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Friday, October 25, 2013

Another week that I'm linking up with my friend Aurie's Counting Our Blessings blog.... I'm really loving recapping the week while recounting the great things that we were blessed to do!  I hope you are enjoying reading what we've been up to. 

CountingBlessings

http://www.ourgoodfamily.org/2013/10/on-not-giving-up-counting-blessings-link-up/
  • We were able to see 2 of my aunts and 1 of my cousins from Long Island at my sister's housewarming party.  It was a great day.  The kids had a great time running around my sister's yard and we had a good time chatting and catching up with everyone. 
  • Cole scored 4 goals at his soccer game on Saturday!  And he had a huge cheering section!

  • I volunteered to help the coach at soccer practice on Monday night since the assistant wasn't there.  Cole thought this was the coolest thing in the world and I really had a lot of fun.
  • Summer was such a good girl just sitting and coloring until Jim got to soccer practice so that I was able to help the coach
  • That our daycare listens to me when I have concerns and is willing to help me work through them.  Cole has been having a very rough time adjusting to a small rest time instead of a 2 hour nap each day.  That on top of the busier days at big school has taken a huge toll on my boy.  He's been having trouble listening and last week cried every night about how tired he was.  I was able to make arrangements with the school to take him to his old Pre-K class after lunch to take a nap.  They said the one day he was the last one up and he's been so much better this week!  I'm so thankful they were willing to accommodate us! 
  • I'm thankful that the dance teachers are so thoughtful that even though one of Summer's teacher's told me she got kicked in class.... her other teacher called me when I got home to make sure that I knew what happened. 
  • I'm thankful for our zoo membership and that we are able to take friends with us and for a beautiful day at Boo at the Zoo with my best friend, her hubby and their baby girl!

 
  • I love our mix and match day outfits 
  • We had a great family night at the book fair this week.... the kids got to dress up in their Halloween costumes and pick the books they wanted with their birthday money that I had stashed away for this occasion.  We were so happy to see that both of their teachers were there... Summer's teacher even had her baby there!  Here are our choices! 

  •  Meal planning is still going very well and we have drastically reduced the amount of take-out that we are all consuming.... saving us money and making us healthier.... which I can happily say has contributed to me being 15 lbs lighter! 
  • Cole was also the Star of the week and here is his poster
I hope you have all had a splendid week and even though we all have rough patches... stopping to smell the roses helps to make the thorns not seem so bad. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

More blessings to count....

I'm really enjoying linking up with my dear friend Aurie's weekly Counting our Blessings meme!   It's been a stressful few months for me with lots of schedule changes for everyone and we're still not quite adjusted, but it's nice to stop and smell the roses that we are blessed with each week. 

CountingBlessings
 

  • I'm thankful that my sister-in-law was able to pick up these awesome shoes for Summer to wear as the flower girl in my cousin's wedding

  • I'm thankful for how handsome and grown up Cole was when he was fitted for his tuxedo for the wedding
  • I'm thankful that I'm getting back on track with working out and although I can't get to the gym as much due to the activity schedule at the moment.... a new Sunday class just got added with one of my favorite instructors and I'm totally psyched to have more options that will work with our new schedule! 
  • I'm thankful that my wonderful husband is so supportive of me leaving the house as much as I do to workout and go to my SJMOMS activities, etc. 
  • I'm thankful for Jim's awesome aunt who brought us an amazing dinner that was big enough to last 2 nights....which saved me from cooking those nights. 
  • I'm thankful that we did not have plans last weekend and were able to have a mostly quiet weekend at home getting some stuff done around the house. 
  • I'm thankful for Cole's very understanding soccer coach who was so encouraging when Cole completely lost it at practice on Monday because he is having such a hard time adjusting to no nap and asked him to be the stretching captain at the end (after he sat down for a much needed break)
  • I'm thankful for the wonderful relationships that we've built at our daycare that when I found out Cole had an issue at "big school" via email from his teacher.... I was able to send a text and a comforting face was able to give him big hugs and make him feel better. 
  • I'm thankful that Summer was able to read almost an entire sentence of a book to me (and not all of them were her sight words)
  • And .... I'm thankful for this....

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Another week with more blessings to count...

It's been a long stressful week at work... quarterly closes are my least favorite... and this one was especially problematic....

  • I am thankful that Jim was given a chance at a different position and so far is liking his placement
  • I am thankful that he had a few extra days off and was able to run some errands for me
  • I am thankful that Cole scored 2 goals in his soccer game last weekend and that Grandma, Grandpa & Aunt Yiz were there to see it! 
  • I am thankful that my in-laws had a great trip to Disney and brought us some amazing gifts back.... I got an awesome Mickey fedora that I'm waiting to sport :)
  • I am thankful that Summer and I were able to attend an amazing shower for my dear cousin Kate and spend time catching up with my family.  I was so proud of my little girl who was super shy at the get go, but wound up blossoming into this grown up who was super into all the "pots and pans" that Aunt Kate received
  • I am thankful for pumpkin muchkins that someone keeps bringing to my office
  • I am thankful that I got back to the gym 2 times this week.... once with my awesome sister-in-law
  • I am thankful that I am getting back into cooking, which is not only a huge cost savings but also much healthier for our family
Hope you have plenty to be thankful for this week!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Disney World Travel Tips...

So here are some of my favorite tips for traveling to Disney with kids.  We've been to Disney more without kids than with kids, but we've now been to Disney with our twins 4 times.  This definitely doesn't make us experts, but we definitely have found some valuable tips in our opinion. 

  • I like to pack each outfit (complete with socks, underwear and accessories) in a gallon sized Ziploc bag.  This helps make getting ready in the mornings MUCH easier, especially if someone is helping you get them ready.  No digging in different places for socks, shirts, etc.  As they get old enough to dress themselves, my kids enjoy getting to pick their outfit for the day. 
  • Take an extra outfit per kid in a Ziploc bag (I really like using Ziploc bags!).  This keeps the outfit dry and it also provides a location to put a potentially wet/messy outfit back inside. 
  • Several of the parks have water splash areas (Magic Kingdom & EPCOT definitely), so I pack a swimsuit in a.... wait for it..... Ziploc bag! 
  • I also like to put our autograph books with their pens in a Ziploc bag.  Then I can keep them easily accessible in the back of the stroller and not worry about something spilling or one of the frequent afternoon rain showers that hit Florida ruining them. 
  • You can take a small cooler into Disney! No glass or alcohol is allowed, but other drinks, food and snacks are.  We don't pack lunch, but you certainly could.  We bring several bottles of water for the day, some juice boxes and snacks for the kids. 
  • If you want to eat in sit down restaurants or character meals.... MAKE RESERVATIONS and make them as far ahead of time as possible (up to 180 days in advance for most restaurants).  Due to the popularity of the dining plans it is quite typical for there to be no same day reservations available in the parks. 
  • Make a rough game plan for each day of your trip.  I usually make a chart of the park hours including the extra magic hours for each day of my stay.  If I will not be taking advantage of the extra magic hours.... I steer clear of that park.  (Extra Magic Hours - each day a different park opens early or stays open late for those staying on Disney property only)
  • Once I have this rough plan of how we will spend our days, I plan our meal reservations.  (Park hours usually are released 10 days prior to when you can start making meal reservations)  This is especially important if you won't be getting park hoppers because you do need to use a park ticket if you are eating in the park. 
  • I like to pre-order the Disney Photo Pass CD as you can save $50 on the price it would be after you arrive.  I would highly recommend this especially if you will be going to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique during your stay.  On our first visit they took 87 photos of my daughter, some of these are surely photos that I could have gotten myself but they have a set that they take of the reveal through different mirrors and I certainly could not replicate those amazing shots!  I was able to get all of my photo pass photos downloaded instead of having to choose to print at $15 per photo through the Photo Pass site.  I have not yet upgraded to the Photo Pass + as I didn't feel we would use enough of the meal/rides that it includes to be worth the higher price.


  • The characters do tend to pay a bit closer attention to children that are dressed as them.  While this is not always possible for every character it is something to keep in mind.  It might be as simple as a private photo with a special pose or words like "oh I thought I heard my mice friends poking around my closet this morning, but it must have been you trying out one of my dresses".  Makes for a cute little memory!

  • Gift shops are a plenty in Disney World.  In fact, just about every ride dumps you into a gift shop.  What we have started doing with the kids is save up money in their piggy banks in the time leading up to the trip.  We then put that money plus gifts they received or a little extra from us on a gift card for each child.  That is their present money for the trip.  They can choose any gifts they want, but when the money runs out.... that is it.  It has really worked out for us with little to no meltdowns.  If I felt they were spending too quickly, I tried to explain how many days we have left and how many presents worth of money they had left.  Sometimes we even took pictures with my phone to "think" about an item. 
  • I have tried a few different Disney World apps.  I really love the new Disney Experience app put out by Disney (previous apps were by outside companies and not as great).  All your meal reservations are available within the app.  There is also a great "Here and Now" button that will give you all the current wait time and fast past distribution times for the rides you are near.  It will also give you nearby restaurants along with their menus! 
  • You can now fast pass the Princesses in Magic Kingdom and Mickey Mouse.  And I recently found out by talking to a cast member that a fast pass with Mickey Mouse does not affect your ability to get your next fast pass immediately.... because everyone should get to see Mickey!
  • If you've seen the parade and/or fireworks before or just don't think your kids will sit through them.... this is the best time to hit the rides.  Much shorter wait times in our experience. 
  • Last year we had some problems with being afraid of the "dark", which is not even especially dark.  But when you go from bright, sunny outside to dim lighted to keep you cooler inside lines it can seem darker than it actually is, which apparently freaked my kids out and eliminated a bunch of rides.  I thought about what I could do to combat this and came up with glow bracelets.  I bought several packages of them from 5 below and kept some in my bag each day.  I told the kids this was there own light if they got scared.  It really worked late.  This would also be helpful if you're out and about at night for the fireworks shows since the glow items sold in the park cost a fortune. 
Ok... that's all I have for now :)  I'm always happy to chat about Disney if you have any specific questions.... let me know! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Counting my blessing during a stressful week...

I knew this week would be stressful.... but as luck would always have it... it was a bit more stressful than I had ever anticipated...

CountingBlessings
http://www.ourgoodfamily.org/2013/10/counting-my-blessings-one-at-a-time/

Despite being dealt one of the biggest lemons we've been given in quite some time... we still have plenty to be thankful for

1) I'm thankful that I planned ahead last weekend and cooked most of Sunday.  I cooked for the whole week... I made crockpot oatmeal for my breakfast, I made a big batch of smoothies and froze them for my lunch and I precooked dinners for the week.  This has made mealtime stress this week absolutely zero.  I also am feeling great having not had any takeout this week (except for a little snack after my SJMOMS meeting last night).  This has also saved a great deal of money with not eating out as well.

2) Speaking of my SJMOMS group... I am thankful for being part of such an amazing group of women and to call many of them my friends.  They have made my life with twins so much easier and I don't know what I would've done without them. 

3) I am thankful that we were invited to a friend from school's house and had a great family play date.  It was nice for the adults to enjoy dinner and socializing, while the kids played nicely with each other. 

4) I'm thankful for my fabulous neighbors who watched Cole when Jim was running late from work so I could pick up Summer and her friend from dance without dragging him along. 

5) I'm thankful that even though my husband lost his job in a huge layoff this week that he was given the opportunity for a lesser position instead of no job at all. 

6) And I am thankful for this... Summer did this at school today and I think I will try to add a picture to each of these posts showing off what they are learning this year. 

 
Have a great weekend!