2017 – A Look Back at the Year that Was on Mom Rewritten

Wow!! Another amazing year and I’m so happy to have been able to share my life with my readers! From a HUGE switch on the blog that included an entirely new site, I’ve been making “little changes that make a big difference” (my new blog motto). I’m hoping you’re enjoying the changes as much as I am. Here is what I’ve been up to this year and what I have planned for 2018!

I even got some new photos taken for the blog!

Please note that this post includes affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Mom Rewritten

Early last year I started contemplating a change on the blog. I was struggling to find topics that were fitting within my niche at the time. But with the blog name of “Saving Up for Disney”, I was a bit pigeonholed into budget and Disney topics. So I switched! Oh, if only it were that easy…

After much discussion with my web designer (who also happens to be my brother-in-law), we came up with the new look. I brainstormed on the name and felt that Mom Rewritten would allow me to branch out into more lifestyle topics. Lots of little behind-the-scenes adjustments with harmonizing all of social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. That was fun, ugh.

With the “rebranding” complete, I’ve been able to cover topics including little changes that make a big difference, health, family travel and positive parenting. I’m loving the changes and hope that you all are enjoying my posts.

Healthier Living

This mama of four turned 44 this year and while I’ve been gradually becoming a more healthful eater, I still needed to make some changes. That happened for me in a big way this year when I partnered with Personal Trainer Food. I wrote a series of five posts about the month-long journey I had while following this program. You’ll have to read the posts to find out how much weight I lost! But let’s just say, I’m delighted 🙂 And I’m happy to share that I’ve extended my partnership and will be sharing with readers in the new year how to successfully reach your healthy goals with Personal Trainer Food.

In addition, I had several other posts about healthy eating habits, including this one about saving money on groceries while still choosing healthy foods. This one about inexpensive & healthy breakfasts for kids was also well-received.

Personal Trainer Food Teriyaki chicken with green beans

Getting Personal

One of the things that I wanted to start sharing on my newly revamped blog were personal posts. Beginning after the name change in July, I shared several very personal topics including things “I Used To Do” and  Just a Little Bit Crazy.

Another little thing that’s important to me is focus on positive parenting and family. I wrote these posts late in the year about Cultivating Family Traditions When You Feel Like You Don’t Have Any and tips for Teaching Kids Gratitude and Thankfulness During the Holidays.

A Local Focus

As a SoCal native, I love to share my San Diego travel tips. Fortunately there’s so much to see and do, I never run out of topics!

I was selected again to serve as an official LEGOLAND blogger for 2017. My kids love their LEGOLAND visits and I was excited to try out their water park for the first time this year. Seriously, I’m not a big water person, but I ADORE this water park! It’s clean, the water is warm and there is so much to do. Definitely worth adding on the water park ticket if you visit LEGOLAND during the summer. (Check out my partner Get Away Today for LEGOLAND vacation packages – they have a new Castle Hotel coming in 2018!)

SeaWorld is another favorite. We love how clean and well-kept the park always is. I’m delighted with the additions during various seasons, like SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular. I’m a new SeaWorld affiliate partner so if you’re planning a visit, consider buying tickets through my SeaWorld link. A new holiday event also arrived in San Diego and I was able to offer my honest review of Global Winter Wonderland.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Living Simply

Last January, I enforced a No Spending Month on myself and shared the tips with my readers. Let’s just say, avoiding the post-holidays sales at Target is hard!!

Despite being frugal, my family still believes that taking vacations is an important way to spend money. If you think you can’t afford to take a trip, be sure to check out my post with ways to take a family vacation on a budget.

As much as I’d love to be that Pinterest mom, I don’t have it in me to spend a bunch of time and/or money on anything. Here is my quick and easy party post for Mickey & the Roadster Racers fans (free printables too!)

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

The Blogorail

In 2017, I continued to write Disney topics for the Blogorail community. Some of these posts are among my most popular and in part, because they are shared in the Blogorail community.

Disney Vacations

One of my most popular posts this year was about which dates to avoid when planning a Disneyland vacation. I’ve just updated this post to reflect 2018 dates so be sure to check it out (and Pin it for later!)

I had the pleasure of taking 4 one-day Disneyland trips and one big Walt Disney World vacation in 2017!

I’d love if you looked at my most popular posts of 2017 about Disney vacations –

Keeping Chewie at arms length, because the kids were terrified!

I also started a partnership with the travel agency Get Away Today! If you have any vacation plans, be sure to check them out (and I’d love if you used my affiliate link). They even offer layaway!

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529

TravelingMom

Last year my hope was to be able to travel more outside my own community and I’m happy to share that this did happen!

In March, my family of six took an epic road trip from our hometown in San Diego to Monterey Bay. Then we cut across to Reno and then back down through the Eastern Sierra. I wrote about the vehicle we used on She Buys Cars (we loved it so much, we ended up buying one for our family!)

You can read our road trip experiences in these TravelingMom.com posts:

In April, my 5 year old son and just-turned-one year old daughter and I traveled alone across the country to Walt Disney World. It was such an incredible experience, taking the parks at a slower pace and enjoying non-park days to explore the area. I was seriously ready to move to Orlando, we had such a blast!

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

This play area at Caribbean Beach is made for preschoolers.

My Number One Viewed Post for 2017

This post that I wrote in 2015 and updated this year about the best sandals to wear to Disney, was my number one most-read post!

My most popular new post was Disneyland Splurges with Kids (most likely because it was also my most Pinned, as well!)

Disneyland Splurges for kids (and Money-Saving tips that still feel like a splurge!)

Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road

I’ve had the honor of attending this invite-only event two years in a row, held at the Disneyland resort. This year at Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road we had the chance to test out the brand new MaxPass feature, ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! and see Fantasmic! (the first time ever for my kids!)

This year’s conference was absolutely jam-packed with information! I adore seeing my favorite bloggers and spending the day at Disneyland is a bonus. This time we even had the chance to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade for the very last time, sniff!

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

Sponsored Posts

My hope with product reviews is to let my natural voice shine through, all while sharing with you about a product that I use and love at home. These were some of my favorite sponsored post reviews:

#ad Cultivate peace at home with a DIY portable home sanctuary that contains everything you need for relaxing moments.

Partnerships and Affiliates

Affiliate linking is a small way for me to recoup some of the cost of running my business. I thank anyone who has clicked and purchased through my affiliate links! I enjoy writing posts that are natural, informative and share where you can purchase.

If painful feet stop kids from exploring check out these tips and products that will minimize blisters, swelling and foot pain!

My kids wearing their pedipeds at Walt Disney World.

Disneyland Family Media Days

I had the opportunity to participate in two family media days at Disneyland this year. The first was in July, celebrating the “Summer of Heroes” event. We were able to see what was new, returning, and find out what’s coming soon! I even put in a video of myself explaining MaxPass. Hoping to get the courage to do more video on the blog for 2018.

The second family media day was in celebration of the holiday season and I brought my cousin and her son with us. See this post about Busy Days at Disneyland During the Holidays.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty Castle glistens with snow-topped turrets, holiday garland and shimmering icicles.

Personal Sharing

If you’d like to take a look back at my blog over the years, here are my other year-end reviews:

2016 Look Back

2015 Look Back

2014 Look Back 

Looking Forward To 2018

BIG THANKS to my readers and subscribers! Connecting and engaging with you on my blog and in social media outlets is fantastic. I truly appreciate the connections so keep commenting and chatting with me. I also love when something resonates with you and share my posts.

Please continue to comment and share my posts via social media if you can, it helps me (as a small business owner) to grow and succeed. Reach out to me or comment on the posts if things resonate with you!

Blessings to everyone in the new year and cheers for what’s to come in 2018.

Top 7 Family Goals – Making New Year Resolutions with Kids

Raise your hand if you had a resolution to make a change last year. Yep. And if you’re like most people, you didn’t get through the month of January before your goals were long forgotten, right? Or maybe you just don’t even bother with making new year resolutions because you never can seem to stick with them long enough to make a difference. Yeah, been-there, done-that too. I’ve found that the only way I’ve been able to keep to my resolutions is by getting my kids involved in the goal making. Let’s talk about why it’s a great idea to make New Year resolutions with kids.

According to data pulled from Google by iQuanti, these were the most popular New Year’s resolutions for 2017:

  • Get Healthy
  • Get Organized
  • Live Life to the Fullest
  • Learn New Hobbies
  • Spend Less/Save More
  • Travel
  • Read More

For each of these categories that were searched, there’s a way to get your kids involved. I’m going to share some tips on how your kids can help you keep your New Year resolution goals (while making and sticking to their own resolutions as well).

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

My resolution? Little changes throughout the year!

Making New Year Resolutions with Kids

Start by sitting down with your kids and talking about the things they would like to accomplish in the new year. Even kids as young as four can come up with a few goals (however random and obscure!) When I asked my six-year old his goal, he said, “To spend the night at grandma’s more”. My teenager son would like to improve his basketball game. And my teen daughter wants to do more art.

We each jotted down our own resolutions and then shared how we can best keep each other on track. This is not about “nagging” but rather ways that kids can encourage their parents and vice versa, keeping the ultimate goal in mind. Here’s how you can tackle each of the top 7 New Years resolutions together as a family.

1. Get Healthy

Good health is more than just hitting the gym. Getting healthy is a balance of food, exercise, relaxation and well-being that satisfies the whole body. And it’s something that you can get the entire family involved in. If eating healthfully is a goal, then it’s best to get all family members on board with choosing better foods.

My older kids know that I’m choosing not to eat certain foods on my diet plan. When they ask me if something in particular is on my diet, it’s a good reminder to me that they are observing and encouraging me towards my goals! Truly, I need the reminder and if my kid says it, it’s not nagging.

In this past year, I kick started my weight loss goals (you can read about my journey here).

14 days on Personal Trainer Food program. Find out the food, plan and how much I lost after week 2! #spon #PersonalTrainerFood

Instead of sitting around watching TV after dinner, encourage family to go for an evening walk. Plan weekend activities that get everyone moving, like ice skating, swimming or even just kicking a ball at the park. We try to go out for a long walk as a family several times a month. It’s a great way for us to get exercise and connect, chatting while we walk.

Don’t forget to work in relaxation and fun, too! Schedule game nights on the weekends. Choose a family-friendly chapter book that you can read aloud to everyone. Get older kids involved in a family Bible study. Work out a crossword puzzle. Have a dance party in the living room!

2. Get Organized

If kids are great at anything, it’s the opposite of organized! But all is not hopeless. There are a few ways you can get kids to help with organizing. Have a conversation about how much easier it is to handle things right away than letting them pile up to deal with later!

I have a few great ideas on organizing small spaces on this post.

Start by being a good example. Begin with organizing small areas of the home that can be done quickly (like tackling that pile of mail by the front door or in a kitchen drawer). Give each child a daily task that helps with keeping organized, like having one child sort the mail when it comes in the house, recycling the junk right away. Or have an older child help with organizing drawers and using a label maker. Having designated bins for certain toys makes clean up easier.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

3. Live Life to the Fullest

Have an open conversation about what it means to live life to the fullest. For you, that might mean not missing any opportunities. Or it might mean taking chances and not shying away from all the good things in life. If you openly share your thoughts, worries and fears with your older kids, they can help to encourage you in the areas you struggle.

Ask your kids what they think living a full life means. Maybe they’ll come up with some ideas that will spur changes, like volunteering more or attending church. Encouragement from our kids can help guide us towards living a full and meaningful life.

4. Learn New Hobbies

While kids are usually the ones with the new activities, it’s important for parents to learn new things as well. Kids should see their parents trying new things, sometimes succeeding and sometimes with mixed results (Pinterest fail, anyone?) I want my kids to know that I’m never going to stop learning. And if there is something I want to do, I’m open to learning something new!

I even have a post about teaching yourself something new! There are lots of ideas and tips on where to start when choosing a new hobby.

5. Spend Less/Save More

When we’re tightening the budget at home, my older kids are able to understand (through, they aren’t always happy with it!) We’ve been able to explain why we’re spending less and over the years, have come to understand the reasoning. Even now when shopping with us, they’re able to determine which items are the better value and why we choose to spend our money on certain things and not others. Before making drastic changes, chat with your older children about ideas on where the budget could be cut. They may be more open to cutting expenses than you’d think and may have some creative ideas.

Little kids most definitely need to have a goal. Saving money just to save isn’t enough for them, they need something tangible to look forward to. Start saving change in a clear jar (where they can watch the money “grow”), with an end goal for where the proceeds will go. Even something like a quart of ice cream is a special treat that little ones would enjoy pitching in for.

This post has tips on teaching kids how to save, including a cute DIY for this vacation money jar.

Kids Can Save Money for Disney

6. Travel

I’m all in for more travel! And I love to travel with my children because the memories are always incredible. Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or an extended trip, make it your goal this year to add travel to your life. While last-moment trips are fun, you’ll get the most out of planning ahead of time. This way you can involve the kids in the travel planning process and hear their input on destinations and possible activities.

If you think you can’t afford a trip, check out these tips for taking a family vacation on a budget.

Pre-trip purchase travel maps, books about the area and do your research online with the kids. Buy each child a travel journal in which they can jot down their thoughts during the trip. A camera is another great purchase so kids can capture memories from their point of view.


 

Our first time on a surrey bike while visiting Monterey

7. Read More

In order to make time for reading, you’ll need to cut the time from something else. Several years ago we cut out cable television. At the time I thought I’d really miss it but I don’t! Television watching only happens when we’re intentional about a particular show or movie, instead of just being background noise. With the extra time, we encourage reading. Sometimes I’ll read a family-friendly chapter book aloud to everyone. But usually everyone has their favorite book that they pull out in the evening before bed. Check out this list of 100 best books for kids.

I haven’t been able to get much into novels lately but I still read. I’ll choose to read my favorite blog posts online during my reading time!

Share your resolutions with us in the comments! I’d love to hear how you’re involving your kids too.

Considering setting family goals? These are the top New Year resolutions, with ideas on incorporating your children towards reaching the goals! Here's how to make New Year resolutions with kids.

Dinnerly Review – Honest Review of Dinnerly Meal Subscription

Have you ever used a meal subscription service? I hadn’t, up to last week. My family and I prepare 99% of our meals at home. The thought of paying to have our food prepped and delivered has never been something we considered. Would trying Dinnerly change our mind? I was intrigued by the interesting recipes, the Dinnerly website photos and the lower-than-expected cost. Find out my honest Dinnerly review and whether it works for families. And does it really save time and money to order Dinnerly versus handpicking everything yourself at the grocery?

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way. I received two complimentary family boxes from Dinnerly to facilitate this review. I received no other compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

What is Dinnerly?

Dinnerly is a meal subscription service. Ingredients for three meals are sent weekly in either a Two-Person Box or Family Box. Dinnerly is targeted to those who like homemade cooking with fresh ingredients, but are busy and are looking to save time with shopping and cooking. Going on vacation or don’t need or want Dinnerly? When signing up, you aren’t locked in so you can choose when you want or don’t want a box.

I have never used a meal subscription service before so this was a new concept for my family. With six to feed, we are a frugal family. However we do opt to choose organic whenever we can. I agreed to review Dinnerly because the cost is in line with a “fancier” meal that we’d prepare at home (around $5 per person). And Dinnerly sends quality protein such as grass-fed ground beef and antibiotic-free chicken, items we already purchase ourselves. We were excited to try Dinnerly and this is my honest Dinnerly review!

What’s on the Dinnerly Menu?

I received the Dinnerly Family Box which includes 4 portions per recipe (intended for two adults & two children). Each recipe involves six or less ingredients. Subscribers are sent 3 recipes per week and you can choose from the 6 available meals that week on the Dinnerly menu. Each recipe appears on the menu once per month for 2 months, with ingredients changing seasonally.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Inside the Dinnerly family box.

Past recipes include Grass-Fed Beef Stew with Black Pepper Dumplings, Meatloaf & Carmelized Cabbage with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Veggie Grain Bowl with Lemon-Goat Cheese Dressing, and Spicy Turkey Pizza with Crispy Kale.

A far cry from the usual “Taco Tuesdays”, right? There is always at least one vegetarian meal you can choose from on the menu.

In my first Dinnerly box I received recipes and ingredients for the following dinner dishes:

  • Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli
  • Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta
  • Fried Spaghetti Pie
Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

You can opt to print your own recipe cards or just look at the recipes on your device (I chose to print them myself).

Preparing Dinnerly Meals

The fresh, seasonal ingredients arrived in an insulated box with a large chill pack inside. Recipe cards are not included so you can choose to pull up the instructions on your device or print them out (which is what I did). It was easy enough to sort out what ingredients went to which dishes. I bundled them together and placed them in the fridge for later in the week. You’ll need a few pantry basics, like oil, salt and pepper. Otherwise all the necessities for each dish are included in the Dinnerly box.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Everything I need for three big meals inside the Dinnerly box!

Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta

Dinnerly recipes are touted as taking 30 minutes or less to prepare and cook. I found that some of the recipe times were a little off and required more time to cook than what was suggested. In the recipe for Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta the recipe says to cook the chicken on the stove top for 6-7 minutes until browned but I found it actually took about 11 minutes. Not a big deal, a few minutes here and there aren’t going to put a kink in the dinner plans.

There are some instances where you’ll cook and then have to remove the food to a plate so you can cook again in the same pan. This is fine with me, as it means less pans to wash! I found the recipes easy to follow. It helps streamline things if you have someone else in the kitchen who can prep and chop the vegetables while you hop to the next step.

I made the spiced tomato braised chicken in my Dutch oven and the house smelled heavenly. Nobody in my family had ever tried polenta before but we all really liked it. And even though I’d never prepared it before, the recipe instructions were fool-proof.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

There’s a chicken drumstick underneath that generous pile of onion, carrots and sauce!

How Do the Dinnerly Recipes Taste?

I was a little nervous that the amount of food included would not be enough for my family. While we do have six in the family, I didn’t expect that my two youngest (ages 6 and 20 months) would try any of these dishes. They are both picky and ended up eating leftovers or pb&j sandwiches instead.

Our two older children are teenagers and they each eat as much as an adult. The family box ingredients are intended for two adults and two children, but we found that there was plenty to go around, even with the teenager appetites!

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli from Dinnerly had a kick but it was easy to adjust the spice to our personal family tastes.

Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli

When preparing the Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli, my husband was there to chop the veggies. He is extremely particular about his food but was very happy with the quality of the produce.

The Dinnerly box came with four packets of Sriracha so we could adjust the heat for taste. I only used three packets in the main dish and my husband put the last packet on his own individual serving. While very easy to prepare and with minimal ingredients, this recipe helped us to think outside the box with introducing us to new ingredients. Neither of us had ever made anything with Chinese broccoli or Sriracha sauce before. We both really loved this dish – There was even some plate licking on his part!

How Much Does Dinnerly Cost?

Dinnerly is priced at $5 per each serving. Shipping per box is $8.99, so be sure to work that into the cost breakdown. Dinnerly is the lowest cost of all the dinner subscription boxes on the market. While the Dinnerly Family Box is noted to feed two adults and two children, we found that there was an abundance of food!

For instance when we ate Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta my husband, myself and my two teenagers each had one large portion (served with our own side salad). My husband had a second large helping. Then there was still enough for me to pack away leftovers for my husband to take to work the following day. This meal actually equaled out to about 6 servings for us, making this an even better price breakdown.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Fried Spaghetti Pie

The vegetarian meal for the week I received Dinnerly was the intriguing sounding Fried Spaghetti Pie. I can honestly say I’ve never prepared or eaten anything quite like this dish! A creamy sauce and grated Parmesan coats the cooked spaghetti, which is then lightly fried and baked to crisp. It’s topped with a tossed arugala salad. This was a fun twist on traditional pasta dishes and we enjoyed it a lot! The recipe even gave us some ideas on how to add protein, if we wished to.

Second Dinnerly Box

I had the opportunity to try a second Dinnerly box and jumped at the chance. Last time I’d ordered there were only the three set menu items and now they offer your choice of three from the six available items that week. I chose these three dishes, Moo Shu Turkey Tacos, Shepard’s Pie and Meatball Parm Pizza with Broccoli.

Again, all the ingredients were sent in the big cooler box. I printed out my recipes and pulled out the ingredients. Be sure to read through the entire recipe first. There might be a step you can do earlier to save time.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Dinnerly Meal Options

Moo Shu Turkey Tacos

Moo Shu Turkey Tacos was another recipe that used an ingredient I’ve never tried before: Hoisin sauce. It’s a thick sweet and tangy sauce that is diluted in with the meat and then drizzled onto the completed tacos. This recipe went together very quickly. With three tacos per person, this was a filling meal we all enjoyed. We prefer our tortillas on the crispier side, so we laid them directly over the flame to warm.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Shepard’s Pie

Shepard’s Pie is one of those dishes where you can make good use of leftovers but here, you’ll be making it from scratch. You’ll boil and mash the potatoes separately then top them over the cooked meat and veggies. An oven-proof skillet (like a cast iron) is recommended but I used my Dutch oven and it came out fine. There was quite a bit of liquid in the pan after cooking but it was all good. The extra juices seemed to absorb more after resting and cooling. The flavors were absolutely delicious. Overall it was really an easy comfort dish, perfect for a chilly day.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Meatball Parm Pizza with Broccoli

“Broccoli on pizza? First the Hawaiians and now, you!”, quoted my teenager from the movie Inside Out. I confess that was my first thought when I saw this recipe too. Would kids really eat pizza with broccoli? This was a more complicated dish to tackle late on a Friday evening. There are suggestions on the recipe to prepare the meat and broccoli earlier, which would have helped speed up the process for sure. Fortunately this dish was well worth the extra work, it was so good! Who knew that beef and broccoli make wonderful pizza toppings?!

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Dinnerly Review Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Creative meals that got us out of a dinner rut
  • Choose 3 meals from the six available on the menu each week for more personalized tailoring for your family
  • Healthful dishes with fresh ingredients
  • Truly quick and easy meals that seem more “fancy” than usual
  • Convenient to know that all the ingredients for dinner are on hand
  • Time-conscious meal preparation
  • Delicious! The four of us that ate the Dinnerly meals really enjoyed the flavors

Cons:

  • Only delivering to select areas of the United States at this time, currently 29 states (Where does Dinnerly deliver? Check the site to see if Dinnerly delivers in your area)
  • May be a bit pricier than purchasing ingredients on your own (but definitely cheaper than eating out!)
  • Fancier meals may not appeal to picky eaters

Dinner ideas for families that are quick and cheap? Find out how to get all the ingredients for delicious dinner dishes delivered to your home each week (at a fraction of the price for other meal subscription services!) #Dinnerly #QuickDinners #FamilyMeals #Dinner #Cooking #BudgetCooking

Want to Try Dinnerly?

Click through to see what’s cooking on Dinnerly this week! You can see the menu for the month and sign up for a subscription.

My family had a great time cooking with Dinnerly! We thought the recipes were creative and delicious. We were actually excited to cook each night and try something new. In the past, I’ve liked trying new dishes, but I don’t like having to purchase special ingredients just for one dish (like an entire bottle of sauce or a large block of cheese). Dinnerly is perfect because they supply you with exactly what you need. And there’s no waste because you use just what they send.

I highly recommend trying Dinnerly and appreciate that you can sign up for the service without major commitment. There is a flexible subscription option so you can decide ahead of time which weeks you want to receive. And you can always skip a week if necessary. But why would you want to because the food is all really good!

 

Kids Laundry Hacks with Trial Size Persil® from Target®

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PersilLaundry #CollectiveBias

As the mom of four I’m doing a LOT of laundry! However with two teens, I’ve learned that there are some chores they’re ready to take over. Laundry is one of those things they can do on their own. Laundry collection and sock sorting are two tasks the kindergartner can help with. Stain treatment, running the washing machine and dryer, hanging up and putting away – these laundry tasks are easy to teach older kids. I’m sharing how I was able to teach my kids about the laundry process, including my foolproof hack for step-by-step laminated instructions on how to properly operate each machine!

Collect and Sort Every Day

We’re lucky enough to have a washer and dryer in the house, so we can pop in a load anytime. However I can totally see how the task can get out of control if not dealt with on a daily basis. By collecting and sorting every day into baskets, I’m able to see at a glance whether there’s enough to start a load.

Laundry is collected from each room on a daily basis (something my five year old can do with a small laundry basket). We have our washer and dryer in the garage. My son is able sort the laundry into separate baskets – Dad’s work clothes in one basket, other clothes in another. Then one for linens and towels. Whites are separated from darks into the last basket.

Treating Stains

Stain treatment should begin immediately to allow detergent to work into the stain. With a toddler, you can imagine we’re treating plenty of stains from her clothes! I recently picked up a trial size bottle of Persil® ProClean® laundry detergent at Target®. The trial size is enough for six full loads. And at only $1.99 for a 10.1-ounce package, it’s a great way to try the product out to see the results for yourself!

I taught my teens how to dribble a small amount of Persil laundry detergent from the trial size bottle directly onto the stain. Persil laundry detergent is a stain fighting, whitening, and brightening detergent and it worked wonderfully – pizza stain, be gone!

  • Be sure to follow cleaning instructions on each piece of clothing and always test for colorfastness before pre-treating.
  • Treat stains as soon as possible – Letting them set just makes them harder to remove
  • Pour on enough detergent to cover the stain
  • Rub Persil laundry detergent into the stain and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Wash with the warmest water safe for the garment (always double check your tags) with a dose of Persil laundry detergent.
  • Check the results before drying.

Running the Machines

Rather than hear, “I don’t know how!”, I created laundry instructions specific to our washing machine and dryer. I laminated the step-by-step directions and secured them to the cabinets above our machines. Now my teens can follow the instructions without any issues. And I’m assured that clothes are being properly washed!

Persil laundry detergents can be used in all machines, including HE. I’ve found Persil laundry detergent to be great for everyday washing and in fighting stains. It gets the dirt off my husband’s work pants, removes the stink from the teens’ shirts and takes out the spots from the toddler’s dresses. For more laundry and cleaning tips, see the Persil® laundry detergent website.

Drying Clothes

With our laundry area in the far corners of the garage, it’s too easy to forget that you started a load! I have the kids start a timer to remind them that they need to move clothes from the washer into the dryer.

Certain items shouldn’t be placed into the dryer. I place notes above the dryer to remind the person rotating the laundry to make sure they remove those pieces and not put them inside the dryer.

Putting Laundry Away

At our house, laundry is washed, dried and put away in the same day – nothing sitting around getting wrinkly in laundry baskets around here! We tip over the clean and dry laundry onto the bed and quickly sort. Each person is tasked with putting away their own clothes immediately.

I liked being able to use the trial size bottle of Persil laundry detergent before committing to a full sized bottle. The scent is fresh and pleasant. The stain fighting, brightening, and long lasting freshness is a bonus. And the reasonable price is icing on the cake!

Be sure to look for the $2 off coupon on the back of the trial size bottle to use for a future purchase (excludes 6 load or less trial / travel size).

Need help with everyday chores? Enlist the kids! Even younger kids can pitch in - see these kids laundry hacks for ideas on how they can assist with this chore. #PersilLaundry #AD

 

 

Holidays at LEGOLAND California – Ultimate Seasonal Guide

While my family and I have been to LEGOLAND California dozens of times, we’ve never been during the holidays! This weekend we had the chance to experience the holidays at LEGOLAND events, including seasonal treats, unique LEGO photo ops and live shows. And did I mention the treats?! Peppermint milkshakes, need I go on? Keep reading for all the fun things to do during the holidays at LEGOLAND, along with my insider tips for an enjoyable day with the family.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Please note that I was provided complimentary tickets for my family and I to experience the holidays at LEGOLAND. All thoughts and opinions are my own and there was no monetary compensation. I include affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Holidays at LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND California is open almost every day in December. Opening times vary, as well. Be sure to check the days and hours of operation online before your visit. In addition to all the usual rides, the holidays at LEGOLAND offers special seasonal shows, foods and photo opportunities throughout the park. I’ll share with you how to maximize your day at LEGOLAND and how to experience all that the holidays at LEGOLAND offers.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!


Save Money at LEGOLAND!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529


Must-Do Photo Ops

LEGO Santa, Reindeer and Christmas Tree

While there are always lots of unique and larger-than-life LEGO figures to pose with throughout the park, make a point of visiting Santa and his reindeer during the holidays at LEGOLAND. This photo op is located in Fun Town, under the glow of the huge LEGO Christmas Tree!

LEGOLAND Holiday Tip – Arrive in this area about 30 minutes before/after one of the stage shows when the crowds aren’t as heavy.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

It “snows” in Fun Land!

Live Entertainment

My kids never want to take a break from all the attractions long enough to watch the shows. However we often catch both shows when walking through these areas.

LEGO Friends Holiday Show

Targeted mostly as young girls, the sweeter-than-sweet holiday show in Heartlake City features the five LEGO Friends.

Fun Town Show – The Yule Tides

This one couldn’t be more jolly! Santa’s elves are singing and dancing old and new Christmas carols on the stage in Fun Town.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

LEGO Friends Holiday Show in Heartlake City

Little LEGO-Sized Touches

Be sure to take a visit to Miniland U.S.A. to see where the Christmas spirit has been sprinkled! We found many of the buildings have fun holiday touches, including Santa and his sleigh and wreaths decorating the LEGO White House.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Holiday Eats and Treats

Throughout the park, seasonal treats are sold that will surely get you into the holiday spirit. For lunch, dine on a Holiday Smoked Turkey Sandwich with rustic stuffing and spiced cranberry dressing or a smoked turkey leg. Sip warm apple cider or hot chocolate. And for dessert indulge in churros con chocolate, holiday cookies, peppermint milkshakes, and candy apples!

LEGOLAND Holiday Tip – Dining can get really crowded at LEGOLAND. Also, food is prepared fresh, so it often takes longer than you might expect to receive your food. Have one person order while the other gets the table to save time.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Seasonal shopping is available in the retail shops

Winter Holiday Market

Saturdays, December 9th and 16th till 7:00 pm in Fun Town.

The Winter Holiday Market is all new this year. Guests can purchase authentic “German Christmas Market” inspired treats like grilled sausages, giant Bavarian pretzels, spiced wine, and specialty hot chocolate.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Holidays at SEA LIFE Aquarium

Take the time for a tour through the SEA LIFE aquarium where seasonal décor appears throughout . There’s even a special holiday themed daily dive show daily from December 1st – 24th.


Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

 

7 Tips for Teaching Gratitude and Thankfulness During the Holidays

What better time to discuss thankfulness and gratitude than during the holidays? With four young ones to raise, I’m constantly worried that I’m raising unappreciative brats! Not that my kids aren’t well-behaved and courteous in public, because they are. But at home, it’s another story. There is a streak of entitlement running rampant and I want to nip that in the bud!

Thankfulness During the Holidays

My mom’s group at church recently discussed how to raise grateful children and it got my wheels turning. Am I doing enough with my four kids to teach them gratitude and thankfulness? And what about good manners? Don’t those go hand in hand? Of course saying, “Thank you” is important, but I think that true gratitude goes beyond good manners. And with the season of giving, there are so many beautiful ways to foster a feeling of gratitude. Here are a few key thoughts I have about teaching gratitude and thankfulness, especially during the holidays.

Please note that I use affiliate links in my post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

1. Age Matters

Naturally I expect the best manners from my teenagers. And of course, my six year old knows how to properly behave…for his age. But I wouldn’t expect the same behavior from my toddler that I do from my kindergartner! Discuss with your partner ahead of time what behaviors you each expect from your children, with consideration for their ages.

This starts with teaching “please” and “thank you” from a young age. If your toddler receives a treat from someone, you can speak on their behalf to offer the “thank you”. Or if they are able to speak, remind them to say it themselves.

Elementary aged children can be expected to offer thanks without prompting. That doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes get wrapped up in the moment and forget though! Elementary aged kids do love to give, so make sure they have the opportunity to create something special for someone over the holiday (like a hand-drawn card).

Older children can show their gratitude in larger ways, both verbally and in physical action. Older kids and teens are able to think outside of their own small world and will often come up with their own ideas during the holidays. This may include donating their time volunteering.


2. Laying Out Expectations

Before we head out for a holiday-themed event, I run through my expectations for each child. When kids know what is expected of them, it’s easier for them to know their boundaries. I tailor topics to each specific child, depending upon their age and abilities.

Discussions might include:

  • Encouraging them to remember their manners during a holiday dinner when they are a guest (not wiggling at the table, using a napkin, etc.)
  • Chatting with the adult party hosts for a few minutes to say thank you for the invitation before running off to play.
  • Not whining about what foods they don’t like at the party.
  • Helping to clear their plate.
  • Offering to help the host to clean up.
  • Not asking for seconds of dessert, at least not until everyone else has had a first serving.
  • Saying “Thank you for inviting me” when leaving.

3. “I Want”

I told my mom’s group that I was having some issues with my six year old acting entitled to certain things around our house. Seems like the holidays brings out the sassy attitude even more! And what can we expect, when we ask our kids, “What do you want for Christmas?” With the focus on getting stuff so heavy during the holidays, young children can really get wrapped up in what they “want” and not what they can do for others.

Instead of asking the kids what THEY want to receive for Christmas, I’m twisting things a bit. I’ve been asking them what they think their siblings would like to receive. Instead of focusing on what they’re going to get, I can see that my kids are more excited to be involved in making decisions and helping choose gifts for others. We’re taking it one step further by making gifts instead of buying (easy things, like laminated bookmarks).

4. Role-Playing

What’s more cringe-worthy than a kid who receives a gift and says, “I hate this”. How embarrassing. And of course, hurtful to the person who gave the gift.

In our house, we do a lot of role-playing before parties and gatherings. It’s good practice for kids and a reminder of your expectations. Ideas for role-play is to ask, “What would you say if you received a gift that you didn’t like?” or “What if you received a gift that you already have?”

My son celebrated his sixth birthday recently and we did some role-play on the way to his play date birthday party. I asked him, “What if someone gives you underwear?!” His response was, “Thanks for the undies!”

So yes, the correct and easiest answer is always, “Thank you for the _____!” Even if you don’t like it. Even if you already have it. Even if it’s a weird present. Thank you is always the right comment to make.

5. Volunteer and Give

There are always going to be a lot of ways to volunteer your time during the holidays. Places like churches need extra help in the kid care area, which is usually something that teens can help with. Younger kids can assist with bagging up canned goods in a food bank.

There are also organizations that accept special items for donation during this season. When we donated food to our local food bank, I made sure that my 6 year old knew we were giving and explained where the food was going. He was so excited to tell everyone how many items he’d donated! We also made up boxes for Samaritan’s Purse this year. He helped me choose the items for the two boxes we filled and went with me when we dropped them off. He was able to see how grateful the volunteers were when we came with our donations and they prayed with us over the boxes. It was something he’s not forgotten and I know that it had a big impact on him.

6. Take the Focus Off Stuff

If you sense your kids are too focused on the stuff this holiday season, find ways to move the focus on experiences rather than things. That’s really what the holiday is, spending time with family and making memories. Things like baking and decorating cookies, watching a Christmas movie on TV, walking through the neighborhood to see decorations and singing along to songs on the radio are favorite ways to celebrate without spending a lot!

7. Keep It Simple

Figure out what things are most important to you and your family. From there you can decide what to do and what to skip this holiday. I find that when I try to cram too much good stuff into the season, it becomes not only stressful for me, it’s hard on the kids. And when the kids are having a rough time, it tends to come out in crabby behavior. And then we start to think, “Ungrateful brats!”

Be sure to work in plenty of downtime between holiday celebrations. Pick and choose only what you most love about the holidays and do those things. Don’t feel guilty about skipping over other things. Perhaps you can alternate years? Do what brings you and your family the most joy, incorporating gratefulness and thankfulness about being together!

Fed up with "ungrateful brats" during the holidays? These 7 practical tips can help teach you children about thankfulness during the holidays.


Mom’s Holiday Party Prep Tips for the Busy Season

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MerrySpritzmas #CollectiveBias

Though I really do try to stick to our family motto and keep things simple during the holidays, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the season. That means events, activities and parties just about every weekend in December. The holidays are a time of parties – I have two each weekend this season! I love it all, I really do. But wow, does it get busy! Seems I hardly have time to use the bathroom (we’ll get to that issue later!)

These practical tips will help Mom holiday party prep for an evening out! Ideas for time management & evening bag packing. #MerrySpritzmas #AD

Ready for a night on the town!

My husband’s work Christmas party was this past weekend. With four kids at home, I didn’t have a lot of time to get myself primped. But I still wanted to look good, right?! I’m sharing my tips for getting prepped for a night out, including what to pack in your holiday evening bag. Keep reading and I’ll give you all the details on why Poo~Pourri is a party MUST HAVE!

Hover over this photo and click on the images to visit Bed Bath and Beyond’s website, where you can order directly!

Time Management

When you’re getting ready to go out for the night, plan ahead and make a list of what needs to be done.

  • I chose my outfit the week before the Christmas party. I made sure to try on my outfit with the shoes that I was planning to wear. If you need to pick up stockings or tummy support briefs this will give you a few days time to grab those necessities.
  • I did my nails the day before so I wouldn’t feel rushed the morning of the party.
  • I needed a haircut before the party so I scheduled it for that afternoon. This way I was able to get the wash, cut and style and save time on not having to do my hair myself.
  • Have the babysitter arrive early so that will give you time to put your make-up on and get dressed so you aren’t running around, tending to the kids.

Packing Your Holiday Evening Bag

Just before before the party, I pack up my holiday evening bag. Once I’ve decided on my outfit, I match the bag with what I’m wearing. You won’t need a lot, so your evening bag can be really small – Unless you’re like me and your husband tends to hand you everything out of his pockets to carry in your purse. These are my handbag must-haves for a night on the town.

  • Wallet. Include at least a few dollars, just in case you need to tip or the parking lot only takes cash.
  • Drivers license or ID. You might get carded!
  • Make-up refreshers. This may include blotting papers to get rid of excess oil, finishing powder and lipstick or gloss.
  • A small mirror. Use it quickly to check your teeth and make sure there’s no holiday food left there after your meal.
  • Compact hair brush.
  • Fully charged cell phone. And just in case you get into a selfie mood and post a ton of pictures to social media, bring a back-up charger and cord.
  • Antacids. After eating a rich dinner & having a few drinks, my tummy needed some relief.
  • Car and house keys.
  • Poo~Pourri.

These practical tips will help Mom holiday party prep for an evening out! Ideas for time management & evening bag packing. #MerrySpritzmas #AD

Don’t be the Party Pooper

Time to get real. Think about the last party you went to. Seems like there is always someone waiting outside the bathroom door to use the facilities after you, right? With so many holiday parties at friends’ houses and the bathroom line down the hall, nobody wants to the be the “party pooper” – leaving a stink behind for the next guest!

Have you heard of Poo~Pourri? If you haven’t, this video is a must watch.

Simply spritz Poo~Pourri into the toilet bowl before you go. Poo~Pourri’s pure blend of natural essential oils creates a film on the surface of the water. The protective barrier traps odor under the surface – which means no stink! All you’ll leave behind is a light refreshing scent. When you leave the bathroom for the next person in line, nobody will be the wiser!

Give the Gift That Doesn’t Stink

I was recently at Bed Bath and Beyond and found a large collection of Poo~Pourri. It was located at a kiosk towards the front of the store. There were more Poo~Pourri products on an end cap (including a gift box that looks like a toilet!)

I have Original Citrus in the bathroom at home, which is a blend of lemon, bergamot and lemongrass natural essential oils. Merry Spritzmas® and Secret Santa scents are sold in this clever holiday pull-apart gift set (the text on the box makes me giggle!)

I kept Poo~Pourri Merry Spritzmas® in my evening hand bag. The blend of peppermint, vanilla and citrus is a spritz of holiday magic! And it was a relief to know I had the Poo~Pourri with me on the chance that I needed to use it at the party. Did I use it? I’ll never tell!

I already know whom I’ll be gifting Poo~Pourri Secret Santa to! Poo~Pourri is actually the perfect item for the holiday gift exchange –  It’s funny to give but it really works!

Don’t forget to look out for special coupons on one item at Bed Bath and Beyond’s website before heading out to shop or shopping online. And check out these other fun ideas on how to give the gift of Poo~Pourri this holiday season!

These practical tips will help Mom holiday party prep for an evening out! Ideas for time management & evening bag packing. #MerrySpritzmas #AD

Get Ready for the Holidays – Dress-Up Guide for Kids

There’s only a few times a year when I have veto power on what my kids wear. One of those times is Christmas and you can be sure, I’m making sure the kids look great! Bye-bye sweatpants with holes in the knees – hello, adorable sweater with a snowflake design! Of course the baby never complains so she always has her hair and outfit on point. But during the holidays I can doll her up even more!

I have two teens and two littles, ages 6 and 20 months. My big kids are picking their own outfits, of course. But I still like to choose something special for  them to wear during the holidays. My six year old is in kindergarten this year, which means his first school holiday concert! He’ll need something nice to wear for that event. And then there are several cookie decorating parties, a few family events, a live theater show and a big Christmas party.  The kids will need something to wear for each event, ranging from Christmas casual to dressed up. This is my dress-up guide for getting the kids holiday ready!

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I was compensated for this post.

New Holiday Outfits

Every kid knows that the holidays are the best time of year! Delicious treats, fun activities at school and cozy new clothes. You want the kids to look cute but you don’t want them revolting because something is itchy or “feels weird”. That’s why Gymboree is my holiday clothing go-to. My kids dressed in coordinating Gymboree outfits last year and everyone from the baby to the big kids looked fantastic. And comfortable clothes for kids are important. If they aren’t comfortable, they aren’t going to want to wear it!

You’re going to find adorable and cozy outfits from Gymboree that are easy to wash and wear. Right now holiday styles are 50% off, while supplies last!

The girls in their coordinating Gymboree holiday outfits in 2016

I love these Fair Isle designs where little sister can coordinate with big sister. They are similar but not matchy-matchy.

And the brothers can’t be left out either. I’m a sucker for a holiday plaid shirt and my boys tend to wear one from Gymboree every year! Give them some cool accessories like boots or a beanie and the boys will be happy.

Don’t forget the pajamas! We give our kids a “Night Before Christmas” box with a new holiday book, cocoa and a pair of jammies. These adorable holiday-themed Gymmies are perfect for Christmas morning photos.

Beautiful Hair Care

If you want a head-to-toe look for the kids, start off with a good sudsing! We’re already a fan of Fairy Tales Bug Bandit. I was recently sent hydrating shampoo, conditioner and styling gel in the Fairy Tales Hair Care Curly-Q line. My baby daughter was blessed with amazing curls and I confess, that I’ve not really known how to properly care for them! She usually wakes up with a matted mess that I have to untangle. And then of course, she’s left with a frizzy halo instead of curls.

I have been washing, conditioning and using the styling gel spray on my daughter’s curls and wow, the difference is incredible. Not only are the curls more defined, her hair is also much softer, shinier and easily managed.

Curls by Fairy Tales Hair Care & outfit by Gymboree!

Ingredients like quinoa, rice amino acids, Mururmuru butter, aloe, and avocado butter combine to keep curls bouncy and frizz-free. Products are also sulfate, paraben, phthalate-free as well as gluten, soy, dairy and nut-free.

If you have a curly-headed kiddo, I can’t recommend these products enough. Or try the Tangle Tamers, Sun & Swim or Rosemary Repel hair care lines. Check out Fairy Tales Hair Care for all these products (and the must-have, Lice Good-Bye Survival Kit!)


Dressed Up Head to Toe

I’ve talked about how much we love Pediped shoes here before. My kids have been wearing them since before they could walk! Look at my cute squishy last year, wearing her elegant Pediped originals. They have big kid shoes too, from dress-up styles to cold weather boots.

Pediped shoes are high quality and a great value for how well they are made. Want to save money on Pediped shoes? If you enroll in Ebates, you can get 6% cash back when you shop through the link for Pediped Outlet and 5% cash back through Pediped.


Accessories Round Out the Look

If a full head-to-toe outfit overhaul isn’t in the budget, look to accessories that can dress up your kid’s holiday look. Things like a new hat, holiday themed socks, a neck tie or sparkling stockings can brighten up an older outfit. And kids love using accessories to personalize their style! Shop Gymboree for these on-sale accessories.

 

5 Tips for Looking Your Best in Holiday Family Photos

This shop has been compensated by Schwarzkopf®. #HolidayHairCare #sponsored

The holidays are fast approaching! That means fun with family and friends, as well as parties and pictures that come along with the season. Last year my family and I had a weekend vacation and took this photo together. I loved how cute we all looked…that is until I looked closer and realized how my roots were showing and how GRAY my hair was! Ugh, seeing that photo with my gray hairs made me so upset.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

I’m all for women who aren’t bothered by the gray. But I still have a toddler and I’m just not ready to go gray yet. Coloring my hair makes me feel so much better about my overall look! I don’t have the time or money for a salon so I’m glad there are at-home kits like Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color that give me a professional style. With family photos coming along with the holidays, I’m sharing my tips for creating a head-to-toe beautiful look that’s perfect for lasting photo memories!

Coordinating family outfits while still putting together a beautiful look for yourself takes some preparation! You can’t just throw on your favorite outfit because you want a cohesive look for the entire family. And you don’t want to look back in ten or twenty years and say, “What in the world was I wearing?!” These are a few ideas for creating a flattering, timeless look for family photos.

1. Pick a Theme Around Your Location

Are you going to be taking photos at the beach? Then knee-high boots and chunky sweaters probably aren’t the best fashion choice. And vice versa if you’re planning a snowy mountain photo shoot wearing all white cotton sundresses! Once you know your photo location, you can decide on a direction for your outfits.

2. Start with One Thing

Who is the most particular person in your family when it comes to getting dressed? Start by choosing their outfit first. Once you have that picked, it’s going to be easier to design a look around the color scheme and style of that first outfit.

Is there an outfit that the rest of the clothes can be built around? A plaid or a pattern with multiple colors is a good place to start. From there you can choose clothing with the colors that coordinate (like this floral dress below).

3. Picking a Color Scheme

To create a cohesive look, choose a color scheme that unites the family and doesn’t clash. Things like blue jeans, khaki and white are neutral and can be mixed in with the colors you choose as you see fit.

For this family photo, I wanted to choose from clothes that we already had in the closet. I started with my husband’s plaid shirt. The rest of the family was easy to match, with navy blue, burgundy, khaki and white.

Photo Credit: Amber Barley Photography

4. Mixing Patterns

While it’s okay to choose similar styles, try to avoid anything too matchy-matchy. For instance, instead of having the kids all wear matching sweaters, choose a similar design in varying colors. As in the family photo above, my son had a plaid shirt in his closet that had similar colors to what his dad is wearing. The plaids aren’t matching but they don’t clash either.

Choose patterns that are classic in design instead of trendy so your photo looks timeless and not dated to a particular time period. Same with hair styles!

You could also choose patterns that are coordinating but not identical. I found this trio of outfits for my little ones a few years ago. They are coordinated because the colors unite them, but are not wearing the same outfit.

5. Making Sure Mom Looks Her Best

After the gray root debacle last year, I’m determined to stay on top of my coloring! Once I’ve decided on a location and color scheme for the family photo shoot, I make sure I have my nails done, make-up ready and hair colored. Naturally, I want my hair to look its best during family photos.

Having Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color on hand has been my secret weapon! I’ve already used Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color several times and love my results. It’s been so easy to use and my hair is shiny and soft, even weeks after coloring.

I found Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color at Walmart. The line offers a good variety of intense colors, including my favorite shade, Chestnut. Be sure to do your patch test before coloring! And of course don’t forget to put on the included gloves to protect your hands.

At-Home Hair Coloring Tips

  • Wear your oldest clothes and use your oldest towel that you don’t mind getting stained.
  • Wear a plastic cape to protect your neck and clothes.
  • Rub a small amount of petroleum jelly around your ears and neckline to prevent staining.
  • I prep my bathroom so I don’t drip hair coloring on the rub or splash it on the shower curtain! I put away everything from off the counter, move the shower curtain and put away the bathmat so no errant drips get on anything.

BEFORE (look at that gray!)

Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color has a pre-treatment included that helps give you an even color result. I love this extra step and experienced no dry ends after coloring. The color is thick and stays put, which makes application so much easier.

I colored my hair about 5 weeks ago with the same color, so I applied to the roots for 20 minutes first. Then I applied color to the rest of my head and waited another ten minutes.

20 minutes on the roots first…

Then 10 minutes on the entire head of hair.

  • Don’t just rely on the clock to keep time. Set a timer!
  • I rinsed off in the kitchen sink so I could use the handheld sprayer and really make sure I removed all the color.
  • Any color stains on the skin? Use a cotton pad and rubbing alcohol to gently remove.

I experienced less hair breakage and loss after using Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color and of course, it gave me 100% gray coverage – yippee! Plus my hair is really soft and silky. I’m going to look so great in my holiday family photos this year (no gray getting me down!)

AFTER! Total gray coverage and beautiful Chestnut color.

Want to try Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color for free? Be sure to click through for the rebate!

Dressing for Success

Just like coloring over my gray helps boost my self-esteem, so does wearing clothes that make me feel and look my best. With every purchase of Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color women are getting a fresh start through a partnership with Dress for Success®.

Dress for Success Worldwide provides women education and mentoring, along with revitalized hair and clothing options. This partnership helps women be as successful as they look! Over one million women have been served by this international organization and its programs. I love how Dress for Success encourages and supplies women with the tools they need for confidence and success!

Coloring your hair at home is a great way to save time and money but how can you assure the best results? Check out these tips (along with ideas for looking your best in holiday family photos!) #HolidayHairCare #ad

 

Quick and Easy Mickey and the Roadster Racers Birthday Party

My son just turned six and he’s slightly obsessed with Mickey Mouse. He has dressed like Mickey for three of five Halloween costumes. And we’ve had several birthday parties in a Mickey theme (including a Sorcerer’s Apprentice party). So of course this year he was set on a Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party. I was ready to make that happen – on a budget, of course! And with four kids, I just don’t have it in me for anything over-the-top, so these are very quick and easy ideas. I’ve even included my FREE PRINTABLES so you can host your own Mickey and the Roadster Racers party!

Please note that I include affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Roadster Racers Birthday Party on a Budget

The Roadster Racers has a simple color scheme of red, black, yellow. You could add in black and white checked accents too! I went with plain red tablecloths with black plates and napkins. No expensive character-laden designs needed. Consider using the color scheme on balloons or crepe paper streamers. Or use black and white checked scrapbook paper to create pennant flags.

I had a “Kitchen Sink” bowl from Disneyland that made a perfect snack container! See what you have in the color schemes to use before making purchases.


Roadster Racers Outfit

My birthday boy wore the Mickey Mouse costume I’d made him for Halloween during his play date party. Here is my costume tutorial if you’d like to make one for your racer! If you don’t have a costume, consider having your child dress in an outfit or t-shirt that fits the theme.

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

My Roadster Racer and his Zebra sister on Halloween. The costume doubled as his birthday party outfit.


Roadster Racers Themed Food

This was a fun and quirky way to incorporate the theme of the party, with snacks inspired by the show. We had a play date at the park after lunch so we just served simple goodies like mini doughnuts (“spare tires”) and cupcakes (“traffic light treats”). I’ve included the FREE PRINTABLE for each of these so you can print at home and use for your own party!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Traffic Light Treats

I made easy cupcakes at home. On the chocolate frosted cupcakes, I split mini Oreo cookies in half and placed them in the frosting to resemble Mouse ears. On the vanilla frosted cupcakes we used plain M&M candies in yellow, red and green to look like a street light (you might see an orange M&M…we ran out of yellow – Guess what, nobody cared!)

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Nuts & Bolts and Dip Sticks

Store-bought Trail mix is a quick Nuts & Bolts treat. My friend Leslie of Trips with Tykes has a great Mickey Mouse Trail Mix so make it your own!

Pretzel sticks or rods are perfect Dip Sticks. You could also use baby carrots and Ranch dressing!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Spare Tires

Mini chocolate doughnuts make tasty Spare Tires. We didn’t have any extras of these laying around after the party!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Coolants

Our drink section was labeled Coolants, to chill down our active party guests! You could also put this label on an actual cooler.

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Links to Free Roadster Racers Party Printables

Roadster Racers Gifts

I purchased this small Mickey race car toy to use as a “cupcake topper” to set the theme for our party. It doubled as decoration and a toy to play with later as a memento for my son’s birthday.

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

What to get your Roadster Racer fan for their birthday? Check out these appropriate gifts and videos!


More Printable Party Decorations

I found all these great, free printables on the Disney Junior website that are perfect for your Roadster Racers party.

Birthday Party on a Budget

Looking for more birthday party ideas? Check out my post Birthday Party On a Budget!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!