Tot Five: It’s Fall Y’All


Fall is my favorite season out of the whole year. I love Halloween, sweatshirts, the changing of the leaves and pumpkin spice everything.

Fall is also the perfect time to go out on a lot of family outings to enjoy all this season has to offer.

Here are our Tot Five ways to enjoy Fall with your family.

1. Go Pumpkin Picking


This is a no-brainer. Taking your toddler to pick their own pumpkin from a pumpkin patch is so much and makes great photos. Plus, your toddler will enjoy getting a little dirty. No doubt they will want to try and find the biggest pumpkin in the whole patch.

2. Go Apple Picking

Going hand-in-hand with picking a pumpkin is apple picking. A lot of places have both of these options in the same location. You get to have fun when you get home eating them and cooking with them. Crockpot applesauce is a great way to make use of all the tons of apples that end up picking.

3. Go to a Day at the Farm


We are very lucky where we live because we are surrounded by many farms that offer wonderful kids days at the farm. A lot of these places have the aforementioned pumpkin picking with a lot more different fun activities including hay rides, no too scary haunted houses, scarecrows and more.

4. Fall Themed Crafts at Home

Pinterest is full of a bunch of ideas to create fall crafts with your Mousekatots. Some of our favorites include a paper plate candy apple, an apple mask and tissue paper trees.

Just by doing a quick search through Pinterest, you can find several ideas to help pass the chilly evenings.

5. Corn Maze

Corn mazes can be so much fun with all age groups.

The younger tots will need to be carried, but ones that are a little older will have a blast leading the pack through the various twists and turns of the maze.

A word of caution, make sure your little one’s shoes are tied tight. You don’t want to loose a shoe and have to retrace your steps through the maze to find a lost shoe. (Been there.)

Do you have any plans this fall? Leave your comments below.


Packing Trick Makes the Process Easy

We just got back from a wonderful weekend away in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where we were able to do a little camping, spend time at an amusement park and to stop at a few of our favorite shops.

But, before we could leave, we had to do the major chore of packing.

I know a lot of people hate to pack, but honestly I don’t really mind it all that much.

Part of the reason for that might be because of a system I have when it comes to packing our Mousekatot’s suitcase.

One of the biggest tips I share in “Mousekatots” is to gather all your kids’ clothes together and sort them into piles based on the day. For example, since we were going to be gone Saturday and Sunday, I made sure I had outfits together for those two days, plus a backup outfit (you know how it is), two pairs of pajamas, swim gear and some clothes for the campfire (i.e. long sleeves and pants).


Sorting clothes into piles based on outfits makes packing a breeze.

When you have your pile, you need to also include any underwear, hair accessories, socks, etc. for that day.

Once you have your piles all sorted out then it is time to get out my favorite travel accessory, gallon sized, storage bags. (Make sure you choose the bags that have the zipper on the top to make your life easier.)


Fool-proof outfit planning.

Take your bags and write on them, in sharpie, either the day the outfit corresponds to or the purpose of the outfit (pajamas, swimming, campfire).

This way, whoever is helping you get the Mousekatot ready for the day will know what they are to wear. Just toss them the bag and let them get to work.

Another benefit of having everything in bags is that it packs easily in the suitcase, and doesn’t shift too much during travel. Just make sure that you press all the air out of the bag before your pile them in the suitcase.


It might not look like it, but it all fit in the suitcase, I swear!

I know this might seem a little wasteful to use all of these plastic bags, but I end up saving them and using them for the next trip. I just keep them out of reach of Lily so she can’t hurt herself.

What tips do you have for making packing for a weekend getaway a little easier? Share them in the comments below!





The Not So Labor Weekend

It is hard to believe that summer has unofficially ended with the arrival of Labor Day. The warm and hot days of sun and fun just flew by. It isn’t that I am sad for fall to arrive because I love the season, I am just worried about what comes after fall.

This past weekend was amazing because we had a little bit of down time and some adventure thrown in.

Friday after work we did a little shopping with my parents and went out to eat at Red Robin. (Fun fact: Did you know that if you get a salad as a side that it is bottomless just like the fries! I had no idea.)

Saturday morning we went to look at a possible house that we might be interested in buying. (Nothing may come of it, but you never know.) We also relaxed, ordered our groceries from Walmart and then had a nice date night in after our Mousekatot went to bed. We watched “Love & Friendship” and was really funny and a great movie for people who love “Pride and Prejudice” and Jane Austen.

We also decorated our house for fall/Halloween. No one was more excited than the Mousekatot.

Sunday was our “Adventure Day” this week and we went to the Greater Pittsburgh Renaissance Fair.


Our little Tinkerbell at the Ren Fair.
We had a really good time watching the different events like the joust and watched  a juggler who ate fire, juggled knives and jumped rope on a big ball.

After having watched a few of the events, we decided to do a little shopping at the mall; Tinkerbell costume and all!


Monday afternoon we bid farewell to summer with a final swim at my husband’s parent’s pool. Our little mermaid has grown so much in  her swimming ability over the summer, we are so proud of her. She is taking to the water just like a little fish.


We had a wonderful weekend spending time together as a family. We are always very sad about the weekend being over, but we look forward to the next week’s adventures.

How did you celebrate the holiday weekend:? Leave your comments below.

PS: This was my favorite photo from the weekend:










Return to The ‘Wild

This past weekend we had another wonderful time a Idlewild Park, located in Ligoner, Pennsylvania.

The main reason why we were at the park was to celebrate my husband’s birthday. (And as a true lady, I won’t disclose his age.)

The loves of my life.

We had so much fun. Lily has become a big rider this year and loves going on different rides including a balloon ride that you race around, the carousel and even her very first roller coaster.

Our first roller coaster! Front car and everything!

However, her favorite remains Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood where you ride Trolley into the Neighborhood of Makebelieve. (I don’t have any photos from that attraction because I was enjoying Lily.)

She also loved all the attractions in Raccoon Lagoon, which is the kiddie area of the park.

We didn’t visit Storybook Forest too much this time because we had decided to let Lily go on more rides first and we ran out of time.

However, we wanted to stop back and see the new castle that was build in the area since it was still under construction when we were there last.

This the castle was open and it was very nice. (For those Mousekatot families you will notice some theming that might look familiar.)

Inside of the castle walls there is a small giftshop, of course, an animated family featuring Duke the Dragon, another mascot for the park, a sword in the stone that operates the fountain, a throne and a place for Princess Lily themed tea parties.

For $14.95 your little one can have a tea party with Princess Lily and receive a keepsake lunchbox as part of the deal. There is no charge for parents to just watch.

If we would have known about this earlier we might have signed up Lily, but it is something good to know for the future.


Here is a video of our day. Let me know if you are interested in seeing our adventures in video.

Also, our Mousekatot giveaway is still taking place until this weekend. If you haven’t entered you can go here a Rafflecopter giveaway


Best Pool Safety Product

This past weekend we were able to go to my in-laws’ pool for the first time this summer. (Better late than never I say!)

I am big on trying to get Lily to learn how to swim, or at least teacher her how to save herself  in an emergency.

In addition to a Florida Fence (a sturdy fence that can be installed and un-installed easily) we wanted to find something that Lily could wear that would keep her above the water while trying to swim.

My mother-in-law found and bought this really cute product called a “Puddle Jumper” for Lily to use at their pool.

Cheesing for the Camera

The Jumper is comprised of three components, two armbands and a middle flotation device.

It works by having the toddler put their arms in the arm bands and place the center over the chest and snap in the back.

The great thing about the product is that it will automatically push the child on their back if they fall forward too much. This would prevent them from submerging their face in the water which could cause drowning.

Getting ready to test it out.

By supporting Lily underneath while she was laying on her belly, helped her learn how to kick her feet. Later when she masters the kicking she will be able to move her arms and swim.

In addition to the Puddle Jumper, Lily enjoyed spending time in the pool so much and had a blast being in the water with her family.

If you are interested in learning more about The Puddle Jumper or purchasing one you can go to (Disclosure: If you do use this link to purchase the Puddle Jumper or anything from Amazon I will receive a percentage of the sale.)


Having Fun in the Sun



Tot Five: Best Playgrounds

The Disney World Resort is probably the biggest playground in the United States. All of the attractions make days fun and nights exciting.

However, when you have a Mousekatot in tow that is spending a lot of time either in a stroller, holding hands and in line contained for most of the day, it is a good idea to take them to a safe place to let them run a little wild.

The imagineers foresaw this need and built several fun and unique playgrounds to accommodate the overactive imagination and abundance of energy that toddlers are blessed with.

Here is our Mousekatot Tot Five best playgrounds in Walt Disney World:

1. The Boneyard at Animal Kingdom Theme Park 

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

This is probably the most expansive and developed playground that WDW has to offer.

Themed like a dinosaur dig, this playground offers a multi-level maze, a place where tots can pretend to excavate fossils, play musical bones set into a hillside, a Jeep to climb and play in, several interactive exhibits and a paradise for parents featuring large fans, shade and music.

This area is open for children 10 and under.

2. Port Orleans-Riverside

Photo courtesy of


Nestled among the shaded walkways that lazily wind around the Port Orleans Riverside Resort is this relaxing playground for kids.

The two areas, one for tots and ones for bigger kids, makes this a great playground for families that have children of varying ages.

The shade and the quiet atmosphere make this playground one of the best.

3. Animal Kingdom Lodge

Photo courtesy of

The deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World are known for have amazing amenities. This often includes gourmet dining options, lavish pools with exotic themes and bigger playgrounds.

This is the case with the playground at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Featuring three different play structures complete with slides and corkscrew fire poles, this playground offers a wide variety of options for your little one to run wild.

4. Fort Wilderness

Photo courtesy of

While Fort Wilderness’ playground is on the smaller side it still offers a lot.

Several slides, monkey bars and bridge will help your Mousekatot get some much needed physical activity with plenty of wide open space to run around.

If you combine the playground with all of the recreational activities like volleyball, basketball, and tennis it will provided an afternoon full of physical fun for the entire family.

5. Coronado Springs Resort

Photo courtesy of

Second only to the Boneyard at Animal Kingdom when it comes to theming is the playground at Coronado Springs Resort.

Themed like ancient ruins, the playground gives kids the chance to swing, climb and slide just like Indiana Jones.


The close proximity to the pool is an added benefit that enables you to make a day of it with your Mousekatot.

What do you look for in a playground? Leave your comments below.

Tot Five: Unique Accomadations for your Mousekatot

The wonderful thing about Walt Disney World is that around every corner there is magic. From the towel animals that are on the beds from mousekeeping to the fun buttons they give you to wear that show you are celebrating a special occasion.

The Walt Disney Company has even added an extra dose of pixie dust to offer unique lodging experiences that Mousekatots are sure to enjoy.

Today’s Tot Five will look at five of the most unique accommodations that the Walt Disney World Resort has to offer.

1. Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside

These rooms are fit for a princess. Every little detail, down to the carpet that resembles The Carpet from “Aladdin” has been thought about and included in the room.

The story is the room features mementos that Princess Tiana’s princess friends left behind.

The bathroom faucets are shaped like genie lamps from “Aladdin” and the bench resembles the dog that was turned into a footstool in “Beauty and the Beast.”

Scroll style artwork adorns the walls while plush red chairs look like they belong in the dining hall of a storybook. The linens look like they are made from rich dark blue tapestry that has fringe around the edges.

But, the most impressive and unique aspect are the headboards of the beds that feature a beautiful scene of the bayou complete with a sparkling fireworks light show and glittering lightening bugs in the foreground.

All the rooms are equipped with two queen beds and are unable to accommodate extra roll-away beds.

One of the major complaints that I have read is the location of these rooms to the food court and closest bus stop. According to, the walk takes about five to 10 minutes to each of these destinations depending how fast you walk.

There is an elevated cost for these particular rooms compared to the rest of the rooms at Riverside.

Photo courtesy of


2. Pirate themed rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort

For those who are more fans of pirates than princesses, special rooms located at the Caribbean Beach Resort offer people the chance to sleep in their very own pirate ship.

The rooms feature beds shaped like pirate ships complete with twin lanterns and a mast at the back of the bed, curtains with the Jolly Roger emblazoned on them, carpet made to look like wooden planks and chest of drawers that look like cargo crates.

A lot of people like the theming, but say it can be a little over the top if you are not into it. However, this theme sounds like it will be the perfect fit for your swashbuckling Mousekatot.

Just like with the Royal Guest Rooms, the pirate themed rooms are located rather far from Old Port Royale, which is the hub for food and other amenities.

These themed rooms also cost an additional fee to stay.

Photo courtesy of


3. Camping at Fort Wilderness

If you read my article yesterday all about the accommodations at Fort Wilderness, then you will know all about the various camping options including bringing your own RV, staying in one of Disney’s cabins or pitching your own tent.

The opportunity to experience wildlife, sleep under the stars and share stories around a campfire might be the perfect place for your Mousekatot to log some sweet dreams.

It would definitely be a unique experience for the entire family.

Photo courtesy of

4. The Treehouses at Saratoga Springs Resort


What Mouekatot wouldn’t love to sleep in a treehouse?

Luckily, the Walt Disney Resort has created 60, three bedroom treehouses in the wooded area of the resort and are surrounded by the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course and a water way that flows into the Village Lake.

Each of the treehouses can sleep nine people and run about $130 to $230 more per night compared to similar two-bedroom villas. However, each villa comes with it’s own deck, charcoal grill and share a small pool and spa for just the treehouses. There are also two bus stops that service the treehouses.


Photo courtesy of

5. The Bungalows at Polynesian Resort Village


If you have about $2,000 per night to spend on a hotel room, then you might want to consider staying at one of the breathtaking bungalows at the Polynesian Resort Village.

There are 20 of these Bora Bora Bungalows that have two bedrooms and can sleep about eight people with about 1650 square feet and an additional 300 square foot deck that offers views of the Magic Kingdom.

These bungalows might be the most expensive places to stay on property, but they may also be the most beautiful and unique.

Photo courtesy of


Which one of these unique accommodations do you think your Mousekatot would like best? Leave your comments below.

Roughing it?

If you saw one of my recent posts, you would have seen that our family is starting to dip our toe into the world of camping. (This is a big step for someone who squeals and runs away whenever a bug is near.)

Because of this I have become obsessed with Walt Disney Resort’s Fort Wilderness and the prospect of camping there sometime. So now seemed like the best time to take a little more in-depth look at the resort and what it means for your Mousekatot.



The resort opened in November 1971, a little more than a month after the opening of the Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Village.

It is considered in the Magic Kingdom Resort loop and is adjacent to Bay Lake, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and the abandoned waterpark, River Country.

The Feel of the Resort

The resort is designed with a rustic feel in mind. It is so expansive it has its own internal bus system to take you to various spots inside of the resort.

Photo courtesy of
Accommodation Options

The resort has three major ways of staying on property.

The first is tent camping. People can bring their own supplies and tent and pitch it right on property. But this is still not completely roughing it. Each campsite comes equipped with a sandy area for the tent, a concrete pad for a car, water and hose and electricity.

The second option is for people who have RV or trailer campers. Disney allows people to choose from a variety of options for this campsite including complete hookups or none. For those who want to stay in an RV, but don’t own one, there are a few companies that will rent you one for the week and have it ready and waiting for your arrival.

The third option is to rent a cabin. Disney offers adorable cabins that are perfect for larger families. They come equipped with a complete kitchen and gas grill.

Photo courtesy of

Dining Options

Fort Wilderness is host of some of the most popular dining options within the resort including two different dinner shows, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review. This is also home of the Trails End Restaurant.

Your little Mousekatot would love to attend Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and meet with Mickey and some of his pals at this special character breakfast. This dining experience requires two table service credits if you are on the dining plan.

Also, if your Mousekatot is on the loud side and you are concerned about them being too noisy at a restaurant, Trails End is the perfect place. For those that want to get in on the act, the meal is almost a show in itself that requires loud and silly audience participation.

Photo courtesy of
Options for Fun

There are several options that make Fort Wilderness a perfect fit for a family with a younger child.

The first is the Campfire Sing-Along with Chip ‘n’ Dale where a wonderful cast member leads an old fashioned campfire sing-along, complete with s’mores, that include a special appearance with the two world famous chipmunks. Following the sing-along there is a movie shown on a screen under the stars.

While this event is free to anyone, it is a lot more convient to attend if you are already staying on the property.

Also, you will want to head to the fort’s beach and look out for the Electric Water Pageant that takes place on Bay Lake.

There are also two playgrounds, for your tot to burn out some energy, and two swimming pools. In addition, there are recreation activities that might be found at traditional campgrounds including fishing, horseback riding, canoes, kayaks, bikes and more.

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort
Campsites all decked out

One of the things that makes the resort so special is that people really go all out to decorate their site around the holidays. It is pretty common place to see intricate Halloween and Christmas decorations around the campsite.

The best way to take it all in is to rent a golf cart ($62 per day) and drive around to see all the different displays at night.

Photo courtesy of
If you are curious about what Fort Wilderness has to offer, take a boat over from the Magic Kingdom and check it out. Schedule either a dinner or a visit to the campfire to see if the resort is for you.

Would you ever consider camping at Walt Disney Resort? Leave your response in the comments below.

How We Spent our Weekend

I apologize for not having a blog on Monday. We were spending a lot of time together as a family that there just wasn’t enough time to post yesterday.

This also lead to a great point. While we all love Disney, our lives also have other aspects.

So here is a look at ours.


Friday was a pretty fun day for us. After work we went out to eat with my parents and Lily had her first ever ice cream cone. (I know. What kind of parents are we to wait this long for our child to have an ice cream cone?) She picked out her own flavor, rainbow, and loved it.

Lily Ice Cream
It was a little messy, but really worth it.


Saturday was a really busy day. I was invited to two bridal showers and I unfortunately had to make a choice. While I was at the one shower, Lily and Kev were spending some daddy daughter time.

She met Geoffery giraffe and had her picture taken, visited the bookstore and was spoiled by her daddy.

Lily and Geoff.png
Lily and Geoffery hanging out.


This was such a fun day for us. A little known fact about me is that I hate bugs. But, this summer I am making the effort to try and get outside more and embrace nature since our Lily loves the great outdoors.

So, this summer we are going to attempt camping. But, just like in the movie “What About Bob” we are taking baby steps and had our first camping experience indoors.

We bought a six-person tent and new air mattress at Walmart and spent Sunday night camping out in our living room.

I do have to say that our tent, Ozark Trail brand, was super nice and easy to put up.

Kev and tent.png
Tent construction
Daddy lily and tent.png
We loved the tent and referred to it as “our house.” It was so big we couldn’t get the entire thing open.

Even though we didn’t sleep outside, we did go out to our fire pit to make s’mores and burn off some extra energy before we settled down for the night.

Our fire pit going strong.



Monday was the day that we had our cookout and spent even more time outside.

After our camp-in, which went surprisingly well and we got a pretty nice night’s sleep, we went up to the mountains for some of the best pancakes. Then we decided to take a walk around Ohiopyle to see the waterfall and the new visitor center.


After our time exploring the mountains, we came home and put out our inflatable pool together and spent a long time splashing around until we got so tired it was time to come in take our nap. We finished the day with a small cookout and playing with our toys including our trains.

We had such a wonderful time over the weekend, and I am sad to see it come to an end. Today, we both went back to work and our regular schedule is put back into action. But, it is nice to know that we have the rest of the summer ahead of us to explore and have many fun adventures.

What are you most looking forward to this summer? Leave your message in the comments below.