“I Used To…”

I used to paint. I painted elaborate designs on cute denim overalls for kids. I painted detailed wooden purses, including tiny wooden beads for the handles. I used to watercolor paint. And sketch and draw pictures. And I used to take art classes.

I used to dance. I took every dance class at the junior college, performing in their annual stage production. I took ballet, pointe, stretching, jazz, tap, modern, I took it all. I probably danced in classes 20 hours a week. And then I’d go out at night with my friends and dance in the clubs.

I used to go out with friends. As long as someone called me before 10:30 pm, I was game to hang-out, whether it be clubbing, bonfires at the beach, drinks and nachos or even just watching TV at a friend’s house. I’d stay out till 3 am and still get up at 6 am for class the next day.

I used to stay up late and get up early. Well, to be honest, I still do that but the intention is different now. I get the early wake up call either by the baby or by my alarm clock. And I stay up late because after everyone else is in bed, the wee hours are the only time I have to myself.

I Used To

There’s are emotions in me to feel sad and reminiscent about my “former life”. To daydream about when I used to have boundless energy. To wish for the days when I used to have endless amounts of time for family, friends and just to hang out. To look back fondly on when I used to be able to do whatever I wanted without having to worry about repercussions of missed naps, excess weight from late night snacks, or an overabundance of wrinkles because I went to bed with my make-up on.

It’s far too easy to slip down that rabbit hole. To call up those fond feelings and and reflections of youth. Now, let me be clear, I’m not afraid of aging. With age comes wisdom and a few gray hairs and wrinkles don’t scare me. But the “I used to” has been getting under my skin lately. I feel like all the things that I love to do are stifled in the curse of time.

This photo is only a year old but looking at it so much has changed!

The Real Me

I truly feel that I’ve had to put the REAL ME on the back burner for so many years. I think there are a lot of people in my life who don’t even know the real, creative me because I haven’t done the things I love in so long! The real me that likes going to parties (and I don’t mean dropping my kid off at yet-another classmate’s house). The real me that likes spending hours behind the sewing machine creating something fabulous (and I don’t mean the forced construction like “The hem of my pants needs to be taken up, honey”). The real me that would love to pick out a half dozen packages of candy and park at the drive-in to watch movies all night.

The real me that doesn’t want to have to worry about whether diapers need to be changed, if it’s time for the boy to get another haircut or if the sheets need to be washed. The real me doesn’t want to be jumping out of bed when she realizes the dishwasher didn’t get started. The real me just wants to be on vacation, sleeping in a comfy hotel bed with a full night of uninterrupted rest and a day of adventure ahead. Don’t we all?

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

As the mom of teenagers, I’m all too aware of how quickly the time slips by. “What the hell, where’d my baby go?”, I think to myself when my teenager stands next to me and he’s now several inches taller. Even with the baby, as she’s gaining more independence I realize that babies don’t stay helpless for very long. She’s feeding herself with a fork, chattering to herself as she climbs into a chair with a book and requests from me a snack. This is just a season, I remind myself. Seasons come. Seasons go. The things I used to do will return. Or maybe not.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

What If This Moment IS the Real Me?

In my lost-ness of losing out on the things I used to do, I’m brought back to the feeling of, “What if THIS is really it?” What if making sure that the kindergartner is wearing underpants before he goes to school is really what I’m meant to be doing right now? Perhaps the real me should accept the blessings that I’m currently supposed to be meal planning, folding laundry and complying to multiple snack requests.

Should I be agonizing over missed opportunities because I have to be home by 8 pm to rock and nurse the baby to sleep? I have a new awareness after praying about it with this verse that this IS my season. Sitting in a dark room at 3 am with a teething fussy little one is my current calling. The time will pass, just like seasons do. It’s in turning my perspective a little. I’m not denying the real me at all by not doing what I used to do. I’m expanding, stretching and delighting in what I GET to do NOW!


There are certainly some things I used to do that I have no desire to revisit. I don’t even need to rehash them, but “I used to” do plenty of things I’ll never do again. And the things I’m doing now will soon be things “I used to” do.

In a few months, I’ll say, “I used to nurse my baby but now she’s weaned”. And in a few years, I’ll say, “I used to read her a bedtime story, but now she’s reading to me!” And in a decade, I’ll say, “I used to get so tense with the chaos of four kids in the house, but now that the older two have moved out, I sort of miss the craziness”.

Or maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll love the extra time that change brings. Maybe I’ll return back to the the things I used to do. Or maybe I’ll find new things to learn and all of what I’ve been yearning for will truly just be things I used to do.

And as I answered the nap time cries of my toddler literally four times while trying to complete this post, I sat, un-rushed with her in my arms. I brushed my lips across her cheek in a comforting kiss. Ran my fingers through her tangled curls. Held her until she relaxed. This is the real me. This is my season. And soon, it will only be something I used to do.

Teach Yourself Something New – What to Learn & How to Do It

I’m a learner. A figure-it-out-er. Not a school textbook kind of learner (sorry, Math!) but a hands-on, “I want to know how to do that” sort of gal. I believe it’s never too late in life to learn something new. And teaching yourself something new gives you the biggest emotional boost you can imagine!  You didn’t used to be able to do it but you took the time to teach yourself and NOW YOU CAN DO IT! Showing your kids you can teach yourself something is also a wonderful example for your children. Let’s talk about learning new things and how to go about teaching yourself something new.

Parts of this post originally appeared on my blog Painted Butterfly Studio in February 2012. Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Still Learning After All these Years

When I was about 7, the only bike I had access to was my dad’s rusty old bike from when he was a kid. It was a sturdy pink girl’s beach cruiser and Dad had used it to deliver newspapers. As the oldest of 8 kids, I’m sure he didn’t even care that it was pink, he had a bike!

And I didn’t care that it was rusty, had flat tires and weighed about 50 lbs. I had a bike!

I taught myself how to ride it in the backyard. I would lean the bike against the fence, climb up and perhaps get one or two pedals before I’d fall off. The bike was so large that I couldn’t actually sit on the cushion and reach the pedals at the same time. So I had to pedal standing up (I’m sure I had thighs like steel back then!).

I spent a full summer in the backyard, practicing on that old bike with the flat tires on the grass. Occasionally I’d call my mom outside to watch me.

For Christmas that year, I got my first new bike! It was beautiful. I remember that it was blue and had streamers from the handles. And a banana-seat! That morning my Dad was going to put the bikes in the trunk of the car and he said he would teach us how to ride them that afternoon at my aunt’s house.

“Dad, let me try and ride! I just know I can do it.”

He was hesitant. I remember my mom chimed in and said that I’d been practicing on his old bike in the backyard for months.

I swung my leg over the bike and took off pedaling. I remember how fast the bike was and how easy it was to pedal. After months of being on flat tires, this was it…I was riding!!

As I rode back towards my Dad, I remember his smile and how proud he looked. I’d done it. I’d put my mind to it and I’d taught myself, without anyone’s help. And that thought has carried with me my whole life.

What's the one thing you've always wished you could do? Here are practical tips & ideas on how to teach yourself anything!

Riding through the forest in the Czech Republic. Terrifying but glad I was able to do it!

Teaching Myself What I Want to Learn

When I wanted to learn how to knit, I got a pair of needles, some yarn and a book from the library and I taught myself. It was hard, especially because I’m a lefty and the book showed it from the right side. I had to reverse the directions in my head but I know how to knit a scarf!

When I want to try a new recipe, I buy the ingredients and I make it.  I took sewing lessons in high school to learn the basics. When I want to make an outfit, I tweak a little here and there on the pattern and I make it my own.

Practical Ways to Save Money on Groceries and Still Eat Healthy

As an adult and as a mom, I’m still learning, yes. And I hope that I’ll forever be learning. I know that there are tons of other things that I’d love to know how to do (play piano, bake bread from scratch and plant a garden). And I have many years ahead to learn them. NOTE  When I originally wrote this post in 2012, I’d written that I wanted to learn how to bake bread from scratch. I’m happy to note that I’ve since learned how to do this!

It’s just the start for my kids. I want to foster in them that they can be their own best teacher. That with determination, anything is possible. And I’m hoping that these little moments (like learning how to ride a bike) are the turning points in their life that it was in mine.­­­­­­­­

Teach Yourself Something New – What to Learn & How to Do It

Is there something you always wanted to learn? This is the time! Here are a handful of ideas on things you can learn NOW and tips on how to do it.

  • Playing the piano. If you don’t have a piano at home, start with a keyboard. There are online lessons or DVDs to watch that will teach you. Or if you need one-on-one, find a local piano teacher who can help you start with the basics.
  • As a seamstress, I hear from friends all the time that they wish they could sew. That’s easy – buy a simple sewing machine, some fabric and practice! There are plenty of simple, straight edged patterns you can follow (like pillowcases, tablecloth, elastic waist skirt or a blanket).

  • How to do a cartwheel. Or any gymnastics skill. Sorry to break it to you but as an adult, you’re more prone to injury if you aren’t already in tip-top shape.  I’m a tumbling teacher (I’ve been teaching at a local rec center for 20 years). You don’t want to just throw yourself around the living room or on the grass at the park to learn a tumbling maneuver. Your best bet is a local gymnastics school or YMCA that offers specific classes geared to adults.
  • Want to take beautiful photographs? You don’t even need the fanciest camera, just a few handy tips about lighting can help make a big difference. Find a book (I bought Digital SLR Cameras and Photography For Dummies)
  • Auto mechanic basics can not only save money, they come in handy during an emergency. At the least learning how to change a tire is a great thing!
  • I taught myself how to braid my own hair in high school but had a trickier time when it came to braiding my daughter’s! There are some really cool books and online videos with hair styling ideas.

  • Learning a new language can open up a whole new world! I’ve never been able to grasp languages myself but I had a friend who wanted to learn Italian so she took a class at a local community college.
  • Is there a kitchen skill you’ve always wanted to learn? There are so many fun cooking classes available that will teach basics like efficiently chopping onions! And of course a helpful cook book will help you expand your horizons and help you get creative.
  • Looking for enlightenment? Consider a Bible study at your local church, a small group discussion or find topics online that will help strengthen your spirit.
  • Always wanted to be an artist? If you make art, then you’re an artist! So grab a few supplies and start creating what comes to you. No need to obsess about perfection, just draw, paint or create what makes you happy (and don’t get wrapped up in Pinterest or a so-called “fail”!)

How to Learn

  • Ask around. Chances are you want to learn something and someone you know already knows how to do it. Perhaps you can trade skills?
  • The library is a great resource for books. They also sometimes conduct free classes.
  • Community college. If you can’t take a full course, many schools have weekend “crash” courses for a nominal fee.
  • YouTube and Google. The internet is your teacher. Type it in and you’re sure to find a tutorial or video.

What’s the one thing YOU’VE always wanted to learn? Share with me in the comments!

What's the one thing you've always wished you could do? Here are practical tips & ideas on how to teach yourself anything!

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!

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

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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

Mom’s Disney Packing List – FREE Printable!

As the main packer for my entire family when we vacation, it’s easy to forget my own things! While I’ve carefully coordinated the kids outfits in zip bags I tend to forget that I need to pack for myself and end up tossing things in the suitcase willy-nilly at the last moment (yes, I’ve forgotten my pajamas and my toothbrush before!) I created this free printable packing list so Mom can quickly remember all she’ll need for a Disney trip. I’ve got your Disneyland packing list and what to bring to the Disney World parks! Here are a few tips before you stuff your suitcase (keep reading for the free Disney packing list for mom printable).

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

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

Day Bag

I love using a crossbody bag like my Baggallini Everything Travel Crossbody Bag when I’m at Disney. You’ll have everything you need handy and be hands-free. You’d be surprised what you can fit inside one of these compact purses. In addition to your usual wallet, pack your bag with a few things you’ll need for the day. I bring lip balm with an SPF, a small nail file and hand sanitizer.

I dole out a squirt of hand sanitizer to each person in my family after each ride when we can’t get to the bathroom to properly wash our hands. If you have a baby and diaper bag, you probably have baby wipes. I recommend a small clutch with hand wipes when napkins aren’t enough to clean sticky fingers and faces.

Check the Forecast

Contrary to popular belief it does rain in California and it is occasionally very cold in Florida. Don’t assume that the weather will be in the 70s for your trip: Be sure to take a look at the forecast and pack accordingly.

If the weather is expected to be cool, I like the option of layers. A short sleeve shirt topped with a long sleeved tee. Add a sweatshirt and you can always tie it around your waist if you’re too warm mid-day. A scarf and fleece hat are good options on chilly days. And both are small enough that you can stuff them in a bag if you don’t need them.

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

Me and the boys with my Baggallini Crossbody Bagg

Hot and humid? Leave the layers at home and choose lightweight and breathable fabrics. Pack several shirts for each day so you can bring an extra into the park and change mid-day when you’ve turned into a sweaty mess.

Also, take a look at your outfit head-to-toe before you wear it under the hot sun all day. I bought a lightweight top a few days before my last trip and didn’t realize that it had a keyhole opening in the back. Yes, I applied sunscreen to my shoulders, arms and neck. But not knowing about the keyhole opening, I was left to cook and the result was a very strange sunburn!

Block it Out

Sunscreen at Disney is a no-brainer, but consider the type you’ll need for a day in the Parks. I don’t like the misty spray-on types because the coverage just isn’t great and most of your sunscreen gets blown away in the breeze. For my face, I like a matte sunscreen that’s non-comedogenic otherwise I just feel oily and that dust is just sticking to my face (it probably is).

While we’re on the subject of blocking rays from your skin, let’s discuss blocking the sun from your eyes as well. A pair of comfortable sunglasses is a must. Bring a case or a protective sleeve to put them in when you’re on a ride.

Save Money on Your Disney Vacation!

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Cover Your Head

Nothing like having the sun bake on the top of your head all day to make you grouchy. How about a sunburn on your hairline part? That’s fun the next day, right? Try out several styles of hats pre-trip to find out what will work best for you.

If you plan on riding anything remotely fast, you’ll be taking your hat off and on throughout the day so keep that in mind. If I have a multi-day trip planned, I’ll bring at least two hat options so I can change them out from one day to the next. Baseball hat one day and giant wide-brim sun hat the next!

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

Don’t Forget Your Hair

Bring hair ties. Several of them, because you never know when one will snap or slip off the end of your braid while you’re riding Space Mountain! And bobby pins or something to pin back your bangs. I decided one Disneyland trip to wear my hair down and it was just about the windiest day EVER! My hair was a tangled mess by noon. Pack a small brush in your bag to detangle if you wear your hair down. I love the Wet Brush Squirt Detangler Hair Brush.

My recommendations for keeping hair under control? A ball cap with a ponytail looped through the back and bangs pinned back underneath the brim. Or a big sun hat with your hair in a braid.

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

This was the last time I wore my hair down at Disneyland…it was a tangled mess from the rides and the wind!

Keep It Cool Inside the Disney Parks

Though it does rain quite a bit in Florida it’s also very hot and humid. The general weather at Disneyland parks is on the warm and dry side. Consider also that many of the ride lines will have you waiting in the sun and you’ll be ready to head indoors for A/C by 9 am! Pack a few items in your day pack that will help keep you comfortable. A squirt bottle or misting fan that you can refill at the drinking fountains can be wonderful on a scorching day.

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

We like to bring a travel size shaker of Gold Bond Ultimate Comfort Body Powder. It soaks up excess sweat and helps prevent chafing. A cooling towel that you wet and then shake to chill is just perfect for wrapping around your neck. Something like the Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel really helps to bring down your body temperature (and this works better than wet paper towels from the bathroom!)

Don’t forget a water bottle to stay hydrated. You can request ice water at any counter service restaurant and then pour it into your bottle.

*ahem* Feminine Needs

Did you know that stress can cause your “monthly visit” to start unexpectedly? Even if you’ve checked the calendar and aren’t expecting to start, you might want to pack feminine hygiene products just in case. Disney does sell these items in the bathrooms (about 50 cents each). You can also purchase them at the Baby Care Centers and in some hotel gift shops.

Pack an Alternate

It’s a good idea to bring in a second pair of socks to change into if you get them wet or they’re just sweaty. Or have a pair of waterproof sandals that you can wear on wet rides instead. I like to bring in a second t-shirt with me too so that when I’m sweaty. Or if I spill something on it, I have a fresh shirt to change in to. Though you could always buy one in the gift shop and call it a souvenir (I’ve done that too!)

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

Break In Your Shoes Before Your Trip

Don’t even think about heading to Disney wearing brand new shoes! For the love of all things, break your shoes in before you spend 15 hours wearing them through the parks. And I recommend taking in a second pair to switch into when your feet start to ache. I’d also say you should give your outfits a “trial run” at home. You’d hate to be wearing something that was uncomfortable all day.

For more ideas on what kind of shoes to choose for your Disney vacation, read my post about the Best Shoes For Disney Parks.Pregnant at Disney? Expectant Mom's Complete Disney Packing List of Important Needs

Crocs Womens Women’s A-Leigh Floral Flip Flop (Amazon)

Keep in Touch

A phone charger and cord is a must. Not only do you want to be able to reach others in your group, there are also Disney park apps that will allow you to check wait times and book dining reservations. MaxPass at Disneyland is also accessed via your smart device. So you’ll need to keep it charged. Besides you also want to be able to take pictures and share them to social media throughout the day!

EasyAcc Monster Power Bank (Amazon)

Be Prepared in the Parks

Blisters are a Disney nightmare. Though you can get basic items like bandages at the park First Aid, you should consider adding a few things to your personal first aid kit. I swear by New-Skin Liquid Bandage because it’s waterproof and stays on all day. My Disney parks kit also includes ibuprofen, headache reliever and antacids. Just make sure you store all the meds in a place where little hands won’t get to them (or keep them in child-proof containers).

Things to Do Back at the Hotel

I don’t know about you, but when I’m at the parks I sweat like crazy under the sun. And that means that my bra is usually saturated by the end of the day…yuck! Make sure to pack at least 2 bras to alternate every other day. Bring a sample packet or a travel size bottle filled up with laundry detergent. Give your bra a quick wash in the sink and then hang it to dry so you’ll have a fresh one to wear each day.

Make sure when you’re packing at home to give your bathroom a top to bottom look over.  You don’t miss packing any essential toiletries. You’ll want to remember to bring your make-up remover, hair brush and products, contact lens solution and case, etc. If you prefer to use your own shampoo and soaps pack travel size varieties. They do offer very nice complimentary products at the Disney resorts.

Don’t forget your swimsuit! You won’t need to bring a towel if you’re staying at a Disney resort hotel, they have them at the pool. A pair of flip-flops and a cover-up are a good idea too.

Here’s the FREE PRINTABLE Disney packing list for mom. Click the link to open the Disney packing list PDF –  Mom’s Disney Packing ListDon't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

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Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!