When my daughter came to me asking for a Disney themed birthday party I was not at all surprised. We visited Disneyland for the first time a few months ago and she has literally fallen in love with anything and everything Disney. Who can blame her, after all, it is the most magical place on earth ;).
We narrowed it down to Mickey Mouse from Disney which was great because there is just so much available from party supply stores and even the dollar store with the Mickey Mouse theme.
The following are some photos of what we came up with. Hopefully this will give you a starting point or some inspiration if you are considering a Mickey Mouse party for your child.
I painted this Mickey Mouse head on our front window. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out :).
Here’s a view from the inside. I just fell in love with these red and white polka dot balloons and bunting!
More polka dots! We made these Mickey Mouse serving platters by attaching two smaller black plates to a bigger one. Easy peasy and the kids thought is was awesome.
Another angle of the window.
This back drop not only was amazing at helping to create the Mickey Mouse feel but I also used it for one of the party activities. We pulled the table forward and then I held a ‘photo shoot’ with Mickey, the birthday girl and all their friends. It was a lot of fun!
For the cake, I just baked two regular eight inch rounds and then cut out two circles from one of the rounds for the ears. Simple icing and then edged the cake with these super yummy white and milk chocolate Kit Kat bars. The kids could not wait when they saw it!
This is a cake I did for part of the ‘family’ party we had the next day. But I wanted to show you the pinata that we used for the ‘friend’ party that is in the background. We were all so excited about the Mickey Mouse Pinata but I have to say I was really disappointed with it. As luck would have it the very first string that was pulled was the one that opened the bottom area up for all the candy to fall out. But nothing fell out! Each child had a turn and pulled the ribbons and… nothing. I finally had to grab the pinata and rip the bottom out more and dump the candy out. Then of course the chaos ensued :). I felt the pinata itself did not work as it was supposed to :(. Of course the kids still got the candy so I think they were fine with it, lol.
For the goodie bags I found these neat popcorn type boxes from the dollar store. The kids had the candy from the pinata and we also filled them with a Mickey Mouse themed giant eraser, Mickey and friends pencil, tape and noise maker. The kids also took home one of these Mickey and Friends note books shown in the foreground.
On the second day of birthday celebrating we had some family over for a Menchies Bar Party. My daughter loves Menchies! She is lactose intolerant and this is one of the ice cream/ fro-yo places she can go because they always offer a diary free option. I bot the Fro-yo, Sherbet and a couple of the harder to find toppings at Menchies and found the rest in the bulk section of my local grocery store. This was a ton of fun and I would definitely recommend it. Menchies was really helpful as well!
I hope you enjoyed this post and perhaps picked up an idea or two if you are considering a Mickey Mouse themed Party for your child. If you have any questions or comments you can leave them here or you can also find me on Instagram @theeverydayjournalista.
As an adult it may be difficult for us to understand what a child could possibly have to be anxious about. They don’t have a job or a mortgage or any of the responsibilities that we as adults have to balance. While this may be true child anxiety is a very real thing and something that plagues as many as 1 in 4 children.
Being a parent of a child with anxiety I know first hand how debilitating it can be and the impact it can have on other children in the house and the family unit as a whole.
Nail biting, lip chewing, shirt chewing, paper tearing, pencil biting these are just a few of the more subtle outward signs you may see in a child with anxiety. But the more serious and often more concerning signs are often the ones you don’t see.
These are the signs of the ‘Internalizer’. All appears fine for the most part on the surface but underneath, inside they are being pushed around by the bully that is anxiety.
Anxiety comes is many forms and is a friend to many other bullies; separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, performance anxiety, depression, and OCD just to name a few.
These silent enemies threaten to replace fun with fear, adventure with dread and curiosity with doubt. I have seen it physically attack my son with hives, stomach-aches, bed-wetting, and endless tears. I have also seen it attack his spirit creating fear, uncertainty, doubt, and sadness.
So many children and their families think they must suffer with these common mental illnesses or that they aren’t serious enough to warrant treatment. I could not disagree more. If anxiety and its gang of trouble makers is affecting your everyday life and the life of your child then help is definitely available and warranted.
The trick is to learn tools and coping skills that will allow your child to push back against anxiety. But how hard to push and in what levels and situations is something that is different for each child. Even more difficult is that what works for a specific child can vary greatly as they develop and mature.
There are many strategies and coping tools that can help a child with anxiety. The difficulty is finding what works best for your child. What works for one will not necessarily work for another. My son and I are in a continuous state of learning when it comes to how best to support him. The steps I list below are what is working currently for my son. This has changed and grown over the years and I will expect it to continue to do so. I share these in the hope that perhaps one or two may work for your child as you navigate through the options for coping that will fit your child.
5 Steps to Pushing Back Against Anxiety:
Call Out the Bully
It’s easy to mistake some of the symptoms of anxiety in children with unfocused and/or bad behaviour. Identifying your child’s anxiety and what triggers it is a huge step towards controlling it, but calling out anxious behaviours and triggering situations is just as crucial. Call out the bully, don’t let anxiety secretly push your child around. This isn’t something we do out in public or in the classroom but at home we talk about the day and any triggering incident has taken place we call it what it is and my son can then take back control of that moment. When anxiety peaks at home I do my best to call it as I see it. Naming anxiety and other secretive disorders like OCD immediately gives them less power. It’s empowering to the child and really is very effective in putting things into perspective.
The Long Exhale
Anxiety not only creates a mental response in the mind but also a physical one. A sense of panic, the need to run or escape is often described. This can lead to a racing heart and quick shallow breathing.
By simply becoming aware of their breathing your child can work to bring their anxiety levels down into a range they can cope with. This is easier said than done, especially for children. When my son was 7 and the idea of breathing as a skill was introduced it was a disaster. Bringing awareness to his breathing only made him breath quicker and more panicked as he tried to complete the breathing exercises.
At 11 years old he is now able to use this skill more effectively and I know this is one that will be huge for him in the future as well. It takes practice, during a non-anxious period to get the feeling you want to try to recreate when an anxious episode is triggered. I just encourage my son to focus on a long exhale. I don’t really put a number of breaths or seconds in and out as that seems to trip him up. Just slow long breaths.
Channel Anxious Energy
Another way to keep anxious energy from building or from coming out in destructive ways (lip chewing, nail biting, paper tearing or eating) is to use fidget tools. Anxiety has to have an outlet and most children and adults will naturally find one. Unfortunately these may not always be healthy or appropriate. Using a fidget tool like the ones I have pictured here are a great way to give anxious energy somewhere to go without being distracting or destructive. These have been really helpful for my son.
I love this stuff and have been using for years. The Bach Flower Remedies work in conjunction with herbs, homeopathy and medications and are safe for everyone. Rescue Remedy helps relax, focus and calm. We have recently moved from the drops to the pastilles so my son can have them at hand at school for those times when anxiety spikes. It has been a huge help! You can learn more about Rescue Remedy here: http://www.bachflower.com/rescue-remedy-information/
Take a Minute
This seems so simple but it’s one that is not always supported in the school system. Having the ability to just step out of an anxiety-provoking situation to ‘regroup’ can be huge towards avoiding a total meltdown or escalation of symptoms. Not only does this provide an opportunity to step away from the thing/situation that has triggered the anxiety it can also allow for some of the other tools to be put into action prior to rejoining the situation.
Thank you so much for taking time out of you busy day to read this post. My hope is that if your child or you struggle with anxiety you will be able to take away something helpful or encouraging from this post. I have also created a quick reference printable called 5 Steps Against Anxiety – Everyday Journalista 2016 you can print off.
If you have some tools that have worked for your child I would love to hear them as well.
Christmas is my favorite time of year but by the time New Years comes around I am chomping at the bit to take my house back from the chaos that is Christmas.
Something comes over me and I literally end up attacking each and every room in our home. I take down all the Christmas stuff, clean and purge! It really is almost a cleansing experience for me. After, the house feels so sparse and clean and ready for the New Year. A fresh start.
I never actively plan this but as soon as Christmas is over I have this increasing urge to simplify and get back to basics.
This year was no exception. Hours, garbage bags and trips to drop off donations, and I’m looking forward to the year ahead.
For me, once I can bring some order to my environment I find that I am able to focus more effectively on the task at hand. Right now that task is 2016.
This is when I usually take some time to reflect on the previous year. What went right, what am I grateful for, and what do I want my focus to be going forward. I’m not really one for resolutions but I do set a focus for myself for the year ahead. I also have more recently started adding steps that I can take to keep focusing on my selected priorities on a daily and weekly basis.
In this post I have included the little worksheet that I have been using to document my yearly focus plan. I broke it down in to three main growth areas that are important to me for the coming year: Personal Growth, Professional Growth, and Social Growth.
These are obviously very broad but I break that down into a number of more specific areas I want to focus on. I will then go even further and specify between 1-3 goals that I will focus on. Finally come the steps I’m going to take to make my goals a success.
It may seem like a lengthy process but saying I want to spend more time with my family is one thing. What that actually looks like and how I’m going to get there is something else.
Some of these areas may appeal to you while others won’t. Feel free to print off the PDF below and complete it or reach out to me at everydayjournalista.com/contact/ and I would be happy to send you a version you can edit to your own goals. It’s best if you have your focus or goals at hand so that they remain front of mind and can be reviewed regularly.
Here is an example from a portion of my worksheet so you can get an idea of how I use it:
As you can see these are not unrealistic goals. I make a conscious effort to set myself up for success. This will keep me motivated to continue for the long term. From here I can take the steps to success and build them in to my daily life. Some steps are just a continuation of things I already do or do occasionally and want to make a regular part of my life. Others will take more work on my part.
What I have done in the past is then transferred these action steps onto a sheet to create a checklist. This can be put on your fridge or in your journal to help you keep on track.
Here is a sample of what it looks like:
It includes my priority of Personal Growth, my focus area of having a healthy body, a specific action that I will take to achieve my healthy body (I have provided space for three items here eg: 20min walk 3x’s per week), and finally I include an affirmation statement related to my focus to keep me encouraged and motivated.
I have been setting goals for years but in the past few years I have been deeply inspired by Fitness and Lifestyle Coach, Blogger and Host of the Fit & Vibrant YOU podcast Tanja Shaw. I would highly recommend checking out her website tanjashaw.com, the Fit & Vibrant You Podcast, or Ascendfitnesscoaching.com.
Have some fun with this. It’s a great way to reflect, reset and refocus for 2016. Great things are waiting you just have to decide what they’re going to be!
Christmas is fast approaching and with it all the fun traditions and activities that make it my favorite time of the year. As I type this, my home is filled with the scent of buttery whipped shortbread baking in the oven. A Christmas tradition in our family for generations and one I fully intend on passing down to my children.
Along with baking, tree decorating, the annual Christmas puzzle, and advent calendars we always end up doing some kind of craft. In the past we have made salt dough ornaments, decorated a special plate for Santa’s cookies with Sharpie and baked it, painted our windows with Christmas cheer and of course written and decorated letters to Santa.
This year my daughter convinced me that we had to make our Christmas craft not to decorate our home but the home of her Barbies in her doll world. She has built this entire town down in the toy room and it would be an understatement to say that she takes this doll ‘world’ very seriously. She spends hours down there creating just the right set up for her ‘girls’.
I partially blame YouTuber My Froggy Stuff for this ;). If you haven’t heard of My Froggy Stuff you should definitely check it out. This mom and daughter team craft up anything you could possibly imagine in doll scale. It’s really impressive.
Anyway… back to the craft at hand. Inspired by My Froggy Stuff we recently tried our hand at cornstarch dough and made some food and home accessories for my daughters’ dolls. The recipe is super simple and you can make just about anything you can think up. We had a lot of fun together making, baking, and decorating these.
So as I mentioned before, my daughter came to me wanting to make more cornstarch dough, and this time to make some Christmas items for her dolls. She wanted to do a video for her own YouTube channel Happy Puppy and I thought this would be a great family friendly craft post for my blog. So here we are with a “collab-post” between the Happy Puppy and The Everyday Journalista.
There are only three ingredients, which is great, and it’s stuff you likely have on hand, which again is great!
What You Do:
Mix 1 Tbsp of Cornstarch, 2 Tbsp of Baking Soda, and 1 Tbsp of Water in a microwave safe bowl.
Heat it in the microwave for about 20 seconds.
Kneed together into a dough when cool enough to handle.
Store unused portions in a plastic bag while shaping pieces, as it tends to dry out fairly quickly. We just kept wetting our fingers a little bit if the dough started to get a bit dry.
Bake in a 175 degree oven for 1 hour
Paint or decorate to your hearts content. We used a variety of media to decorate our creations. Paint, nail polish, powder eye-shadow, glitter, Sharpies, ribbon and some tiny twigs. We also used a low temp glue gun to stick the Olaf together :).
You can Mod Podge these at the end as well to increase their longevity. We didn’t bother as my daughter simply couldn’t wait to start playing with them.
This was such a fun and simple project that got our creative juices flowing and gave me a chance to spend some quality time with my daughter. After all, it’s that what Christmas is all about?
I hope you get a chance to try this out with a special little person in your life this Holiday Season. If you do please share a pic to Instagram and tag me @theeverydayjournalista #everydaychristmas
I love birthdays! I love celebrating the day that my friends and family were brought into this world. Life is worth celebrating and no matter how many birthdays you have had it’s a great time to reflect and have some fun. I look at it as just one more opportunity to find magic in the everyday.
When November hits I start to shift into Christmas mode! It’s also my birthday month so between the excitement of starting the Christmas season and the fun of celebrating my birthday with friends and family there have been no shortage of favorites for me this month. Here are just a few things I was loving in the month of November:
From the Kitchen
Coconut Milk Beverage by So Delicious in Nog and Mint Chocolate
We’ve been loving both these yummy holiday coconut milk treats from So Delicious. I personally prefer the Nog, but my kids loved both the Nog and the Mint Chocolate Coconut milk. A great alternative for those who are dairy free.
This is a favorite time of mine every year. I sit down and create my baking ‘wish’ list for the holidays. There are some that are a given and make the list every year. Then I also try to add a few new choices to try out on my friends and family. I don’t always get everything on the list made but our family really enjoys helping and sampling during the process :).
I LOVE baking! It’s a wonderful time to create something with love and a time I love spending with my children as they love to join in.
Teint Miracle Foundation by Lancome
I purchased this foundation at a beauty event I attended at the beginning of November and I have been wearing nothing else since. It has really buildable coverage and I feel like it leaves my skin with a really healthy glow.
Magnifix by Lise Watier
I also bought this at the beauty event I mentioned above and I have to admit I felt like it was a bit of an indulgence when I bought it and that it wouldn’t be something I would use much. Boy was I wrong. This stuff is awesome! It really does help my make up stay put all day and of course it has an amazing smell as it contains white tea. I have been really happy with this product just as I have been with my previous Lise Watier purchases.
November GlamBag from Ipsy
I know, not again, but I can’t help it. I love Ipsy! This months fun galactic bag and awesome selection of beauty products make me giddy :). I just love getting a chance to sample all these great brands every month. Michelle Phan knows what we beauty product lovers want and Ipsy delivers month after month. Love it!
Wearing it Out
Fluffy Cat Sweater from Urban Behaviour
Who can resist a fluffy cat sweater? I bought this sweater about two years ago and not only do I love it but I always get numerous compliments whenever I wear it. It’s so soft and cozy, has these awesome golden cat faces on it and it’s kind of over-sized so it’s that perfect mix of comfortable and put together.
Got these for my birthday and as usual Quik Pik did an amazing job. This ultra trendy little flower and gift shop always makes me smile with their use of beautiful flowers and unique design and style.
Here are a couple of other things that made me smile this month. The first is my very own Coca-Cola!
My son saw this and just had to get it for me for my birthday! That boy knows me so well :).
The other is a little craft my daughter and I did. We made cornstarch dough and created some little food items and a couple of boxes of tissues for her Ever After High and Barbie dolls. It was so fun!
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my favorite things from November. If you have any questions or would like me to do a more detailed post on the recipes I baked or the cornstarch dough please leave me a comment above. You can also find me on Instagram @theeverydayjournalista. I would love to hear from you :)
I’m a worrier. I always have been. I worry about letting people down, I worry about getting in a car accident, and of course I worry about my children, a lot. These worries are there but they don’t prevent me from taking things on or driving my car or from encouraging my kids to try new things (for the most part). I am able to cope with my worries and function in my life. But what happens when those worries start to take over? When coping becomes a struggle and it keeps you from doing or trying new things.
This is what happens to both my children to varying degrees. Sometimes it’s simple apprehension about going into class in the morning. Other times it can be crying about the possibility of something bad happening, or picking anxiously at their fingers to the point that they bleed. Anxiety has many faces, sometimes you see it, and sometimes you don’t.
Anxiety is a constant presents in my home. Sometimes I forget it’s there and for a while it almost feels like my children are carefree and ready to face the world. Then something will happen. Sometimes it’s an event like a simple power outage or a conflict with a friend. Sometimes I have no idea what triggers it. But like a sea monster rearing its’ ugly head our entire family feels the shift as one or both of my children get dragged under into a period of fear, insecurity and uncertainty.
As a mother of children with anxiety I constantly struggle with knowing how much worry is okay and when it’s time to step in. I get that the world can be a harsh place and that we need to teach our kids to deal with those ups and downs, whatever they may be. But what happens when your child can’t cope? When is enough, enough? When does it become more harmful than helpful?
I certainly don’t have the answers and for us anxiety and coping levels are constantly in flux. There are times when it feels like all the work we are putting in is paying off and then other times when it feels like we are right back at square one.
As adults there’s often so much we don’t know about people. Many of our friends and family, co-workers, and neighbors only know a small portion of who we really are. I think the same can be true for those who struggle with anxiety. Due to social responsibilities and expectations, or misunderstanding and lack of support at home anxious children can often end up internalizing their worries. Hiding the struggle they’re really facing.
Teachers may see a happy functioning student each day in the classroom. Meanwhile, the child is suffering on the inside, and what comes out once they return to an environment they feel is ’safe’? For my children that decompression at home can range from tears and anger to purge talking and hugs.
Each and everyday my children go to battle against anxiety. I do my best to help them feel loved and secure but it’s a battle they have to win on their own.
Thanks so much for sticking around to read today’s post. It’s quite a bit more serious than a lot of my posts but something that I’ve really wanted to write about. I just feel like there is still so much about anxiety that is misunderstood or not seen. If you have a child who struggles with anxiety they are definitely not alone and neither are you.
Today’s post is one I have had a lot of fun with. I’ve been collecting empties of my beauty products so I can share my thoughts about them and whether or not I would repurchase. I’ve been saving up these items in a little basket and recently it was looking pretty full, so I figured it was about time to write about them!
“Clean on Me” Creamy Moisture Shower Gel by Soap & Glory
I have mentioned this shower gel in my What’s in My Shower post so if you have read that you know I had definitely planned to repurchase this once it was empty. And that is exactly what I have done. I just can’t get enough of the scent!
Caribbean Island Wild Flowers Ultra-moisturising Hand Therapy by Crabtree & Evelyn
I got this little treasure as part of a gift set for Christmas last year. Of the four lotions that came with the set this one is by far my favorite. As usual it’s the fragrance that wins me over. I had this in my purse for a while and every time I used it, it made me smile. As a side note the formula is actually really moisturizing and absorbs quickly into the skin. But for me that’s just a bonus to the way it smells ;) Next time I am at a Crabtree & Evelyn store I will definitely pick another one of these up:)
Cleansing Micellar Water by Simple
If you follow me on Instagram (@theeverydayjournalista) or checked out my August Favorites post you know that I am a huge fan of the Simple Micellar Water. I have already repurchased this and will continue to do so. I won’t say it’s better than Bioderma (they are the best) but I will say it’s a close, close second and for the price it’s the one I have been purchasing and repurchasing.
Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub by Lush
I purchased this product on the recommendation of a Lush employee as an exfoliant for my face. I love Lush and the people who work there are always so helpful and knowledgeable but for me this did not end up being the right fit. I just found it too abrasive for my skin. I will not be repurchasing but look forward to getting something new to try the next time I’m at Lush.
Pure Vanilla Body Butter by Lavanila
This body butter came in my Ipsy bag several months ago (read about my Ipsy Glambag in my June Favorites post) and from the moment I tried it I was hooked. I feel like there is definitely a theme here but I LOVE the scent of this cream. It is super hydrating, absorbs quickly and has no harsh chemicals. I also really loved that the fragrance stayed on my skin for a long time.
I was eager to purchase the full size of this product but Sephora no longer carries it :( I did end up purchasing their natural deodorant as an attempt at a substitute but I must admit I have not enjoyed it as much.
Nourishing 24Hr Day/Night Moisturizing Cream by Simple
This is another one of Simple’s products that I would definitely repurchase (again, you can check out more of my thoughts on this brand in my August Favorites post). This provides light hydration, it’s really gentle, and did not irritate my skin or cause me to breakout. To me this is the perfect summer moisturizer. With the change of the season, I have now shifted to the Good Day and Good Night Creams by La Fresh but I would absolutely recommend this light weight moisturizer and do plan on repurchasing it myself come the warmer weather.
Roller Lash Mascara by Benefit
This is my hands down holy grail of mascara! (you can read more about my love for Roller Lash in my May Favorites post). I love it! I love the wand, it really allows me to brush and shape the product through my lashes. I love the formula! It’s not too wet and builds up nicely on the lashes and it doesn’t flake or smudge throughout the day. And of course I love Benefits’ cute and clever packaging. I have already repurchased this mascara and all other mascaras I have tried since just seem to pale in comparison.
Revitalift Eye Cream by L’Oreal
I purchased this cream while looking to try an eye product with caffeine in it. For a drug-store brand I found this pretty pricey but was curious to give it a try. I have to say I was pretty happy with it overall. It didn’t irritate my sensitive eyes and I felt the skin around my eyes did benefit somewhat from its use. However, I have not repurchased it as I have recently purchased the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado (which you can read about in my October Favorites post). For the price as well as the quality I feel my money is better spent on the Kiehl’s eye cream.
So there you have it, I hope you’ve enjoyed my first empties post and my thoughts on the beauty products I’ve been using. I’d love to hear your thoughts too! You can leave a comment above or on Instagram as I will be posting a pic for this post.
I thought that maybe it could be helpful to share with you some of the things that we did on our resent trip to the Disneyland Resort that really helped make our trip smooth and memorable for everyone. So lets just get right into it :)
We stayed pretty much right across the street from the entrance to the Disneyland Resort at the Anaheim Fairfield Inn by Marriott. This was so convenient! We didn’t need to rent a car, which really helped with the budget. We were extremely happy with the hotel as well. They offer Disney themed rooms (we requested the princess theme and it was awesome!), a pizza place and arcade inside the hotel, and a nice pool area. We were on the 7th floor which gave us an amazing view for the fireworks on the evenings we weren’t in the park to enjoy them. It was so great to be able to be so close to the park. We even got into the routine of going early to the park and then coming back to the hotel for a swim, relax, and dinner and then heading out for ‘round two’ in the evening. It was perfect!
When you get to the park entrance you have to go through a security line and then another line to get into the park you want to go into, be it California Adventure or Disneyland. These lines can be pretty long, but we found that if you choose one of the lines farther to the left you will get through a lot quicker. I had heard about this somewhere before we left and didn’t give it much thought until we were up against a huge line-up on our second morning. So we tried it and we couldn’t believe how much shorter the lines were and how quickly we got in. I can’t explain it. All I can say is “keep to the left” :)
Definitely take advantage of the FastPass where possible. FastPass kiosks are located near the rides they are offered for (Radiator Springs Racers, Soarin’ Over California, Indiana Jones Adventure, Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, and Star Tours were our favorites). These passes give you a time to return to the ride so you are not stuck in line for 90+ minutes. There is still a wait but it’s a lot more reasonable.
A quick note on the rides mentioned above. AMAZING! Each one of them was spectacular for different reasons and I would say each of them are not to be missed experiences :)
We purchased 5-day Park Hopper Tickets. This allowed us to come and go as we pleased between downtown Disney, California Adventure and Disneyland. It also gave us one Magic Morning early admission. We thought the magic morning admission was going to be some exclusive thing, but as it turned out it almost seemed busier the morning we went. Then once we got in we realized that only selected areas were open. So not quite what I thought it was going to be. But the 5-day Park Hopper is definitely the way to go! I honestly don’t think you could have fit more into a day than we did and we were hard-pressed to fit everything we wanted to do into our 5 days.
Be sure to check out the Jedi Training Academy. There are numerous shows each day. This is a fun opportunity for your child to be selected for Jedi Training and the chance to battle Darth Vader or Darth Maul. Thankfully both my children were chosen when we went (that would have made for a jealous rage by the left out one otherwise).
They got to wear a Jedi robe and use a light saber. Mace Windu and friends teach the chosen younglings a choreographed fight sequence and then they get a chance to test their skills against one of the dark lords. It is an awesome experience and the ‘host’ Mace Windu is full of hilarious comments as Darth Vader tries to convince these younglings to come over to the dark side. In the end they also receive a certificate that congratulates them on becoming a Padawan. Fantastic!
Sticking with the Star Wars theme, be sure to go on Star Tours. This ride blew my mind. This ride is a simulator with 3D-effects the features characters and scenes from the Star Wars films. We went on the ride 3 or 4 times and had a different experience each time. Apparently there are 54 different versions to experience! That’s right 54!!
For days I checked for a lull in the coveted Dole Whip (pineapple soft serve ice-cream) line-up but was shocked each time as to the absolute insanity of the line length. This made me all the more determined to have one. And that I did on our final day at Disneyland. I found out that it opened at 10am. We were in line to meet Princess Jasmine right beside the Dole Whip stand as we hung around waiting for it to open, and it was perfect. We were one of the first few through on the day and we hardly had to wait. And it was oh so worth it! YUM!
Just as the Dole Whip was my must have treat at Disneyland my husband’s was the Turkey Legs at Edleweiss Snacks in Fantasyland. It’s like you are back in the caveman times walking around gnawing on this gigantic turkey leg. He loved it! So much so that he had another one a few days later :)
If you have a little girl like I do there are a couple of things I would recommend experiencing while you’re at Disneyland. This seemed a bit strange to me but if you want to meet the Frozen Princesses you will have to go to California Adventure. You need to get there first thing and head down to the Animation Academy in Hollywood Land. About half way down on the right there is a station where you can get a ‘Return Ticket’. This will give you a time to return to meet Elsa and Anna. Apparently these tickets can run out within an hour of the park opening so get there early.
Meeting Elsa and Anna was a real highlight for my daughter. And as with all the characters we met they do an absolutely amazing job of making each child feel special. Another great spot for princesses is the Fantasy Faire in Fantasyland. There can be quite a line-up but you can meet numerous princesses one on one. So fun!
Another experience not to be missed by princess lovers is dining at Ariel’s Grotto. It’s on your right as you cross over the bridge into Paradise Pier at California Adventure. I made reservations for my daughter and I to go for lunch. There is a dinner option available too.
I had brought a nice little shimmery sundress for my daughter to wear but many, many little girls were dressed to the nines in their princess dresses, shoes, and crowns. When you get called down for your seating you go down a spiral staircase and Ariel is waiting for you at the bottom to have her picture taken with you and to greet you. Of course later you are shown these beautiful photos in a package, which you can purchase for $35 or something like that. How could I say no? Anyway… then you are led into the formal dining room which is decorated in an under the sea theme (so pretty).
My daughter was treated like a princess from the moment we arrived. The entire menu was under the sea themed and no detail was missed. My daughter kept going on about how this must be how real princesses have lunch, it was awesome. As you are enjoying your ‘royal’ lunch you are surprised by the arrival of a princess! For us it was Rapunzel. She came around to every single table and talked and took pictures and signed autograph books. My daughter was almost in tears with joy. I could see in her eyes how special she was made to feel by this one on one moment with each princess.
We were visited by a total of four princesses during our lunch. It is on the pricey side at about $50 per person. Just us girls went and left the boys behind and it was truly a magical experience.
If you get the chance be sure to see the Aladdin Musical Spectacular. It’s a stage show that runs four times per day at the Hyperion Theater in California Adventure. My kids were reluctant as we dragged them in, but were blown away by this wonderful show performed by some very talented people. Apparently the show is ending forever in January of 2016 so if you get the chance check it out before it’s gone.
While we were there we also saw Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Paint the Night, Disneyland Forever, and the World of Color-Celebrate, the wonderful world of Disney. Each one was more impressive than the last. From beautiful costumes and fireworks to jaw dropping floats, dancing, projections, and effects with lights, water, and fire (they even made it snow outside). I walked away from each experience wondering how Disney could possibly top that … and they did, day after day, night after night.
The final thing I would recommend is to plan ahead. It doesn’t have to be much but if you have an idea of some of the things you really want to see each day and whether they have FastPass availability you will save yourself a lot of waiting. We also sort of mapped out what parades, nighttime entertainment, and fireworks we wanted to see and what nights they were showing while we were there.
I would just close by saying that a trip to Disneyland is not a vacation you go on to relax. We were up at 6:30 or 7am every morning and the kids usually did not get to bed before 10pm. But it’s one of those trips you will never be sorry you took. I loved Disney before we went but never really bought into all the hype of Disneyland. Well let me tell you after this I am hooked, 100%.
Walt Disney got it right! Disneyland is this magical place! For both kids and adults. My kids were made to feel special as they interacted with some of their favorite Disney characters. They got to go on amazing adventures on the rides and have amazing experiences watching the fireworks and light and water shows. The shear level of detail found everywhere and in everything continually blew my husband and myself away. You can go on any ride numerous times and see things and details you did not see before. You can ask for a specific kind of mug and the staff (cast-member) can tell you where to find from anywhere in the park. Their philosophy truly seems to be that they want everyone to have a memorable magical experience, and for us that’s exactly what it was.
October is always such a fun month around our house, and this year was definitely no exception. From the changing of the seasons and Thanksgiving, to our first family trip to Disneyland and Halloween. This month has been packed full of favorites. Here are just a few:
From the Kitchen:
Epicure Perfect Petites Mold
This month in the kitchen it hasn’t been so much a food item, but rather a food ‘tool’ that I have been loving. It’s the Perfect Petites Mold from Epicure. This thing is awesome! I have been using this at least once per week since I got it and I just keep coming up with ideas for more things I can use it for.
What I really love about it is the portion sizes it creates. These two bite little treasures offer just enough of whatever you end up making. This has been fantastic for kids lunches and class parties so far and I think it would also be amazing for appy’s, Christmas baking, or for a baking exchange. One tray gives you 30 portions so you get a lot of bang for your effort.
So far I have made several batches of brownies and I have also made some mini carrot cake petites. I also can’t wait to try cookie dough, two-bite cheesecakes, and I’m thinking an appy of some kind using puffed pastry would be really cool to try as well.
Ipsy October GlamBag
I think every month I could say that my Ipsy GlamBag has been one of my favorites for the month. I just love getting my little pink pouch of surprises each month and then I love using and learning about the products I find inside.
Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado
I have heard and read so may great things about this eye cream, so when I happened across a Kiehl’s store while changing flights in Portland recently I couldn’t resist the chance to pick some up to try.
This cream is thick and moisturizing with a very mild fragrance. I have an extremely sensitive eye area that is prone to dryness, especially in the fall and winter months so this creams thick formula is perfect. I have found it so difficult to find an eye cream that really moisturizes my eye area that doesn’t end up in my eyes or irritating the skin around my eyes. I am absolutely thrilled with it so far and will definitely be repurchasing. Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment isvwell deserving of all the hype it receives.
Wearing it Out
I’m that person who is always cold, and as the colder months approach I find myself looking to layer and bundle up for both indoors and out. For me, that involves the wearing of a lot of scarves. It’s like jewelry that keeps you warm and takes the place of my hair to keep neck and upper back warm when I want to wear my hair up. I don’t really get too fancy with my scarves, I just kind of fiddle with it until I’m happy with it, but with all the scarf tying videos out there the possibilities seem endless.
Outlander Season 1 – iTunes
I know this is the third time I have had an Outlander related item in one of my posts, but honestly I can’t help it. For a while now I have been hearing and reading about how great the Outlander TV series is, but have been skeptical to check it out for fear of disappointment.
I tend to become really committed to the character images I create when I’m reading a book and if a movie or show depicts the character differently than I have imagined it, then that show or movie is a complete write-off for me. That is why I will never see the 50 Shades movie. The casting of Christian Grey completely wrecked any chance of me liking the movie.
A..n..y..w..a..y to make a long story longer, after really needing a brain break from work a few weeks ago I sat down to veg out in front of the TV for a bit. Scrolling around I came across the Outlander Season 1 on iTunes. I decided to buy just one episode, convincing myself I would only be out 2.50 if I ended up turning it off after 5 minutes.
Well, needless to say that didn’t happen, in fact I ended up buying the next episode right after I watched the first :). I was blown away by how closely it depicts the book. Right now to the finest details, and although the main character looks slightly different that I pictured him, the strength of his character and the way its acted is spot on. I am hooked!!
If you have read any of my other blog posts you will know of my deep love and addiction to Pinterest. This is not just my favorite app this month but perhaps my favorite app … EVER! Thanks to Pinterest I have no need for cookbooks when I’m looking for a new recipe to try or an old favorite to recreate, no need to buy magazines to look for inspiration for decorating, fashion, or motivation, and an absolutely endless source for ideas for everything for kids; from birthday party ideas to what to pack them for lunch. I use it almost everyday, if not everyday, and I consider it an invaluable resource for pretty much anything. You can find me on Pinterest @FindMagicDaily.
Well that’s it for another month of favorites. What have you been loving in the month of October? You can leave a comment here or tag me on Instagram @theeverydayjournalista #octoberfavorites. I would love to hear from you.
I think the thing I dislike the most about having kids in school is making lunches. I really dread it. I’m always struggling to come up with options that are new and fun but still provide a balanced meal. They don’t get nearly enough time to eat so it has to be something that involved no prep. and is easy to get into (my daughter has a terrible time getting into fruit cups). Then of course I don’t really want to be sending processed pre-packaged foods in my kids lunches because they are so filled with sugar and things I can’t pronounce.
About a year ago I stopped buying granola bars from the grocery store. I could no longer bring myself to buy these snacks that had sugar as the second ingredient no matter how convenient they were. I had tried numerous ‘healthy’ granola bar products but my kids didn’t like them. Then I started looking on Pinterest for help. There were lots of options, of course, but I wanted something fairly healthy, that my kids would actually eat and that was easy to make.
After a lot of testing of various recipes I came up with a granola bar version that works for me and my family. It’s easy to make, you can substitute basically whatever you have on hand, and my kids love it!
Here’s what you will need:
2 Cups of Oats
1/2 Cup of chopped Pecans (you could really use any nut)
1/2 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
1/4 Cup Butter
1/3 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar (lightly packed)
1/2 tsp of Vanilla
1/4 tsp of Salt
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries (or any dried fruit)
1/4-1/3 Cup of Chocolate chips
Here’s what you do:
Set your oven to 350 degrees.
While it’s preheating line a baking sheet with tin foil. Measure out 2 cups of oats, 1/2 cup of pecans, and the 1/2 cup of coconut. Spread it out evenly on the baking sheet.
Bake this in the oven for about 5 minutes. I usually just keep an eye on it. when the coconut is just starting to turn golden I take it out.
Remove from oven.
Using the tin foil like a funnel pour the coco-oat-nut mixture into a medium sized mixing bowl and set aside.
While the dry ingredients are toasting you can add 1/4 cup of butter, 1/3 cup honey, 1/4 brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of vanilla, and 1/4 tsp of salt into a saucepan.
Over medium heat allow the butter to melt, stirring regularly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Pour the melted honey-sugar mixture into the medium bowl containing the coco-oat-nut mixture.
Add in 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and mix to combine. I have also used apricots, and raisins here and they both work well. I personally love the chocolate cranberry combination so I usually end up making it this way ;).
Set bowl aside for a couple of minutes.
Take the tin foil you used to line your baking sheet and now re-use it to line a square baking pan. It’s too big but that is perfect for creating little handles that hang over the edge of your pan. Lightly spray it with cooking spray.
Going back to your granola mixture, now add and stir in a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. These will start to melt a bit.
Transfer the mixture into your lined and sprayed pan.
Take a length of parchment or waxed paper and firmly press the mixture into the pan. The more you press this in the better they will stay together.
Lift up the parchment and sprinkle a few more chocolate chips on the top. Then follow once again with the parchment and some pressure to make sure all those chips are pressed into the pan.
Leaving the parchment on while the pan chills in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Once chilled you can use your little tinfoil handles to remove the granola bar from the pan. The foil should then peel away from the bar easily and you can go ahead and cut them into your desired granola bar sizes.
I package these up into snack bags as I cut them up and then they at the ready for the dreaded packing of lunches.
Everyone in our house loves these Everyday Granola Bars. I hope you will too. If you decide to give these a try please Instagram your version and tag me @theeverydayjournalista. I would love to see :)