How To Survive (And Thoroughly Enjoy!) Walt Disney World With An Active Toddler: Part Two

contains affiliate links – all opinions are my own 

Disney World

(If you haven't read Part 1 of this series, check it out.  It highlights the planning phase of surviving Disney with your toddler.)

Our Disney adventure was a bit stressful at first.  I wasn't quite prepared enough for the plane ride, but all in all, it wasn't bad.  I think we could call it a a successful first plane ride for the boys.  When we landed in Orlando, it was so exciting!  We searched for the Magical Express line at the airport and to our surprise, it was completely empty.  No lines, yes!  But then again…we had to wait a little while to have enough people to fill up a bus to take us to the Pop Century resort where we would be staying.  We were tired and getting hungry and also getting used to the warm Florida temps.  (We are from Texas, yes, but we had left freezing temperatures and SNOW!)  Continuing where I left on in Part one….here are more tips for surviving Disney with an active toddler:

No Carseats on magical express

6.  Be aware:  There are no carseats on the Magical Express.

If you're a carseat nerd like me, you may have an issue with it.  I did at first, but had to let it go.  Friends assured me that it was safe, legal, and all that jazz.  If you have a carseat, they will store it under the bus, but you cannot take it onto the bus.  So, we held Baby Brother and hoped for the best.  I know, I know, it's true of all buses and it's not really a big deal, but it kind of is.  Just don't be shocked when you get there, is all I'm saying.  We drove on the highway at pretty high speeds, and there very well could've been an accident, but it was okay.  The drivers are very safe.

Moving on…

7.  Babywear!  Toddlerwear!

A lot of parents know the extreme awesomeness that babywearing is.  It's great to be hands free while keeping your baby close.  But a lot of parents ditch the baby carrier once their little one becomes mobile.  I'm telling you…don't.  Baby Brother still loves to be worn at 29 lbs and 17 months old.  I brought the Boba 4g on the airplane and wore him in the airport.  I wore him while walking the long trek to our room at the resort, in lines, for naps in the park, on the bus to the parks when it was standing room only (although most of the time people offer women with babies a seat…thank goodness,) waiting in line for the bus back to the resort, when D needed to sit in the stroller for a bit, and more!  We still let him down to walk and play a LOT, but there were times when the Boba was the most valuable thing in sight!  I never left the resort without it.toddlerdisney6And in case you didn't know…the Boba can hold kids up to 40 lbs…indeed it can:toddlerdisney5

8.  Naps.

Okay.  Baby Brother is baby #3 for us, so we are definitely more relaxed about naps than we were with the first two.  Some days he naps in his crib, some days he doesn't.  But I can honestly say that having to go back to the resort every day when he needed a nap would have been a nightmare.  First of all, the trip back to the resort would have assuredly lulled him to sleep and he probably wouldn't have napped once we got there.  Secondly, there were days he was exhausted at 10 and then days he could go and go and never be tired.  So, we planned to stay at the park for as long as we wanted to, or as long as we parents could go.  That meant we went back to the resort at 3 or 4, which was far too late for a Baby Brother nap.  So again, he napped in the Boba, stroller, or once in my lap at the Frozen Sing Along show.  He slept when he could and we managed well!  One parent would take the older two so they didn't have to sacrifice their Disney time for Baby Brother and the other parent would take him for a stroll so he could get some rest.  This was my favorite naptime:

toddlerDisney10

D needed a nap most days, (as did I!) so we pulled it off at 3 or whatever time we made it back to the resort.  It worked well for us.  You just have to see what works best for your family.  If you want to break up the day and have lunch and a nap at the resort, so be it.  The afternoon break was good for us to get out of the sun, take a rest, and then come back for the night time activities.

9.  Take advantage of the play areas.

We didn't really think of play areas as an option until Hubby found the awesome, age appropriate play area while the older two boys and I were riding Splash Mountain.  It wasn't crowded at the time and Baby Brother LOVED it.  It gave him a chance to run around and play and have something to do while we were on the ride AND gave Daddy a chance to sit down and rest.  We also loved the play/waiting area of the Dumbo ride.  It was perfect for him and while I assume it can get pretty crowded, it is a secure area that has a center area just for toddlers and prevents them (for the most part) from running off.  Both of these play areas are out of the elements and are just fun.  I'm sure there are many more play areas for toddlers in the parks, but we just didn't discover them.  At Disney Hollywood Studios, all of us loved the "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids" movie set adventure area.  There are slides, places to climb, and just a cool place to check out.  Baby Brother loved it, too!

Disney World

10.  Take a stroller with storage.  Rent one if you must.

I don't know why I actually thought about this one for longer than 10 seconds.  We flew, so I didn't want the stroller to be a huge inconvenience, and I didn't know about storing it on the Magical Express or the bus, and I didn't know how difficult it would be to maneuver in the parks.  Seriously though, if you have kids under the age of 6, you need a stroller with storage.  Not an umbrella stroller, mind you, although that would work if that's all you have.  You need a comfortable stroller with a good canopy that is easy to push and also has a big basket underneath for storage.  If you don't have one, there are stroller rental places at the front of each park.  Strollers can be annoying, for sure, especially when you're staring at a sea of strollers and can't locate yours… because a cast member moved it to a different location, perhaps.  If your child is far too excited to ride and wants to walk the entire time…still…take a stroller.  You can store anything and everything in it and one with cup holders to hold your drink is worth it.  Make it happen!  We took our Graco Jogger and while a slightly smaller, lightweight stroller (like the Graco Verb) would've been easier to manage, this stroller was a lifesaver.  It carried kids (all three at one time or another,) beverages, diaper bags, backpacks, gift shop purchases, snacks, water bottles, maps, freebies, extra clothes, ponchos, and much more.  The only downside was it's size and the fact that Hubby had to lift it onto the bus and off, but he did that while I wore Baby Brother in the Boba and it wasn't a big deal.  If I were alone, I'd definitely take a lightweight stroller, but we had two people so it worked.  

toddlerdisney3

11.  Take, apply, and reapply sunscreen.

 Slather on sunscreen before you leave your room and take a bottle with you.  The Florida sun beats down and can burn a person very quickly.  We relied on TruKid while we were there.

12.  Take snacks.

In part one of this series, I talked about Garden Grocer and how we had groceries delivered to our room.  This was so helpful in packing snacks for the day, too.  We could take grapes, apple slices, crackers, and lots of water bottles and not have to buy snacks at the park.  We did, of course, as a treat, but not just because we were starving.

13.  Know that there are Baby Care Centers available.

In each park, there is a Baby Care Center for parents with infants and toddlers.  Each facility is complimentary and includes a private nursing room with rocking chair; changing room with tables and a unisex bathroom; feeding area with high chairs; kitchen with microwave, oven, and sink; main room with TV, table, chairs, and sofa; and an on-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, OTC medicines and clothing available for purchase.  Most restrooms in the park DO have baby changing stations, but the Baby Care Centers have everything you might need to take care of the littles.  This is also the place that Cast Members will escort children who have become separated from his or her parents so the parents can be reunited with their lost child.

14.  What will you do if your child gets sick at Disney?

We all got hit with a case of allergies while we were at Disney and Baby Brother was cutting his molars at the time, but thankfully we avoided all other illnesses.  I could list out everything to prepare, but Jeannette experienced it first hand and she wrote a brilliant post, so make sure and read "What To Do If Your Child Gets Sick At Disney."

15.  Not all kids like characters!

Every time we approached a character, such as Daisy Duck, below, Baby Brother flipped out.  If I switched him to the other side, opposite the scary (to him) cast member, then he was better, but he never wanted anything to do with them!

Disney CharactersOnce the characters were far away, he really enjoyed them!  He really loved seeing Sofia the First at Play 'n Dine…from a distance, of course!

toddler disney

16.  Take your toddler on rides…especially "It's A Small World!"

We took Baby Brother on the "It's A Small World" ride twice, and I really wish we had taken him at least once more.  It's a truly fun, magical ride that is slow and easy and a great escape from the heat.  He ADORED this ride so so much.  Check out this fun video I took of his first ride.

Walt Disney World

There are many other rides that have no height restrictions, so toddlers can ride.  Some of our favorites were:

  • It's A Small World (of course), Magic Kingdom
  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, MK
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant, MK
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris, Animal Kingdom
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, MK
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, MK
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, MK
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends, AK
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, MK
  • TriceraTop Spin, AK (pictured above)
  • Jungle Cruise, MK

There are many more rides with no height restrictions, but these were our favorites.  Check out the Disney World site for more information.

17.  Watch the Parades

Make sure you watch the parades.  There are parades in the day at different times and at night, each one magical and special.  I didn't really want to fight the crowds, but twice we were kind of in the right place at the right time, and we all had a great time.  This was from Baby Brother's first parade:

 

The line to meet Anna and Elsa were way too long, but we got to see them in one parade and for me, that was awesome!  And Baby Brother loved it, too!  He was waving at all of the characters and the older two were very excited, as well.

toddlers

18.  Stay for the fireworks, at least one night.

When we were planning this trip, I did not know HOW we would swing staying up late for the fireworks, but we did, twice, once at Epcot and once at the Magic Kingdom.  The fireworks are amazing and magical and all that jazz.  And seeing it through your children's eyes…..there is nothing like it.  The most excited I saw my 6 year old son all week was the first night during the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom.  He was excited most of the week about everything, don't get me wrong.  He was MEGA excited at the fireworks show at MK.  He was sharing in the joy of his baby brother and it was just overwhelming to me because…well, it's hard to explain.  You just have to experience it for yourself.  Just don't miss out on the fireworks!

Disney World Fireworks

Well, that's it!  My tips on how to survive and thoroughly enjoy Walt Disney World with an active toddler!  It was such a great experience and we are all dreaming of when we might be able to go again.  Which is another thing…. not to be a downer, but there is such a thing as Post-Disney Letdown Syndrome, but well, let's just say every good thing must come to an end, but the memories you and your kids will make at Disney will be worth it all.

How To Grow Strawberries In One Season

How To Grow Strawberries in One Season

Strawberries are a wonderful addition to the garden because they provide you with delicious fruit and add a little color to one of the hardest areas of the garden to fill in. No matter if you decide to grow them in a container, bed or hanging baskets, strawberries can start bearing fruit in just a single season when you get everything right. With all the different varieties of strawberries out there, and three main fruit bearing times, you can enjoy fresh fruit for the entire summer.  Here are some easy to follow tips to grow strawberries in just one season.

Start With New Plants

There are several options for getting started with strawberries, but new plants, already growing from a nursery are the best option. Beginning with new plants versus transplants or roots ensures that you have a health strawberry plant and is a headstart on the growing season.

Plant for Your Zone

One of the biggest mistakes people make when purchasing plants is to buy things that are meant to be grown in other hardiness zones. When you force a plant to survive in less than ideal temperatures and conditions it puts all its energy into survival rather than producing fruit. Choose those plants that are meant to be grown where you live only.

Plant a Bed

While you can grow strawberries in a single container or basket, the ideal way to grow them is in a bed of their own.  (Check out this 3 tier strawberry bed.) Strawberries like to spread out, be near other plants and really get into the soil, so an entire bed for them to do this is heaven for them.

Plant Different Types

There are three main types of strawberries, but June bearing and everbearing are the easiest to grow and find in nurseries. Plant a combination of different types of strawberries in order to have something to pick throughout the summer. Doing this also helps you determine what varieties are the best instead of sticking to just one type year after year.

Provide Full Sun and Compost

Strawberries need a lot of organic matter worked into their soil, so make sure you feed the soil bed before planting and give it time to break down. The plants also need full sun in order to bulk up their energy sources and produce fruit, so make sure that the bed is in an ideal position. Finally, keep the moisture and nutrients in the soil where the plants need them by providing a layer of mulch or straw on the beds. 

Have you had success with growing strawberries?  Leave your tips in the comments section!  I'd love to hear them.

**contains affiliate links**

Reduce Food Waste For The Earth And Your Wallet {Free Food Storage Printables!}

One of my favorite things to do is to go grocery shopping for the week.  I know that sounds crazy, but I really do enjoy it.  (It's even more fun without kids, but, I probably spend less when they tag along….ha!)  It is fun to see the fresh fruits and vegetables that my favorite store has.  We live about 20 minutes away from "my" grocery store, so I do like to stock up for the next week or two, to avoid too many trips to the store.  That means I need to have a game plan and also know how to reduce food waste by eating everything that I buy.

We have been much better about properly storing our food and eating it all up before it goes bad.  Sometimes life happens and we are invited out to eat when I had planned to make dinner, or we get sick, or we decide to go to Grandma's for the night.  I feel better about the food purchases that I make because I do know how to properly store them and how long they will be good in the fridge.  This goes for leftovers, too.  They usually have a short shelf life, but proper storage is key.

#SAVEITSUNDAY #FoodFairyTaleHere is a random food fact for you.  Did you know that Americans throw out an average of 400 lbs of food a year?  That is roughly $1,500 in food…thrown away because it wasn't eaten quickly enough or stored properly before it went bad.  That's a lot of pounds of food that are hauled off to the dump and a lot of money just thrown away.  It kinda makes me sick to think about it.

As Earth month comes to a close, I want to challenge all of us to learn some food storage Protection Pointers from Glad®.  The website has many pointers about how to properly store fruits, vegetables, and other foods so they will last longer and taste better when you do eat them.  

We go through a lot of strawberries around here.  I have started to buy many cartons of them because the boys love them!  Here's the best way to store them:

#SAVEITSUNDAY #FoodFairyTale

I think apples is seriously what we waste the most of.  The boys ADORE apples, but cannot usually eat a whole one by themselves.  An apple sounds so delicious but mid way through, they realize they are full and want to save it for later.  You don't know how many times I've come upon an apple that looks like this:

half eaten applesWell, now I know that I should probably take the time to cut up a bunch and let the boys eat what they can so we can waste fewer apples.

#SAVEITSUNDAY #FoodFairyTale

I have created these two handy printables for you to download, print, and keep on your fridge to anticipate just how long your foods will stay fresh and delicious.  (Just click on the image and download the PDF.)


#SAVEITSUNDAY #FoodFairyTale

Download this free printable to hang on your fridge!

Are you ready for a challenge?  Do you want to reduce food waste and stop throwing away spoiled food?  Check out Glad Protection Pointers and stop letting so much food go to waste.

I've admitted that we throw away way too many apples….what is your most thrown away food?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Glad Food Protection. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Start Your Morning Right With a Refreshing Orange Mango Drink

Orange Mango DrinkMornings are sometimes rough around here.  They usually involve me walking into the kitchen, still half asleep, searching for something for my rumbling belly.  I like breakfasts that can be whipped up quickly and also…eaten quickly.  That's why I love this morning orange mango drink.  It's simple to make and has lots of vitamins, too!  And the citrusy flavor is sure to wake you up like a cup of coffee would!  (Okay, maybe not, but maybe!)

Ingredients:

  • The juice of three oranges (or about one cup of pre-packaged orange juice)
  • two ripe mangoes (or two cups of frozen, cubed mangoes – perfect for busy mornings!)

Directions:

  1. Juice three oranges or measure out 1 cup of orange juice.
  2. Cube fresh, ripe mangoes or measure out 2 cups of frozen, cubed mangoes
  3. Blend well until smooth and free of lumps in blender.
  4. Pour and enjoy. 
  5. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

This drink is also great for little ones, too.  It's very kid friendly and if your child likes citrus fruits, then they will love this drink.  Enjoy!

Eczema Stinks….But Non-Toxic Dream Cream is Here to Save the Day! {giveaway, too!}

The opinions in this non-toxic Dream Cream post are all mine.

If you have been reading this blog or following me for any amount of time, you already know that 3/5 of our family have had a hard time with eczema.  The Captain used to scratch his thighs in his sleep and cause himself to bleed.  We had no idea what to do or how to fix it.  We tried many different treatments, necklaces, wet wrapping, and more.  Some worked, some didn't, and some worked for awhile and then stopped working.  I learned through my own eczema that moisturization is key, but it seemed that most moisturizers and even "safe" baby soaps would irritate his skin.  After many tears and frustrated days, we figured out that he can only have 1-2 baths a week and he needs lots of lotion made with pure and natural ingredients.  

We somehow avoided eczema with D, but When Baby Brother started developing an eczema rash on his face, I felt better prepared.  His was tougher to combat though, because it was on his face.  I had a rash on my face through much of my babyhood, but I felt confident that we could get rid of it.  Well, we exhausted all of our natural remedies and lotions and treatments, and ended up at the pediatric dermatologist.  She prescribed two VERY expensive creams that were definitely NOT natural and pure, but they worked.  His eczema cleared up after a few months and thankfully has yet to return.  He does have very dry skin and scratches like crazy if we bathe him too often or if his skin isn't hydrated well. 

eczemastinks

I was really tired of buying expensive cream to treat his dry skin and eczema and was definitely not comfortable slathering his precious baby skin in chemicals that were made in a lab somewhere.  That's when my friend Becky, whom I met many years ago when she was pregnant with her oldest when I was pregnant with the Captain, posted on Facebook about a company she had discovered and really believed in because their products were toxin free and made of good, truly all natural ingredients, Ava Anderson.  She mentioned that she used the diaper cream on a spot of eczema that she had, and it cleared up.  So, I bought a tube and used it on Baby Brother's dry skin.  I know, you wouldn't really think that diaper cream should be used all over a baby's body, but it totally makes sense!  Diaper cream clears up diaper rashes by creating a protective barrier and locking the moisture in.  I really wish I had known about this when he had his face eczema.  Who knows, we could've avoided an expensive trip to the dermatologist and all of that expensive prescription lotion.  

Now, any time his skin is dry and itchy, I know it's time for more Ava cream.  I even ordered a grown up version….Ava Dream Cream…which is the same thing as the diaper cream, but with a different scent (scented with essential oils) for grown-ups.  I use it on my extremely dry face and it keeps it hydrated and feeling soft.  I love it!

dreamcreamAva Anderson was just 14 when she saw a news story about the number of harmful chemicals in the blood of teenagers.  She soon learned and discovered that products that claimed to be "pure," "natural," and "safe" were actually still riddled with toxins.  Her mission was clear: share important information about toxins in every day products and develop a collection of products that are completely safe for individuals, their families, and the environment.  Her company, Ava Anderson Non Toxic, launched in 2009 when Ava was 15 years old.  Today, Ava Anderson Non Toxic is proud to offer the safest full line of personal care and home products on the market. They are all about the ingredients – the right ingredients.  Safe, organic, toxin-free, and harmful-chemical free ingredients that you can feel good about.  Ingredients you can trust for your family that are both safe and effective, like organic essential oils, organic coconut oil, shea butter, and jojoba, to name a few.  There's absolutely nothing in their products that they are not proud to put right on their labels.

Ava Anderson has much more than just skin care, too.  It's a whole arsenal of non-toxic products for babies, kids, women, men, pets, your house, your garden, and much more.  Check it out at Becky's Ava Anderson site or Facebook page.

Becky is giving away both a tube of Dream Cream AND 15% off winner's first order (no purchase required to win, though!)  Enter to win in the Rafflecopter form below!

Ava Anderson Dream Cream Giveaway

 

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Nobody Is Happy if The Toddler is Hungry

This is a sponsored post brought to you by Gerber and Mom Select.  All opinions are mine.

Baby Brother is in that crazy phase of wanting to be independent, but not really being able to do much for himself.  He's learning to talk and feed himself, but he still needs a lot of practice.  Mealtimes are messy and while is usually willing to try anything, he has discovered there are some things he does not like to eat.  We have all figured out that if he is hungry, nobody is happy.  He isn't quite able to tell us what he wants, or even that he is hungry, but he is learning.  It's a trying phase for all of us.  I like to keep snacks on hand that I know he loves for those times when he is just hangry and we are between meals or dinner won't be ready for awhile.  

Baby Brother's favorite snacks are fruit, yogurt, and Gerber fruit strips and yogurt melts.  I know that if he is hungry, he will never deny those snacks!  Gerber products make it easy to snack on the go, too.  We all know that hangry toddlers in the car, at the store, or at church are not pleasant.  #GerberWinWinMomentBaby Brother loves to feed himself and he is so proud when he can!  Gerber graduates keep that in mind when creating their delicious snacks for toddlers!#GerberWinWinMoment

Gerber is making snack and mealtimes a Win Win for you, too.  The products that we know and love now have an added bonus.  If you visit the Gerber Win Win page, you will see the easy steps to get your own Gerber Graduates gift set, valued at $11.98.  The gift set includes a Gerber® mealmatTM by NUK® ‚Äčand a Gerber® bib.  Simply purchase 10 Gerber Graduates products all in the same shopping trip, upload a picture of your receipt, and receive your gift set to make mealtimes more fun!  See… it's a Win-Win!

#GerberWinWinMoment

Show Your Team Spirit With A Personalized Fabric Covered Wooden Letter

Fabric Covered Wooden LetterWe are pretty big Dallas Mavericks fans.  Well, the Captain insists that he doesn't like the Mavs, but as long as he lives in our house, he is a Mavs' fan….HA!  Well, when he was a baby, I ordered some super cute Dallas Mavericks fabric on ebay for a custom cloth diaper.  Well, I had to order a lot of it, and so I had some left over that I didn't know what to do with.  While shopping, I found the Captain a wooden letter for his name and decided to make him a cute personalized fabric covered wooden letter for his room, using the Dallas Mavericks fabric.  It has become a tradition in our house, and now all of the boys have one.

Yesterday I realized that Baby Brother is almost 17 months old and still didn't have a Dallas Mavericks letter, so we all made it a family affair to make him one.  Here's how we did it!

Materials needed:

  • enough fabric to cover your letter – I bought mine on ebay, but you can get it at some fabric stores or on Amazon, you just have to search!
  • Mod Podge for fabric
  • small paint brush
  • scissors
  • craft paint, if desired

Instructions:

  1. Lay your wooden letter on the fabric.  Pull the fabric up and over the sides of the letter to see how big you need to cut your fabric.  Trace around it.
  2. Make sure that you cut the same size border around the whole letter and cut all around it.  Don't cut out holes yet, if your letter has one.
  3. You have two choices at this point.  You can either cut the fabric to cover only the front of the letter OR you can wrap it around the sides.  The latter is a bit trickier, but you can do it!  If you want to only cover the front, you can now cut exactly where you need it and cut the holes out.  If you want to cover the sides, continue to step 4.
  4. To cover corners and curves, you'll want to pull the fabric and either fold down or clip.  I chose to clip on the corners and insides of the letter.
  5. Cover the front of the letter with Mod Podge with your brush.
  6. Position the fabric how you want it, face down, and lay the Mod Podge covered letter on top.  Turn over and smooth out bubbles and wrinkles with your fingers.  
  7. Now, paint the sides of the letter with Mod Podge.
  8. Work the fabric so it covers the sides.  You might need to make adjustments or extra clips as you go along.
  9. If you have a bare spot, don't worry!  Most places can be fixed easily with extra remnants of fabric.
  10. You'll want to make sure that the fabric lays down nicely.  Add more Mod Podge on top to create a shiny finish and to make sure it all lays down nicely.
  11. **If you did not cover the sides with fabric, wait until the Mod Podge dries and then use craft paint to cover the sides, careful not to paint the fabric.
  12. Let dry and hang!

Dallas Mavericks Fabric Covered Wooden LetterMy letter Z does have a few wrinkles, as you see.  I should have pulled it tighter at the top.  The good news is, this project is fairly inexpensive, so I can make another easily!

This post contains affiliate links.
 

Stream Christian Movies And Shows Instantly with gMovies – FREE 2 Week Trial {giveaway, too!}

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.   Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

gmoviesAs the boys get older, we are becoming more and more aware that what they see on TV can greatly impact them.  Their attitudes and behavior can change just from watching one commercial!  We try to stick with kids' channels, but even those are iffy sometimes.  We  have tried other instant streaming services, and the Captain quickly learned how to navigate and select which show he wanted.  But even with the parental controls in place, I wasn't happy with the selections.  

A few weeks ago, we were given the opportunity to try out gMovies.  I hadn't heard of this service yet but I am glad that we found it!  gMovies is full of faith and family content that we all can enjoy, for only $4.99 a month.  gMovies is powered by the UP network, which is America's network for uplifting entertainment.

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With gMovies, you can select the genre of TV show or movie you'd like to watch, read some information about it, and instantly watch it.  We quickly found "Pahappahooey Island" in the kids' section!

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Also on gMovies is the teen drama "Much Ado About Middle School" and countless movies and TV shows that all ages would like!  

Over 2 million people are already enjoying gMovies.  Join them to get instant access to over 300 Christian movies and TV shows with new titles added monthly.  Stream from your iPad, Android, or PC.  And there is no contract – just cancel anytime!

If you'd like to check out a 2 week trial of gMovies for FREE, enter code "FREETRIAL13" at the gMovies website.

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Want to win 6 months of gMovies?  All you have to do is enter in the Rafflecopter form below!  Good luck!  US/CAN only, please.

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Watch Disneynature’s “Monkey Kingdom,” Learn, and Give Back!

monkeykingdom54877da023d63I am so excited about the newest movie from Disneynature!  "Monkey Kingdom" is coming to theatres on April 17, just in time to celebrate Earth Day 2015.  My boys are excited about this movie, because they are in love with animals!  

About the movie:

Life is an adventure for Maya, the clever and resourceful blonde-bobbed monkey in “Monkey Kingdom,” Disneynature’s new feature film set among ancient ruins in the storied jungles of South Asia. Maya’s world is forever changed when she welcomes her son, Kip, into her complicated extended family. Like all families, Maya’s has more than its share of colorful personalities—and she’s determined to give her son a leg up in the world. When their longtime home at Castle Rock is taken over by powerful neighboring monkeys, Maya's whole family retreats, and she uses her street smarts and ingenuity to uncover untapped resources amidst strange new creatures and unsettling surroundings. Ultimately, they will all have to work together to reclaim Castle Rock, where Maya can hopefully realize her dreams for her son’s future.

 

Featuring a rich variety of characters, including a mischievous mongoose, simple-minded langur monkeys, predatory leopards and monitor lizards, “MonkeyKingdom” is narrated by Tina Fey (“30 Rock”), directed by Mark Linfield (“Chimpanzee,” “Earth”) and co-directed by Alastair Fothergill (“Chimpanzee,” “Bears”). With music from award-winning composer Harry Gregson-Williams ("The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," “Shrek” movies), Disneynature’s eighth True Life Adventure—the follow-up to 2014’s “Bears”—swings into theaters April 17, 2015.

monkeykingdom547fa84e5b6d9 monkeykingdom547fa84e7cbf9And to make the educational message stick further, download the free activity pages in the Educator's Guide.

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Did you know?

  •   For every ticket sold opening week (April 17-23, 2015), Disneynature will make a donation to Conservation International to help    protect monkeysand other endangered species in their natural habitats. 
  • “Monkey Kingdom” is the sixth theatrical release for Disneynature, the first new Disney-branded film label from The Walt Disney Studios in more than 60 years.  The label was launched in April 2008 to bring the world’s top nature filmmakers together to capture a variety of wildlife subjects and stories.
  • The first five big-screen releases under the Disneynature label—“Earth,” “Oceans,” “African Cats,” “Bears” and “Chimpanzee”—are among the top six highest grossing feature-length nature films of all time.
  • Walt Disney was a pioneer in wildlife documentary filmmaking, producing 13 True Life Adventure motion pictures between 1948 and 1960, including “Seal Island” (1948), “Beaver Valley” (1950), “The Living Desert” (1953) and “Jungle Cat” (1958). The films earned eight Academy Awards®

Watch this "Thank You" clip from Disneynature:

Will you be seeing "Monkey Kingdom" this weekend?

Things That Stress Me Out and How To Relieve The Stress of Parenthood

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and RESCUE blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.  #StressLess2BMyBest  Relieve the stress of parenthood!

There is nothing like becoming a parent to quickly figure out what truly stresses you out.  For me, I have about three things that really get under my skin and have made me go a wee bit crazy in the past.  As the boys have grown older, I have learned that life happens and not to stress out about it, but it has taken some practice! 

1.  Spills and crumbs – One time the Captain spilled a whole can of salted mixed nuts all over and under and inside of our couch.  I was furious.  I tried to hold it together as I stomped to the hallway to get the vacuum cleaner.  I think he was 2 or 3 then, and he was just trying to serve himself a delicious snack.  We found nuts and salt for months after that, though.  I was reminded of this incident tonight when Baby Brother grabbed a bag of popcorn we had bought at the zoo and dumped it all over the carpet.  Instead of getting mad, I just stayed calm and vacuumed it up without yelling or stomping or anything.  I'm not sure how I reacted when D pulled this stunt and ate dirt out of our houseplant:

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2.  Sick kids – I know, that makes me a horrible mother.  I just can't deal with sick, whiny kids for very long.  I love to hold them, cuddle them, administer medicine to make them feel better, but if I can't help them, I feel helpless, and that stresses me out.  And what's worse is when they're sick and cannot tell me what hurts or what would make them feel better.  Again, I've learned to be patient and do what I can and realize that I cannot always solve their problems.  Time will heal them and I just have to make them comfortable.

3.  Kids that don't sleep – Sometimes I cannot believe I'm still dealing with this one.  Seriously.  Baby Brother is 16 months old and he will go a few weeks sleeping mostly through the night and then, bam!  Newborn mode activated.  I try to be patient, but being woken up three times between the hours of 11 PM and 6 AM is NOT fun.  I think I'm patient the first two times but after that…nope.  I get mad.  And stressed.  And hubby usually gets the brunt of it.  I'm working on it!

I have learned that yelling benefits no one, kids deserve respect, accidents happen, and we are all human and make mistakes.  I have also prayed for patience and matured through my years of being a mother.  I think I have done alright, but we all have our moments!  I think a big thing that helps is to laugh it off.  If I cannot laugh about something, I'm probably more tempted to yell, so I've been trying to find the humor in all potentially stressful situations. Along with finding the humor, these are five ways that I relieve the stress when these parenting stressors come up!

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1. Ask for help – We moms think that we are showing a sign of weakness if we ask for help, but really, we cannot do it all.  I've learned to ask for help from Hubby, friends, family, etc, when we need it.  It benefits my children because it allows me to lessen the stress and recharge.  Last week when I had been sick for ten days, I asked my parents to take the older two boys and I felt better because my sons were being taken care of and not forced to sit around just because Mommy was sick.  They got bonding time with their extended family and I got some extra rest.  

2.  Say no – Some may think I say  no too much, but I just have learned when I have to say no to things.  If I'm not confident that a situation will be doable, I say no.  Sure I feel guilty, but it's okay to say  no!

3.  Do whatever works best for your family.  People love to give advice and that's okay, but in the end, you have to do what's best for your family.  I had to wear Baby Brother a LOT when he was an infant because it's what worked for us.  It worked for him and worked for me and we were happy.  Same thing with when the Captain had a cot in our floor for when he was scared in the middle of the night.  It worked for him, it worked for us, it was better than the alternatives, and we all got sleep.  And you know….he did grow out of that phase!

4.  Find a hobby you love and let go of the stress.  If you have a lot of stress built up, it's important to let it go.  Whether it's gardening, cooking, watching a movie, running, or something completely different, do what you love and let go of the stress!  Channel your inner Elsa and LET IT GO!

family playdates

Be ready for anything your children throw at you with Rescue!  AND, click on the image below to download a BOGO coupon and be entered for a chance to win prizes from Bose and GoPro in the RESCUE #StressLess2BMyBest Sweepstakes.

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