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Celebrate Mother’s Day with a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake #ad

This post is sponsored by Baskin-Robbins in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.

Celebrate Mother's Day with a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake #ad

Growing up, Mother’s Day involved a handmade card for mom, church services, lunch afterwards with my extended family and a Baskin-Robbins ice cream cake at home for dessert! I have distinct memories of my dad taking me with him to the local Baskin-Robbins when I was about 8 years old to choose the ice cream cake for my mom. I remember that it was rectangular shaped and covered with icing flowers. And it had a mint chocolate chip ice cream layer because that was my favorite (I recall him angling for pralines and cream himself!) I’m sure my mom would have been happy with whatever flavor we chose because they are all good!

Celebrate Mother's Day with a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake #ad

Mother’s Day Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake

Baskin-Robbins ice cream cakes elevate dessert to a special level. They’ve been making ice cream since 1945 and have created over 1,300 flavors! Right now Baskin-Robbins is celebrating moms with a lineup of colorful Rosette ice cream cakes that can personalized just for mom. The pink Rosette Cake features a trendy ombre design and has a special message on a white chocolate plaque. For our Mother’s Day gathering, I chose the Elegant Rosette Cake with a cascading bouquet of flowers and personal message. I love the bright colors!

Celebrate Mother's Day with a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake #ad

Both of Baskin-Robbins’ Mother’s Day ice cream cakes can be customized to feature mom’s favorite ice cream and cake flavor combination. They can be pre-ordered in-store or through Baskin-Robbins’ online cake ordering site.

For this design I had my choice of either chocolate or vanilla cake and 16 different ice cream flavors. For our Mother’s Day cake, I chose chocolate cake and OREO® Cookies ‘n Cream, always a favorite! Baskin-Robbins’ has an extensive flavor library, including the May Flavor of the Month, Mom’s Makin’ Cookies™. Mom’s Makin’ Cookies features brown sugar flavored ice cream with chocolate chip cookie pieces, chocolate flavored chips, and a cookie dough batter flavored ribbon…doesn’t that sound decadent?!

Celebrate Mother's Day with a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake #ad

Order Ice Cream Cakes Online

Baskin-Robbins online cake ordering couldn’t be easier! Click the Baskin-Robbins link to browse through the gallery of ice cream cakes. From here you can create your own customizable cake by choosing the size, favorite ice cream and cake flavor combination. There are up to 16 Baskin-Robbins ice cream flavors to choose from (including Mint Chocolate Chip, Jamoca® Almond Fudge or Very Berry Strawberry) and one of two cake varieties, chocolate or vanilla.

Celebrate Mother's Day with a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake #ad
There are also options to add on additional items, including candles, to make your celebration even more special. Online cake orders are available for pick-up on the date you select, with cakes available as soon as 24 hours after the order is placed.

Or Order in Store!

We have a brand new Baskin-Robbins about 2 miles from our house so my little one and I stopped in to place our cake order. There was a book of cake designs and the cake decorator took down my order details. Quick and easy… and since we were there, we just had to get a cone too!

How will you celebrate Mom this Mother’s Day? Consider ordering your Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake today…you know she’ll love it!

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Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Disclosure: I received the Panasonic Lumix ZS60. This is my honest review and no further compensation will be given. All opinions are my own.

The Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

In addition to my Smartphone camera, I have a “nice” camera that I usually take with me on vacation. Yes, the photos are of a higher quality than those I capture with my Smartphone, however the “nice” camera is also really big and heavy! This can be extremely cumbersome when visiting amusement parks because I have a bulky and heavy camera hanging around my neck for the entire day. It also just simply doesn’t take low light photos are well as I’d like.

What Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks?

I’ve been looking online for a more compact camera that will still meet my needs. Something small and lightweight. A camera that will still capture tack sharp images. A camera that would still catch the shot even in low light. And of course, it had to stay within a reasonable budget. All my research pointed me to the Panasonic Lumix ZS60. I was beyond thrilled to receive one through TravelingMoms!

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

The TravelingMoms recently took their annual retreat at Walt Disney World. While I was home with my newborn, the TMOMs were soaking in the beauty of Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival, watching a sneak preview of the new summer show Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and meeting Jane Goodall! Jealous? Just a smidge! TMOMs Amy Barseghian and Leslie Harvey were kind enough to share these images with me that they captured during the trip on their Panasonic Lumix ZS60 (since I haven’t ventured farther than my own backyard lately!)

I’m anxious to test this camera during my next Disney trip and this is why I think the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 is a perfect camera to take with you on your next amusement park adventure.

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Amy Barseghian

Compact and lightweight

I’ve been lugging around my heavy DSLR on every vacation for the past 8 years. And yes, it takes great images but I hate having to carry such a large camera when visiting amusement parks. The Panasonic Lumix ZS60 is super lightweight so you can easily slide it into your pocket, backpack or fanny pack (yes, you heard me, I wear a fanny pack at Disney!)

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey

Multiple Modes

There are 11 possible modes on the Panasonic Lumix ZS60. If you just want to point and shoot without worry, set the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 to Intelligent Auto Mode and the camera will take photos with automatic settings.

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Amy Barseghian

Zoom

A small swivel on top of the camera offers optical zoom at 30x magnification without degrading the picture quality. Perfect for capturing moments undetected, catching details of the parades and shows or getting up close and personal with the Characters.

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Amy Barseghian

Lumix 4K

4K technology enables Post Focus function to refocus images after they are captured. Capture the scene, review the image on the camera’s LCD and touch any portion of the photo to refocus. That’s impressive!

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey

Low Light Capture

We’ve all tried to take a shot during Pirates of the Caribbean, right? But without the use of flash photography, capturing images in low light can be tricky. And photos of fireworks? Forget about it! Check out how beautifully the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 captures this nighttime image of the new Disney Animal Kingdom show, Rivers of Light!

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Amy Barseghian

What’s your favorite feature of the Panasonic Lumix ZS60? 

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Storyteller’s Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Review of lunch at the Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa - Disneyland Resort

Storyteller’s Cafe Lunch Review

Do you enjoy a quiet respite mid-day while at the Disneyland Resort? It can be a great break, to seek lunch options outside of the Parks. When crowd levels are at their highest, we like to escape the Parks and take the family out for lunch and swimming. The Storyteller’s Cafe located at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa offered the perfect lunch break for us on our recent visit to Disneyland.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

I’ll be totally honest with you. It’s next to impossible to please my husband when it comes to eating out. He’s extremely particular about how his food is prepared, the ingredients and how the meal makes him feel afterwards. And because we are so frugal, eating out isn’t something we do very often, so he hates feeling like he “wasted” good money on a meal that didn’t satisfy.

We’ve eaten at Storyteller’s Cafe twice. The first time was several years ago and we dined at the dinner buffet. It was during the Christmas holidays and there was an amazing gingerbread creation in the lobby, delicious foods and fun Christmas treats for dessert. My husband raved about that meal several times after our trip so I know that the restaurant had made a positive impression on him.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

On our last visit he suggested that we dine at Storyteller’s Cafe for lunch. It was a very busy Saturday in the Parks and we’d not made any dining reservations so we weren’t sure what to expect when we showed up at the Cafe for lunch. Fortunately the restaurant was quite empty and they were able to accommodate us right away.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Within minutes we had glasses of ice water and a basket of freshly baked bread. There was a small loaf of tear-apart buttermilk bread and little corn bread muffins, served with butter. Naturally between the five of us, we polished off that bread basket quickly but the waiter was happy to bring more.

Storyteller’s Cafe has a beautiful rustic decor that is both cozy and elegant.  The high ceilings, stained glass details, mix of woods and black wrought iron silhouettes and hand-painted murals really make this a warm atmosphere.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

What We Ate

My 12-yr old son is all about the soup so he ordered the Charred Nebraska Corn Chowder which had bits of rotisserie chicken, bacon bits and a sprinkle of cilantro. I’ve had this soup before and it’s thick, hearty and filling. It’s absolutely delicious so naturally, the boy didn’t share! The soup bowl is $8 which is a little steep but it’s a good serving size and it did fill him up.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

My 12-yr daughter and I decided to order a burger to split between us and we were very happy with the Half-Pound Char-broiled Avocado-Bacon Burger. She doesn’t care for avocado so I requested it on the side. The avocado was more like guacamole, mashed with chunks of onion and tomato.

I ordered the beef patty but we could have also had ground turkey or a veggie-burger. The burger was large and juicy with cheddar cheese and toppings served on a Harvest bun. We opted for the fries which were perfectly crisp (we could have requested fresh fruit as a side option). The burger was big and there were plenty of fries so sharing this dish was a great choice. This burger platter is $15, which was reasonable for the portion size (and that we were able to split the dish between two).

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

My husband (aka: Mr. Picky) chose the Grilled Albacore Tuna Sandwich and he was very pleased with his choice. He wanted something that wasn’t overly heavy and the lightly cooked tuna served on toasted ciabatta bread was just what he was craving. The sandwich came with a zesty lemon-caper mayo and was topped with fresh arugula, tomato, and pickled ginger. He requested extra lemons to squeeze on top. Being the health-conscious guy he is, he chose fruit instead of fries. At $17, this was a unique option that my husband really enjoyed.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

My 4-yr old, excited for the rare dining-out moment, chose the chicken breast nuggets and fries (something he doesn’t really get to eat at home). It came served with veggies (carrots & celery) and a large serving of fresh fruit. He ate all but one nugget (that his sister happily finished for him!)

Our lunch at Storyteller’s Cafe was absolutely delicious and filling enough that we actually didn’t even eat dinner that night (we had ice cream sundaes instead!) The service was quick and top-notch on the day of our visit. Though we were able to pop in without reservations on the day of our visit, it’s generally recommended that you try to book ADR for this restaurant. I would not attempt to show up for breakfast or dinner at Storyteller’s Cafe without Advance Dining Reservations.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

What You Need to Know about Dining at Storyteller’s Cafe

You do not need to be a guest of the Disney Grand Californian Hotel and Spa to dine at Storyteller’s Cafe and it’s very easy to access the restaurant. You can enter the hotel through the Downtown Disney District and the restaurant is located just next to the pool. Likewise you can exit Disney’s California Adventure Park’s special entrance/exit that is connected to the hotel. Though anyone can exit through this method you have to be a Disneyland Resort hotel guest (with a valid room key) to enter back through this way.

Breakfast at Storyteller’s Cafe is buffet-style only and features character dining with Chip & Dale. Dinner offers both a buffet and the ability to order off the menu. Lunch is menu-only, no buffet is offered.

Next time (and there will be a next time) I’m going to have to try dessert…strawberry cheesecake? Yes, please!

What would you order from Storyteller’s Cafe? 

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2015 – A Look Back at the Year that Was

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When I started this blog in mid 2014, I had no idea what wonderful and exciting opportunities I’d be experiencing the following year. I’ll admit that my travel adventures and blog writing were the highlights of a year that proved to be challenging. In August 2015 I found out that I was going to be laid off from my job of 18 years. If that wasn’t shocker enough, I also found out that I was expecting a baby. The thought of 4 kids and no full-time employment was enough to send me in to a tailspin. I was forced to take an even harder look at our budget and cut even more corners, if that was even possible. Turns out, it was possible, with a little extra penny-pinching and sacrifice. It’s never easy but it’s been…interesting, to say the least!

Here is a look back at 2015 (and here’s 2014 – A Look Back at the Year that Was, if you’d like to read back and see what the blog was up to earlier).

My family and I were able to make a spur-of-the-moment one-day Disneyland visit in January 2015. My little one was tall enough to ride some new favorites, including Radiator Springs Racers and Space Mountain, making it a memorable visit. We captured this great family photo with Minnie, too.

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In mid-February I hosted a #DisneySide @HomeCelebration multi-generational party. It was a wonderful “just because” event and I was able to gather up some fantastic giveaways from fellow Etsy vendors. These vendors were generous enough to offer prizes to my party guests as well as giveaways to my readers on the blog as well.

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I decided in early spring to become a Jamberry Independent Consultant and have thoroughly enjoyed the connections and friendships I’ve created through offering these wonderful products. And my nails have never looked so good! I also love being able to offer Jamberry giveaways here on my blog.

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I also started posting occasionally with Magical DIStractions, yet another great way for me to connect with Disney fans from around the world! See my Magical DIStractions posts, like Radiator Springs Racers – Why a Trip to Cars Land is a Must! and 6 Holiday Things to Do at the Disneyland Resort without a Park Ticket.

April came in with some incredible new opportunities. I applied to be a writer on the website TravelingMom. Originally I started off as SoCal TravelingMom but have now taken on the title of Day Trips TravelingMom, which is more appropriately fit to my usual travel itinerary. I’ve been able to share my Disney love on TravelingMom as well as other “day trip” worthy locations. Check out 11 Tips for Navigating Holiday Crowds at Disneyland, How to See Everything at the San Diego Zoo in a Single Day and Wonderment Abounds at Medieval Times in Buena Park, CA.

How to Navigate Holiday Crowds at the Disneyland Resort #TMOM

I also received a big surprise that month when the TravelingMoms asked if I’d like to join in their annual retreat at…Walt Disney World! Within three weeks, I was off to Orlando (with my brother, mom and 3-yr old son) for the very first time. BIG bucket list item checked off for us!! It was a truly magical experience that I’m looking forward to doing again soon! I wrote about my first visit on the post 11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences at Walt Disney World and Walt Disney World Magical Express Bus – What I Loved (and my $80 Mistake).

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

In between I wrote lots of posts! Some had helpful Disney tips like Disneyland Hotel Swimming Pools, 9 Things Disneyland Fans Need to Know Before Visiting Walt Disney World, How to Eat at Disneyland without Advanced Dining ReservationsDisneyland for Free?! and How to Eat Healthfully At Disneyland (and Still Treat Yourself). I also started a popular new “Guide” feature that’s appropriate for each Disney fan, from Princesses to Adventurers.

How to Eat Healthfully (and Still Treat Yourself!) at Disneyland

I also had plenty of budgeting posts like Create Budget-Friendly “Summer Camps” for Your Kids….At Home! and 8 things to Consider When Making MORE Cuts to Your Budget (a topic we were very familiar with this year!)

And some handy “our life” posts like Why Our Kids Do Housework-Tips for Getting Kids to Pitch In and Make Extra Money (in Little Ways that Really Add Up!)

FREE PRINTABLE - Preteen Routine Daily Checklist Printable (So You Don't Have to Nag)

In June, I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road Conference in Portland, Oregon! It was my first time to the Pacific-Northwest and my husband and I made it an early 5th wedding anniversary gift and took the trip together. We visited Seattle, friends in Gig Harbor and toured Portland by foot. It was a great conference and I made so many wonderful connections. Here’s to hoping Disney On-the-Road is even closer to me in 2016!

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In mid-June I celebrated my first blog anniversary. What a year it was, I’ve covered quite a bit in one year!

In September, I connected with Collective Bias and started writing posts for them that include free printables, recipes and occasional giveaways. It’s been a great opportinuty for this new stay-at-home-mom and I hope you’re enjoying these posts that introduce you to new products.

Chipotle Black Bean Soup Recipe on a Budget

I’ve continued to write for the Blogorail in 2015, including these popular posts about 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day, 6 DisneyBounding “Rules” and Crowded Disneyland Day – Top Tips on What to Do. I really appreciate the comraderie of these fellow Disney-lovers.

6 DisneyBounding "Rules" - How to Capture Your DisneySide!

In early September I applied for the Disney Parks Moms Panel again. I was a finalist in 2014 and received a “FastPass” to Round 2 this year, but it was not meant to be. The panel seemed to be moving in a different direction and none of the Disneyland FastPassers were pushed past round 2. There’s always next year!

I had the amazing treat of being invited to the HP Print & Pamper Retreat in early October. One of the best parts is that it took place just 30 minutes from my home so it was truly a weekend getaway for me! I was able to relax, learn and connect with other like-minded bloggers, which made it a totally unique experience for me. We toured the HP facilities, had a fun crafting evening and topped off the weekend with a trip to my favorite place, Disneyland! I was able to see the Paint the Night parade for the first time, which was perfect. It also allowed me to see the Disneyland 60th celebration decor in person, something I didn’t think I’d get a chance to see!

Paint the Night - Disneyland's Nighttime Spectacular Parade

Mac the Truck from Cars

As I move into 2016, I’m excited for the direction that this blog is moving and am thankful to all of my readers, especially when you take the time to comment and share with me about each post. That’s helps me to know that there are people out there who appreciate and enjoy my writing and hopefully in some small way I’ve been able to help you out this year. Whether it be sharing my Disney tips, offering budgeting help when finances are tight or introducing you to a new product, I hope you are enjoying what I share. 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.

Blessings to you all in the new year! Cheers for what’s to come in 2016.


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