Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sesame Street: K is for Kindness (Pembroke Lakes Mall in Pembroke Pines, Florida)

This is a sponsored post written by me.  All opinions are my own.

Did you watch Sesame Street as a kid?  I totally did!  In fact, I bet that my Mom still has an old VHS tape or two labeled with my name on it that has vintage Sesame Street.  It would have been carefully taped from TV.  (Oh, the things today's kids wouldn't understand!)

Do your kids love Elmo?

Would your kids like to meet Elmo?

If you answered "yes" to the above, especially to the second two questions, then you might be interested in the Sesame Street: K is for Kindness Tour.  This tour is celebrating the start of the 47th season of Sesame Street.

The target audience is, of course, the preschooler in the family.  Meet and greets with some of the characters, hands on fun, a fifteen minute stage show, a library corner, and more will entertain one and all.  The goal of this tour is to "spark imagination, inspire a love of reading, cultivate kindness, and provide an element of surprise for children at each and every stop.”*  Being so immersed in the Sesame Street world will be a magical experience for your preschooler.

Should I make it a little better? It's free.

While this tour is making a variety of stops, I especially want to tell you about the tour stop happening in sunny Florida!  Elmo (and some of his friends) will be visiting the Pembroke Lakes Mall on Saturday, January 21st, 2017 in Pembroke Pines, Florida from 11 AM until 4 PM.  The mall is located at: 11401 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, FL 33026.

As a parent that frequents all that Central Florida has to offer, it's just so amazing to watch the joy on your kid's face their favorite characters come to life.  I highly doubt that you would regret taking the time to bring your kids to the K is for Kindness Tour.

You can follow Pembroke Lakes Mall on Twitter,  Instagram, and Facebook.

*Quote is from Scott Chambers who is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of North America Media and Licensing, Sesame Workshop.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Disney with Two Little Kids and One Adult

This post contains affiliate links.  This means that I will receive a small compensation if you purchase something after clicking through one of my links.  The price does not change based on whether or not you use one of my affiliate links. 

(Note: I need to write an update for this post, because now I regularly go to Disney World with my THREE kids while my husband is at work!)

We're addicted to Disney.

We go often.  It's a rare week that we aren't there.  (Unless we're blocked because we don't have the crazy-super-duper expensive passes.  Just the regular ol' pretty expensive passes.)

Almost every time it's the whole family: me, Daddy, Catherine, and Dominic.  However, it has been just me and the kids a more than a few times.  Am I crazy?  Well, maybe.  But not for this.

Since I've done it successfully so often I thought I would share some tips that have worked well for us.  I know there are lots of scenarios out there that equate into only one parent being able to bring the kids, so maybe something in here will help you.  Also, a lot of these Disney tips could apply to anyone, so even if you're just a kid at heart something here might help you!

1. Pick your park.

I recommend sticking with Magic Kingdom.  As I write this, my kids are two and six.  Catherine, 6, can ride everything Magic Kingdom has to offer.  Dominic can ride a lot, but certainly not everything.

While you could piece together a fun trip to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom with proper planning (and we have) I think Magic Kingdom is the best bet.  The only Disney World park that the kids and I haven't done without Daddy is Hollywood Studios -- but a lot of that has to do with him being a major Star Wars aficionado.  (At the bottom of this post check out my links for "What to do at Disney's ______ Park with Little Kids and Babies" for planning help.)

The one big negative that Magic Kingdom has is getting over the lake.  If you drive to Disney, which I do as a local, getting from the car to the front gate at the other parks takes ten minutes, tops, at Magic Kingdom it frequently takes a half an hour or more.

2. Adjust your expectations.

If you're solo with the little people there's a good chance that you won't be able to do everything that you'd like.  Space Mountain is one of my favorite rides at Magic Kingdom.  I simply can't ride it though when it's just me and the kids.  I've even had to give up an elusive Mine Train FastPass that I somehow scored because, clearly, Dominic can't wait for me by himself while Catherine and I ride.  (That was a day we thought Daddy might be able to come.)  I'm one of those people that could be at the park from opening to closing and be totally happy.  My kids can't do that.  Acknowledge that this might not be your ideal trip and then, well, let it go.

3. Watch carefully for tiredness.

I think this is especially important whenever the children outnumber the adults.  You only have so many arms!  Maybe you have mastered baby (or toddler) wearing, pushing a stroller, carrying an umbrella, juggling three cups of water, AND not bumping into other people, but I haven't.  Getting tired and cranky isn't good for anyone; sometimes cutting a visit short is the answer.  When it's been just me and the kids we typically stay at the parks for about 4 to 6 hours.  More than that gets dicey.

4. Bring the stroller.

I never go without a stroller.  My Fitbit shows that I average about 7 miles a day in the parks.  (Keep in mind, these are short park visits -- for a longer visit it's easily over 10 miles!)  That's a lot for little legs.  I've been looking for one of the sit and stand type strollers, but haven't found a good one in my price range.  (Meaning I haven't found a good one at a yard sale or on Craigslist yet!)  Catherine does a great job of keeping up, but I have had them both ride in the single stroller together more than once.

A word of caution about strollers: If you aren't at the park early (which you should be!) you will probably need to take a tram in the parking lot.  Please note, you must fold up your stroller to get on the tram.  This means that you, and you alone, will be carrying your stroller, the bags, and the kids.  That can get quite overwhelming.  If you're early you will most likely be in one of the close parking lots and can skip the tram.  (I almost always chose to skip the tram.)

5. Plan your visit.

Get those FastPasses!  Lines for Winnie the Pooh, Buzz, and especially Peter Pan can be quite long.  Also, ask the kids what they would like to do, their answers might surprise you.  One time both of my kids wanted to spend time in Pooh's house.  We hung out in front of the ride playing in Pooh's house for over half an hour.  They loved it.  Another time Dominic wanted to ride the "horses" over and over again, so we rode the Carousel a half dozen times one morning.

6. Get there early.

This is a good Disney World tip in general.  My kids tend to be early rises, so getting there early isn't really an issue for us.  While the initial opening of the gates surge can be intimidating if you've never been there before, it typically is the least crowded part of the day.  Enjoy it!  Seriously, you can get on about a dozen rides by lunchtime if you're there for the gate drop.

7. Pack carefully.

We typically have three bags: small cooler, diaper bag, and a rain gear bag.  The cooler (similar to this one) generally has PB&J and a few snacks (we don't pack water since it's free at all of the restaurants), the diaper bag has one day's worth of supplies, and then we have some type of rain protection for each person (especially during the rainy season).  Try to keep each bag as minimal as possible.  Whatever you bring you will be lugging around for the entire day.  You will also probably be lugging your children at some point.  I sometimes ditch the rain gear bag, although that has been a bad decision more than once, and sometimes we bring our pin trading bag (similar to this one, but ours is pink, with princesses).

8. Have fun!

It's Disney.  Enjoy yourself!  A Disney day, or week, will be different if you're the solo adult, but everyone can still have a great time!

Do you have any great Disney tips to share?  Let me hear them in the comments section!

Be sure to take a look at what you can do with little kids and babies at each of the Disney World parks!

Clicking on the above photos should get you to the right post, but just in case, here are the links again:

I will be sharing this post at various blog parties, including these

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Granny Stripe Hat

This post contains affiliate links.

This Granny Stripe Hat is my first of the Granny-Spiration Project.  (Read more about this below, and be sure to enter the giveaway!)  This is an easy hat to crochet and works up quite quickly.

I used an H hook and Caron Simply Soft.

A note about fit and size:  This is a slouchy hat.  My lovely model has a larger than average head circumference for her age.  This hat would properly fit teens and ladies.

Chain 5. Join.

Row 1  *Two dc, chain 1*around until there are six groups of 2dc.

Row 2  Crochet 2 groups of 2dc in each chain one space of previous row, make sure to chain one between each group. (12 groups of 2dc)

Rows 3 &4 Crochet 3dc in each chain one space, keeping the chain one between each group.

Row 5 Crochet 2 dc groups of three in each chain 1 space (always have a chain one between each group)

Row 6 - 10 3 dc groups in each chain with a chain 1 between each one.

Row 11 HDC around.

Rows 12 through 15 HDC in the third loop.  Finish off.

This Month's Giveaway is sponsored by EyeLoveKnots. 

One winner will receive a $10 Etsy Card to spend in any shop on Etsy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Must be 18 or older to enter. Open to all countries. Gift card has been purchased in US Dollars. If recipient is outside of the US, to use gift card, must go into Etsy settings and temporarily change to US Dollars. Void where prohibited. Winner has 48 hours to respond to email notification, or another winner will be chosen. EyeLoveKnots is responsible for prize fulfillment and shipment.

New Granny-Spiration Projects will be shared from your hosts the first Saturday of each month. Post times will vary. You will be able to link up from 9am EST on the first Saturday of the month, through 11:59pm EST on the second Thursday from the start date - specific dates are on top of the Rafflecopter form - giving you almost two weeks to link up and enter the giveaway! Please share projects that are family friendly, and GRANNY INSPIRED through use of regular granny square or solid granny square, granny stitch pattern or other afghan square in the form of a free pattern, pattern review, or inspiration piece. Not limited to crochet or knit.

*Please make sure to link to your post, and not your homepage.

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