Walt Disney World is Not Just for Preschoolers – Tweens Love It Too! #DisneyTweens

Disclosure 1

As the years race by, it’s hard to realize how fast my first baby is growing up. Apparently, he is a tween. How did that happen? I guess I should have noticed the clues. The video games, the headphones attached to his neck, the newfound love for Top 40 hits, the desire to fit in or be “cool”, and yes – even the little bit of attitude I’ve been seeing appear every now and again. As much as I hate to admit it, my baby – my 8 year old Lucas – is growing up right before my eyes and I want to do everything I can to press pause on every moment we get to spend together. That’s why we all jumped at the chance to visit Walt Disney World Resort and experience everything the parks have to offer tweens and families.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.40.24 AM

We were ready for 3 days of jam-packed Disney tween fun! After arriving and checking into our Animal Kingdom Lodge Savannah Room (complete with views of animals like giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, and so much more – Lucas was amazed), we met up with a group of influencers and friends that would be joining us for the press trip.

6

12495949_10153836775712870_1096647136324948211_o

We quickly headed to dinner and then our first ride…Test Track at Epcot. Lucas was able to create his own custom car on a computer terminal before boarding. The ride will then test the abilities of the car you designed and show you the results. The ride was so fast and so much fun. It is officially one of our favorite rides at Walt Disney World and definitely tween approved. As Lucas said, “Best ride of my life!”

648D2180-A073-41DE-9C3F-5A1727FE4167

The next day we were off early to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. After breakfast we boarded the Kilimanjaro Safari. Guys, this ride is one of a kind. You truly get a close encounter with real wild life – rhinos, elephants, lions, monkeys, and more. Lucas – and all of us – were in awe. Lucas especially loved the driver who was doling out cool facts and trivia tidbits (did you know that a giraffe only sleeps for a total of about 30 min a day, in no more than 5 minute increments? That’s insane. And I thought I didn’t getting enough sleep!).

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.48.42 AM

 

IMG_4716

After the safari we rode Dinosaur, which is a thrilling adventure ride that takes you back in time to experience dinosaurs right at the time the asteroid hit. We also rode Expedition Everest which is by far one of the coolest roller coaster rides we have been on and is Lucas’ favorite. The coaster shoots up a mountain and before you know it, you are headed backwards in the dark and brings you up close and personal with the dangerous yeti. Scary and fun all rolled into one!!

Later that afternoon we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and headed straight to Star Tours, of course. If you haven’t ridden Star Tours, it is a 3D simulator ride that puts you right into the heat of battle in a galaxy far far away. This is without a doubt Lucas’ and Mike’s favorite ride. Ever. They are huge Star Wars fans and this ride is like being inside the movies. They would literally ride it all day if I let them lol.

And, finally Lucas and Mike rode Tomorrowland Speedway several times. They love this ride!

IMG_5429

After dinner, we rode Aerosmith’s Rock n’ Roller Coaster, which is super cool and super fast. You take off going 0 – 60 in less than 3 seconds as you shoot into a loop and head off into the neon and black light filled room. Why so fast? Because if you don’t hurry you will miss Aerosmith’s rock concert!

That evening we had front row seats to what I have to believe is the single greatest fireworks show on earth. I have never seen anything like Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular. This awesome new show is actually a precursor to another show coming later this year (more on that in another post). Fireworks are set off to the music and sounds of Star Wars. You really have to see it to believe it. The music is beautiful and the fireworks are breathtaking. Literally breathtaking. 

On our last day we went to Magic Kingdom where we rode just about every thrill ride at the park. We rode Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which is a relatively new coaster that is fun for the whole family. Even our 2 year old Amelia rode it! The Seven Dwarves Mine Train combines the thrill of a coaster with the magical animatronics that Disney is known for. We rode it twice!

Another tween-approved ride is Space Mountain. This coaster is an oldie but goodie! I can remember riding Space Mountain when I was a kid! Space Mountain takes you flying around in the dark with stars projected all around you. It’s like being in outer space.

To finish the day we headed over to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). Mike and the kids did some shopping while I got to see first hand, the big changes that are coming to Disney Springs (again, more on that in another post). We all got to do a little shopping, which is always fun and there were plenty of stores for each of us – even the boys – to enjoy!

 

4

IMG_5104

We ended the evening with a relaxing ride around the Disney Springs lake in an Amphicar (which is a car and a boat in one) and dinner at Boathouse. The Amphicar was a pretty sweet ride! The driver was hilarious and the view was gorgeous. This is a must-do at Disney Springs.

IMG_5105

 

IMG_5017

 

5

By the end of the trip, here’s what I knew for sure. Disney just gets it. They understand the intricacies of families. They understand the challenges that parents of little ones face so they provide stroller rentals and baby care stations and rider switch passes and more. Disney understands that tweens and teens are looking for a cool experience at the parks and they provide it through thrill rides and shopping and magical experiences. The world that Disney creates for their customers and the service they provide is second to none. Disney makes it easy for families of all ages – from young families with newborns to families with tweens and teens to families with all grown-up “kids” – to reconnect with one another and create memories that will last a lifetime.

IMG_5327

Lots of New Disney Experiences this Summer!

Not only do packages start under $2,000, but this year’s Awaken Summer event will debut new experiences across all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks with an epic array of shows and attractions to open throughout summer, creating exciting new guest experiences across all Disney theme parks and entertainment venues. A new Magic Kingdom castle show will bring favorite characters from “Tangled” and “Princess and the Frog” for the first time to the grandest stage in Walt Disney World. Stars of the runaway Disney hit, “Frozen,” will take a bow in multiple Disney parks, and the first Frozen-themed attraction will sail into guests’ hearts at Epcot. Even more Star Wars-themed original entertainment, nighttime Animal Kingdom experiences and Disney Springs openings will set the stage for endless summertime fun. Visit DisneyWorld.com for more info.

Super Cute, Super Simple Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Disclosure 1

The countdown to Easter Sunday has officially begun! As of tomorrow, there are only 26 days until the big day and we are busy planning the menu for our annual Jolly Easter Egg Hunt & Dinner. We typically host the entire family plus friends, which typically ends up being around 30+ guests…or more. It’s big and loud and there lots of little ones playing in the backyard waiting anxiously for the egg hunt to begin. I’ll admit…I love every second of it. With that many mouths to feed and an egg hunt to pull off, I do try to keep the menu simple though. That’s why I love these Easter Bunny Cupcakes. They are super cute and super simple and kids LOVE them.

IMG_8439a

Bunny Ears Cupcakes

Ingredients

 

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Buttercream or Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 2 Cups Shredded Coconut (sweetened or unsweetened depending on your preference)
  • 6 regular sized marshmallows
  • Pink sugar

Directions:

Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 F and line one 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy about 2 minutes. Add the melted butter and vanilla and mix until combined. Add half the dry ingredients and continue to mix until just combined. Then add the milk and the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined (do not over mix). Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake tins. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool the cupcakes completely on a wire rack. Once cupcakes have cooled, frost using a piping bag or small offset spatula/knife.

Place the shredded coconut in a shallow dish. Lightly roll the top of each cupcake in the coconut.

IMG_8412

IMG_8416

Using a sharp knife, cut each marshmallow in half at a diagonal. These will be the bunny ears.

IMG_8418

Dip the flat side of each marshmallow half into the pink sugar.

IMG_8420

Now, just press two marshmallow “ears” into the top of the cupcake. This is your cute bunny cupcake! Super simple, right?

IMG_8423

For your own personalized Easter Countdown Calendar and the most adorable personalized Easter decor and baskets, make sure to visit PersonalCreations.com!

IMG_8424a

 

Easy & Quick Cookie Pops for Valentine’s Day

Disclosure 1

This Valentine’s Day we are hosting a little party for the kids at Lucas’ school. To keep it simple and cute, we are making these adorable cookie pops. These are super easy to make and make such a big impact. Plus, kids love them!

IMG_8373

Easy & Quick Cookie Pops for Valentine’s Day

Ingredients:

  • Oreo Cookies
  • 1 Bag White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Colorful Sprinkles
  • Plus, you will need lollipop sticks.

Directions: Insert the lollipop sticks into the cream part of the cookies and set aside. Melt the white chocolate chips, add the oil, and stir until smooth.

IMG_8346

IMG_8350

Dip each cookie pop into the melted white chocolate making sure to gently shake the excess chocolate off. Carefully dip the cookie pop into the sprinkles. Set on a sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with all cookie pops and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour to set the chocolate.

IMG_8354

We will be putting all these yummy goodies in a cute, personalized baking pan with lid from Personal Creations and taking it to Lucas’ school. The great thing is that the teacher can keep the pan!

IMG_8371

IMG_8370

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Personalized Gifts

Disclosure 1

title_2

her3

Women's Cashmere ScarfShe is Fierce Porcelain Catchall

Bath CaddyLetter

kids

Sparkle & ShineSleepy Fox Nightgown

FrogHappy Dancer Jewelry Box

MedalJust for Me Backpack

him

Mens CatchallCuff Links

Secret Message Collar StaysTri-Fold Hanging Leather Excursion

GrowlerCooler

home

ChalkboardPersonalized Ornaments

Family Movie Night Popcorn TinWine Service2

PicnicPerfect Sip Wine Decanter

close

Magic Reindeer Food Recipe and Free Printable

Disclosure 1

A fun activity to do with the kids this year is to make magic reindeer food that can be sprinkled on the yard on Christmas Eve. The sparkle will draw the reindeer to your house on Christmas Eve.

Reindeer Food

Making it is super easy! Lucas and I made a large batch using Kellogg’s All Bran Flakes so that we could pass them out to all of the cousins before Christmas.

IMG_7956

IMG_7978

 

Magic Reindeer Food Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Kellogg’s All-Bran Flakes, lightly crushed
  • 1/4 cup red or green sugar crystals
  • 1/4 cup Christmas sprinkles

Directions: Place all ingredients in a large zip-top bag and gently shake. Pour into small mason jars and add label with poem.

IMG_8226

 

Magic Reindeer Poem

Sprinkle on the lawn at night
The moon will make it sparkle bright
Santa’s reindeer fly and roam
This will guide them to your home

 

FREE PRINTABLE

Just right click on the image below, save to your computer and print to whatever size you need.

 

 

Reindeer Food Printable Tag

 

 

 

 

 

Easy No Bake Christmas Cookies: ‘NILLA Holiday Cookie Bites Recipe

Disclosure 1

One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is make cookies! Unfortunately, I (along with every other mom) am also so busy around this time of the year. That’s why I love when I discover an simple treats to serve at holiday parties, take to Lucas’ school events, or give out as yummy gifts to neighbors and teachers. Today I wanted to share with you the recipe for ‘NILLA Holiday Cookie Bites.

NILLA Cookie Bites Recipe

Aren’t they pretty?! I say recipe loosely because there is ZERO baking. These gorgeous treats are made by stacking Nabisco NILLA Wafers, filling with jam, and coating with candy melts. They’d also be amazing filled with a hazelnut spread or whatever kind of filling you like best. These are very festive and make quite the impact! The secret is that they are also very easy to make!

NILLA Cake Bites Recipe

‘NILLA Holiday Cookie Bites Recipe

Ingredients

  • 36 NILLA Wafers
  • 2 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 8 oz. vanilla candy wafers (melts) (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  •  Assorted decorations: crushed starlight mints, colored sprinkles, small round candies, coarse sugar and decorating icings 

Instructions

  • BRUSH  flat sides of 24 NILLA Wafers with juice, then spread with jam.
  • PLACE  remaining wafers, rounded sides up, on waxed paper-covered baking sheet; top each with 2 jam-topped wafers, jam sides down. Freeze for a few hours or overnight (like I did).
  • MELT  candy wafers as directed on package; stir in oil until blended. Dip NILLA stacks, 1 at a time, in melted candy wafers, turning to evenly coat stack and reheating candy wafer mixture if needed. I gently inserted a skewer into NILLA stacks to make dipping a little easier. Return to baking sheet. Immediately add decorations to resemble photo.
  • REFRIGERATE 30 min. or until candy coating is firm. Keep refrigerated.

NILLA Cake Bites

Holiday Party Inspiration!

To get some fresh new holiday party inspiration, make sure to visit The Ultimate Party Planner. It features lots of yummy and festive holiday recipes (like the NILLA Cake Bites recipe featured above) tested and tasted by bloggers along with tips on how to host the perfect party this holiday season. Plus, you can print Publix coupons to use for your grocery shopping this holiday season. Visit nabiscopublixpartyplanner.com to get inspired and save!

Easy Christmas Candy: Chocolate Billionaires Recipe

Disclosure 1

My favorite candy combination is caramel and nuts. It’s gooey and crunchy. Sweet and salty. So good. That’s why I love these Chocolate Billionaires. Caramel. Pecans. Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal. Chocolate. It doesn’t get better than that!

Chocolate Billionaires Final

This is the perfect candy to make for the holidays. It’s no-bake and super easy to make. Hope you enjoy it as much as our family does!

IMG_8435

Chocolate Billionaires Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ounce) package caramels
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips

Directions:

Prep baking or cookie sheets with parchment or wax paper.

Melt caramels and water in microwave until you can easily stir; stir until smooth. Mix in pecans and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal. Drop candy by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Put candy in freezer for 1-2 hours. Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 1 minute increments until melted, stirring in between. Using a fork, dip candy into melted chocolate, turning to evenly coat all sides. Place candy on sheets of wax paper on the counter to set.

Five Time-Out Tips for Toddlers

Disclosure 1

You guys. Amelia is a totally different kid than her brother, Lucas. Amelia is like a hurricane. She is into everything and wants to do everything. It’s like she has forgotten that she is a toddler. She wants to be a big kid. I love her spunk and independence, but sometimes it’s also a battle to get her to follow directions or rules. Let’s just say that we have become very experienced with “time-outs”. Today, I wanted to share with you a few time-out tips that have worked really well with us!

Choose a time-out spot. One of the most important things to consider when putting your child in time-out is the place. Pick one spot in your house and consistently use the same spot. It should be a place that you can easily keep an eye on your child and that is free of all distraction and noise. We use a personalized time-out with love stool from Personal Creations that is typically placed in the foyer hall. What I like about using a stool is that it’s movable just in case the time-out spot has to change in a pinch. Once you have the spot, show your child and explain the type of behavior that will result in a time-out. Also, explain what good behavior looks like.

3

 

1

Time Out with Love Stool from Personal Creations

Timing. You know what they say…timing is everything and that rings true for time-outs too. Time-outs that are either too short or too long are not effective. Pediatricians recommend one minute per year of your child’s age. Amelia is 2 years old so her time-out time is 2 minutes. We set a timer in the kitchen and she knows that when the timer goes off – time-out is over. And…when time out is over…time out is over. It’s a clean slate for the child.

Be Swift and Consistent. If your child is misbehaving, give her a warning and remind her what good behavior looks like. If the bad behavior continues after the warning, immediately take her to time-out. It’s important that you don’t wait until after she finishes dinner or you get back home, etc. It has to be right away and it has to be consistent to be effective. If you’re out and your child needs a time-out, improvise by coming up with a new time-out spot that is safe (of course!) and away from as many distractions as possible.

Keep Your Cool. It’s important that when your child is given a time-out that you get down to their eye level and use a firm, calm voice without yelling or losing your cool. Look, I get it. Your child is misbehaving and it’s their tenth trip to time-out and you’re frustrated…been there! However, it’s important to show your child that you are in control – this will model good behavior for your kids too!

Praise Your Child. Just like when you let your child know when they are misbehaving, praise your child when they are being good! Make sure to be specific! EX. “Amelia, you are being so nice to your brother! I love to see you both play so nicely and share your toys.”

11 Tips on How To Photograph Your Kids

Disclosure 1

Whether it’s hearing that first cry, hearing them say “mama” for the first time, or feeling their first embrace, there’s nothing like experiencing those first moments with our children. Last week I (along with Latina Mom Bloggers) hosted a Pampers LIVE Tweet-Up at Hispanicize in Miami to celebrate those first moments and Swaddlers being available to size 6. Ten wonderful bloggers and moms joined us! It was a lovely event with lots of personalized sweet touches.

IMG_0808

 

IMG_0843

As the bloggers walked in, they were greeted by balloons that each had a picture of one of their little ones.

IMG_0900

And, each blogger left with a sweet surprise. A beautiful photo book filled with pictures of their babies.

IMG_0879

 

IMG_0828

 

IMG_0831

There were lots of smiles and even a few tears when these were opened up!

IMG_0853

As a Pampers Baby Board Ambassador, I also shared tips on how to photograph kids that I wanted to share with you today!

11 Tips on How To Photograph Your Kids

1

1. Jot down a list of photos you want to take. Think through any potential obstacles. This is helpful so that you don’t forget to take any important pictures (i.e. picture with grandma, etc).

2. Whether it’s through their clothing or how they act, let your child’s true personality shine.

7

3. Take the posed pictures first. This way you get all of those must-have pictures out of the way and can relax.

8

4. Take lots of candid pictures! These are the best kind of shots and really tell the story of the moment and who your kids really are. These are the pictures that will bring back memories when you look at them years down the road.

16

5. Zoom in to capture the small details. Their tiny toes and hand and facial features.

18

 

19

6. Zoom out to capture how tiny they are when compared to the rest of the world.

21

7. Use props (think flowers, toys, food – anything that will photograph well and your child will love) to keep kids entertained during a photo shoot. I get a little area ready with props and things I know that Amelia will love and only sit her in it when it’s completely ready.

24

8. Capture all of the moments – good, bad, and every day. Don’t just focus on the times when your child is happy. Snap shots of them crying or pouting. Take the camera to the grocery store or out to Sunday breakfast. You will want to remember these moments too!

30

9. Photograph the things around them. What do your kids love? Do they have a favorite book or stuffed animal?

33

10. Change your point of view. Snap pictures from below, the side and above – not just straight on – to get the most interesting shots.

38

11. Step out from behind the camera. Yes, we all have days that we feel frumpy or not great about ourselves, but you know what? Your kids don’t care. They love you and they (and you) deserve to have pictures of your lives together.

46

For the third year in a row, P&G showcased its trusted brands at Hispaniciz and hosted The Living Fabulosa lounge where various single brands including Olay, COVERGIRL, Pantene, Pampers, Gain and Crest, did a variety of fun events to help each Latina live fabulosa in her own way.

Pampers understands there is nothing more joyful or rewarding than the precious first-time moments shared by little ones and their families. In fact, as the #1 choice of hospitals in North America, Pampers Swaddlers are the first diaper worn by millions of babies, helping to comfort and protect little ones through their journey of firsts.

Check out the Pampers Firsts Video!

Holiday Party Appetizer: Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip Recipe

Disclosure 1

We are so excited about the next few weeks – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Eve. It’s time to celebrate! We go to my parent’s Christmas Eve party on the 24th and do Christmas Day at home with just us and the kids. However, we have one more party left to host – New Year’s Eve. Honestly after hosting so many parties towards the end of the year, we like to keep New Year’s Eve simple and relaxed.


63780_10151289432067870_1453768324_n

 

It’s all about being together as a family to ring in the New Year. We do firecrackers and sparklers, of course.

 

58608_10151289696622870_1971629058_n

Food is simple. Heavy appetizers. Champagne, sparkling cider for the kids, and something sweet.

6107_10151289710902870_366018821_n

One of the appetizers that we will be serving this year is a Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip. This is a hot dip which makes it very satisfying and a perfect option when you won’t have a main course. Prep is done in just minutes and people LOVE it. 

Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip Recipe

Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • WHEAT THINS or TRISCUITS 

Instructions

  1. PREHEAT oven 350°F. Place all ingredients in food processor container; cover. Process just until blended, but not completely smooth.
  2. SPOON into 9-inch pie plate.
  3. BAKE 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve with WHEAT THINS’

Blue Cheese Artichoke Dip Recipe_1

Holiday Party Inspiration!

To get some fresh new holiday party inspiration, make sure to visit The Ultimate Party Planner. It features lots of yummy and festive holiday recipes tested and tasted by bloggers along with tips on how to host the perfect party this holiday season. Plus, you can print Publix coupons to use for your grocery shopping this holiday season. Visit nabiscopublixpartyplanner.com to get inspired and save!