Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

When you’re organized, things just seem to run more smoothly!  Nobody needs to panic when they can’t find something because it’s been established ahead of time that every item has a place. Organizing solutions for small spaces do not have to be expensive. There is no reason to hire “experts” or purchase pricey dividers or shelving units. It does take time though, arranging items to the best benefit and use of your family. But it will be all worth it when someone asks you, “Where’s my red hat with the white polka dots?” and you’ll know exactly what to tell them so they can find it!

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

Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

There are 6 of us in our 1000 square foot home. Yep, that’s a tight fit and every inch counts. Since adding our newest little one, we’ve been organizing and streamlining the house to make room. We’ve always done pretty good with keeping stuff to a minimum but some of our stuff is necessary. It’s all about finding the most practical way to store it in a budget-friendly way!

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

These are my top 12 organizing solutions!

When we moved into our small home four years ago I had things pretty well organized. But over time our needs changed and I hadn’t rethought certain areas. I knew that we could do better and get them even more organized and streamlined. I took a good look at each space I needed to reorganize and made notes. In rethinking some of these spaces, I knew that I could move things there into other locations or even get rid of them completely.

1. Weed it out

Before you even start to organize, you have to decide what you’re going to keep and what needs to go.

  • Remove the contents of a drawer, bin or closet and go through each and every item.
  • Toss out, recycle, donate or place in a garage sale pile…whatever you need to do to minimize. Go through medications, lotions, nail polish, and other household items frequently to toss what is expired or give away what isn’t being used. Add this task to your calendar once each season and it won’t be such a laborious project.
  • I keep a small basket or fabric box (less than $5 each on Amazon) inside my kid’s closet for donation items. As they outgrow their clothes, I place the items in the basket. When the basket is full the contents are given away.
Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

We make use out of our closet by keeping overstock items and medical needs clearly labeled in bins and drawers.

2. Get Rid of the “Junk Drawer”

We don’t have a junk drawer. We don’t need one because in our small home, there is no room for a “junk drawer”…everything has a place!

  • Dump out your junk drawer and find a home for each and every item there.
  • Batteries? Get a bin for them and store them in a desk.
  • Pens and pencils? Keep them in a cup within easy reach.
  • Mail? Deal with mail as it comes in the door, recycling or filing as necessary.
  • A mesh desk organizer (Amazon for less than $10) is a great place to keep some of these “junk drawer” items you need close at hand.

3. Clearly Label It

I just splurged and bought a new Brother P-Touch Label Maker (less than $23 on Amazon) and have been going (slightly) overboard with labeling everything in the house. However I will note that nobody has been asking me, “Where’s the XYZ” because everything is so neatly labeled for them now! I do recommend investing in a label maker but you could also purchase stickers and label boxes with a Sharpie as well.

  • Organize drawer contents and sort into “like items”. Add a label on the outside to remind family to put things back where they belong!
  • Labels on book shelves help young readers organize their picture books, chapter book and coloring books.
  • Sort important paperwork into 3-Ring binders and then add a label to the side for easy access.

4. Get it Off the Floor

We’d all love to get those fancy professionally sized closet organizers, right? But boy, are they pricey!! We found a more reasonable solution in metal shelving units. They are intended for the garage I think, but we like to think outside of the box.

  • Since some of these tall Steel Wire Shelving Unit (under $40 on Amazon) can be customized for shelf height, they are perfect for placing in your closet. We simply keep the units as two shorter racks instead of assembling into one tall rack.
  • Things sitting on the floor can pile up and add to the clutter. Look at what you have on the floor and figure out where you can put it so it’s off the ground.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

5. Hang it Up

  • I have a hook in the hall closet with a pair of scissors so everyone knows exactly where the scissors are (instead of tossed in a random drawer).
  • Backpacks go on hooks in the garage.
  • Tired of seeing the bath towel laying on the floor because your little one can’t hang it properly on a towel rod? Install a hook!
  • We were limited on wall space so my husband hung bath towel hooks for the boys on the end of the bunk bed and that works perfectly because they are completely out of the way.
  • An Over The Door Hook is invaluable (and under $15 on Amazon) and can make use of space, especially in a bathroom for towels.
  • No need to put holes in the wall. Command Wire Hooks are quick to remove but stay up well, even with heavier items. I buy the variety pack and find clever uses for them all over the house!

6. Beautiful Baskets

  • I don’t have room in the kitchen for my cookbooks so I keep them organized in a pretty basket under the foyer cabinet. They are still easily accessed and don’t take up precious counter or cupboard space in the kitchen.
  • Before you buy baskets new, check out your local thrift store. This is a fantastic place to find inexpensive baskets and you can always spray paint them for an updated look.
  • With drawer space at a minimum I keep my clean kitchen towels at the ready by folding them and keeping them within arms reach of the sink in this neat wire basket. I also have Wire Basket Organizers (less than $15 for two on Amazon) like this on the back of the toilet for hand towels.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

7. Shelving is King

Use individual shelving in the closet to take advantage of tall ceilings. If you can, always go UP and take advantage of the space you have. We have small closets but they have tall ceilings so I bought expandable shelving units. This allows me to safely stack items higher and use up all the space available.

Use all the space you can on shelves by maximizing with wire shelving units. We use these in the kitchen to make use of extra space for plates and bowls. In the pantry for canned foods and boxes this Small Kitchen Helper Shelf really helps maximize space (for about $7 on Amazon).

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

Using wire shelving to make extra space for plates and bowls.

8. Box it Up

  • LEGOS. Oh yes, my friend. Let’s get all those tiny bits and pieces boxed up so that you only pull them out of the box intentionally when you’re ready to play. We also have Leapster games and the Leapster unit all in one box together.
  • Seasonal clothes and blankets don’t need to take up space in the closet. We load up plastic bins or use Ziploc Space Saver bags to store these items in the attic or under the bed.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

  • With a new baby, I had been given some wonderful hand-me-downs. I wanted to keep track of what I have so I went through the clothes and placed the sizes together into Clear Storage Boxes.
  • A quick label on the outside of each will let me have the next size up within easy reach. Once she’s used up all the clothes in the bin, I can remove the label and re-purpose the box.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

  • The expandable metal shelving unit makes it easy to take out just the one thing you need. Clothing has been organized into boxes for the future.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

9. Like Items Together

  • We have a lot of books (I used to work at a bookstore!) but I hated how the small paperbacks were mingling with the tall picture books because they never sat nicely on the shelf together. I found these inexpensive plastic Book & Magazine Organizers and they are perfect for holding paperbacks. I use them on the shelf next to the taller books as a sort-of “book end”.
  • Consider buying bins or boxes to hold other like things, like summer items. All the bathing suits, sunglasses, and beach hats would then be in one, easy-to-find location. Here, we have one soft bin for hats, one for blocks and one for coloring books.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

10. Contain It

  • Our bathroom counters are quite small and there’s no room for clutter. We keep only the soap dispenser and toothbrush holder on the counter (which makes it easier to clean as well). Under the sink, we have a colored container for each child that holds their personal toiletries. Each child’s toothpaste, drinking cup, deodorant, face wash, etc is in their own container. My daughter has a separate bin for her hair brush and accessories.
  • I have two-tiered Mesh Cabinet Baskets under my bathroom sink that holds things like lotion, make-up and razors. One basket holds hair styling products and another large bin holds tools like the blow dryer and flat iron.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

11. Throw it in a Bin

  • Target frequently has plastic bins for $3 in their Dollar Spot section. They are nice for items that can be tossed in, like winter hats or gloves, sunglasses or random toys like cars and action figures. Set them on a shelf or even inside a drawer to section off and keep small items (like socks & underwear) from getting lost.
  • In the kitchen, we store breads in a decorative Wooden Crate on the counter. If you don’t want to purchase bins or crates, keep your old shoe boxes and decorate them with wrapping paper for neat and tidy closet or drawer storage.
Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

An open bin within a box keeps things organized and contained.

BEFORE (left) – Clutter of random stuff on the top shelf.

AFTER (right) – Stackable bins hold seasonal items like sun hats and winter wear. In anticipation of sharing this room with the new baby, I had made bins for art supplies and electronic cords to get my daughter in the habit of putting these items up and out of reach.

Organizing9-before  Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

BEFORE (left) – The fabric hanging unit with daily outfits was a good start. I moved the two-drawer unit in to hold pajamas and socks but items like tights, sunglasses, hair accessories and underpants were mixed in and it was hard to find items.

AFTER (right) – Rearranged top shelf with addition of bins for seasonal items. Added a small bin to the daily outfit unit so she can choose which accessory matches without having to dig in another larger bin.

Deep drawers with pajamas now hold smaller bins for tights, sunglasses and other hair accessories so everything is separated. A separate bin on top of the drawers holds underpants.

Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces  Budget-friendly & Practical Organizing Solutions for Small Spaces

12. Bulky Items Out of the House

  • Whenever possible try to use a space outside of the house, like your garage, storage shed or attic. We simply don’t have the kitchen cabinet space to hold our large slow cooker or stand mixer, so we store them in a cabinet in the garage.
  • Yes, you could keep some items on the kitchen counter but this can create a lot of clutter and makes it harder to properly clean the counter tops. Since we also shop at Costco quite a bit we tend to have a lot of bulk items. Bring in only what you need into the house and store the bulk of it elsewhere.

Organizing small spaces can be tricky. Check out these clever budget-friendly, practical organizing solutions specifically for small spaces. #Organizing


LEGOLAND California – A New Adventure is Here!

LEGOLAND California is Perfect for Preschoolers

Lots of new things going on at LEGOLAND California this year which makes it the best time to plan your SoCal visit! We’ve always loved LEGOLAND for the ability to entertain everyone from a toddler who wants to drive his own car to the grown-up who is fascinated by the Star Wars MiniLand exhibits.

Ninjago World rides are being assembled as we speak, the LEGOLAND water parks will reopen for the warm weather season in March and there is a fun new show, The LEGO® Movie™ 4D -A New Adventure!

As a new Official LEGOLAND Blogger, my preschooler and I were recently treated to a special event in honor of the new 4D film being shown exclusively at LEGOLAND. What a special evening, complete with character meet n’ greets, a red carpet and fun foods. And don’t you know, 3-D glasses make everything awesome!


The film was fantastic too; really cool special 4-D effects, fast paced and humor interjected throughout. It’s under 15 minutes long, so anyone 3+ would love it!


Be sure to check out my newest post at TravelingMom about this Park, LEGOLAND California – a Delightful Amusement Park for Preschoolers.

Legoland Blogger


Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Disneyland insiders know that making the most of your first two hours at Disneyland Parks is crucial. This is not a time to catch up on your beauty sleep because the early bird catches the worm…or the coveted FastPass, in this case! Getting to the Park at “rope drop” and having a plan for your first two hours at Disneyland can mean the difference between walking on rides without a wait first thing in the morning or standing in queue for 90 minutes in mid-afternoon…Wouldn’t you rather maximize your time at Disneyland?

Here are my top Disney insider tips on making the most of the first two hours at Disneyland!

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

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Parking at Mickey & Friends Parking Garage bright and early ensures a good spot & minimal wait for the tram

1. Get Familiar with the Lay of the Lands

If this is your first Disneyland visit, make sure you know your way around a bit before your trip. Study the Park map ahead of time so you aren’t wasting time on Park day wandering around. You can check out the Disneyland website before your trip to view the Park maps.

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

A very light crowd in the early morning through Downtown Disney District

2. Choose Your Disneyland Vacation Dates Wisely

Making the most of your first two hours also depends upon the time of year you are visiting. During holidays and weekends, crowds are naturally heavier. Weekdays, particularly Tuesday and Wednesday in the “off-season” are your best bet for lighter crowds.

Follow these insider tips for your first two hours at Disneyland & Disney's California Adventure park and maximize your time!

Nobody here yet! We arrived 45 minutes before Park opening to wait outside the gates and ensure we’d make it for “rope drop”

Check out my posts about choosing the best Disneyland vacation dates to avoid crowds:


3. Plan of Attack

If you only have one day at Disneyland, then make sure you are making the most of the first two hours. If you have more than one day, I’d recommend taking one of your vacation days to follow this plan.

This doesn’t mean you should sleep until noon on the other days though. I still always recommend that you arrive at rope drop because crowds are considerably lighter in the mornings and you’ll be able to see and do so much more.

Before you step inside the gates, I recommend coming up with your morning schedule.

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Disneyland Morning Itinerary for Little Kids

With younger kids, I’d start in Fantasyland. Hit Peter Pan first (because there is no FastPass for this ride and waits are easily 45+ minutes the rest of the day). Then Dumbo and Alice in Wonderland. The rest of the rides in this area should have minimal wait and you can usually complete everything in about an hour.

Disneyland Morning Itinerary for Older Kids & Adults

With older kids or adults only, decide which direction to go inside each Park. Big kids and grown ups will likely want to hit the mountains first, considering these often have the longest queues. At Disneyland, go straight across the bridge into Fantasyland to access the Matterhorn Bobsleds. Turn right at the hub for Tomorrowland (Space Mountain & Star Tours). Or left for Adventureland (Indiana Jones), Frontierland (Big Thunder Mountain Railroad) and Critter Country (Splash Mountain).

At Disney’s California Adventure Park, first stop should be Cars Land for Radiator Springs Racers. Then head to Hollywood Land (Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!) or the Paradise Pier area (Toy Story Midway Mania).

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Grab that FastPass for Radiator Springs Racers first!

4. FastPass is Your Friend

First thing in the morning, lines are already at a minimum. But with each minute that the Park is open, crowds are filling in and what could be a walk-on attraction at first can quickly have a wait. I recommend grabbing a FastPass for highly coveted attractions first and then riding other things in that area before returning to redeem your FastPass.

Please note that you can’t get FastPass during Extra Magic Hour but as soon as the Park opens to regular guests, you can grab your first one!

Here are several ideas:

  • Grab FastPasses for Space Mountain and then go on Star Tours: The Adventure Continues and the rest of the rides in the Tomorrowland area.
  • Or hit Adventureland by getting your FastPasses for Indiana Jones Adventure, riding The Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and maybe even Splash Mountain and the Haunted Mansion before returning to redeem your FastPass.
  • Over at Disney’s California Adventure Park, your first stop of the day should be to grab a FastPass for Radiator Springs Racers (the FastPass machine is located near the entrance to bug’s land). You can probably just follow the crowd! If crowds are light, you might be able to just hop on that ride immediately instead!
  • Head over to California Screamin’ and get your FastPass there. Then get in queue for Toy Story Mania, take a spin on Mickey’s Fun Wheel and return back to the coaster to redeem your FastPass.
  • My older kids like Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout so we’ll often pick up that FastPass first and then head over to bug’s land for a few rides with their little sister.

5. Disneyland MaxPass Explained

Save even more time by purchasing MaxPass. This allows you to “book” your FastPass reservations from your mobile device. You won’t have to physically walk to the ride to schedule the FastPass – you can do it from your smartphone. I was even able to schedule FastPass on the MaxPass app when I was waiting in queue for another ride – so convenient and what a time saver!

You’ll be using your Park tickets to redeem FastPass – Keep your Park tickets close at hand inside a coin purse on a lanyard, like these:  Mickey and Minnie Mouse Lanyards with Detachable Coin Purse

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Early morning and the wait time for Radiator Springs Racers is low.

6. Stay Onsite and Enjoy an Extra Magic Hour

Registered Disneyland Resort guests are treated to early entry for each day of their stay. It is recommended to arrive one hour and 15 minutes before Park opening. The schedule is as follows:

Not all rides are open during Extra Magic Hours at Disneyland. Be sure to check with your resort to find out what will be available.

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

7. Magic Mornings at Disneyland

Guests with a valid 3+ day Park ticket (purchased ahead of their visit) can enter Disneyland one hour before official gate opening on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. This is a great way to beat the crowds and enjoy select attractions even earlier. It is recommended to arrive one hour and 15 minutes before official Park opening.

Save Money at DISNEYLAND!

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

8. Eat Breakfast Before You Enter the Gates

Breakfast at the Carnation Cafe is just lovely and Breakfast with Minnie & Friends at the Plaza Inn is Character dining perfection. But if you are trying to maximize those first two hours in the Park, stopping for a lengthy breakfast isn’t the best idea.

I recommend that you grab your breakfast to-go outside the Park and eat it while you wait for the gates to open. The Earl of Sandwich and Jamba Juice are two great breakfast locations in the Downtown Disney District that are open before the Park gates. Grab a breakfast sandwich or a smoothie and nibble while you wait at the Park entrance.

We have also brought granola bars and fruit for our first meal and eat those at the gates and then fill up later with an early lunch.

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Entering through Sleeping Beauty Castle just after rope drop

9. Arrive for “Rope Drop”

Stroll up to the gates at Park opening time and you’ll see lots of people lined up already waiting to get inside. But arrive at least 30 minutes prior to Park opening and be one of the first allowed entry to Main Street U.S.A. Shops and some dining spots are open and you can visit City Hall, if need be (we always have to visit and pick up a DAS card on our first day).

At the end of Main Street U.S.A. you can line up with other guests to await the official “rope drop” or opening of the Park. What a great way to beat the crowds!

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

If you want Characters they are out in full force early in the morning and the waits are minimal.

10. Meet n’ Greets

If you want to guarantee photos and autographs with lots of Characters (without the extra expense of Character dining), then the first few hours of Park opening are the perfect opportunity.

As soon as the gates are opened, you’ll see several Characters hanging out in front of the brick wall. Pass through the tunnels and the Fab 5 are usually posted around the main hub, along with other favorites. On one visit we were able to Meet n’ Greet with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Pinocchio and the Mad Hatter within about 30 minutes.

In order to move things swiftly, have your camera ready and autograph book open with the pen prepped. You can also hand your camera over to the PhotoPass photographer if you’d like them to take a shot with your own camera.

Follow these insider tips for your first two hours at Disneyland & Disney's California Adventure park and maximize your time!

Now Is Not the Time To…

Any other day I’d recommend you take your time and enjoy Main Street U.S.A. However if you are trying to maximize those first two hours, these are the things you should not do.

  • Don’t buy your tickets that morning. ALWAYS pre-purchase your Park tickets, have them in hand and avoid waiting in line at the ticket booth. I recommend my affiliate Get Away Today, who offers discounted Disneyland tickets and full vacation packages.
  • Don’t stop to shop. In fact, I recommend doing all or most of your souvenir shopping on an “off-day” and visit Downtown Disney District instead.
  • Don’t stop at City Hall. Grab your “celebratory button” like those for birthdays or first visits after a few hours or get them on a day when you aren’t trying to maximize time. We always have to visit City Hall to pick up a DAS card on our first day but this can easily take 30 minutes waiting in line and processing.
  • Don’t stop for pictures. The exception being is if you have a clear shot of Sleeping Beauty Castle and can pose your family quickly in front of it. In that case, you should always get the photo!
  • Don’t get in line at Starbucks. Seriously, this line will be a mile long in the morning. Grab your coffee at the hotel or at Downtown Disney District and bring it with you to save yourself the time in line at the Main St. Starbucks.
  • Don’t look at the Main Street windows. But most definitely come back this way later in the day to check them out, they are wonderful!
  • Don’t take the train. Though this is one of my favorite ways to start a Disneyland day (by taking the Grand Circle Tour) this isn’t how you should spend your first 30 minutes if you are maximizing your time. You’ll be better off on foot.

Follow these insider tips for your first two hours at Disneyland & Disney's California Adventure park and maximize your time!

For more lesser known Disney tips,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | Lesser Known Disney Tips Loop:

What is your favorite way to spend the first two hours at Disneyland? Share with me in the comments!

Follow these insider tips for your first two hours at Disneyland & Disney's California Adventure park and maximize your time!


What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

On top of lodging and Park tickets, food can be a very big cost factor when planning a Disney vacation. Everyone has to eat and when you’re away from home you need to eat what’s available. Yes, you can pack snacks in to the Parks. but when it comes to long-term sustenance, nothing beats a good hearty meal. Fortunately Disneyland has plenty of options that will fill you up! And if you share, these choices can also be very economical. What are the best meals for sharing at Disneyland? Read on for the Disneyland food tips – hope you’re hungry!

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

What are the best meals for sharing at Disneyland? These money-saving tips tell you where to dine & what to order!

Famous Lobster Nachos. Big enough to share (but so delicious we should have ordered TWO!)

Why Should You Share?

Disneyland meal platters are often very large and might be difficult to finish on your own. Unlikely that you’ll want to walk around the Park with a “to-go” box of your leftovers either.

Kids meals are cute (Mickey shaped plates!) but for the price, you don’t always get the largest portions. And often the offerings for kids are nuggets and fries, which you can get anywhere. Why not try something new?

Not only is sharing a more budget-friendly idea, it’s also great to try more than one dish. As a family of six, we often purchase two platters and a side (like a salad or appetizer) to share between us when we’re at Disneyland. This way we can all try a little bit of everything and it’s more cost-effective.

If you plan to split a meal at Disneyland because you’d like to eat healthier, check out this post with ideas on How to Eat Healthfully at Disneyland (and Still Treat Yourself!).

What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

In the mood for Mexican? Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill has traditional-style platters big enough for sharing.

Go for the Big Platter

A big platter shared between two or more is usually your best bet when it comes to Disneyland food prices and large portion-sizes. If there are more than two in your group, you might want to order more than one platter or an additional side dish to share between you.

What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

  • The Carnation Cafe serves big breakfasts like Country-Fried Steak and Eggs and a Ham and Cheese Omelet that are perfect for two to share in the morning.
  • Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill is a family favorite for us, with heaping portions of grilled meats, tortillas, tamales, rice and beans.
  • You can also opt in for Mexican at Rancho Del Zocalo Restaurant where you can order enchiladas and tacos.
  • Flo’s V8 Cafe is known for their homey cooking and large platters like BBQ Pork Ribs and Rotisserie Chicken.

What are the best meals for sharing at Disneyland? These money-saving tips tell you where to dine & what to order!

  • French Market Restaurant is another family favorite. We love to order the Cajun-Style Meatloaf and French Market Chicken and share it between us all.
  • Choose a few skewer platters from Paradise Garden Grill to split. Each plate also comes with rice pilaf, cucumber salad and pita bread.
  • The River Belle Terrace now serves platters large enough for splitting, including a Sausage Link Combo and Pulled Pork Sandwich.
  • The beautiful and bountiful platters of pasta from Wine Country Trattoria are easy to divide and you could always round out the meal with an Italian Insalata appetizer.
  • Plaza Inn is a perfect dinner spot with their enormous platters of fried chicken, potatoes, buttermilk biscuit and veggies.
What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

This is one third of a portion at Plaza Inn.

Head into Downtown Disney District for more platter-sharing options, like the Signature Barbacoa Nachos or Fajita de Tres at Tortilla Jo’s. Or a large plate of pasta, like the Penne Pomodoro with Italian Sausage at La Brea Bakery Cafe.

What are the best meals for sharing at Disneyland? These money-saving tips tell you where to dine & what to order!

Where to Share a Sandwich (or a Salad)

  • The Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square can be on the heavy side for one person to consume (turkey, ham, Swiss that’s been lightly battered, fried, drizzled with powdered sugar and topped with berry preserve). Don’t forget the pomme frites!
  • For a large variety of salads, Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney District has about 10 large salads topped with a good mix of fruit, chicken or extra veggies.
  • La Brea Bakery Cafe in Downtown Disney also offers large salads topped with seafood offerings like blackened mahi-mahi or grilled salmon.
  • My husband and I split a Roasted Turkey Sandwich from the Carnation Cafe for dinner last year. Along with fresh fruit (option instead of fries), it was a filling and delicious meal.
  • The salad at Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill (shown below) is big enough for two to enjoy.

What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

  • Step outside the Parks into the Downtown Disney District at Earl of Sandwich for large sized sandwiches that are hearty enough to share. We’ve purchased several breakfast sandwiches here as well and cut them into quarters so that everyone have a few bites from each different variety. Breakfast sandwiches are under $3.50 and hot lunch sandwiches are around $6.99, so the prices are really right.
  • The prices at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe are a little higher but they also come with fresh fruit. Plates are a few dollars more at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe but the sandwiches come with popular house chips. And it’s all about the seafood at the Harbour Galley. Stop by for a Lobster Roll sandwich that’s sure to float your boat.

Where to Share a Disneyland Snack

Sometimes you just need a nibble and these snacks are great for sharing. Everyone gets a few bites and you’re good until the next big meal.

  • Grab a few skewers from Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland. Each skewer is under $4.50 so the price is right to order a few and share between you.
  • The corn dogs from either Corn Dog Castle or the Little Red Wagon Corn Dog Cart are over sized and nice for sharing between two (they come with either sliced apples or a bag of chips).What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?
  • Chili Cone Queso from the Cozy Cone Motel is also a good size for two to share.
  • Of course there is always the behemoth turkey leg sold at Edelweiss Snacks that is large enough for an army.
  • You can also pack in your own snacks into the Disneyland Parks, one of many top tips for saving money on food!
What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

Share a Cozy Cone – – Photo Credit: Disney Parks

Pass a Slice of Pizza

Order a whole pizza from Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta or Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port. You can get pepperoni, veggie or plain cheese amd round out the meal with a salad to split.

My family and I ordered the 1/2 meter family-sized pizza at Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria in Downtown Disney District. It was enough to feed six people (and there were a few slices left we just couldn’t finish!) For less than $50, this was a decent price to feed us all. They let us go 50/50 on the toppings to please everyone in the family.

What are the best meals for sharing at Disneyland? These money-saving tips tell you where to dine & what to order!

Save Even MORE Money at Disneyland!

Purchase discount Disneyland and Walt Disney World 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).

Disneyland Desserts and Sweets

I’m usually way too full after my meal to indulge in dessert so I wait and get a treat later when I can more fully enjoy it!

  • The Golden Horseshoe is a favorite sweet spot because you can share one of the big sundaes and watch a comedy show.
  • The Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe has a large variety of desserts that you can divide between your group including cupcakes.
  • We usually indulge in homemade fudge or toffee from Main Street U.S.A. to share between us!

What are the best meals for sharing at Disneyland? These money-saving tips tell you where to dine & what to order!

Disneyland Park Food Sharing Tips

  • If ordering at a quick-service counter restaurant, request a second or third plate up front. Grab yourself plenty of flatware and divvy the plates up at your seat.
  • If ordering at a full-service restaurant, note to the wait staff that you’ll be sharing the dish. They may even be able to divide the dish in the kitchen and serve it to you on two plates so you don’t have to do that yourself.
  • Some establishments have sharing restrictions. Buffet restaurants, Prix fix meals and Character meals are no-sharing allowed zones. Each person in your group will be charged up front for entry.
  • Certain restaurants (like Blue Bayou) charge a “plate splitting” fee if you order a platter to be shared. Keep that in mind when working out your food budget and determine if the fee is worth it or if you should just purchase an additional meal.
  • The exception for sharing is with children 2 years old and under. You are welcome to share your food with them from your plate or fix them their own plate from a buffet.
What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

A giant bucket of popcorn is ideal for sharing while parade watching- Photo Credit: Jeff Holz


What are the best meals for sharing at Disneyland? These money-saving tips tell you where to dine & what to order!

Disneyland Restaurant Review – French Market Restaurant

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are telling you all about some of the best quick service restaurants at Disneyland.


Located in New Orleans Square, the French Market Restaurant fast quick service dining location is one stop we make on nearly every visit to the Disneyland Resort. New Orleans Square is always a happening hot-spot. With Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and a dozen of small shops to peruse (including Pandora!), New Orleans Square is always bustling. You also have to pass through this area to reach Critter Country (and the The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Splash Mountain).

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Elegantly appointed New Orleans Square at Disneyland

Why is the French Market Restaurant one of our favorite Disneyland dining spots? I think it’s a combination of location, atmosphere and food that brings us back each time!

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Photo Credit: Disney Parks


Set in the heart of New Orleans Square, this outdoor dining location is a charming respite. I’ve never been to New Orleans but sitting in this spot in the middle of Disneyland makes me think I am! Wrought iron, draped canopies over the seating area and a small stage add to the appeal.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey

On a hot day, it’s a nice alternative to indoor dining because of the shady patio. Jazz bands are often here to play, sometimes accompanied by a singer. During one of our visits, there was an impromptu parade through the patio and the kids danced around the tables and chairs, rewarded with beaded necklaces at the end of the song.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey

Depending upon which side of the patio you choose to sit, there is also a view of either the Rivers of America, the Haunted Mansion or the New Orleans Train Station.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey


Guests enter and place their order at the buffet counter, where they are served their platters and pay at the register. Though this is “quick dining”, dishes are served on real dishes with flatware instead of paper plates and plastic forks. I think that alone give this location a bit more of an upscale feeling.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey

There is a self-serve condiment area outside where you can grab more flatware and napkins. Tables are bussed after your meal. Because of it’s location in the middle of New Orleans Square, the French Market Restaurant is frequently busy. Tables are tightly squeezed into this space. There are high chairs available but you’ll need to leave your stroller outside the gate.

Though I’ve never had a very long wait in line for food, getting a table can be a challenge. If you have more than one adult in your party, I’d recommend that one person get the table and another grab the food to save time wandering around with your loaded trays.

 Photo Credits: Disney Parks

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant


The menu offers a variety of Cajun-inspired dishes, including Po’ Boy sandwiches, Cajun Meatloaf (which is always my choice), Jambalaya and Louisiana Beef Stew. With three children we often just order several platters and share between us. However my son is a huge soup eater and we usually just order him his own bowl of the Creamy Corn Chowder in a bread bowl because it’s his absolute favorite (and he’s not willing to share it!)

My husband generally opts for the healthier choice with the French Quarter Chicken. Both the chicken and the meatloaf are generous portions that are served with smashed potatoes and veggies so they are easy to share with the kids. I think the prices are very reasonable, given the sizes of the dishes that are offered.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant


If you still have room after your meal or perhaps just craving a light snack, you can’t miss the Mint Julep Bar. This walk-up window is located on the opposite side of the entrance to the French Market Restaurant (facing the New Orleans Train Station). The Mint Julep Bar and the French Market Restaurant share the same sitting area.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Grab a non-alchoholic New Orleans Mint Julep and a bag of sugar-coated beignets that are shaped like Mickey (naturally!) Kick back and relax in the shade for a bit.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

There is a restroom conveniently located just behind the Mint Julep Bar and next to the New Orleans Train Station so it’s a busy area and great for people watching. We love the French Market Restaurant for it’s location, ambiance and hearty food!

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant  Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

For more great quick service restaurants at Disneyland,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Best Quick Service Restaurants at Disneyland Loop:

What dish would you order at the French Market Restaurant? Share with us in the comments!


I recommend Park Savers for discount Disney tickets! (affiliate link)

Park Savers affiliate link





Stuck in a Marriage Dating Rut? Date Night Challenge-Things We Have Never Done



A Mother’s Random Thoughts (Patty) and Saving Up for Disney (Julie) welcome you back for round another fabulous Date Night Challenge. This Third Date Night Challenge is easy, and you can make it as simple or extravagant as time and your budget allows. Remember, it is not necessary to actually leave the house. You can stay home and “date” your spouse.

While I (Julie) enjoy trying new things, my husband prefers the “tried and true”. He’d rather do something he knows we’ve liked in the past so we’re not at risk of wasting money on something we won’t enjoy. We recently went out to a popular chain restaurant that we’d never been to before. We had a gift card but still spent about $20. Unfortunately it wasn’t the best “date night” location for us. It was loud, there were televisions everywhere you looked and we weren’t crazy about the food. It was an experience but life and learn, I guess…we won’t be doing that one again! Oh well, at least we were able to get out together.

However there are lots of different date night ideas that don’t require any costs and still allow you to stretch out and explore!

Here are the rules:

  • You need to do something you have never done before – eat at a new restaurant, eat a new cuisine, shop at a new store, go roller skating, ice skating, go dancing, take a cooking class together, etc.
  • This is designed to do things you have never done before. You know how you always say, “someday we should eat at,” or “let’s stop at that store.” This date allows you to do those things. 
  • Make sure to talk with your spouse about your plans beforehand. There is nothing worse than getting somewhere and finding out that your worst fear is now being realized. Even though my husband and I dating for 4 years, after we were married a couple years, I found out that he hated the sight of blood.

Ideas include: 

  • Shopping at a new store – maybe visit a thrift store or a high end department store
  • Dinner at a new restaurant (or an old one that you have never visited)
  • Visit an museum (art, history, science)
  • Take a painting or ceramic class
  • Visit a thrift store or visit a high end department store 
  • Re-enact a scene from your favorite movie
  • Get a pizza with toppings that you have never tried
  • If you want adventure try zip lining or rock climbing (there are indoor places popping up all over), or sky diving
  • Volunteer at a local nursing home or soup kitchen
  • Hot Air Balloon ride
  • Rent a sports car

With three kids (and another due next month) we don’t often have the opportunity to get out without the kids. I love these ideas on stay-at-home date ideas. While our kids were occupied this weekend, my husband and I took some time to bake a cake together. It went together quickly with two people prepping ingredients and cleaning up and it was great to share a treat together that night after the kids had gone to bed.

Maybe you need to stay home for your date ideas:

  • Prepare a dinner using ingredients that you have never tried or culture that you have never eaten
  • Take a DVD out of the library on how to Tango, Swing Dance, etc.
  • Using You Tube find videos on how to, and do it together. Ideas: Dance, cook, bake bread, learn a new language


Follow along with us on our social media sites to join in on the fun, and to share with us! We will be using #DateNightChallenge across our social media channels and hope you will too.

TWITTER       (Julie and Patty)

INSTAGRAM (Julie and Patty)

FACEBOOK   (Julie and Patty)

PINTEREST    (Julie and Patty)

  • You have 2 weeks to complete this Challenge. Make sure to link below by 12:05 AM EST, February 22, 2016. You can link up with a photo only posted on Facebook or Instagram!
  • By linking, you give The Date Night Challenge Hosts permission to use your name and photo, and links to your social media accounts.
  • We will pin, tweet, share, and promote our Date Night Challenge. We encourage you to visit other participants in this challenge, comment and share the love with them!


Julie & Patty

    An InLinkz Link-up



5 Helpful Tips for Calming Scared and Anxious Kids at Disney

You’re so hyped to take the kids to Disney! Perhaps this is your first visit there or maybe you’ve been before. What do you do if they’re scared at Disney and your child is terrified of the attractions? Or refuses to get on a ride, even if he’s been on it a dozen times before? Your kid is “too-scared-to-ride” but that doesn’t mean your vacation is doomed. This is my helpful guide for kids who are scared at Disney with my tried-and-tested tips.

Scared at Disney?

When I took my son (who is now 12) to Disneyland for the first time, he was 14 months old. He loved toddling at Disneyland, getting wet at Dot’s Puddle Park and climbing stairs and rocks on Tom Sawyer Island. What he didn’t like were the rides. At all. Not even a LITTLE BIT!

He simply was unfamiliar with the quick and unpredictable movements of the rides and there was nothing we could do or say that would help him to relax on the ride. So what can you do if your child refuses to ride, or worse bursts into tears at the very thought? You don’t want your kid having bad memories about his Disney vacation, right?

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

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

My formerly “too-scared-to-ride” big kid comforting his little brother who was nervous his first time on Flik’s Flyers.


1. Plan Ahead

You know your child and if there is any doubt in your mind that you might have some issues at the Park, do everything you can before the trip to prepare them. Show them videos online about the rides. Get a Disney Vacation Planning DVD (click the image above). Watch it over and over so your child can be comfortable with more of the aspects of the place.

Check out my post on TravelingMomHow to Encourage Shy Kids to Be Brave at Disney for lots of tried-and-true advice on encouraging reluctant children.

I’d also advise against setting huge expectations. Don’t expect that you’re going to jump right on Space Mountain with a nervous kid! Plan your day intentionally with a slow start. Don’t expect that your kid is going to run into Mickey’s arms to give him a huge hug if he’s never seen these larger-than-life Characters. As your children become more comfortable in the Park throughout the day, you might be able to get them to try new experiences.

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

No need to be scared at Disney. And no pressure during character meet n’ greets…Mickey’s cool!

SCARED KID TIP: Read up about the rides, attractions and shows in advance so you’ll have an idea if your child would want to ride them or skip them. The The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2017 and The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2017 offers tips on the possible “scare factor” of certain attractions at the Disney parks.


2. Tried and True…Maybe Not So Much

Even if they loved a particular ride in the past, that doesn’t guarantee that they’ll still enjoy it on this trip. My son rode the Pirates of the Caribbean dozens of times but one day (at age four) he got in the boat and screamed until we took him out! For whatever reason something scared him and he refused to get on the ride for years. And then one day, just like that that, he was fine! You just never know.

Your kids might be fine with the spooky Haunted Mansion but suddenly be terrified of Dumbo. And they might be 10 years old…just sayin’. There’s not much you can do about this issue, just let it go and move on to the next attraction.

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

Too scared at Disney to ride the Silly Symphony Swings (which has now become his favorite!)

SCARED KID TIP: Ask your child in advance which rides they most want to go on and which rides they’d rather skip. Let them keep a journal (like the Kid’s Travel Journal -Disney Edition) with their top 10 attractions where they can take notes or draw a picture of their favorite experiences. Allowing your child to document their happy memories might encourage them to try something new or more adventurous.

3. Backing Out

You’ve waited in line for Space Mountain for 90 minutes and finally reach the end…and that’s when your child decides they just don’t want to ride. We’ve had to back out at the last minute of several rides with my daughter when she decided after waiting that she really didn’t want to ride.

Just go with the flow and don’t get upset. Let the Cast Member know that you need to step aside. Wait for a bit. You know your child and whether they’d prefer to collect them self alone or need a hug. Let your child know that they can make the next move, whether it be to leave the attraction or try to ride.

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

Taking a swim break mid-day is one way to take the pressure off kids scared at Disney.

SCARED KID TIP: A stressful situation may escalate so don’t let one blow-out ruin the day. Move on and don’t dwell upon it. Offer a drink or a snack to relieve some of the tension. When we’ve had a particularly upsetting moment with one of our kids, we take that as a cue to get a treat or go back to the hotel for a swim. You could also try resting for a bit in one of the quiet Park areas (read my post Avoid the Disneyland Meltdown for more ideas).

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

My daughter was comforted by having her Minnie Mouse from home with her on all the rides.

Save Money on Your Disneyland Vacation!

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).

4. Use Rider Switch

Just because your kid meets the height requirement doesn’t mean they’ll want to ride! Make good use out of Rider Switch and that way anyone in your group can take turns on a ride and one of the grown-ups can wait with the child that doesn’t want to go on.

My friend Leslie at Trips with Tykes breaks down the Rider Switch process on her website.

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

While other family members are on a ride, we take the time for some fun photo ops in the park.

5. Switch Gears

So, despite your best efforts your kid is still too scared to ride. It’s time to switch gears and find things that your child will appreciate. Fortunately Disney is packed with entertainment that will occupy you for days. The Parks are full of entertaining attractions other than the rides.

The parades and shows are top-notch and appeal to a wide audience so everyone from your toddler to great-grandma can appreciate them. Make sure to grab a Times Guide when you enter the Park so you’ll know what events are happening that day along with the time schedule.

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

An ice cream break usually fixes everything!

Even things as simple as waving at the Characters as they pass in the parade (because your child is too nervous for an up-close meet ‘n greet) can be quality vacation memories for them. While other people in your group are on rides, take fun photos of your child in the Park and capture those memories. There are a bunch of great non-ride ideas in my post What Else is There to Do at Disneyland?

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

Waving at Characters from afar might be preferential to a face-to-face Meet n’ Greet for kids scared at Disney.

What tips do you have for easing the tension for your kids when they’re scared at Disney? Share with us in the comments!

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

Kid’s Quick Breakfasts (with Nutritious Ingredients They’ll Never Notice)

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

Kid's Quick Breakfasts (with Nutritious Ingredients They'll Never Notice)

All kids should be eating breakfast. And I’ll even amend that to say that everyone should be eating breakfast. I wasn’t always in that camp but after noticing a “before and after” of sorts, I’m a breakfast convert. I feel so much more focused in the mornings when I eat a balanced breakfast and that goes for my kids too. I’ve come up with some quick breakfasts, with added nutritious ingredients my kids don’t even know about!

It wasn’t all that long ago that my “breakfast” consisted of a package of mini doughnuts and a diet soda from the convenience store. Now, we all know that breakfast is considered the “most important meal of the day” but it’s taken a new mindset to get me motivated towards more filling and nutritious breakfast choices. Having three little ones who watch and learn from me was a catalyst for change. Can’t really push a healthier breakfast on them if I’m eating doughnuts myself, right?

Being on a budget is another game-changer. All those convenience store and fast food stops are expensive. One of my excuses was that I just didn’t have time to make a well-balanced breakfast in the morning. However it takes just as long to make breakfast at home as it does to go through the drive-thru so that excuse goes out the window! Sure, it takes a little forethought to plan breakfast meals and to make sure you have ingredients on hand but once you start, the benefits of eating a nutritious breakfast far outweigh any reasoning I used to have about stopping to get mini doughnuts! And I’m setting a good example for my little ones too.

Are you ready to challenge yourself in expanding your breakfast repertoire?

Carnation Breakfast Essentials® is encouraging everyone to take the 7 Day Breakfast Challenge. Accept the challenge and complete the daily missions to win prizes. You can start by picking up Carnation Breakfast Essentials® powder or Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Ready-to-Drink bottles in strawberry, vanilla or chocolate flavors at Walmart. Keep reading on how to participate and enter.


Carnation Breakfast Essentials® are already an important part of our healthy morning routine. My youngest doesn’t care for the taste of milk but will happily drink it down if I add Carnation Breakfast Essentials® powder. And I’ll admit that I’m the same way! One of my favorite ways to use Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Powder is in a nutritious smoothie.

Two “Sneaky” Smoothies

Here are two versions I make at home, one with Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Powder in chocolate and the other in vanilla. See at the bottom of the post for the full recipe.

Kid's Quick Breakfasts (with Nutritious Ingredients They'll Never Notice)

I add milk (soy, almond or cow) and vanilla Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Powder to a blender jar. Add in half a banana, a handful of fresh spinach and kale and a half cup of either frozen berries or frozen pineapple. The frozen fruit completely masks the flavor of the veggies.Whir it up and it’s a breakfast that’s packed with flavor and healthy ingredients. In fact, I just had one this morning!

Depending upon the fruit that you use, your smoothie may vary in color from pink or purple or green. If your little one is anything like mine, they may turn up their nose at a green smoothie, no matter if it tastes like berries or not. I like to sneak my son’s smoothie into a cup with a straw or a sippy cup so he never sees the color…success!

Kid's Quick Breakfasts (with Nutritious Ingredients They'll Never Notice)

I also make a smoothie with the chocolate Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Powder. I again add milk, a teaspoon of powdered peanut butter, a half of a frozen banana and a few ice cubes. My secret ingredient in this one is a teaspoon of ground flax seed. Blend it up and nobody is the wiser that they’re getting an extra boost of fiber!

What breakfast swaps can you make for a more nutritious morning?

Here are some quick and easy ideas:

Breakfast Sandwiches – Skip the drive-through and make breakfast sandwiches at home. A bagel or sourdough toast with scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese are a morning favorite. I layer a few pieces of spinach in there too, for my adventurous eaters that don’t turn up their nose at “green” food.

Kid's Quick Breakfasts (with Nutritious Ingredients They'll Never Notice)

Doughnuts – Instead of stopping at the doughnut shop or grabbing those mini “donuts” from the convenience store, consider baking them up yourself at home. Not only can you avoid all the frying and grease, you can use nutritious ingredients like pumpkin into your baked doughnuts. I bake these up in bulk on the weekend and freeze them so I just have to set out a few of them the night before to have them defrosted by morning.

Cereal – Swap out sugar-laden cereal for a more nutritious option with plenty of whole grains and fiber. If the kids want something sweet, add in chopped banana or strawberries to the bowl. We breakfast on hot cereal or oatmeal several times a week with a healthy serving of chopped apples, raisins, walnuts and just a little bit of brown sugar or agave to sweeten.

Kid's Quick Breakfasts (with Nutritious Ingredients They'll Never Notice)

Yogurt – A dollop of plain Greek yogurt becomes a bit like dessert with the addition of a few toppings. Chop up banana, walnuts, drizzle with agave and then, just for fun…some dark chocolate chips!

Muffins –  The muffins at the store are the size of Texas (more like a 2 or 3 serving sized and not individually portioned). Bake up a batch at home, “sneaking” in grated carrot or zucchini along with flax seed, ground oats or whole wheat flour for something that’s more filling and nutritious. I also freeze these and pull them out the night before so breakfast is ready.

Kid's Quick Breakfasts (with Nutritious Ingredients They'll Never Notice)

And if you really need to have breakfast on the go, Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Ready-to-Drink bottles will fill them up fast. We found these at Walmart and my little one chose strawberry. He was tickled pink with this treat he could drink in the car while we took the big kids to school.


Are you ready to accept the challenge?

Carnation Breakfast Essentials® wants everyone to get into a #BetterBreakfast routine. Complete simple breakfast missions through the end of February for chances to win prizes in the #CarnationSweepstakes! Follow these easy steps:

1. Sign up at CarnationBreakfastChallenge.com

2. Complete a simple yet fun breakfast mission for a chance to win. New prizes will be revealed every day!

3. Come back any day in February to complete missions and see new prizes. The prizes range from a Fitbit to a GoPro and other awesome stuff!

4. Head to your favorite store to purchase a Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Nutritional Product and upload your receipt for five extra entries per day.

And be sure to check out the Carnation Breakfast Essentials Facebook page for more nutritious breakfast ideas.

Kid's Quick Breakfasts (with Nutritious Ingredients They'll Never Notice)

"Sneaky" Berry Smoothie with Leafy Greens

"Sneaky" Berry Smoothie with Leafy Greens


  • 8 oz milk (soy, almond or cow)
  • One Packet Vanilla Carnation Breakfast Essentials
  • Half a banana
  • Handful of fresh Kale/Spinach blend
  • Half cup of frozen berries


  1. Add all to a blender cup and whir it up!
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

How will you accept the #BetterBreakfast routine? Share your ideas in the comments!