Family Fun

Disney World’s Animal Kingdom at Night

Me and the family in front of The Tree of Life at night. Look at those colors!
Me and the family in front of The Tree of Life at night. Look at those colors!

Walt Disney World’s things to do at night used to exclude Animal Kingdom, but starting Memorial Day Weekend (yes, this weekend!) that’s changing.

This makes me so happy, because Animal Kingdom is truly one of my favorite Disney parks, and to experience it at night is  truly magical.

I got a preview as an attendee of Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration, and when I tell you it is MAGICAL, it is Disney at it’s best!

For starters there will be a FABULOUS light show ON THE TREE OF LIFE!

Yes, on it… not just in the theatre. It’s a beautiful kaleidoscope of color, dancing animals and more. It was mesmerizing.

They’re also opening Expedition Everest for nighttime rides. Now, I am not one for rollercoasters on a good day, so I sure wasn’t getting on one at night. But, Hubby did… 4 times. I think that’s a sign that he enjoyed it, :-).

He even got my oldest to join him once. To them the highlight was the parts where the ride was in the pitch blackness of night. To me that point sealed my choice not to ride, lol!

Visitors will also be able to do Kilimanjaro Safaris at night and experience Discovery Island Carnivale at sunset. These are both on my list of things to do during my next Disney World vacation.

Here is the official site if you want more info on Animal Kingdom’s Disney Magic at Night. Enjoy and I’d love to know your favorite part of Disney at Night!

Alice Through The Looking Glass – Our Family Review

Alice Through the Looking Glass image courtesy of Disney
Alice Through the Looking Glass image courtesy of Disney

Will Kids Like Alice Through The Looking Glass? My Girls Did.

Alice Through The Looking Glass is true Disney, especially when you consider the eye-candy colors, dazzling effects and fabulous costumes.

The plot is simple. Alice returns from a sea voyage where she was Captain of the ship, and is offered a job as a clerk.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that an adventure-loving girl is not going to just sit down and accept a desk job. Lucky for her, she gets called to a new adventure in Underland.

 

AliceThroughTheLookingGlass_AliceandMadHatter
image courtesy of Disney

 

Her mission? Save the Mad Hatter. Along the way there are appearances by our favorites, including Cheshire cat (love him), Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and the White Queen. There’s time travel, too, which opens a view into Hatter’s life as a boy. It also shows us the backstory for the Red Queen.

 

Alice Through the Looking Glass_The Red Queen
Alice Through the Looking Glass image courtesy of Disney

 

I won’t spoil it, but you may leave the theatre liking her a lot…

One of the prettiest scenes in the movie was a tea party scene. It was STUNNING and made me want to have a tea party in my garden… except I don’t have a garden, :-).

Here’s an official trailer for the movie,

 

What My Kids Thought of Alice

When asked what they thought of the movie, my girls had nothing but good things to say! The six year old loved the Mad Hatter’s family story. I was happy that she picked up on the family message of the movie.

The eight year old was intrigued by the plot twist near the end. In her words, “I did not expect it to go that far! I thought I knew what was going to happen, but I was surprised.”

The 10 year old liked the sister storyline between the White Queen and the Red Queen. She appreciated the message about always being honest, and the repercussions of dishonesty.

Along with the beautiful video effects, I loved the “Girl Power” messages.

If you’re looking for a fun family movie with some good messages mixed in, Alice fits the bill. We saw it in 3D and that absolutely added to the experience.

In theatres May 27th, Alice Through the Looking Glass is Rated PG and runs 113 minutes.

 

This post is part of my series, #DisneyWednesday. I experienced lots of fabulousness at Disney World as part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and can’t wait to share it with you, :-). These posts will help you plan great family fun whether it’s a trip to Disney or something closer to home.

Disclaimer: My pre-screening of Alice Through the Looking Glass was part of the 2016 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.  As an attendee I received complimentary items, special discounts and other exciting benefits. As a blogger grateful for your readership, I will only share opinions and feedback that are honest and true to my experience.

Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios

disneytowerofterrorridefamilyvacation

#NationalTwilightZoneDay

In honor of National Twilight Zone Day, here’s my family on the Twilight Zone-inspired ride, Tower of Terror, at Walt Disney’s World’s Hollywood Studios.

This was the first ride my girls wanted to get on in the park, and LORD. HAVE. MERCY! See me in the back with closed eyes and tightly-gripping hands. That’s my “Jesus let this be over” position.

Funny back story. Over 16 years ago we got married in Orlando and went to Disney World. This was one of the first rides we did as newlyweds, no kids yet. And I remember having to walk it off when it was done.

Three kids later and yep, I had to walk it off…

If you like scary, “feels like the elevator is falling” rides, this is for you. You can tell from the rest of my family that it did what it was supposed to do. Scare some and excite others, :-).

 

This post is the first of my series, #DisneyWednesday. I experienced lots of fabulousness at Disney this past week and can’t wait to share it with you, :-). These posts will help you plan a great family vacation whether it’s your first trip or 100th!

Disclaimer: This visit was part of the 2016 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.  As an attendee I received complimentary items, special discounts and other exciting benefits. As a blogger grateful for your readership, I will only share opinions and feedback that are honest and true to my experience.

April Holidays and Celebrations

April holidays listed

Happy April, aka First Full Month of Spring!

Here’s a list of holidays to inspire you to get out and have some fun, and to make a difference.

April is:

National Gardening Month

National Poetry Month

Autism Awareness Month

National Grilled Cheese Month

Holidays:

2          World Autism Day

2          International Children’s Book Day

7          World Health Day

10           National Siblings Day

11           National Pet Day

18           Tax Day

22           Earth Day

22           National Jellybean Day

23           National Picnic Day

27           Administrative Professionals Day

28           Take Your Child to Work Day

30           International Jazz Day

April 24-30th is National Princess Week!

Valentine’s Day, Elementary School Style

valentines day cards gifts elementary schoolValentine’s Day in elementary school means class parties and card exchanges. So today I took the girls shopping for cards, and it brought back all of the stress I felt in elementary school, trying to pick the right card for the right classmate. It was easy enough to make sure my friends got the cards with the best candy, but what if there were rumors of an unreciprocated crush?!

I couldn’t give the unreciprocated crush a card that was too nice. I mean, it would be cruel to offer hope when there was none. But, it was very important to be cordial, because I didn’t want to make them feel bad either.

Or what about the person that I did have a crush on, but didn’t want them to know?! I couldn’t give them a card too nice because I didn’t want them to figure out the crush.

And what would happen if I mistakenly gave the wrong card to a person?

See how confusing that sounds? Imagine how it felt.

There were so many variables and my kid-mind was just not ready for it. So every year I reluctantly filled out cards, passed them out to my classmates, and prayed none of my choices would backfire.

Because in grade school, making a social faux pas could ruin your life, for about a week, and that seemed like forever, :-).

By the time the day was over, I was just happy I survived, with candy and cards as a decent consolation prize.

Luckily, my girls didn’t seem stressed about it. They were excited tonight, happily choosing cards for their classmates and teachers.

On another note, if you’re looking for free Valentine’s Day cards that you can print at home, check these out. Using a printable is a great way to avoid the chaotic row of cards and candy at the store.

If you’re looking for a game for your party, family night or classroom, here’s a Valentine’s Day board game I created over on my other blog.

Enjoy Valentine’s Day!

Girls Spa Party Goodie Bag Ideas

Girls Spa Birthday party goodie bagLittle girls hanging at the spa for a birthday party is one of the cutest things you will ever see. If it’s a spa that caters to children that is even better. This year my baby let me plan her party so I booked Glitzy Pritzy spa and they had a blast.

I’ll share more on the party later, but this is the goodie bag that I made for her guests. It was the perfect addition to a fabulous girly party.

I wanted the goodie bag to do three things:

  1. Encourage creativity (because girls should always remember it’s okay to like mani/pedis, but their minds count so much more).
  2. Give them a little glitz to take home.
  3. Have something sweet …because girls are sugar & spice and everything nice, :-).

Here are the supplies for this Girls Spa Birthday Party Goodie Bag:

  • favor bags
  • gift tissue paper
  • journals or notebooks
  • mechanical pencils
  • kids’ nail polish
  • candy ( I did two wrapped candies and one lollipop)
  • stickers
  • thank you note from birthday girl

girl spa birthday party goodie bag ideasAssembly was very easy.

First I attached the thank you note to the inside cover of the journal with a foam sticker.

girl spa birthday party goodie bag ideasNext, I cut the tissue paper in half to help it fit better in the bags. Then I took one piece of tissue paper and used it to wrap one journal, pencil, nail polish and candy pack. This was placed in the bag.

girlspabirthdaypartygoodiebagideasThere are lots of other things you can add to your spa party favor bag. Some ideas are:

  • flip flops (for extra oomph you can add a small pack of ribbons and stickers and let the girls decorate their pair)
  • toe separators
  • kid-friendly toiletries like Disney-inspired lotions and creams
  • lip balm
  • sleep mask
  • nail stickers

Good luck with your party!

15 Ways to Enjoy the Last Month of Summer

howtoenjoysummerThe sky was a gorgeous rainbow of blues, pinks and lavender this evening, and adorned with some of the fluffiest clouds ever. It was mesmerizing, until I noticed it was almost sunset at 8:15 p.m.

To some this means nothing, but for me it was a reminder that Summer will be over soon. The days are getting shorter and if I’m not careful I’ll be thrown into fall without getting the most from Summer 2015.

So, instead of panicking, I made a fun list. Hopefully this will be my reminder to live in the moment, and not get totally distracted with Back to School planning and all of the many things that vie for my attention. And hopefully it will encourage you to get the most out of yours, too!

“Last Month of Summer” Inspiration List

  1. Serve a Summer-inspired brunch one weekend, featuring lots of summer fruit.
  2. Have an outdoor movie night.
  3. Have a family water fight. My girls have so much fun with water balloons and other water toys!
  4. Up the ante and create a water obstacle course. Include everything from sprinklers and slides, to kiddie pools and buckets for dumping.
  5. Get the most of long summer days by sleeping in one day and then staying up late. On another day get up early and go to bed early!
  6. Be lazy. It’s Summer. No other reason is needed to just relax and enjoy the day.
  7. Spend an hour (or more!) playing childhood games. There’s nothing like a good game of kickball, hopscotch or jump rope. Bonus: It’s fun exercise.
  8. Pick a night to stargaze.
  9. Check out a local festival or event.
  10. Have a “me time” picnic in the park.
  11. Stroll the farmer’s market for fresh dinner idea.
  12. Fit in another trip to some water. Pool, beach, lake… something.
  13. Throw some veggies on the grill; maybe some protein, too, :-).
  14. Attend a free concert in a park.
  15. Choose fun one day over household to-do list. Chores will always be here, but Summer won’t!

Bonus: Here is a summer bucket list I created. You may find some inspiration here, too.

Enjoy! Towanda

 

 

Ice Cream and Cake Birthday Party

icecreamcakebirthdaypartyplanningThis year I decided at the last minute to have an ice cream and cake birthday party.

Here’s how I pulled off a fabulous 40th Birthday Party in a few days.

I texted/emailed my friends and family the invite. I sent each one individually so that my guests wouldn’t be bothered with reply all answers.

Trust me, this is very important.

Plus, the personal note was a nice touch, especially given the timing.

Next I ordered a custom cake.

40th birthday cake edible bowThe other supplies were easy to purchase, but the cake needed personalization. I chose Sweet It Is and luckily they could fit me in. You can also try your local grocery store in a pinch.

Once the cake was ordered, I worked on my party shopping list.

For decorations I made a sign to frame in an 8×10 frame for the ice cream buffet table.

ice cream party bar free printable signFeel free to download the free ice cream buffet printable and use!

I went with gold and white, and splashes of pink, for my theme colors. This saved time and money because I was able to repurpose Christmas decorations.

I love using white for entertaining because it is the perfect backdrop for almost everything. For this event, my white was the tablecloth and some of the serving pieces.

The white tablecloth was a nice balance for the glitzy gold. I draped a bright pink cloth over the cake stand to add a pop of color to the table and to bring out the pink flowers in the floral arrangements. I picked the flowers at Trader Joe’s.

toppingsicecreambarI wanted to keep a carefree atmosphere (and limit the amount of work I needed to do) so I let the ice cream and cake buffet table serve as the decorations. It served as a focal point, and even better, there was only one area to clean up at the end of the night.

I set up a smaller table with drinks and supplies for overflow.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re having an ice cream and cake party.

Make sure you have dairy and non-dairy options. I purchased vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream. I also purchased coconut milk ice cream and soy milk ice cream. This provided options for guests that were vegan and/or dairy free.

Offer different types of toppings. I included fruit (strawberries and blueberries), candy, chocolate and hot fudge. I also added cookies and cake. This way each person could make their own favorite dish.

Start later in the evening. I had a start time of 7 p.m. so that guests could have dinner before coming. I made sure everyone understood it was an ice cream and cake party, but the time was a further reminder to eat dinner beforehand. This also worked for the kids, because it was a great treat after their dinner.

Set everything out and let your guests serve themselves. This was an easy party to organize in a short period of time, because most of the supplies could be purchased in one place, and the buffet was self-explanatory. This also meant I had time to socialize and enjoy the party, not work the party.

Enjoy and good luck with your shindig!