Friday, July 15, 2011

Kids don't automatically know

I kind of had a mini revelation yesterday, and while some of you will probably read this and think I'm stupid that this concept just now occurred to me, perhaps a few of you will read it and apply it to a situation with your kiddos.
Kids don't have common sense like we do.
Nor do they automatically know what our expectations are, unless we explicitly tell them.

And I'm not just talking about babies and things like not touching the stove and electrical outlet safety.

I'm actually talking about situations with Kaylee, my 8 year old. I hate to admit it, but on days that my patience isn't at it's usual all-star high level (ha!) it's very easy for me to get frustrated with her .... for things that she doesn't already know! (which obviously isn't very fair)

Case in point:
Lately, her and two little neighborhood girls have been playing in our yard all day, every day. And as all kids do, they go through a lot of drinks and snacks throughout the day. I went outside today to find juice spilled on the driveway and popcorn crumbs on the porch. I was annoyed, and I immediately snapped at her that it wasn't ok to have stuff spilled everywhere and that she needed to get it cleaned up right away.

She did as she was told, of course, but a few minutes later, I stopped and thought about the situation.

I wasn't happy with the spilled juice and food because I knew it would attract ants and other yucky bugs.

At the ripe old age of 8, Kaylee doesn't really realize that. Nor had I told her my expectations regarding having snacks outside.

And had I stopped and explained the situation to her, and why we don't want the crumbs and spills, she would have understood. And then it would be something that she would know for next time.

Instead, all she knows was that I snapped at her, and was probably wondering why those crumbs warranted mom getting upset at her.

So, boys and girls, the moral of the story is to take the time to talk to your kids. I know we all want our kids to obey, without questioning our motives, but taking the time to explain our motives and reasoning really does make a difference.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Disney World, the basics

Way back when I wrote a post about how much I love Disney World  and said I was going to follow it up with several more Disney posts....and I totally dropped the ball on that. Oops.

So far, I told you about all the crap we packed, but I have yet to do any other posts on Disney. Let's rectify that situation, shall we?! I'll talk about best times to visit, ticketing and a brief note on the parks. I've gotten lots of emails from readers, and hopefully this will be useful information.

Walt Disney World, in Orlando, FL, is definitely the best of the Disney parks, in my humble opinion. (which isn't really all that fair, since I've only done the FL and CA Disneys, and cannot comment on the Paris or Tokyo Disney). And while I may not be a Disney expert, I think it's safe to say that I know my stuff. I've visited Disney World well over twenty times in my 26 years.

WDW is comprised of four main theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. (plus two water parks, wide world of sports, and downtown disney) (whew!)


If you're planning on visiting Disney, I highly recommend you do your research. Buying the guidebooks aren't necessary, but I'm sure they're very comprehensive. Mainly, I'd suggest talking to people who've been, and reading a few of the many websites about Disney.
Also, you can sign up for a FREE vacation planning DVD from Disney. Even though we know Disney inside and out, we still watch ours before we leave on vacation to get Kaylee all pumped up. (Emily, I would highly recommend you do this with Kye!!)

Consider peak vacation time.
Lots and lots of people go to Disney World. And it gets crowded. And the lines get looooooong. It's very common for the popular rides to have waits of 100 minutes or more.
Summer time, spring break, and Christmas/New Years are the busiest times of the year at Disney World. I used to always go in the summertime (since that's when I was off school) but it was always very busy.
Last year, we went in October, and it was definitely the best experience we've had considering the smaller crowds and short wait times. In fact, we're going again this October!

Consider the weather.
It gets hot and humid in Orlando in the summertime. It's very hot and sticky. And in the summertime, Orlando has a rainy season, and it'll rain almost every day. Not necessarily for a long time, but a rain shower each day isn't uncommon. Wintertime in Florida isn't harsh at all, and I would guess Disney in the winter would be quite comfortable, weather-wise. Again, if you can avoid the middle of the summer, you'll have much better weather for your Disney vacation.

Make sure you allot enough time.
You certainly don't have to go to all four of the parks, though if that's your plan, you'll need a minimum of four days to see all the parks. Also, once you've had a chance to check it all out, I'd guess you'll end up wanting an additional day or two to revisit all your favorite things. And if possible, don't do four straight days at Disney. You'll be exhausted! Take a day off from the theme parks to check out other things that Florida has to offer.


Know your options for purchasing tickets.
Tickets are expensive. And when you're looking at buying tickets for a whole family, they're really expensive. However, I do have a few ways you can save a few dollars. (and every dollar counts!)
First, do NOT buy from resale places. There are tons of websites and places in Orlando that claim to sell tickets with days remaining but there's no guarantee or money back or any way to ensure that you're not getting cheated.

That being said, here's what you should do. Knowing that Disney sells their tickets for 'Magic Your Way,' you need to determine your needs/wants. Decide how many days you're going to spend at Disney. The more days you buy, the cheaper the cost per day. I know it's a HUGE upfront cost, but I always recommend buying the maximum you're able to afford, if you have the intention to returning to Disney again, even if it's years later. For example, a one day one park ticket is $87. But if you could fork out the money for a 7 day ticket, with the non expiration option, it is $392 (ouch!), but the per day cost is only $56, which is really nice savings. (which means you could go for 3 days on one vacation and then if you go back again a few years later, you still have 4 days left you could use.)
Also, you need to decide if you are you going to go to just one park per day, or if you want the ability to visit more than one (called hopping). On one hand, you can easily spend an entire day at one park, but on the other, if you only have select things you want to do in each park, it's nice to be able to spend a few hours at one park and then head to another.
You can safely purchase Disney tickets through AAA if you're a member, and save a few dollars a day. The savings is very minimal, but better than nothing.

Anyway, there's the basics on Disney. Look for a post about Magic Kingdom coming your way soon!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Five things Friday

1. Heyyyy......whaddya know?! I didn't die! I've just been extraordinarily absent from my blog.

Just when life had returned to normal after returning home from Disney World, we left to go out of town for the 4th of July! We spent the weekend in Kansas City, and did a lot of shopping and eating and enjoying time together as a family.

2. Kaylee has posted her first video on youtube.
After reading and watching Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules about 30 times, she was really wanting to make and post her own youtube video after seeing Greg do it on the movie. For some reason, she thought that she would make money from posting a video. I'm not quite sure why she thought that, and though she was disappointed when I assured her that wasn't the case, she still wanted to make a video.

And then for some reason, she decided she wanted to get our cat, cradle hold it like a baby, and sing it a lullaby. Who knows where that idea came from?

Anyway, she's definitely hoping to be famous any day now. She asks me to get online several times a day to see how many views she has. True story.


3. A few weeks ago, I made the most delicious strawberry-apple-rhubarb crisp ever....and I've made it about five more times since then. And eaten the entire pan, by myself, within a few days. It's that good.
I need to share the recipe, stat, so you too can have such deliciousness in your life too.

4. I've been having a serious love affair with avocados and iced coffee lately. I make a big sandwich with tons of avocado slices and eat it for lunch several times a week. Sometimes for dinner too. 
 
As for the iced coffee, I received an email from a reader asking how I make it. While I love to buy it from Starbucks, my budget doesn't really love it. And it's really super easy to make. Brew a pot of coffee as you normally would, let it cool, and then put it in the fridge overnight. Then I do a mix of about 3/4 coffee, 3/4 milk, some kind of flavored syrup or creamer, some sugar and ice. You really do have to use cold coffee, because ice-ing hot coffee totally waters it down and it's not good.

5. I really am working on a series of Disney themed posts, I promise. I keep talking about it, but haven't delivered. But they're in the works, for reals.

I really am working on some more review and giveaway posts too. I've got lots of good stuff to share with y'all. Kara said I needed to do more edible stuff, and she should be happy to know that I have. Now if only I could get my posts written.

(And for a bonus #6)
(beacuse I can't have a post without gratuitous pictures of my kiddos!)

In the last week, we've eaten at Kaylee's favorite restaurant (Panera), gone to her favorite store (Build-A-Bear) and gotten her ears pierced!



And Isabelle is happy to accompany us for all those adventures, as long as there's stuff for her to mess with too!


Happy Friday!
What's your favorite thing to do on vacation? Shop? Eat? Active, outdoorsy stuff? Relax?

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