lamb! A friend of ours noticed a local photography studio was doing these photos and we were lucky enough to grab one of the last spots available. I knew Elin was going to be so excited and, as anticipated, she was! She got to see the bunny first which was such a little fluff ball of fur. He was very gentle and sweet. The lamb was so sweet as well but he was more adventurous and was skipping all around the set. He was a little harder to capture. Overall I think the pictures turned out well.

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Favorite Etsy Shops

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Etsy. I find the cutest items on there and I love that you can get virtually anything personalized and custom made to your specifications. Plus, I love the idea of supporting someone who has a creative talent.

I always love to see what others find on Etsy so I thought I would share my all time favorite items/shops I have worked with. I honestly have only had good experiences with Etsy, but for the sake of keeping this post short I will just share my top favorites.

1.)  Posh Paints:  Jennifer Sosik

My all time favorite item in Elin’s room is this beautiful personalized painting from Posh Paints. I chose simple pink and white bedding for Elin’s room, and after a long time of searching around for pictures and coming up empty handed, I found this Etsy shop and told the shop owner, Jennifer what I wanted and she made it come to life. Jennifer is so talented and she was awesome at letting me pick everything from the colors of the birds, to the font, even to the exact color of the tree branches. I won’t even tell you how many times she sent sketches of Elin’s name in different fonts for me to choose from. As Elin grows older and her room changes, I will definitely be coming back to this shop to commission a new painting.

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2.) Dainty Couture: Janet

I have bought a few items from the Dainty Couture shop and they are always great to work with. I got Elin’s first birthday hat and bib from her and they were so stunningly beautiful. It is a wonderful keepsake from her special day. 

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3.) Amy Lou Baby: Amy Bartell

I just received these beautiful shirts a few days ago and Elin hasn’t even gotten to wear them yet. I was blown away with how beautiful these shirts are in person. My pictures do not do these shirts justice at all. They are so beautiful and I am dying for Elin to wear them. Not to mention, I literally gasped when I opened up the box and saw how beautifully they were packaged from the seller, Amy. They were packaged beautifully for gift giving. I cannot wait to order future shirts for Elin or other items as gifts. Amy was wonderful to work with and was very quick with communication.

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4.) Jo Studio Party Paperie:

Have you ever shopped for party printables on Etsy? There are a million beautiful options out there, yet I have a hard time finding exactly what I want or narrowing it down to the perfect printable. When I was planning Elin’s tea party theme last year, I had a hard time finding what I wanted until I stumbled upon Jo Studio Party Paperie. Jodie was so awesome to work with and all her party designs are just beautiful. I am hoping to work with her in the very near future as I am planning Elin’s third birthday now.

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5.)   The Papier Studio: Jennifer Del Rios

Another party paper good that I have loved were the fans I purchased for Elin’s second birthday party. Jennifer was wonderful in helping me find the perfect shades to match my other printables and she was excellent in corresponding to me and working on a quick turn around time with me. I was so happy to have found her shop.

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6.) Fallen Star Couture Inc:  Shannen Caldone

Another item that I have bought a lot in on Etsy is bows! Oh how I love all the adorable bows on Etsy. I have some in every occasion and color. My favorite shop for getting the basic simple bow in many different colors is Fallen Star Couture Inc. I think the color selection was great and the bows have held up so well. I think these would make a beautiful gift for a baby or young child to start her on her bow collection.

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7.) Dazzlin Dresses: Erin

Last fall I decided that Elin needed a nice Halloween bucket that would last her throughout all her trick-or-treat years and I love this personalized sturdy bucket I got from Dazzlin Dresses. Erin was just getting ready to make a big move to Japan, but she was great in making sure I loved the font and design of the bucket before she temporarily closed her shop down. This bucket is nice and lightweight but still sturdy.

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These are just a few of the many awesome items I have purchased from Etsy. What awesome items have you purchased through Etsy?

Easter Bunny 2015

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Someone was  a lucky girl and got to go visit the Easter bunny at the mall. She has been looking forward to it all week and finally the day was here. She talked the whole way in the car about how she was going to sit on his lap and smile for a picture.

I picked her up after work and we went with her Nana and Papa to the mall and luckily there were no lines. Apparently there is not a lot of love for the bunny like there is for Santa–which I totally get, but it still was shocking to not have to wait.

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They took many photos and it was so hard to narrow it down to two favorites. I love that Elin is not scared at all with Santa or the bunny.

She got a lot of extra time with the bunny since there was no line and I was taking forever to choose my photos. I love this photo of her waiting patiently for me to finish. Thank god for iPhone cameras to capture photos quickly and easily.

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The bunny handed out the cutest little coloring and activity book.

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I cannot believe Elin has been around for three Easters already! Look how much she has changed from all her photos. The bunny hasn’t changed a bit.

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Easter Basket Goodies

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This past weekend I went and ahead and assembled Elin’s Easter basket and made sure that everything fit in the basket. I thought I had bought less than last year, but I still had trouble getting everything to fit in there!

I think the item that Elin is going to be most excited for is this Cinderella Magic Clip set. Elin loves everything about Cinderella right now and this set is so adorable. I thought all the clothes were spot on and Jaq and Gus are included! That is the mice, if you did not know. You would know this if you watched the movie at least ten times a week like I do.

This set is a Target exclusive:

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I always make sure to include a few books, and this one is so cute! Elin thinks bunnies are the cutest, so she is going to flip over this book.

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Another item that is sure to be a hit are these pink, sparkly sunglasses. Elin already has so many different pairs of sunglasses, but she wears them all the time. It’s seriously hard to get her to take them off!

Target pink sunglasses

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Other than some gummies and jelly beans, the majority of her candy will be in her eggs that she will hunt. I think the Easter bunny found some awesome goodies again this year!

Spring/Easter Decor

I finally put out our Spring/Easter decor yesterday and I thought I would share since I like decor and getting ideas from all sources. I am slowly starting to purchase items since Elin has been old enough to enjoy them. I was purposely waiting until now so that she could help pick items out with us and be a part of the process.

This year I have some spring blooms out with a bunny frame I purchased last year when we went to get our Easter bunny photos. As soon as we see the bunny this year, I will replace the photo.

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I purchased this bunny plate from Hobby Lobby and the little bunny in the cloche is a little bunny I purchased for Elin last year from Von Maur right after she got her picture taken with the Easter bunny. I was so thrilled with her smile during the photo that when we walked by this little bunny on display, she just had to have him. Unfortunately, he is not intended  for children and he was already starting to fall apart, so I just made him a part of our decor this year. She already spotted him and wanted to play with him, but I talked her out of it.

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I love the bunny garland we got from Pottery Barn Kids last year and I put it up again in the same spot across the fireplace.

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I used an apothecary jar from one of Elin’s birthday parties and just put in some Spanish moss and pastel Easter eggs from Michaels. I love all the creative ideas for using apothecary jars and for changing them out often.

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These sweet bunnies are from Von Maur. I thought they were perfect for the sunroom.

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My newest addition is this boxwood bunny from Von Maur. He is so simple, but I love him!

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Elin’s room decor is her egg snow globe she got when she meet the bunny with her picture in it and her little bunny bank from Pottery Barn kids. I have a feeling we will craft a few items for the walls.

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2.75 years old or 33 months

When people ask me how old Elin is, it is so awkward because she is over 2.5 but not yet 3. I am now referring to it as 2.75 even thought that sounds super nerdy. However, I feel like this is a significant age to record because she is changing lots!

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She has always loved books, but now she can spend 30-45 mins just looking at her books and reading them to herself out loud. I love to hear her reading the stories and making it up with the pictures. It is seriously the cutest thing ever! We have a lot of books about bunnies that aren’t even Easter-related and those are some her favorites. As she flips through the pages, she talks about how cute and soft the baby bunnies are.

She has been extra affectionate lately with everyone and especially her puppies. She loves to cuddle with Fifi and she gives her little kisses all the time. She has learned to be especially gentle with her.

The winter has left us with mostly indoor activities like coloring. Coloring and drawing are something we do daily. She has gotten much better with her skills lately. She always asks me to color with her and she really studies how I color. You can tell she is trying to mimic my movements.

On the occasion we do get outside, Elin loves the snow.

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Elin loves playing with her friends. She is a lucky girl because she is involved with a lot of activities and has lots of playdates.

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Elin is starting to get more into all things Disney and princess related. Just the other night, she sat and watched all of “Beauty and the Beast”, and as soon as it was over she asked, “Can I watch another Disney princess now, please?”

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She also loves to sing all the times. She sings to herself and asks me to sing to her all the time. God only knows when the thought of me singing with her will embarrass her to death. Probably sooner than I think. Her favorite songs are, “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”, “The ABC Song”, “Frère Jacques”, and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

This is one of the best ages yet. I love every minute of it. So far we have be escaping too many tantrums.

Snowy Weekend Fun

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Elin has been dying to get out in the snow and play all winter long, but we hadn’t got much snow; or when we did, it was too cold to play in or it melted before we got much time outside. But, finally this weekend we got a a few inches thrown on us and then the weather warmed up and it was perfect weather for actually playing in the snow.

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Elin got to play on and ride her sled that was her Nana’s when she was little. It looked good as new!

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Perhaps the most anticipated event was making her her very first snowman. Elin watched Frosty the Snowman too many times to count over the Christmas season and she loves Olaf so she was more than excited to make one of her own for the first time.

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This little guy was modeled after Olaf. Although I won’t blame you if you can’t see the resemblance. Elin loved him! She loved when we brought out carrots for the nose (and arms apparently) because she loves to eat carrots so she enjoyed snacking on about 4 of them out in the snow! I was shocked at how many she ate since they were huge.

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It was such a pretty day for playing in the snow! Elin throughly enjoyed it. We never got to play in the snow last year and the year before that she was too little to do anything but sit in the snow so it was so exciting to watch her get to really enjoy and experience the snow for the first time.

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