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Entries in vacation (8)


Free Disneyland / Disney World Countdown Printable

Free Disneyland / Disney World countdown printable

We are headed to Disneyland for this year's Disney Social Media Mom's Celebration and we couldn't be more excited!

Click through for the link to the printable!

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Our Weekend

Since I've been gone for 5 days and had everything ready up until today I thought I'd take the day "off" today and just share some photos of our weekend. I'll share a bit more later in the week but wanted to give an overview today so you can see what we've been up to!

Click through for all the photos!

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Travel Tuesday: Staycation!

How do you write a post about the best weekend we've had in a while?! We love exploring and traveling and have been trying to consciously make a point to explore and discover what's in our own backyard. A vacation doesn't have to take you to another state! We visited Scottsdale, AZ and had the most amazing time!

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As those of you on Facebook know we surprised the boys with a trip to DISNEYLAND!! I LOVE surprises like this. We had just sent off the last boy from a sleepover and were talking to the boys about what we should do that day. Dad suggested the fair and I said it was too crowded on the weekend. My oldest jokingly suggested "Fine then let's go to Disneyland" "Ok!" we said. And for the next 10 minutes we had to convince them that we weren't pulling their legs. I had to pull out the printed tickets to prove it haha! Guess we joke around with them too much huh?

So they packed, we packed, and we were on our way. We have family in southern California so there are no real arrangements to be made for where to stay other than who "gets" us this time. We arrived in time for dinner and bed so we could wake up bright and early.

Our first (and main) order of business for the day was Carsland at California Adventure! We have been talking about wanting to go since it first opened. We got a fast pass for Radiator Springs Racers when we first got into the park by reccomendation of others (and I'm SO glad we did!) then we stepped foot onto Route 66!

(You know I love to tell stories through my photos so here is our trip through our photos)

The first ride we came to was Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and the wait was very short. We hopped in line and listened to Mater serenade us with his amazing voice ;) We loved when he repeated the instructions in Spanish. His "accent" was hysterical.

Really cute/fun ride! The boys knew they wanted to eat something out of a cone and no one really had breakfast so we headed towards the Cozy Cone Motel.

Breakfast from a cone was pretty darn good! We got the bacon scrambled cone and the verde scrambled cone.

Since we had our fast pass we decided to hit up the other big rides at California Adventure while it was still early. California Screamin was next on our list.

I LOVE his face right before the ride started. I was able to capture it quick on my phone.

Then we went to one of my favorites Toy Story Mania. If you aren't familiar it's an interactive 3D ride where you get to play carnival type games and try to earn more points than your partner. For the official record I am the family champion.

We decided to head over to Disneyland and come back when it was time to use our fast pass!

I LOVE the nostalgic/magical/happy feeling I get when walking into Disneyland. Nothing like it! It was all decorated for Halloween which gives it that added Holiday feel.


To make it even better the castle already had snow on it! (If you go between November 12, 2012 and Jan 6, 2013 you'll have the pleasure of seeing the whole place decked out in Holiday cheer)

We went on so many rides here and I took the time to talk with the boys while we were in line. I love the time together we have on these trips and Disneyland is so fun for the boys that they don't bicker back and forth as usual lol!

A Disneyland tip - if you are celebrating while you're at the park (birthday, anniversary, honeymoon,  your first time) let a cast member know and they can tell you where to pick up a pin! The next day was his birthday so we got him one and people/characters all throughout the day will tell you Happy Birthday!


It was early afternoon and time to head back to California Adventure to finish our trip to Route 66! I was able to stop and get another photo of the 4 of us.

Walking down Route 66 the boys kept yelling out things they noticed - "Mom! look at this! Wait no look at this! Take a picture of this!" You really feel like you are in a different place. So cool!

Lightning McQueen! Look he's looking right at me!

Radiator Springs Racers was definitely all of our favorite rides. You get to drive/ride in a car through Route 66, get all cleaned up, and RACE through the desert against another car. It went faster than we thought and put a smile on all of our faces! (It helped that we won) ;)

A snack is much needed in the afternoon.

At this point my little one started seeming "off" to me. Not because of his weird face but he started getting quieter. I asked him if he was ok and he said his head was really hurting so I set off in search for some children's pain meds. (Bad Mom for not having some with me) The staff at First Aid were super nice and helpful and had just what we needed. 

We started moving a lot slower at this point so rides that we could sit for a bit were good. Luigi's Flying Tires was a fun interactive bumper car sort of ride where the tires are floating on air and you steer by leaning in the direction you want to go.

We enjoyed more of California Adventure and headed back to Carsland one more time as it turned dark. It really lights up and has new life at night!

Then my little man really pooped out. He started to feel warm and I had to convince him that it was ok for him to say he was ready to go home. An 8 year olds worst nightmare - leaving Disneyland and California Adventure at 7:30pm when you wanted to stay all night. Poor guy.

We said "See you next time" to Carsland and headed back.

One thing I truly LOVE about Disney is their hard work and willingness to make your trip special even with special needs. I can't eat gluten and often just plan on having my own food on hand (which sometimes isn't fun when everyone else around you has fun new food to eat). Disneyland has amazing food intolerance/allergy policies. You can get a list of what's available at Guest Services or talk to a head chef at each restaurant location.

The chefs will prepare your meal themselves and bring it out seperately. Everyone is so happy to help and you NEVER feel like you're a burden or a "pain" because you have a special request. I've rarely experienced the awesome treatment you get at the Disney parks anywhere else. I can't say enough good things about vacationing with Disney and food intolerances/allergies. 

Is it obvious that we are huge Disney fans?! We will for sure be back (hopefully sometime soon!) If you're thinking of going soon take advantage of the holiday events and be sure to share your adventures with me!

Anyone else big Disney fans? What's your favorite ride?! My top rides are Tower of Terror, Radiator Springs Racers, Toy Story Mania, Star Tours, and Big Thunder Mountain! (ok I picked more than one)

Disclosure: I was given 2 media passes to the Disneyland Park and California Adventure but was not required to post or was compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own and our love for Disney is geniune ;)


Sea World + Shark Week

A few weeks ago the boys and I took a last minute before school vacation to California. We made Sea World one of our stops! We hadn't been since they were toddlers so they were SO excited. We love sea life (well, any animals really). The boys spent the few days before we got there devouring their website. Do your kids do that? Research where they are going until it drives you crazy? lol!

They loved the Shamu cam and were dying to go on the new roller coaster Manta. We got there and went on Manta first thing - it didn't disappoint! We all loved it! Then we looked at the schedule and decided which shows were important for them to see. 

My 8 year old LOVED Pets Rule. Loved it. We stayed after to pet some of the animals too. My 9 year old loved Sea Lions LIVE (I thought he would it was my favorite as a kid but sadly no more walrus in the show). I remember going to Sea World and dreaming of the day I could become a dolphin trainer. I think they were doing the same ;)

Some other favorites were the Beluga whales, the penguins, the brand new Turtle Reef and of course - the Shark Encounter!

We saved Shamu for last with the Shamu Rocks (a Shamu show set to music that my boys loved) and I'm so glad we did. We had perfect seats for the end of the night fireworks right after!

I was freezing because I lost my sweater somewhere along the way but Sea World found it and mailed it to me for free that night! (I stopped by lost and found and they had me fill out a little form) I thought that was pretty cool. Usually when I lose things I consider them gone but that was a great experience. 

If you've been thinking about a trip to Sea World lately - do it! So much education and experience for the kids. Their new shows and exhibits are so cool and I'm so glad we went!

(For full disclosure we were given media passes to Sea World but did not have to write a review - we liked it so much we wanted to :)

Speaking of sharks - who is excited it's Shark Week on the Discovery channel? I thought I'd do a little round up of shark crafts for your shark loving kids.

A paper plate shark from Almost Unschoolers

Love this clothespin shark from Estefi Machado 

Paper Plate Shark Jaws from Dollar Store Crafts (I shared this before but had to include it!)

If you weren't around last year around Halloween here was my son's constume that got a lot of laughs around the neighborhood.



We had an amazing time in Kauai last week. It's our third time (we go with a total of 15 family members as a sort of "reunion") but the first time the boys were old enough to truly soak it all in! I thought I'd just share some pictures of all the fun (and beauty) we did and saw while we were there. I have 426 photos that I considered "keepers" between my "big" camera, iPhone, and underwater point and shoot so trust me this is pared down! I hope you enjoy them! 


Back From Vacation! and a Slingshot

We're back! We had an amazing trip and can't thank our guest posters enough for filling in while we were gone! The trip was pretty uneventful and SO relaxing. One small jellyfish sting and some bug bites were the worst of it. The boys loved catching geckos, anoles, crabs and toads. 

Would you all like to see the personal photos from our trip? I don't want to bore you with our vacation photos if you aren't interested so I thought I'd ask first ;)

My boys did want me to share the slingshot they made with their dad. Aunt T found the perfect slingshot stick on a beach walk. Dad made some small slits in the wood for the rubber band to "hold" on to. A thick plastic piece from a bag of avacados made a center piece (leather would have been better but we couldn't find any). By folding the plastic piece in half you can make a slit that doesn't go all the way through that the rubber ban can grab on to. The slingshot even made it home with us!



In case you wanted to see I thought I'd share some other photos of our weekend. We went to the beach a couple times and surprised the boys by taking them to Hollywood to the Ripleys, Guiness World Records, and Wax Museums. I have a HUGE world records/ Ripleys fan so he was more than excited!

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