When Did We Stop Rooting for Ourselves?

This post originally appeared on my blog Painted Butterfly Studio on Sept 28th, 2010. I reread it this week and find that topic of accepting compliments and cheering for ourselves to be relevant. Kids are great at sharing their accomplishments but how can adults be better at accepting compliments?

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

The Soccer Game

“At what point do we stop cheering?”

We were sitting on the sidelines watching our six year old soccer players celebrating after they’d just scored their uncontested sixth goal. The dad next to me posed the question. About 90 seconds later we got our answer when the seventh goal was scored. Parents didn’t cheer and just a small smattering of applause could be heard from our side of the field.

Later in the day, I got to thinking about that question.

“At what point do we stop cheering?”

Do we ever stop cheering? Or rather, should we ever stop cheering?

And I’m not just talking as parents, but just as adults?

“At what point do we stop cheering?”

Kids are great at sharing their accomplishments but how can adults be better at accepting compliments?

Shrugging Off Instead of Accepting Compliments

I was reading Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy this week. The section I happened upon was about how as adults we tend to downplay our accomplishments. We shoo away compliments and never really revel in them as we should. She suggested that we pull out our awards, something we’ve created, or anything that really makes us proud of ourselves and put them in a prominent place in our home.

Why, as adults, do we hide our light under a bushel? Why do we shrug off encouragements from others instead of just saying, “Thank you so much! I’m proud of it too!” This daily reminder of seeing visually what we have done should be a push towards what we can do.

I recall hearing about a baseball player who didn’t display any of his awards in his home. The announcer noted how humble the player was and that if you walked into his home you’d never have guessed he was a ball player.

This actually just seemed kind of sad to me. If this man was a sculptor or an artist, would he not decorate his home with a few of his own art pieces? Is it not appropriate because it wouldn’t be humble? Or even just to have an important plaque on the wall, or one special baseball on a shelf that was particularly meaningful, something that recognized his accomplishments? Nothing?!

I’m not talking about constantly tooting our own horn here to the point of rudeness or painting an entire mural on our living room wall with our likeness. But really think about why we stopped cheering…Because we didn’t want to come across to others as too confident? Because it might hurt someone else’s feelings? Because we’ve been taught as children to be humble and modest, that we shouldn’t be “too good”?

 

Kids Are Naturals at Complimenting Themselves

Now, back to the soccer game…7th goal was scored. The little boy who scored the goal had already scored 4 others in our game, but just the same he looked excitedly over to the sidelines for recognition. We put our hands together and clapped briefly and smiled back at him. He wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed in the least to have created such a lopsided score.

As we were leaving two players chattered boldly to each other, “We scored 7 and they didn’t have ANY!”

One of the moms said, “Shhh, not so loud”, to which one of the boys looked up at her and said, “Why?”

The unabashed pride of these six year olds was actually inspiring to me. Humility and modesty will come eventually, as it should. But at this age it’s refreshing to see the exuberance about each accomplishment. Whether it’s getting across the monkey bars without falling off, finishing an entire puzzle without help or scoring the final goal in a 7-0 game.

Kids are great at sharing their accomplishments but how can adults be better at accepting compliments?

Rooting Ourselves On

I’m going to root myself on. When someone pays me a compliment, I’m going to say a simple thank you and not follow it up with something that undermines the entire good thought (you know the kind, “That’s a pretty blouse!” and we say, “Yeah, too bad I’m so fat that’s too tight on me now” FROWN!). That completely diminishes the compliment (and is not very kind to the person complimenting you either). “Thank you” is the perfect reply to any compliment.

I’m going to make some pillow covers to put in the living room and if anyone compliments them, I’ll happily share that it’s my own handiwork. I will bravely admit that there are things that I’m really good at and I’m going to promise myself that I won’t be too shy or humble to admit it!

I hope that by my modeling this, my own children will pick up on the air of confidence and not be ashamed or embarrassed of their own accomplishments. Accepting compliments and sharing what you’re confident and strong about isn’t bragging, it’s knowing that you are worthy. Knowing your worth and can humbly accept praise is given to us by God. And that’s something to cheer about.

In what ways and areas of your life could you be more confident and assured? Please share with me below in the comments!

Kids are great at sharing their accomplishments but how can adults be better at accepting compliments?

Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road at Disneyland 2017

I have been blessed to attend a Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road event for the last three years. These conferences are definite highlights of my blogging year! Not only do I get to mingle with my blogger besties, I also get to hear about upcoming Disney news and receive invaluable social media advice. And the bonus for the last two years – admission to play in the Disneyland parks after the conference. You can’t beat that! Keep reading for what we learned at Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road at Disneyland 2017.

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!

I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road Conference. I received breakfast during the conference, complimentary park hopper tickets for me and my family, complimentary MaxPass, FastPass tickets to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: MISSION BREAKOUT, FastPass tickets for Fantasmic! and a bag of gifts from Disney. Travel expenses were paid by me. As always, opinions are my own.

The first year I applied and was accepted to attend On-the-Road in Portland, Oregon. It was my first trip to the Northwest and I loved every minute of it! Last year was invite-only and the event was held inside the Paradise Pier Hotel at the Disneyland Resort! It was the year of their 60th Anniversary and what a magical time that was. Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road at Disneyland was when I got my first look at Moana.

My first #DisneySMMC On-the-Road, in Portland Oregon

Pixie dust landed in my email once again this year as I was invited this month to attend the Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road at Disneyland for 2017. The event was held inside Stage 17 at Disney California Adventure park. Attendees of the event were allowed access early into the park. The trolley driver even stopped for us so we could capture a few photos on the empty streets of Hollywood Land!

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!

My first two On-the-Road events had very similar social media tips but this year offered some fresh new advice. In fact, my brain didn’t quite catch up to my fingers and I captured as much as I could. I was really trying to soak it all in because it was all very relevant and helpful information for those in the social media/blogging community! Follow @DisneyMoms on Twitter for more details on the event (and other Disney updates).

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!

A Few of the Disney players hosting and speaking at the event:

Leanne O’Regan (director of public relations at the Walt Disney World Resort – @leannej on Twitter)

Courtnee Collier (social media manager for Disney Parks – ms_courtnee on Twitter)

Erin Glover (Editorial Content Director at Disneyland Resort – @gopluto on Twitter)

Megan Sayers (Social and video strategy lead at Babble – @megansayers on Twitter)

Takeaways-

  • Video is most effective when used to share something that can’t be seen anywhere else, is personal or unexpected.
  • When planning photo and video shoots, create a video production check list. This will allow you to save time and be more efficient during actual filming.
  • 80% of videos are watched without sound. Upload a caption file for Facebook.
  • If wanting to add a link with your video, insert link in the comment and not the copy. Adding in the copy can hurt the algorithm.
  • Think about a “content franchise” and serialize your content. What do you do everyday that your fans respond to? What can you make as a episode program?

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!

Rose Gold Ears (and Other Exciting Stuff!)

One of the hottest news buzz in the room at DisneySMMC was rose gold Mouse ears! Or specifically, the lack of them. Seems everyone wanted a pair but they’d been quickly sold out in the Parks. However four coveted pairs of rose gold ears were raffled off to lucky winners during the conference. And there was a spare pair for photo ops!

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!

Dawn Winston of I Am a Mommy Nerd became one of my very first blogging friends when I started writing. I had the chance to meet for the first time! We’ve been on the Blogorail team together for years and have a very special connection that has to do with our Dads. My baby daughter was even born on Dawn’s birthday, which I find just perfectly delightful!

Dawn and I have bonded over our repeated applications to the Disney Parks Moms Panel Search. Several years ago we both made it to the final round, trying for a lone Disneyland opening.

We were so excited to hear during the conference that applications for the 2018 year will open on September 6th. Hey, that’s MY birthday, so that has to mean something, right?!

If you’re considering applying to the Disney Parks Moms Panel, all the information is available RIGHT HERE.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure

Kevin Deters (@storyman9 on Twitter) and Stevie Wermers (@supercaken on Twitter) from Walt Disney Animation Studios introduced clips and story line of the new installment in the Frozen series, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. They have co-directed this “featurette” that will show before the feature film Coco. Set for an November 22nd release Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will be 22 minutes long with 4 new songs. After just watching the clips I can tell you it includes so much of the charm we’ve come to expect from the Frozen series! I adore Olaf 🙂

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!

Stacia Martin, Disney Artist & Historian

I soak up Disney-lore and love hearing backstories. Stacia Martin is a wealth of information. And in her 39 year stint as a Disney artist and historian, she’s a gem herself. What fun it was to watch her easily draw Mickey, Tinker Bell and Winnie the Pooh right before our eyes, while handily offering historical details on the characters and her art background.

We were each gifted one of her original drawings at the end of the event. Mine was Mickey (my favorite character!). It has my name on the drawing and is signed by Stacia as well. I can’t wait to frame it and put it in a place of honor in my home.

Here is a video I took of Stacia as she sketched during our event:

Amy Robach, Good Morning America

Our surprise guest speaker was Amy Robach (@ajrobach on Twitter) from Good Morning America. Amy’s story began with her getting a live mammogram on the show. But her story has a turn, when she found out that she had breast cancer. 80% of breast cancer patients have no family history and Robach was clearly in shock to receive such a diagnosis.

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!

Amy discussed how her life-changing health event caused her to start parenting differently and begin living in the moment.

Wrapping Up the Conference

My friend and fellow TravelingMom and Blogorail team member Leslie Harvey of Trips with Tykes got her photo op with Mickey dressed in Roadster Racers costume. There is an all-new Disney Junior! Live on Stage Dance Party featuring many characters from the channel.

What’s New & What’s Ending at Disneyland Parks?

After just having visited Disneyland for a summer family media event, I’ve shared a post about What’s New, What’s Returning and What’s Coming to Disneyland.
The #SummerofHeroes event is wrapping up at Disney California Adventure park on September 10th. However some of the super hero fun lives on with the hot new attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy: MISSION BREAKOUT!

MaxPass includes unlimited PhotoPass downloads. I was thrilled to have my kids with me for the event so I could capture this great photo of us in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle! Hmm, I need to stop time because two of my four kids are now taller than me!
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!
I hadn’t seen Fantasmic! in nearly 10 years so I have been looking forward to watching the newly updated show! We were excited to watch the show with a wonderful vantage point. One of these days I’m going to spring for a dinner package so I can have a place to sit. Standing for an hour pre-show then during the show itself with a squirmy toddler was hard!
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!

I was so excited to have the opportunity to see the Main Street Electrical Parade one last time before it “glows” away! This parade is near-and-dear to my heart as I remember watching it with my Dad. In fact, it’s the only parade I remember watching with him at Disneyland (he was more of a “ride all the rides kind of guy!”)

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!

Thank you to the Disney social media team for the much-appreciated invitation this year! I truly enjoyed the new information and am already pushing myself to use some of the newer features on social media that I’ve been resisting (Instagram Stories, anyone?!) Thank you again for the magical Disneyland day, my family and I had a fantastic visit!

 

5 Back to School Season Routines Moms Can Adopt for Themselves

I was on Pinterest last night and saw a Pin description that caught my eye. It said, “How Moms Can ROCK Back to School Season”.

Naturally the post was about lunch packing tips, best school supplies to purchase and streamlining the morning routine. Pinterest Mom rocks the school year by making sure things are smooth sailing for the kids and that the home routine is awesome. You know, cutely cut sandwiches in the lunch box. Crock Pot meals ready by 5. Adorably coordinated outfits and sweetly braided hair.

And of course, there’s the opposing player to the perfect rockin’ Pinterest-type mom. That’s the mom who doesn’t give a damn if her kid doesn’t have lunch with each food group represented. She’s just happy her kid remembered to bring his lunch box home and it wasn’t left at the lunch table. Dinner? You realize that we just had breakfast and you want me to think about dinner already? No cute outfits here because the teen refuses to wear anything you bought her at the back to school sales and hasn’t styled her hair since she was 10.

How are YOU Rockin’ Back to School Season

Okay, so extremes aside, I think most of us fall somewhere in the middle. You probably have a little bit of both mom-types in you. Maybe you’re awesome with the dinner planning. Or packing precious Bento box school lunches makes your creativity flag fly. I’ve written a post about streamlining the morning school routine myself. (I’ll freely admit that I’m rockin’ the morning routine. No late kids on my shift!)

How can moms REALLY rock back to school season? Here are a few ways I'm taking back "back to" season for myself!

But the post got me thinking, “How can moms really rock this season?” Sure, it’s back to school time for the kiddos. But this season shouldn’t focus on just the kids. How can moms go “back to school”? What can we learn? What can this season do for us? With the return of routine, this is the perfect opportunity to refresh and revise your own routines as well.

Or maybe it’s “back to” something else? Something that’s been lost along the years, while you were cutting bologna sandwiches into stars. Back to work? Back to the side hustle? Back to reading novels before bed? What is something you used to enjoy, something that you need to be doing, that stopped.

And so, on the eve of back to school day, I’m sharing a five ways I’m getting reading for this “back to” season. But first, getting prepped.

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

Prepping for “Back to” Season with New School Supplies – Just for MOM!

When I picked up the kid’s school supplies, I picked up something for myself too. I bought a pretty, colorful binder, clear page protectors and good pens. I’m hiding it all in my desk so nobody will nab it (because all the good pens seem to disappear!)

I skipped the store and ordered directly from Target online. And really, any time I can shop online and not have to take all four hooligans into the store with me, the better! Plus Target price matched in store and gave me the lowest price automatically. I loved just being able to pick up my stocked bags at the front desk and be on my way.

How can moms REALLY rock back to school season? Here are a few ways I'm taking back "back to" season for myself!

I’ve found a few practical printables and added them to my folder. My “back to” season includes keeping better track of my ME time. Because if I don’t take care of myself, I’m not going to be any good for anyone else. What are 5 things you’ll dropped that you’d like to pick back up this season. Here are mine:

1. Back to an Exercise Routine

I’m not saying I didn’t exercise this summer, but I certainly tossed my routine out the window as soon as the kids were out of school. I have goals and this time next year, I plan to have smashed those goals. Honestly the only way I’m going to do that is with regular, challenging exercise. Writing things down and sticking to the routine is important. So while my teens will be running the track at school PE, I’ll be working out at the gym or at home during the baby’s nap time.

Shared from Printable Crush on Pinterest (click to Pin)

2. Back to a Bedtime Routine

Kids have their bedtime…and so should I! My husband has been working nights this summer, which has meant I’ve been staying up later than usual to work. 2:00 am is okay when I can sleep in a bit. But not so great when the school day alarm goes off at 6 am. I know that I feel better, am in a better mood and am more likely to eat healthy and exercise when I’m well rested. I need to get to bed no later than 11 pm (the dark circles under my eyes told me so).

3. Back to Budgeting (Time and Money)

While my kids are budgeting their time to complete projects, I’m doing the same. I find that I do much better with getting my “to-do” list done when I write it all out and check off things as they are completed.

We had some fun day trips this summer but now it’s time to tighten the purse strings. I have two kids with birthdays and of course the holiday season to look forward to this year. Time to revisit the budgeting plan and get serious about savings.

From Chasing Foxes on Pinterest (Click to Pin)

4. Back to Healthy Eating

A friend cut cheese out of her diet this year and her skin cleared up. I’ve been breaking out and wondering if dairy could be the issue? But then, “No pizza?! No nachos?!” Another friend eliminated carbs. Again, “No pizza?!” No nachos?!” Can you tell what I’ve been surviving on all summer?

I’m going to start my food diary. I’ve done this in the past, logging everything I eat. I’ve been able to see exactly where I’m going wrong (too many late afternoon snacks) and what foods are giving me trouble.

I’m also getting back in to meal planning. I hate that last minute scramble for dinner that usually means nachos! I want to make sure I’m feeding my family healthy and well-balanced meals. Meal planning and conscious grocery shopping will help.

Shared from I Heart Planners on Pinterest (Click to Pin)

5. Back to Quiet Time with Meditation and Prayer

10 minutes a day. That is seriously not that much time to etch out but I always seem to forget until right before I fall into bed, exhausted. I’m adding prayer to my calendar this season. It’s important. It’s necessary. And it keeps me on track for all the other things I’m working on.

What are 5 “back to” things you’d like to incorporate this season? Share, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

How can moms REALLY rock back to school season? Here are a few ways I'm taking back "back to" season for myself!

Cultivating Peace and Relaxation With a Portable Home Sanctuary

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

One of the things that I’m incorporating into my life is more peace. Simply put, I’m too tired to be putting up with constant drama or negativity. I just want peace. It’s a little change that makes a big difference! With four kids at home, quiet time can be hard to carve out. I take “me time” when I can get it! One day I might find myself alone on the back patio. Sometimes I have to wait until everyone is in bed and I take up space in the living room. Another day, I’ve locked myself in the bathroom, leaving the chaos outside the door! I’m creating a relaxing home sanctuary, where ever I can. Because it’s good for me (and you!) to fit in peace, calm and meditation into daily life.

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Creating a Portable Home Sanctuary

As much as I’d love to have a dedicated peaceful resting place, space is limited. A room all to myself, what a dream! For now I make do with my portable home sanctuary. I’ve collected a few special things into one container that I can tote with me wherever I need to unwind. I have a medium sized wire basket that I use for my sanctuary items. I can easily pick up my home sanctuary and move it wherever I’d like and all of my special things are contained in one place.

Collecting Special Items for Your Home Sanctuary

When filling your home sanctuary box, consider these:

  • What are the items that bring you the most joy?
  • What brings you peace when you’re alone with your thoughts?
  • What items best help you relax?
  • What things represent “you”?

Think about the five senses when collecting your items. How can smell, sight, taste, touch and sounds completely motivate and take away your stress? Here are a few ideas when building your portable home sanctuary.

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Scent:

Enveloping yourself in a scent can truly transport you into a calm mood. I have  Nº 1 Enraptured™ PlugIns® Scented Oil from The Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Home Fragrance by Glade® placed around my house. So even when I can’t get to my sanctuary, I’m still able to breath in the jasmine, lady apples and sweetheart rose petals with the base of cedarwood. It really does soothe my spirit to catch the scent throughout the day.

World-renown fragrance designer Ann Gottlieb has layered the artisanal scents specifically for this product line. I was delighted to find such upscale fragrances at my local Kroger store, Food 4 Less (keep reading for a special offer!)

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I’ve included a N°3 Free Jar Candle, 4.2 oz. in my sanctuary box. This relaxing scent of starfruit, beach woods and coconut reminds me of the soothing sound of waves. Of a tropical drink and my toes in the sand. Ahhh… I light the candle, close my eyes and I’m already there on the beach. No matter that I’m sitting in my living room. This scent takes away all the stress and starts off my peaceful sanctuary time perfectly.

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

Sight:

Why do parents need rejuvenating “me time”? Having the time to relax means we can be more well-rested, more patient and more flexible for our children. I like a small reminder of why I’m taking time out for myself. A picture of my kids is a nice addition to my home sanctuary.

My quiet time often comes in small snippets. This means I don’t always have the time for an in-depth novel. An uplifting parenting book, poems or the Bible are my go-to when I want something to read.

Taste:

Oh yes, most definitely a favorite indulgence can help me unwind! Something special to eat or drink is a must. I included amazing oatmeal cookies but sometimes it’s a glass of fresh squeezed juice on ice or some chocolate. During my peaceful time, I make sure to really taste each bite and not gobble my treat up too quickly. If I’m having “me time” I don’t have to share and I don’t have to eat it fast, so I can appreciate each nibble.

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

Touch:

When I’m worried about something in particular, having a treasure to touch and meditate with can help ease my stress. Add a polished stone, beach shell or gemstone into your home sanctuary box. I have a shell with a carved detail that my dad bought for my mom many years ago, so it holds special memories for me.

Journaling is an important way for me to relax. I can feel my breathing slow as I write down my thoughts and turn each page. Choose a pretty hard-bound book that you reserve only for sanctuary time. A pen that feels good in your hand is essential too.

If you opt for a larger home sanctuary box, you could include a cuddly soft scarf or blanket to wrap around your shoulders.

Sound:

What are the sounds that bring you happiness? Perhaps it’s background music that you have playing while you read? Maybe calming chimes or bells that you ring when entering your peaceful zone. Or maybe it’s inspirational songs that you can close your eyes and sing along with.

Choosing the Right Container

This wire basket cost me only a few dollars and is roomy enough to hold my sanctuary essentials.

Other inexpensive and creative ideas could include:

  • Cardboard photo box
  • Wooden tray or crate that you can paint and decorate yourself
  • Pretty glass tray
  • Wicker basket

Find a container, box or tray that will neatly hold all of your home sanctuary supplies. The idea is that you can store it somewhere so it’s already loaded with what you need. And it should be easy to get to and mobile for moving around your home.

I keep my basket hidden in my closet where I can grab it when it need it but it’s out of sight for everyone else. I love the idea of being able to pull out my sanctuary box so I can indulge in some peaceful time, wherever that is!

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What will you add to your home sanctuary?

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Back to School Snacks on the Go from SunRype *GIVEAWAY*

My kindergartner is a snack fiend. Seriously I have to hide the school snacks or he’d be helping himself to them all day long. And you know how that goes; then the kid doesn’t want to eat his dinner! We’ve taken to limiting the purchase of pre-packaged snacks in the home because he’ll eat them all up so quickly.
However I do like to have snacks with me on hand to take on-to-go. Fruit and veggies are ideal, but not always practical. My kids won’t eat a bruised up apple and fresh strawberries are best when chilled.
SunRype back to school snacks make eating fruits and veggies on the go easy and delicious with their 100% fruit snacks that are preservative and gluten free
We recently received samples of SunRype Fruit to Go. These are 100% fruit strip snacks, which I love. My first choice for snacks isn’t something heavily processed or that adds a bunch of ingredients I can’t pronounce. No added processed sugar here, just natural ingredients and no preservatives.
SunRype Fruit to Go are perfect for the back-to-school lunch box because they are also vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and peanut-free. Even my husband packs them in his lunch box (and he’s very particular about his food!)
SunRype back to school snacks make eating fruits and veggies on the go easy and delicious with their 100% fruit snacks that are preservative and gluten free
I received complimentary samples in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post includes affiliate links. Clicking and purchasing through the links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!
We tried both SunRype Fruit to Go in Apple Strawberry and Apple Strawberry Watermelon Flavors. They have a pleasant, fresh and flavorful taste. Not overly sweet and no aftertaste. And at only 50 calories, this little snack isn’t ruining anyone’s dinner!
SunRype back to school snacks make eating fruits and veggies on the go easy and delicious with their 100% fruit snacks that are preservative and gluten free
SunRype also offers a 100% fruit and vegetable bar called FruitSource. In flavors like Apple Mango Strawberry Carrot, I’m excited to try those next time! These make for the perfect school snack.

SunRype is available in the produce department at most grocers next to the fruits and vegetables. It is also available from Amazon. (SunRype Apple Strawberry Fruit to Go 100% Fruit Strip Snacks and SunRype Apple Mango Strawberry Carrot Fruitsource 100% Fruit Bar)

 

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY or enter on the SunRypeUSA Facebook page.


WEEKLY PRIZE PACK DRAWING/PRIZE DETAILS:
From July 24 – August 28th, 2017 from the current entries received at the time of the drawing, the sponsor will be selecting at random two (2) winners each week (“Weekly Winner(s)”) beginning on Monday, July 31st, 2017 to win a prize package consisting of:

o   **A Blu-ray of “The Lion King” valued at SRP $39.99USD **Not Available Until August 29th, 2017

o   $50 Pre-loaded Credit Card

o   The Lion King BackPack – Suggested Retail Value $50

o   1 Case Of SunRype Product – SunRype Fruit To Go Strips/ FruitSource Fruit Bars Valued at approximately  $20-$25 USD) 

Prize packages collectively have an approximate retail value of $160-165.00 USD each.  There are a total of 10 of these weekly prize packages available to be won and the last drawing will be done on Tuesday, August 29th, 2017.  Entries will be carried over from one week to the next, however any one (1) person is only eligible to win one (1) prize throughout the entire Promotion period.

Preparing Your Child for the First Day of Kindergarten

My 5 year old starts kindergarten in less than two weeks (cue Mom’s tears!) He’s crazy excited about school so that makes preparing him for kindergarten sort of easy. Not all kids are like that though – My eldest was terribly nervous and anxious about his first day of kindergarten. Getting kids ready to learn, choosing at-home school supplies and even cute photo ops can add to the excitement. Here are a few ways to prepare your child for the first day of kindergarten!

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

1. “Play” School at Home

If your child has never been to school before the entire concept may be daunting and confusing. Outline what will happen throughout the day. Describe terms they might not know like work study, arts and crafts, recess, lunch period, quiet time and free play. Role play can help kids know what to expect and ease the jitters.

Home workbooks like these can get your kinder kid prepared for what they might be seeing from their teacher during school. (BIG Kindergarten Workbook and Reading & Math Jumbo Workbook: Grade K)

   

2. Read Books Together

Story time is a big deal in kindergarten! And of course you already know that about 30 minutes of reading each night is ideal to develop reading skills in kids.

These are two favorite books I know about the first day of school. They are sure to put a smile on the face of your nervous kindergartner. These books are must-haves! (The Kissing Hand and First Day Jitters)

   

3. Make Learning Fun

Teaching basics like letter recognition and how to properly hold a pencil will start kids off on the right foot. Supply your kindergartner with a few of these items to practice learning at home first. (Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Alphabet Activity Book and Gaobei Pencil Grip for Children)

4. Wait for a Supply List Before Making Big Purchases

I know that the kindergartners in my school district don’t use backpacks. Kids carry open-topped buckets to hold their over-sized paperwork. So I won’t be making a backpack purchase for my kindergartner this year.

That’s my son on the left with his LL Bean backpack in 3rd grade. He’s still using it in 8th grade!

However if you do need a backpack, I highly recommend L.L.Bean. I bought my eldest son his backpack from L.L.Bean when he entered 3rd grade. He’s starting 8th grade this year…with the same backpack! And it’s still in great condition (no wear, no tears and the zippers work perfectly).

LL Bean Backpack (same one I bought my son 5 years ago!)

Before you run out and stock up on pencils and crayons, wait for a supply list from your child’s teacher. Or consider buying a few small items to have at home to get your child in the “back to school mood”.


5. Teach and Practice Basic Manners at Home

“Please” and “Thank You” goes a long way. So does sharing, friendship and being a good friend. Practice with gentle reminders at home. A few good books can help to reinforce what you’re teaching. (365 Manners Kids Should Know: Games, Activities, and Other Fun Ways to Help Children and Teens Learn Etiquette and Say Please, Little Owlet)

   

6. Pick Out a Special First Day Outfit

My kids love having something special to wear on the first day of school. And I always shop Gymboree because the quality and pricing is fantastic. The clothes are durable and so cute too (perfect for picture day!)

At prices like these, you can easily stock up for the entire first month of school! (PS: These are all images of clothing that I’ve recently purchased for my own kids!)

If you’ve never ordered before, here’s a special link that will get you 25% OFF Gymboree with your first order!

Make the First Day Special

Now that you’ve taken care of preparing your kindergartner for the first day of school, here are a few more ideas to help make the first day really special!

7. Plan a Fun First Day Breakfast

Put away the cold cereal for the first day and give the kids something fun and filling! A Mickey waffle would surely put a smile on their face for back-to-school. And Amazon even sells Golden Malted waffle mix, the same kind used in the Disney parks! (Disney Classic Mickey Waffle Maker and Golden Malted Pancake & Waffle Flour)

8. The Obligatory First Day of School Photo

I love the idea of taking first day of school photos in the same place each year, just to compare growth from year to year. I try to pose my kids against the cute white fence at my mom’s house each year. From left to right, this is my son at kindergarten, first, third, fourth and fifth grade.

      

Another sweet memory is capturing your kindergartner exploring their classroom for the first time. I grabbed this shot when my eldest son sat down to look at picture books in his new class.

9. Write Down First Day Thoughts in a School Memory Book

You’ll look back fondly on these sweet memories! Having a dedicated school memory book keeps cute memories, photos and special awards and photos in one spot. My 13 year old son has the book mentioned here. I love looking back at it on the first day of school each year, remembering that adorable kid with missing front teeth! (School Years: A Family Keepsake of School Memories)


For more on this really awesome topic,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


These practical back-to-school preparation tips will help ease your kinder kid into the first day of kindergarten.

Little Ways Moms Can Make Big Differences in Their Health

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

In a few weeks I’m going to be celebrating my 44th birthday. Celebrating? Yes! There are definitely times when I’m the oldest mom with her kids on the playground (and I have the creaky back to prove it!) So I might be older but what I don’t want is to feel old. I want to wake up with the energy everyday that I need to parent my four kids. I’m making little changes NOW that are going to make a big difference. It’s the “snowball effect”. One little change begets another on my way to a healthier life.

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

Out for a walk, moving more and sitting less!

Moving More. Sitting Less

As a writer, I’ll admit that I tend to sit more than I should! One of my goals is to be moving more and sitting less.

  • Stand when doing household chores. I stand when folding laundry and sorting socks.
  • If you have trouble remembering to move, set your phone alarm to remind you. Even a 20 minute walk or an impromptu dance party helps!
  • Can you walk instead of driving? Work in walking to the library or the store as part of your exercise for the day.

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

Portion Control

When I’m busy with my kids there are times when I forget to eat. Unfortunately that means the next time I sit down to eat, I’m ravenous and tend to overeat. And of course there are many side effects to overeating, from feeling bloated to weight gain.

  • Eat off of a smaller plate to trick your mind into thinking you have more food.
  • Take a look at proper serving sizes. Use a measuring cup to get an idea of sizing.
  • Serve food in the kitchen and don’t return for seconds.
  • Add twice as many vegetables as anything else on my plate.

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

Listening to My Body

Stopping and really listening to my body throughout the day helps keep me in check.

  • Is my throat dry? I’m probably not drinking enough water.
  • Am I stiff? Maybe I need to run through some stretches.
  • Am I really hungry? Then why am I opening the fridge again?
  • Am I tired? Why am I forcing myself to stay awake! I should get to bed earlier.

Taking a Daily Probiotic

Taking a daily probiotic is definitely one of those things that helps me to balance my gut health. I feel so much better when I’m taking one. And when I’m feeling better, I’m more motivated to make good choices. That’s the snowball effect of good, healthy choices. And for me, I start with Nature Made® Digestive Probiotics Adult Gummies.

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

 

Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that exists naturally in cultured or fermented foods (like yogurt and certain cheeses). Probiotics offer benefits for your digestive system by pushing out unwanted organisms. This allows more of the “good” bacteria to be present in your gut. And “good’ bacteria can help you feel better (remember the “snowball effect”? It’s real!)

I picked up Nature Made® Digestive Probiotics Adult Gummies at my local Walmart. As directed, I take two a day. I appreciate that Nature Made® is produced to the highest quality standards to ensure purity and safety.

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

Nature Made® Digestive Probiotics Adult Gummies have dual action probiotics plus energyǂ† B12 (ǂVitamin B12 supports cellular energy production.† †These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.)

And let’s be honest. Chewing an adult gummie is FUN! I look forward to taking my Nature Made® Probiotics Gummies, it’s like a little treat just for me!

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

In what little ways are you making a difference in your health? Is a probiotic part of your daily routine?

From moving more, portion control and taking a daily probiotic, these are a few little things that moms do that make a big difference in their health. #ad #NatureMadeProbiotics

What’s New, What’s Returning and What’s Coming To Disneyland?

So much exciting news has been developing at the Disneyland Resort this summer! From the Marvel-inspired Summer of Heroes, new and updated rides and attractions, the release of MaxPass and the building anticipation of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there’s tons to explore! Find out what’s new, what’s returning and what’s coming to Disneyland Parks.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

I received complimentary Park Hopper tickets and MaxPass for myself and my children to attend a Family Media Day event at Disneyland. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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

#SummerofHeroes

As you enter Disney California Adventure Park, you can’t miss the huge Marvel-style signage above the entrance. It’s the Summer of Heroes at Disneyland and there are several new things going on in the Parks. Some of these events will be ending when Halloween Time arrives. Other attractions are here to stay!

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

Entrance to Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure park for Summer of Heroes event.

Check out this video from Disney Parks Blog that outlines what’s happening at Disney California Adventure park for the Summer of Heroes event:

Super Hero-Style Dining

There are some super bites for guests to enjoy representative of Summer of Heroes! I’m mean, how cool is that Groot Bread! I had the chance to try several dishes. The yummy Obviously Nachos are made with fried blue corn tortillas and topped with red pepper cheese sauce, mojo-marinated chicken, chipotle crèma and green onions. Multiverse Parfait was rich and delicious (Chocolate cake layered with white and dark chocolate mousse and cherry jelly, topped with chocolate ganache).

Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT

The jewel of the Summer of Heroes is the most grand attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT. This ride opened to guests earlier this summer. While my three kids rode, I stayed behind with the baby. I thought since this new ride had previously been The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror there might be some similarities. As my eldest explained, “It’s nothing like The Tower of Terror!” I’m looking forward to visiting again soon so I can ride and see for myself!

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT attraction remade over the Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure Park.

MaxPass

I’ll admit that I was a little fuzzy on the details of MaxPass up to our recent visit. This new feature had debuted about a week before my trip and I’d not done much research. Fortunately it’s a very easy program to use and saved us immense amounts of time!

Here’s an outline video from the Disney Parks Blog on how MaxPass works:

A few of my own thoughts about MaxPass. At a cost of $10 per ticket, per day (along with unlimited PhotoPass downloads) I found this to be a good value. My family and I were able to experience 24 rides on our single day visit (over the course of 13 hours). This was on a summer Saturday in July!

While we were leaving one attraction, I was able to arrange a MaxPass reservation for our next ride. I appreciated being able to access the app to see which times were available next. This allowed me to pick and choose the next available time for an attraction that was nearby. This allowed us to maximize time and eliminated unnecessary running around.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

I also liked that I could quickly scan all available open MaxPass and pick and choose which attraction I wanted. This meant I didn’t have to physically go to the attraction to see the return time before choosing that reservation.

I even found that I was able to hold several MaxPass at the same time, something that didn’t happen for me when using the old FastPass system.

MaxPass Tips!

  • Start the day with a fully charged mobile device battery and bring an external charger as well. Using MaxPass all day really drains the battery! I brought my external charger and even after a full charge, my phone battery still died before the end of the night.
  • Before “locking in” on a MaxPass reservation, scroll through all the available options. Some attractions had several hour waits before we’d have been able to redeem our MaxPass reservation. Other times we were able to find some attractions with only a 5 minute wait!
  • MaxPass works between the Parks. This means you can book a Disneyland Parks MaxPass even while at Disney California Adventure. This was an awesome feature, being able to book a reservation for the opposite Park just before Park Hopping!
  • FASTPASS tickets that are printed are only your reminder of the return time. With MaxPass you won’t be printing anything so you’ll need to view your return time on your mobile device.
  • You can use either your Park tickets or your mobile device as the proof of your reservation. I used my Park tickets each time (simply to save phone battery). This meant I was pulling my tickets out to show them to Cast Members over and over throughout the day. I can see how easily this would mean losing them (in fact, my daughter DID lose her ticket, about an hour before closing). Keep your tickets in a safe place. I’d recommend a water proof lanyard.

I feel that MaxPass truly did maximize our visit and streamlined our time spent in queue. We never spent longer than 20 minutes in any one line all day, even for the E-Ticket rides like Radiator Springs Racers, Space Mountain and Guardians of the Galaxy. Here is my video review of how MaxPass worked for my family:

New FASTPASS Opportunities

Two new FASTPASS locations means that lines will be moving more swiftly! For the first time guests can book a FASTPASS for Toy Story Midway Mania and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. These two attractions are also available on the MaxPass system. FASTPASS continues to be complimentary to any ticket holders for the duration of your visit. MaxPass costs $10 per ticket, per day.

Another change is that the FASTPASS ticket that is printed is only a reminder of the time. You’ll need your actual Park ticket to redeem the reservation. The only exceptions are for special shows like Fantasmic! and World of Color, as you’ll still need the actual FASTPASS ticket to redeem when arriving for your reserved time.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

Paper FASTPASS is only a reminder. You’ll need your park ticket to redeem FASTPASS.

 

Rivers of America

The Rivers of America re-routing and Railroad track construction is complete. This means that the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes are back on the water! And Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island has reopened as well.

Here is a video from Disney Parks Blog that celebrates their return.

Disneyland Railroad

After being closed for a year, the Disneyland Railroad reopened on the day of our visit (July 29th, 2017). Several elevated trestles have been installed along the tracks and for the first time the train makes a left turn along the route.

What's new & what's coming to Dis

This new view of the Mark Twain is taken from atop the bridge for the Disneyland Railroad

With the Railroad reopening another often-forgotten attraction has been rejuvenated as well. Just after leaving the Tomorrowland Station, the train enters The Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas. This attraction has always been one of my favorites and the new updates don’t disappoint! The dioramas look refreshed and have been updated with projections that add even more interest to the dramatic scenes.

Entrance to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

With the reopening of the pathway between Frontierland and Fantasyland, guests can now access the path that will lead to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Though this new Land won’t be opening until 2019, the excitement is already building for what will be an amazing new addition to Disneyland Park.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

This is to be the entrance to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The pathway leads under a new bridge for the Disneyland Railroad.

Here’s a “fly-through” of the model that will be Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge from the Disney Parks Blog:

Red Rose Taverne

This new restaurant opened to guests earlier this year, in celebration of the feature film Beauty and the Beast. The Village Haus Restaurant in Fantasyland has been transformed into a French chateau, the Red Rose Taverne.

I dined on the Beast’s Burger, which was over-the-top yummy. A Gray Stuff Gateau (white chocolate mousse and red velvet cake with a sweet raspberry center) is offered here for dessert. We’ve heard mixed reviews so we skipped it this time.

This restaurant is being called a “limited time offering” but it’s still going strong several months later and I’m not sure when it will be ending.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

Fantasmic!

This long-running nighttime spectacular returned to Disneyland Park mid-June with updated technology. Guests who wish to watch Fantasmic! should grab a FastPass early in the day. This will allow you entrance into a reserved viewing area (you are unable to watch the show with this ticket).

There is a Fantasmic! Dining Package available, which offers you a meal along with that reserved FastPass ticket. Choose from Blue Bayou, River Belle Terrace or Hungry Bear Restaurant. The dishes look delicious and the desserts are even more amazing.

(Image: Disney Parks Blog)

Check out this Sorcerer Mickey “Fantasmic!” Dessert, with milk chocolate mousse, bananas foster sauce, milk chocolate pound cake and a chocolate glaze…wow!!!

Here’s a sneak peek video of Fantasmic! from Disney Parks Blog:

Save money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount Disneyland 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). 

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!