My Reason

As I have probably talked about on here before, I am not the biggest fan of winter. I get so down with all of the long dark days and the lack of sun. 

But one of the things that gets me through this is my daughter. 

She is so happy and so thoughtful for being so young. 

We were sitting at lunch the other day when she said that she had to talk to Daddy about a surprise. 

Later I had found out that she wanted to surprise me by getting me flowers and told my husband that he had to take her to Walmart to buy me flowers for Valentine’s Day. 

While we were at my in-law’s house she found a bunch of fake roses and asked if she could surprise me with those. 

She was so excited to give them to me that she couldn’t wait until Valentine’s Day and she gave them to me right then and there. 

They are sitting in a vase in our living room and when I look at them it’s a reminder that even in the darkest of days there is always a little light around, you only have to look for it. 

My little sunshine helping me make banana bread a few days ago.


Smoke & Mirrors

I am part of the problem.

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Motherhood is messy. It is messy, and hard and not for the faint of heart. Yet, this isn’t a side that we usually see.

Behind all the pristine photos of sunny Saturday breakfasts, art projects and crafts gone right is, most likely, a fight about how you have to eat something other than just the chocolate chips on your pancakes, or no you can’t put glue directly on the table.

But, we never see this.

We are made to believe that all children are perfect, all houses are spotless and every party and gift giving occasion is Pinterest worthy.

Well, the jig is up.

I am here to tell you that it is hard and that we need to start cutting ourselves so slack when it comes to parenting.

For example, in the photo above, we were having a melt down because we wanted to drive a blue Corvette because we felt it was our size.

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This photo, we didn’t want to take at all. We were tired and just didn’t want to have our picture taken.

Did I post these photos on the corresponding blog posts? No. Just like everyone else, I choose to forget the bad and remember the good.

And you know what? It’s OK to show the difficult side of family life.

It’s OK to have a cranky kid sometimes. It’s OK if they end up coated in chocolate. It’s OK if a craft doesn’t turn out the way you hoped it would.

The only thing that isn’t OK is if you feel like you never measure up to other parents.

Everyone’s parenting journey is different. Some have more bumps in the road than others, but everyone has their fair share of struggles.

So you never have to feel like everyone else has it together while you are worn down negotiating with your toddler about bedtimes and wishing you could just lock yourself in the closet with a bag of Doritos just to have five minutes of peace.

Because behind every sunshine smile of a little one is a nervous Mom or Dad just praying that they could get just one photo to capture this beautiful memory to hold on to when the days are long and the houses are messy.


All the Comforts of Home

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For a lot of people after deciding when to visit Walt Disney World, the next big choice is deciding where to stay while you are on vacation.

The way Walt Disney World’s resort system is broken down is there are different tiers of resorts that are based on how much you want to spend. They are value, moderate and deluxe.

Value Resorts

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Pop Century Resort

The most economical category of resorts are the value resorts. This includes Pop Century, All-Star Music, All-Star Movies and All-Star Sports. The Art of Animation would also qualify as a value resort, but the price point, in my opinion would put it in the more moderate category.

The value resorts are pretty similar to each other. Each features outside hallways, oversize design features like a huge can of Playdough at Pop, or a giant Lady from “Lady and the Tramp” at All-Star Movies.

The value resorts have only one place to get food and that is at a large cafeteria style restaurant that you can find options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The resort pools are large and are the center piece of the resort.

All transportation is done by bus and there is only one area to catch the bus and that is at the front of the resort. If you drive yourself it isn’t as bad because you can park near your building if they are situated toward the back of the resort.

Typically the cost per night at a value resort is around $100 a night, give or take.

Moderate Resorts

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Port Orleans French Quarter

The moderate resorts are right in the sweet spot between value and deluxe categories. They offer some of the am entities of a deluxe resort while being more cost friendly.

Resorts in the moderate category include the two Port Orleans resorts (French Quarter and Riverside), Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach Resort. The cabins at Fort Wilderness are also semi in the moderate category.

The moderate resorts have a more cohesive theme whether it is the Caribbean or New Orleans the theme is carried throughout often into both the quick service and table service restaurants.

Speaking of the table service restaurants, one of the biggest differences is that the moderate resorts offer a table service (a place where a server comes to your table to take your order) where as the value resorts don’t.

Also, the pools usually have an additional feature, like a water slide.

If you want a better themed hotel, with more dining options, then you will want to check out the moderate resorts.

Typically it costs between $200 to $300 a night.

Deluxe Resorts

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The Beach Club Resort

The deluxe resorts are the primo accommodations at Walt Disney World. The resorts include: The Boardwalk, The Beach Club, The Yacht Club, The Contemporary, The Polynesian Village Resort, The Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the different Disney Vacation Club areas that are a part of the different deluxe resorts.

If you are looking for high quality table service restaurants, spas and mini-water parks at the resort, then you will want to upgrade to a deluxe.

Another benefit of this category is that many of the resorts have alternative ways of getting to the park such as monorails or boats. (Tip: If you and your family are big fans of Epcot you will want to stay at either the Beach or Yacht Club resorts because you are within walking distance to the World Showcase entrance.)

Typically it costs $400 to $500 a night.

Which category do you and your family prefer or what is one resort you would love to stay at that you haven’t tried yet? Leave your comments below.

If you are looking for more tips on planning your Walt Disney World vacation for your family and your little ones pick up a copy of “Mousekatots”.

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Fishy Fun

Because of my job I am off on Fridays so Lily and I get to spend time together through the day.

After we have a little snuggle time and breakfast I try to work in a little learning activity.

This past week since it was Read Across America week and Dr. Seuss was honored, we did an activity from the wonderful website Totschooling.

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This pack was great. It had math and verbal components, plus it included colorful goldfish crackers.

The math sheets included sequencing, numbered fish to count to 20 and counting out goldfish.

The verbal included putting the fish in the corresponding colored bowls and finding the color word on a sheet of paper.

Lily seemed to really love the math components where she could cover up the numbers.

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She loves to sort things and put them in groups so doing the goldfish bowls by color was right up her alley.

While this does have a Dr. Seuss tie-in it can be used any time.

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If you are looking for any type of preschool or totschool activity for your little one I can’t recommend totschooling.com enough. The activities are cute and really engaging with the kids.

Do you have any favorite learning activities that you like to use with your little one? Leave them in the comments below.

 


Bonus Days

Living in southwestern Pennsylvania means that the middle of February is usually cold, windy and snowy.

This past weekend, and continuing through this week we have had wonderful weather that included temperatures in the 60s and sunshine.

We wanted to take advantage of this beautiful weather and decided to head to the playgrounds.

On Saturday we went to Morgantown to do some antique shopping and to visit some retro game stores. (We have become obsessed with playing old Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo games. That is a story for another day.)

While we didn’t find any antique stores, we did have fun exploring Seneca Center (where the tea room is located) and we found some interesting murals and one particular antique of our own.

We did a little shopping and sight seeing and decided to take Lily to the playground and let her burn off some energy and enjoy this bonus day of beautiful weather in the middle of February.

We were so tired after a big day of playing that we slept all the way home.

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On Monday, we decided to take her to a local school’s playground to let her enjoy the fresh air since we both were off from work.

Did you have the opportunity to enjoy beautiful weather this past weekend? Leave your comments below.


Making Sweets With our Sweetie

Valentine’s Days seems to be a pretty popular holiday with our little one.

I don’t know if it is because of the hearts or all the pink and red (Lily’s favorite color), but she is a big fan.

One of her favorite things to do is bake (mostly because it involves sugar).

My Mom was shopping and came across a huge block of rice crispy treat that she thought we could cut into little shapes with cookie cutters.

We then bought lollipop sticks, cellophane bags and ribbon to make them into little rice crispy treat pops.

A few nights ago we sat down to make them and it turned out pretty well.

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The cookie cutters did a good job just as long as you have an adult help push down the cutter and you might have to use a knife to cut around the outside edges.

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What would a night of baking be without taking a little time to take a photo.

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After the hearts were cut out, I then applied the icing and put the sticks into place. This is better for an adult to do because it could get really messy icing and you have to have a little finesse to get the stick in the heart without pushing it all the way through.

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After the icing went on, then Lily got the pops back and added sprinkles.

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We ended up having to let the icing harden overnight before putting it in the bags. (We tried one and the icing smudged a little.) I think they are going to turn out really cute. But, even if they don’t Lily still had a great time making them.

Do you have any fun Valentine’s Day activities? Leave your comments below.

 


Makeover Time

Our little Mousekatot turned 3 this past November.

In all three years, she has never had her hair cut, except for a few terrible bang trims by yours truly just so the poor girl could see where she was going.

I realized that her hair was getting so long and the ends were becoming split and uneven. So, as hard as it was for me emotionally, it was time for her to get her first haircut.

When the decision was made, the search began for a child themed place to take her. I know she is a little nervous about new experiences, so I wanted to make sure the place was really kid-centric so that she would feel the most comfortable. (Plus, I wanted to take really cute pictures and make the experience as exciting for her as possible.)

When looking online, I came across this really cute salon called Sweet & Sassy at a mall that is out of town for us, but we still visit frequently.

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I mean, the place is just bursting with little girl cuteness.

I love that they make everything really special and offer a variety of services including manicures, pedicures, spa treatments and even themed birthday parties.

There are a variety of different kinds of haircut packages that are available on their website. Because of Lily’s age, she was able to qualify for a toddler package which included her haircut, glitter face tattoo, sparkles in her hair and a lollipop, all for under $20.

She was a little nervous when she first jumped up in the chair and they put the smock over her.

Luckily, they are experienced in dealing with nervous kids and they are prepared.

Each station has its own television that plays a Netflix show (ours was Barbie) and the stylist was wonderful and interacted with Lily to put her at ease.

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The whole process was a wonderful experience.

The stylist really listened and only took a little off of Lily’s hair and trimmed her bangs for us, and Lily felt like a little princess.

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In addition to everything else there is also a sundae bar that lets little girls pick out different bath products to take home.

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(There is also a lotion and body spray bar.)

The place for pedicures was absolutely adorable and looked like something out of Barbie’s Dream House.

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When we were there, two girls were celebrating their birthdays. One party was almost over and another one was ready to begin, so the place was packed, but everyone looked like they were having a great time.

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Overall, it was a wonderful experience and I really think that we will be going back next time Lily needs a haircut.

She already loves having her nails done at home, so I think we are going to have a girly-girl who also loves to play with her dinosaurs and get a little messy, too.

Have you ever had a wonderful experience at a salon for your little one? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

(I wasn’t compensated for this review in any manner. All the opinions expressed are my own.)