toddler witch costume

Friday, October 21, 2016

In general, I'm not into store-bought costumes.  Sure, S2 has some dress up clothes from the Disney store, but those were gifts and mostly for play.  For Halloween, instead of going out to buy a cheapo (expensive) costume, I try to pull something together with clothes and a few accessories.  I might buy a new dress, but it's one she can wear again and again, not just for one day.

This year, I didn't really have a costume in mind until I came across the CUTEST witch hat headband at Gymboree and was like, that's IT, she has to be a witch!

A couple more accessories and voila.

Word to the wise: don't take a bite of an apple from our little witch.  It just might be poisoned!

There's still time to pull off your own little witch costume, so here are the sources to the items I used:

Black dress: Primary (LOVING this brand... these people were geniuses)
Headband: Gymboree (only $5!)
Leggings: Amazon
Ribbon: Hobby Lobby (check your local HobLob or any craft store for something similar)

Who else gets sooo excited about Halloween?  I'm looking forward to seeing if S2 will say trick or treat this year.  She's not too into strangers but if M&Ms or Skittles are involved, she might come around. :)

diy disney: olaf (from frozen) personalized shirt

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hiya! I'm back today with another shirt DIY, wahoo!

S2 had to have a special shirt to meet Anna and Elsa!  I mean, it was a must.

I won't go through a WHOLE step-by-step because I followed the same method for this shirt as I did for the DIY Mickey head shirts I did several years ago.  Here's the link to those.  The only difference was now I've learned the error of my ways - you can iron a big square of the Heat & Bond onto your fabric first, and then cut them both together in the shape you want.  The method I used in that tutorial meant I had to cut out the shape twice - once in the Heat & Bond, and then again once it was transferred to the fabric.  Live and learn! ha.

I also used my Silhouette to cut out her name in glitter heat transfer, which I placed under the big initial.  Olaf is her absolute favorite (besides Cinderella) so I knew Olaf fabric was the way to go.  The shirt is a Rabbit Skins blank tee from Amazon - I recommend sizing UP!  Also, I will note that I didn't sew around the initial on this one (too lazy!) and it lasted great through a wash although I would definitely lay it flat to dry.

All in all, this shirt took me 5 minutes and less than $10 to create.  Don't you just love a good DIY? :)

diy disney: magic kingdom in the fall

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I'm sharing my favorite post of all today.  There's not much beyond pretty pictures, but OH MY GOSH IT'S FALL AT WALT DISNEY WORLD!

I think I snapped approximately 2 trillion pictures of the pumpkin Mickeys on the light posts, but I just couldn't help it.

Morning sunlight shining on a gazebo decked out in fall garland and colors, I mean, what could be better than that?

Of course we had to take advantage of this photo op.  Pumpkins + Cinderella Castle, YES PLEASE.

Whoops, here's another pumpkin-Mickey-on-a-light-pole.

The #1 reason we decided to go in September was so we could attend Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  After Disney, my greatest love in life is fall.  I'm talking about my love of inanimate things.  Obviously I love my family.  Okay, here are the top 5 things I love in case you're really interested.

1. Family
2. Disney
3. Fall
4. Coffee
5. Harry Potter

There.  And now you know that I'm a nerd.  Cat's out of the bag.

Okay, back to the Halloween party.  S2 went as Minnie Mouse, because obviously.

As soon as we got there, it started to rain so we [accidentally] cut in a Photopass line to get this photo.  So sorry to the family we cut in front of.  The rain made us delirious and we didn't even realize there was a line.  It happens.  I hope you forgive us.

Anyway, it rained for about 45 minutes pretty heavily so we found an umbrella and camped out and ate hot dogs for dinner.  We were all pretty well soaked.  It finally started letting up and we went to a trick-or-treat spot and then rode Haunted Mansion, again, obviously.

Somehow I didn't get a single photo of the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular (it was awesome) or the parade (again, awesome).  It was pretty crowded but somehow we got a GREAT parade spot (it was really just by luck that we got a decent spot because we were late to the Villain Spectacular).  S2 wasn't really interested in either the show or the parade, but I didn't think she would be.

After the parade, S2 seemed in a good mood still (it was pretty late at this point) so we went to meet Aurora and Cinderella.

Don't let her stoic expression fool you.  She loved meeting them.

Especially Cinderella!

Overall, I think the Halloween party was great, but to get the full experience (and your money's worth!), it's better to take older kids - I think 6-10 year-olds would LOVE it.

Oh, look, another pumpkin Mickey.

Oh, Disney, I didn't think I could love you more but then you HUNG FALL GARLAND EVERYWHERE and now I'm obsessed.

So that's Magic Kingdom in the fall.  Pretty Magical, eh?

diy disney: why you should make a touring plan

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ever since S1 and I took our first trip to Disney World together, I've made a touring plan for each day.  What's a touring plan, you might ask?

Just wait, I'll tell you.

A touring plan is an itinerary for your day in the Disney parks.  Ideally, it should list the attractions you want to see at the time you want to see them.  If you do your research, you can come up with a pretty decent one yourself, but I've always used  It's a subscription service (I think $11.95 for the year) but WELL WORTH IT, in my opinion.

**Sidenote here: this post is in no way sponsored by or affiliated with the good folks at Touring Plans.  These are all my honest opinions and experiences with using their service.**

Touring Plans has a Crowd Calendar that I utilize to plan which park we're going to visit each day.  Crowd levels are ranked on a scale of 1-10, so we'll usually visit the park that has the lowest crowd ranking each day.  For example, the day we visited Magic Kingdom was a Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party day, which meant the park closed to the public at 7 p.m.  Because of that, most people who were not going to the Halloween party skipped MK that day so the crowds were LOW.  I think it was a 1 the day we went.  We have been to MK on a 10 day and lemme tell ya, that's no fun AT ALL.  Word to the wise: don't go to Disney the week after Christmas.

Anyway, so after I've decided which park we're going to do each day, I start with one of Touring Plans' stock plans.  Then I delete and add attractions as I see fit, and also add in our Fastpass+ and dining reservations.  Click the magic OPTIMIZE button at the bottom of the page and it rearranges the attractions to save you OPTIMAL time.  There's also an option to optimize based on walking (because if someone in your group has limited mobility, you might not want to zig zag across the park).

Download their WDW Lines (or DL Lines, if you're heading to Disneyland) app and your personalized touring plans are right there on your phone.  You can check "complete" on the attractions after you do them so it will only show the attractions you have left.

If you're technologically challenged (I say that in the kindest way possible), you can also buy the most recent Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World and do your planning the old-fashioned way.  The first time we went, I did that (this was before smart phones!) and it worked great.  You'll just have a paper itinerary instead of a digital one. :)

If you're thinking that you're not a planner and will just "go with the flow" at Disney, I'm here to tell you that that would be a big mistake.  Here are the top 5 reasons you should ALWAYS have a touring plan:

Did you notice that my headings were Disney-related? haha, I crack me up.

Anyway.  I'll go through each reason again here.

1.  Our mental synchronization could have but one explanation.  You and I are just meant to beeeee.  Thanks Anna and Hanz for that intro.  Being in sync with the rest of your party about which attractions you're going to see in what order SAVES SO MUCH TIME.  Instead of standing around trying to be political about which ride is next, it's all in the app people.  Get on board.

2.  You don't wanna miss a thaaaang.  Huge props to Aerosmith for one of the greatest songs of my adolescence.  Okay, that's not a Disney song, but hello, Rock 'n' Rollercoaster!  This one's pretty self-explanatory.  Having a plan = not missing anything you want to do.  Huzzah!

3.  With every passing hour, you'll be so glad you had the power... to minimize wait times!  Okay, I'm truly sorry for this one.  I admit it's a stretch, but I had to throw Rapunzel in here somewhere.  Sometimes the best plan of attack is to hit up a popular attraction on one side of the park and then walk clear across to the other side of the park to hit up another one.  Wasting those precious couple of hours right after the park opens (when lines are the shortest) is inadvisable.

4.  Let your {phone} be your guide.  Gotta love some Jiminy Cricket.  I've already mentioned this, but download the apps - they are a true lifesaver.

5.  Tale as old as time.  Song as old as rhyme.  Attractions & the clock.  Wait, what?  Sorry, Mrs. Potts, that was the best I could do.  Having a touring plan keeps you and your group ON SCHEDULE.  No more missing out on attractions because you didn't look at the showtimes.  It's all right there on your touring plan.

Having said (and said and said) how important it is to have a touring plan, some of you might be thinking, "It's vacation! It's about having fun, not adhering to schedules!" and right you are.  But I promise, it only takes a little effort to go into your Disney vacation well-prepared and you won't be sorry you did.  After all, you're spending a small fortune on these memories - it's best to not miss out on any! :)

Don't forget to PIN that graphic up there for later. :)

I have a fun post for you tomorrow so don't forget to check back!

diy disney: the best disney apparel on etsy

Friday, October 14, 2016

Happy Friday, y'all!  Did this week fly by or is it just me?  We're hoping to finally take S2 to get some pumpkins this weekend and make a long overdue trip to the hardware store for some mums and other things.  Am I the only one looking forward to a trip to Lowes?  Say I'm not alone!

Before our Disney trip, I spent a lot of time on Etsy looking through all the clever shirts, dresses, costumes and other Disney-inspired products!

You may have been wondering where S2's Cinderella dress came from in the DIY Disney graphic, and now you know - Livanni on Etsy!  Get it here.

Here's a photo of the front - ADORABLE, right?  And perfect for our little princess to meet her favorite princess. :)

Since I spent such an obscene amount of time on there, I thought it would be fun to do a round-up of my favorite Disney apparel items on Etsy!

You may have spotted our "Mini Mouse" shirts in this post.  Here's all 5 of them:

I DIY'd these but won't be sharing a tutorial because I got this idea from Glitter Ever After.  If you want your own adorable family shirts like these, support small business and get them here.  Also, tons of other cute stuff in her shop, like this "Happiest Snacks on Earth" shirt.  I mean, how cute is this?  Get it here.

The Happiest Snacks On Earth Shirt - Many Styles to Choose From - Baby, Infant, Toddlers, Girls, Women, Men, Unisex

I was going to buy S2 this pink Cinderella dress (because everyone wears blue and I wanted something different!) but the shop went on a fall break before I could order it! I was super bummed out.  Isn't it great?  Get it from Five Little Monkeys Design here.

Pink Cinderella Inspired Ball Gown Cotton Everyday Princess Dress- sizes: 3m, 6m, 12m, 18m, 2, 3,4, 5, 6 , 7, and 8.

Also from Five Little Monkeys is this Alice in Wonderland dress.  Oh my gosh, I love this SO MUCH!  Get it here.

Alice in Wonderland Dress - Alice Dress - Alice in Wonderland - Queen of Hearts - White Rabbit - Alice in Wonderland Costume

This castle tank by Krazy Heart Studios is so glittery and fun.  Get it here.

SHOP SALE Castle Disney Tank - Minnie Ears Monogram - Navy and Mint Glitter Vinyl - Comfort Color - Disney Shirt - Castle Monogram

Chic Somethings has a ton of cute embroidered shirts with all your favorite characters.  I particularly love this Tinker Bell one.

Tinkerbell shirt, tinker bell shirt, tinkerbell birthday, fourth birthday shirt, tink birthday, fairy birthday, fairy shirt, tinkerbell tutu

This is me in a nutshell.  I can't get up for work to save my life but at Disney, you better believe I roll out of bed before the sun comes up!

Free Shipping!I'm only a morning person Raglan / Glitter Shirt/ Vacation Shirt/ Character Shirt

You're only a true Disney lover if this shirt makes sense to you. (And also, why didn't I think to get a pair of the Disney Vans before our trip?!  Missed opportunity, for sure.)

Wishes Disney Shirt Disney Tee Disney Tank Disney Racerback Tank Disney Fireworks Shirt

I think everyone needs a Mickey and Minnie skirt, don't you?

Disney Mickey and Minnie Mouse full skirt

From PicknMix, here.

This Minnie dress is too cute for words.

Girls Disney Dress - Disney Knot Dress

There are so many cute things that I could just go on and on.  So if you're not up for the DIY route, search on Etsy and be amazed at the talent and cleverness of the many shops that specialize in Disney apparel.

*Please note that this post is not sponsored or affiliated with Etsy or any of the shops listed here.  I genuinely just love these products!

diy disney: sofia the first t-shirts

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Why hello there! This has got to be some sort of record - 3 posts in one week!  Cue the big eyes emoji.  Also, sidebar, why does an emoji keyboard not exist for computers?  I almost prefer to type on my phone now so I can get all my emotions across in one little image.

ANYWAY.  Onto today's post!

I love Sofia the First.  Notice I said I love her.  S2 watches two shows - Sofia and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  She hasn't the faintest idea who Peppa Pig is and what's that show about the dogs that rescue things?  Whatever it's called, she doesn't know who they are either.  Not because she wouldn't like them, but just because we don't expose her to a lot of different things.  I discovered in my years of nannying that the fewer options there are, the less fighting occurs.  All of that to say, I really love Sofia, therefore S2 loves her.  Isn't it amazing to have such control over someone else?  I really enjoy it. ;) <-- I so need an actual emoji there.

Anyway, man I'm long-winded and getting off track today, I knew we would be meeting Sofia at Hollywood Studios and I wanted special purple shirts so we could take a photo like so:

We lucked out that S2's name starts with an S and therefore could be seamlessly incorporated into the Sofia the First logo.  I found the logo online, traced it in Adobe Illustrator and added her name instead of Sofia's.  I love the way it turned out.  I would share this file with you but I figure, how many people could really use it?

If you ever watch the show, you'll know who Sofia, Amber, Ruby and Jade are.  Amber is Sofia's sister and Ruby and Jade are her pre-princess friends from the village.  I wanted to add Clio and Hildegard too, but that was more names than would fit on my shirt, ha!  (Clio and Hildy are Amber's friends from Royal Prep.)

The only decent photo I have of my entire shirt is this bathroom selfie.  Which thankfully I took, otherwise I would have no photos.  And I don't normally take selfies so ignore the awkward smile.  Should I have duck-faced it? :-P <-- sticking out tongue emoji needed here

If you want to make my #squadgoals shirt yourself, you're in luck because I'm sharing a PDF of the design with you, yay!  Read my tutorial over on Dawn Nicole Designs for how to make the shirt using your Silhouette Cameo.  If you don't want to attempt the DIY, you can take this PDF to any t-shirt shop and they can put it on a shirt for you.

I found several of the shirts I used at Walmart, and the rest on Amazon.  This shirt is an athletic material, some were cotton and some were a polyester blend and the heat transfer vinyl seemed to work on all of them.  I would say if you plan on wearing the shirt more than once, you might want to go the professional route.  These shirts aren't made to last, but ARE made to look cute for a day!

Cute, right? I just loved them.

diy disney: 10 travel tips for toddlers

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hi hi!  Me again.  I'm back with another post for Disney month!

Traveling with a toddler is no small feat.  These tiny tyrants dictate a lot of what happens on your vaca, so I think it's important to set your expectations accordingly.  And plan!  Here are my top 10 tips for traveling with toddlers.

For the Car:

1. Electronics are your friend.  Our girl isn't really one to sit in front of the TV and watch anything, but in the car, with nothing else to do, being able to turn on Mickey will save your sanity.  Several weeks before the trip, we bought an external hard drive that connects to the iPad via bluetooth and downloaded a lot of our movies onto it.  Our iPads are only 16GB, but the external drive is 4TB and therefore fit a bunch of movies without a problem.  2 different devices can access the drive at a time and watch 2 different things!  It was great.  We also bought a headrest holder for the iPad which was great.

2. Bring lots of snacks and drinks (and lots of options).  There are plenty of times when meltdowns can be avoided with the offer of a snack.  "I know you want to watch Cinderella but we're already watching Beauty & the Beast... how about a snack?"  Hey, whatever works, my friends.  I would also recommend getting small Glad containers that will fit in the cup holder of their car seat.  I filled several up with different snacks before the trip and had them within easy reach in the car.  Snack request?  Just pop the lid and slide it into their cup holder.  No fumbling with snack bags (and creating lots of trash in the car!) and saving leftovers is as easy as putting the lid back on.

3. Bring a blanket and lovie for naps in the car.  A/C can be chilly and toddlers sleep better with familiar things.

For the Hotel:

4. If you can swing it, get a suite!  That way, you can put the kids to bed in the bedroom and have an hour or two to yourself to watch TV, wind down, talk about what crazy hooligans you're raising, etc.  Single hotel rooms mean you'll put the child(ren) down and you and your significant other will be huddled under the covers watching the iPad with some earbuds.  Adjoining rooms are also great - kids in one, parents in the other!  I am NOT a morning person, so I like to make sure I have everything ready to go for the next day before I climb in bed at night.  Clothes laid out, backpacks re-packed, etc.  It's just easier to do when you're not tip-toeing over sleeping babies.

5. Download a white noise app on your phone or tablet.  The [loud] sound of the ocean will mask any noise you're making as you settle in for the night (unless you got a suite, in which case, you are my hero).  I think anyone sleeps better with some white noise going on and hotels are notoriously quiet.

6. Be flexible - it's vacation!  S2 goes to bed around 7:30 at home.  At Disney, if she was in bed by 10, I considered it a win.  Schedules are going to be interrupted, that's just the nature of vacation.  Some kids deal with it better than others, but it's only for a week.  When we got home, it took her a couple weeks to get back into her rhythm.  But she did.

For the Parks:

7. Bring your own stroller, and get a rain cover and a clip fan.  Just trust me on this.

8. Choose safety.  I know people frown upon baby leashes and I get it, I do.  In lieu of a traditional backpack leash, we used a velcro hand-holding strap.  One end was velcroed onto her wrist, and the other end was velcroed onto mine.  It was short so she couldn't get more than one step away but she felt like she had some freedom.  Toddlers in general like to do things themselves so instead of always strapping them into the stroller, see if there are other options out there to keep them safe (and to give your arms and back a rest from always carrying them).

9. Follow their lead.  If they want to color a picture for half an hour in the lobby of Mexico in Epcot, just let them.  Hey, it might give you an opportunity to sit down for a second, and there's nothing wrong with that!

10. Take plenty of breaks. It's good for you and it's good for them.  Either leave the park for a couple hours during the hottest part of the day or cop a squat in an air conditioned building for a while.  It will do you all some good.  One of my favorite memories was made when just hanging out outside The American Adventure in Epcot.  It was past her bedtime, there was a band playing, we grabbed some frozen lemonade and just danced.  Sometimes it's as much fun to take a break from all the rushing and just enjoy yourselves.

These tips aren't specific to Disney and could be applied to any road trip you're taking!

Here's a graphic to pin for later.