Life-Hacks, Fashion tips & Packing Tricks for Your Trip to Disneyland

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Hi there, friend! 

Are you one of the lucky many who gets to travel to the magical world of Disneyland this year?  I went last summer with my oldest two children on a special trip with some of my extended family, and as I prepared for the trip, felt so much pressure to find the right pieces to wear, both cute & practical!  As a wardrobe stylist, I FREQUENTLY have clients ask me to help them for their trip to the Magic Kingdom, so I decided to take some notes (and pictures) of things I’d packed, as well as photos of random strangers I met there that were dressed smart-cute for the park… I hope this has some great suggestions for you to not only last the entire day but feel cute doing it, especially since you’ll be “cheesin'” it up for so many pictures!

***If you haven’t planned your trip yet but want some expert advice and guidance, book with Deann Samuel, an experienced travel agent specializing in Disney Vacations that I know and trust.  She works hard to make sure you have a great time within your budget, and her services are free!  You can follow her on Instagram too!***

Deann & Goofy

Deann Samuel, travel planner, specializing in Disney vacations.

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Tips for the Park…

  1. Firstly, check out the weather for the days you’ll be there, and write it down with your outfit ideas for each day… bring this organizer with you to help you remember on those early, foggy-brained mornings.  I did this for the first time this year and it was SO HELPFUL, and if you have kiddos you’re packing too, it’ll help a lot.  This is what my chart looked like… I took inspiration from a blog (which I can’t find now, I’m so sorry if it was you!), and adapted her form slightly to my preferences.  This was helpful so I didn’t forget some of the outfits I’d packed and was able to have some variety in my wardrobe.  You’re welcome to use it (pictured below, downloadable .pdf here: Travel Packing Planner)Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 11.02.54 AM
  2. Secondly, be prepared with easy layers!!  At Disneyland (Disneyworld is a different climate!), the mornings and evenings are anywhere from 15-25 degrees F cooler than the afternoons, so you’ll need them! They have day-time lockers that are $7-$10 a day and are well worth the expense, especially so you don’t have to lug around extra (or dry) clothes all day! (See #6 for more on the lockers)
  3. PHONE re-charge BATTERY PACK…Disneyland had these available in a type of vending machine to rent for the day but they were $30/day… yikes!  Save some money, plan ahead, and if you don’t own one, find one at Amazon or even pop into places like Burlington or Marshall’s for a discounted one before you travel.   I bought a great one at Burlington for $12.99 before our trip. (Tip: the lockers at California Adventure had chargers built in so you could lock up your charging phone).

 

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  1. Thirdly, WEAR GOOD SHOES!!  We walked an average of 10-12 miles each day, and all of us were feelin’ it, young and old!  Wearing good sneakers with quality arch support is my preference because it’s no fun being miserable at the Happiest Place on Earth!

Suggested styles:

  • Sneakers
  • Toms flats with memory foam
  • Hiking sandals
  • Supportive slides or flip-flops

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  1. FIRST AID necessities:
    • Hand Sanitizer.  Duh- I know.  But seriously.  My son returned from his first trip to Disneyworld during Christmas break (with friends) with a strain of the flu, putting his fever over 106 on Christmas morning.  Don’t forget the sanitizer!
    • Neosporin and bandaids.  Above said son also developed blisters on his feet from the rub of his shoes from all the walking when I took him to Disneyland in the summer… Disney first aid office has this if you don’t, but it’s easy to carry and will save you the long walk to their first aid office.
    • EMERGEN-C vitamin packets!!!  Take these before bed (or at breakfast, but I prefer bedtime so it can work on the immune system while we sleep) to keep your immune system high, as well as your energy.  Remember, you’ll be eating more treats most likely, and while that’s fun, it also lowers the immune system for hours… while you’re surrounded by thousands of people.  So, play it safe, bring these packets to easily add to water… my kids love them!  They’re safe to take morning AND evening if you just want to double up.
    • IBUPROFEN… for the achy-ness of walking so much!
    • WATER.  You’re allowed to bring bottled water into the park (as long as it’s sealed), and you can easily store it in a locker.  In the heat and fun it’s easy to overlook staying hydrated but this is very important… you don’t want dehydration, nausea and dizziness to ruin a good day!  (Also discovered by above-said-son… he was apparently delicate this summer LOL)
  1. LOCKERS!!  We do this every time as they’re so useful for those extra layers you won’t need till closer to 5 pm, or for dry clothes in case you hit all the water rides… walking in wet jeans causes major chaffing… no fun!  We also kept our extra water-bottles, snacks and souvenirs in the lockers, which conserves energy not having to lug it around all day.  img_1141
  2. PONCHO disposable rain coat.  I believe they sell these at the Park at California Adventure near the River Rapids ride.  But, you’ll spend a fortune buying theirs.  I suggest this 6-pack on Amazon, or hitting up your local walmart to grab a disposable plastic poncho in case of rain, or if you really want to hit the super wet rides without staying wet all day.
  3. SNACKS!!  You’re allowed to bring these in too, and I recommend keeping a stash in your locker, as well as a few munchies in your bag for those long lines that get you stuck when your tummy starts talkin’.  This helps keep your energy (and spirits!) high to get the most out of your day.  No one likes a “Hangry” friend at Disney!
    • Snack ideas:
      • Belvita breakfast crackers (sustaining and easy to eat)
      • Trail Mixes
      • Apples/Oranges/Grapes
      • Beef Jerky
      • Cheese sticks
      • Apple Sauce pouches
      • Granola Bars
      • Protein Bars
      • Other easy-to-pack snacks (avoid crumbly items, they’ll get crushed in your bag on the rides)  Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 11.06.02 AM

If you’re traveling with really young kiddos, there are some great blog posts with ideas for traveling with littles.  Mine were 10 & 12 so they were pretty easy to do the park and festivities with, but here are some great blogs for traveling with the young ones!  

 

Now onto CLOTHES!!

 

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PACKING for DISNEY

When I style clients for a Disney trip, I think of a few staples:

  1. Poolside clothingBathing suit and a cover up, which a Kimono is wonderful for as it can double over a tank and shorts for an outfit during the day; you might not wear this at the park (unless you’re hitting the water park at Disneyworld) but you’ll definitely use it at the hotel or nearby beach!  For guys, opt for “hybrid” shorts that can go from swimming to lunching and air-dry really quickly.
  2. Sneakers or flats for walking around the park, or super comfortable sandals.  Memory foam/arch support is essential!
  3. Shorts!! It’s warm in the afternoons.
  4. Jeans/joggers… it’s chilly in the evenings. 🙂
  5. Tank tops or lightweight knit tops in fun colors for fun pictures.
  6. An outer layer, like a hoodie, denim jacket or warm cardigan… any of these can be thrown on over anything, even a dress, and still look cute.
      • Denim jacket
      • Chambray button up top (looks like a denim button up, but is lighter, great for layering and tying around the waist)
      • A hoodie/sweatshirt
      • Pair of jeans/pants for the evening
      • A hat can be great in the afternoon for keeping the sun off your face.
  7. A chambray or flannel shirt (this kind of top isn’t quite warm enough for the evening if it dips to the 50’s, but is great for keeping the sun off your arms and easy to throw on over a dress or tank for a lightweight extra layer if the temps are in the 60’s.)
  8. A dress when it’s really warm out!  A knee-length fit-and-flare or shift dress, or a fitted knit dress, can look adorable with sneakers that coordinate… capturing a little of that girly yet athleisure style that’s popular right now.
  9. img_7722**Pro-tip:Try to avoid 100% polyester ANYTHING for wearing at the park… it doesn’t breathe and will have you sweating (and stinking!) all day long.  Opt for cotton, linen, and rayon blends to keep cool and dry-er, although be forewarned that 100% in any of those tend to wrinkle easily.  For best options, a blend of any of them, including spandex, can hold up better to all day wear.  Stretchy knits are your friend to avoid wrinkles and stay comfortable.**
  10. A Backpack or Cross-body purse to stay hands free.  I personally prefer a back pack because it keeps the weight centered and helps keep you from feeling lopsided during the day while you tote snacks, water, wallets and the like around the park.  My sister tried a cross-body messenger style bag and ended up sticking it in the locker because it was too burdensome… I, however, never wore out from my back pack.  Also, when picking a back pack, try to avoid leather or vinyl/nylon… they’ll have you sweating!! Find something breathable like a sturdy knit fabric or denim.  I chose mine in a print that complemented every outfit I wore too, so it became a fashion accessory as well… bonus!

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    My twin sister and I in Cars Land, California Adventure park at Disneyland with my striped backpack that matched everything!

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Morning: high waist shorts + cropped tank + sneakers + Long cardigan to keep warm.        Evening: Swapped for jeans + Denim jacket instead

 

When I got dressed every day, I planned for a warm afternoon and a chilly evening (it dipped into the 50’s/60’s when I was there in early June).  There are people there dressed as Disney characters, dressed in Disney themed colors (think blue, yellow and red for Snow White), dressed in next to nothing… dressed like they walked out of a fairy tale… dressed like they got ready with their eyes closed… and like they just came off a magazine cover… so basically, sky’s the limit!  But if you’re like me, I like to look cute when I know I’ll be in lots of pictures because, well, I just like the pictures better when I feel cute.   And of course, any experience is more enjoyable when I feel good about how I look.  Maybe that’s uber female, maybe that’s human nature, maybe you’re the same way or maybe you aren’t, but either way, I kept my eyes peeled for various styles of dress that were both cute and functional, and had fun capturing these sweet souls so you’d have some ideas to spin off of.  If you’re gonna get dressed, you might as well make it cute!!

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Day 1: Channeling Minnie!  Day 2: Same 😉 Day 3: Rockin’ that crop top/high waist shorts!   I wore jeans in the evening with each of these, and my denim jacket or a hoodie to keep warm. (And, I’ve never worn Mickey ears at Disney… one day I will!)

I took the above photos to give you some ideas of what I wore but I also wanted to capture the various styles we saw while there, for various body shapes and ages (and genders!). My sister and I had a blast stopping people and complimenting their outfits, asking them if they’d be willing to be on my blog.  So, shout out to you lovely people who were willing to stand and smile so I could capture your fashion genius… thanks so much!!

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Thanks for reading! I hope these tips make preparing for you trip easier, and more stylish for all those photos you’ll be snapping! 

Don’t forget, if you need help planning your trip, I recommend Deann Samuel (my sister-in-law) who can be found on Facebook at @DeAnnSamuelKTTW and has been helping family’s have their dream vacations since July 2017! 

Also, for more styling tips and advice, come follow at @jenileesamuelstyling on Instagram!  

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Ep 2: Life in Hollywood, interview with Crystal Lott

In today’s episode we get to have a fun conversation with actress Crystal Lott, (check her out on IMDB!), who is my sister, and has been working in Hollywood for the last 15 years. The life of actors and actresses is often a mystery to the general public and it’s fun to once in a while get a sneak peek into what goes in to this adventurous, exciting lifestyle. Crystal opens up and shares about the struggles and victories of living in the acting world and encourages us with principles that can carry into our own lives as well. If YOU’RE interested in pursuing an acting career, she saves some valuable tips for the end of the episode you won’t want to miss!  As you’ll hear in the show, Crystal is creative and an avid explorer of all sorts of new ways to add new skills to her acting resume, so I shared with my listeners that I would be posting some fun photos of some of the adventures she and I have had together on her journey of discovering new talents.  I hope you enjoy the episode and please share with friends and on social media!  Tag me if you share it for a shout-out in my stories! 😀

Don’t forget to connect with Crystal on social media & IMDB:

Instagram: @crys.lovebird

Email Crystal with questions or role considerations: Lott_crystal@yahoo.com

You can also follow me on Instagram: @jenileesamuelstyling 

Email any questions you may for me about the Java with Jen podcast at: javawithjenpodcast@gmail.com

ENJOY THE SHOW!  (Click link below)

https://anchor.fm/jenilee-samuel/embed/episodes/Ep–2-Behind-the-Scenes–Life-in-Hollywood-with-Crystal-Lott-e28glc/a-a5cq3c

Podcast Recording Time!!  

Even trips to Walmart are an adventure with “Aunt Kissy”!

Her nephews (my boys) ADORE her and insisted on driving with me at midnight all the way to Houston to pick her up, sleeping on the way home, but of course dragging their tired bodies out of the car for a classic photo at Buccee’s with their Aunt. 🙂 (It was about 2 am in this photo!)

Dolby Theatre with Crystal on one of my visits.  For those who don’t know, this is where America’s Got Talent does their final shows, and it’s also where the Emmy’s are held!

Formerly known as the Kodak Theatre, this is the red carpet stair case normally adorned with huge golden statues for the big awards night!

Because, History.  (Billy Graham)

Johnny Depp was such a doll to let me pose with him. Clearly he was excited… or in character… or made of wax… we’ll never know.

CINESPIA is a wonderful outdoor summer experience in LA!!!  They once or twice weekly sell tickets for a lawn movie at the local cemetery and THOUSANDS set up with blankets and chairs and food… if you do this, be prepared with some layers… once the sun goes down it gets down into the 60’s, I think this night was the 50’s.  We watched “Alien” and of course don’t forget to take a photo at their very authentic photo booth.  (I wasn’t trying to pose all cool… I was freezing cold and the lights were so bright, my face was actually my “Where are we supposed to look? Where’s the camera?- FLASH!- Oh… I’m blind now anyways…” LOL!

Crystal is kind enough to always make time for my own little adventures, and being a fashion stylist, I wanted to go see the fashion museum… it was wonderful!

A few years ago, this was her creative idea for making memories with the girls in our family… do a pinup photo shoot!  When we were done we went around LA, grabbed lunch, went by the Warner Bros studios and people stopped us and took our pictures, probably thinking we were in costume for a film. 😀 It was funny, and a total blast!

And of course… MERMAIDING!!!

(This lovely blonde is my twin sister who was also joining the adventure and honing some new skills!)

And of course when you’re as silly and adventurous as Crystal… bloopers will abound!

A few more fun things to do with young kiddos this summer

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Make smoothies after they’ve been playing outside!  Here’s my dreamsickle smoothie recipe!

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Play with water toys outside… even if that means a kid ends up camping out in a bucket of water! Lol… The dollar Tree store is a great place to get cheap water toys!

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Make homemade pizzas!  These I found at the Dollar Tree for a buck.  Way cheaper than grocery stores, and the ingredients are actually healthier than many I’ve seen!

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Teach them how to garden, or simply how to water yours!  (or how to weed… 🙂 )

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Play outside on the playground!

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Have your older ones teach your younger ones a new skill!

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Make homemade popcorn!  If you don’t have an air popper, you can do so by putting 1/4 cup popcorn seeds in a paper bag, fold the top down, and microwave for 2-3 minutes, or until there is 1 to 2 seconds between pops.  Flavor with melted butter, sugar and salt for kettle corn.

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Watch a movie and eat your popcorn together!  Make it a snuggle-fest!

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Arrange with friends or family to be pen-pals!  Have fun writing/sending packages and letters, and send books to your friends!  Its a fun treat for the summer!

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Ride bikes together!!  (No the little one isn’t mine. 🙂 )

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Go eat lunch with a sibling who is still in school for the year, or at some new location where you don’t normally eat.  Go eat lunch with Daddy at work if you can!

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Make edible fishing poles!

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Go take pictures in silly places!!

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Take them to church!  Or, summer VBS programs are quite popular during July and August typically.  See if your local church is doing one, and participate! The kids love it!

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Make elegant treats to enjoy and to share with someone else!!  CHocolate dipped strawberries are actually very easy to make, and here’s a tip: if you melt some Andes mints in with it, or drop a couple drops of peppermint oil in the chocolate, it takes them up a whole new measure!!

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Enjoy a special treat you don’t get very often!  Here, we were doing our donut for breakfast tradition when we have a birthday.  But, you don’t need a birthday to celebrate with a donut!  Find a holiday and make a fuss about it!  Even, find what random holidays are happening that week, and cater your week to celebrate new things, and digging in to the history behind them and learn new stuff with fun random holidays!!

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Have a pizza party! Invite some friends and make it a play date! In this case, we had fifty of our college kids over after a baptism. 🙂

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After a graduation or special accomplishment, treat them to Dairy Queen.  (also something we don’t often do.  I’m seeing a trend of fun around food here, though… let’s switch it up.)

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EXERCISE!!  (work off all that food we just ate! Lol…) My boys love to ride bikes for exercise, go on walks, or play in the back yard.  Anything works, just get moving!  Dance party anyone??

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Plant some salad!  This is both my salad containers (there’s two stacked- only $1 at the Dollar Tree!) and salad seeds.  Salad grows soooooo easily, and grows back so fast, I’m hoping to have a regular supply in my yard.  The others are flowers I’m going to plant to hang in the front yard.  But, have the kids help, and teach them a little about gardening on the way!

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Go grocery shopping!  🙂  You heard me, take them to the store with you, but make it fun (like HEB is so good at helping with by providing racecar carts) and teach them about how to choose between brands based on quality, size, price, etc.  Their wives (or husbands) will thank you. 🙂

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Go to the GYM!  If you have a gym membership, this is a great way to kill two birds with one stone!  If you don’t, see if a local gym has childcare (mine has a great one!) and most gyms offer a week free… Enroll for a free week and enjoy a week of fun at no extra cost!  (The above picture are the cool chairs in the gym lobby, and my son insists EVERY TIME on having me take pictures of him in every chair in the lobby.  LOL!)

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Play with Chalk! Have them write special messages for someone they love, or for each other!

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Go see Grandma and Grandpa and give them some loooove!! 🙂

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Play dress up!!

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Do a photo shoot with the kids!  They love this, especially if they know you’re making their photos fancy.  AND, if you get some good ones, you can blow up the photos and turn them into wall art.  This one is a particular favorite of mine, that I plan to do for the boy’s room when I redo it.

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Remember our birthday donut tradition?  This was a birthday celebration for SHiloh.  Celebrate a birthday, or an UNbirthday!

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Have them help you do dishes!  🙂

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Take them somewhere they’ve never been.  (perhaps its a theme for us, having foodie stuff, because I have all boys.  Boys and food always make for a good time. 😉 )

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Go play with your cousins… or your friends, in their pool.  POOL TIME!!!

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Play some board games.  Connect Four is a great one for even little guys…

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Teach them some household chores!  Judah is learning to iron… well, actually, he already knew and was doing it when I turned around here, but hey, all that to make the point, they can totally learn this pretty young and can help you with chores earlier than we might think!

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Take them to the local park!  Makes for great fun!  But do it when its maybe not so hot, like early morning or evening.

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Dress up time!!

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The bathtub can be a wonderful place for fun!  Throw in some new water toys or bathtub toys or even kitchen utensils, and let them have fun!!

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Take them to a local theme park.  This one is “Gator Country” that is a trademark stop off for tourists visiting south east texas.  They learned about all sorts of alligators and reptiles, and it made a good memory. 🙂

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Do crafts!!  Or rather, in this case, WEAR your crafts you made at church! LOL…

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Play with the wagon… however your imagination permits!

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Take a NAP!!  Yesss…. Mommy’s favorite.  🙂

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Cut their hair yourself!  This was Shiloh’s first haircut.  It was a wiggle fest but still turned out pretty good. 🙂

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Let them garden with you, as stated before.  Sorry, pictures got out of order here.  But as you can see, they enjoy it. 🙂

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Give them a good foot massage!  This is a fuzzy chart, here‘s where I found it.

For MORE ideas to do with the kids, check out these two other posts that you will love.  🙂  Enjoy your summer, and enjoy your children!!  Memories are such a sweet blessing we can give to our children!!

133 ideas for summer fun with the kiddos! 

Summer schedule to keep it fun for them, and under-control for you!

Orange Julius skinny protein smoothie

I recently discovered a new favorite smoothie recipe! I work out, and so I try to eat protein shakes frequently throughout the week, and I’m always looking for a new recipe that doesn’t TASTE like a protein smoothie. This one is a winner!! And, in honor of Memorial day, I used my festive American Flag cup. 🙂 Onto the smoothie…

This particular smoothie tastes like the classic Orange Julius drinks, or, for those who don’t know what that is, like your childhood favorite orange-dreamsickle popsickles! dreamsickle

 

It is soooo good, I’ve been having one every day for like two weeks now! And, even better, it doesn’t require a ton of ingredients. Now, there are a variety of ways you could do this. I add protein powder to mine, as well as grapeseed oil (you can add any kind of plant-based oil for belly flattening help- only 1 TBSP though!) And, I use natural sweetener and fat free milk to keep it light, but here is the basic gist for what will make a dreamsickle-y smoothie:

 

Basic Ingredients:

-1 Cup Orange juice

-1/4 cup milk to cream it up

-1 tsp vanilla flavor

-sugar to taste

-icecubes to thickness desired. (more ice, thicker smoothie. Less ice, more straw-friendly)

 

My recipe:

-1 cup orange juice

-1/4 cup fat free lactose free milk

-generous splash of vanilla flavoring

-3 to 4 packets (I like mine sweet!!) of Truvia, Pure Via, some other natural sweetener. Agave syrup is great too!

-Most of a scoop of vanilla protein powder.

-1 Tbsp grapeseed oil (at your grocery store on the oil aisle), or coconut oil. Most of these oils are under $6.

-1.5 cups ice-cubes (I like mine thicker)

 

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Fun day Friday!!

Fun-Day Friday…

We did some reading, to work their brains.  My oldest (7yrs) is the only one who can actually read fluently, so he read some books he got for his birthday, and the middle two (3 & 5 yrs) read the read-along books in separate rooms so their audio wouldn’t bother anyone.  I set the timer for 20 minutes, but was pleasantly surprised when they wanted to continue reading until 30 minutes!  Yay!!  My three year old was amazingly satisfied with his reader, and read all three books on it I’d given him.  I was like, “Score. WE are doing this again!!”  The baby jumped in his jumper while I folded laundry at the kitchen table.  :)   I’d post a picture of that, but it would likely make you stress over the laundry you may also have to do, so for now, we will pretend laundry is not a part of the equation. :)

 

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FUN FRIDAY ACTIVITY:  Our fun activity today was balloon basketball!!  We blew up little water balloons, gave them pool noodles and a laundry basket and let them try to hit them into the basket.  It was a little harder to do than I thought it would be, but they still had fun with the elements given to them. :) The baby wanted to help, but we had to put that to a stop real quick.  NO CHEWING ON BALLOONS FOR THE BABY!!

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Other than that, we did a little work in the garden.  Some watering, some pruning, some admiring.  :)   Here is our day!!  Happy Summering!!

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Make-it Monday summer fun w the kids

After a summer of chaos and stress last year, I decided this summer would be different but I had no idea how!! With four little ones between one and seven, honestly, I was quietly dreading the chaos of summer, until I came across this woman’s BRILLIANT plan! I adapted it for our family of course, and so far it’s been great!! Here is the basic gist:

Every day, MORNING consists of a similar routine including doing things that accomplish these four goals:

1. keeping our BODIES healthy through exercise, riding bikes, taking walks, go to the gym, etc.
2. Keeping our MINDS healthy through reading books, both together and individually, and utilizing the library summer reading program. We also do Spanish lesson games and other learning games.
3. Keeping our SPIRITS healthy thru scripture memory (our goal is to have prov 3 done this summer) and devotion time.
4. And keeping our HOUSE CLEAN. The boys are perfecting and learning new chores and old chores. They can do a lot at their ages!

After these four priorities are accomplished for the day, we will eat lunch and tackle that day’s themed activity. I spent a couple weeks on Pinterest scouring my boards and sorting ideas into the five categories that the weekdays break into:

1. Make it Monday– making, creating, cooking, crafting, DIYing. Make stuff! Try to make it a learning experience.
2. Trip-it Tuesday– go somewhere! Anywhere! Library, park, fire station, etc. learn something in a new setting!
3. Get Wet Wednesday: water games, pool time, anything wet-fun!!!
4. Think it through Thursday- this will be a day for neat science experiments, doing research on interesting subjects, learning Spanish, or working on their age appropriate life skills. This chart I just linked there is soooooooo helpful!! Save it!!!
5. Fun day Friday!!! Whatever fun thing we want to/planned to do together that day.

Ok, now that you have the outline, I’m going to post as often as possible this summer to let you know how our plan is working and so you can keep up with different summer ideas we may try.

Last week Friday fun day was their first summer day, and we went to cousin Elijah’s house to swim, eat pizza and homemade icecream. They had a blast!

TODAY WAS MAKE IT MONDAY!!

I found a air popper popcorn machine at Ross for $7.99 and snatched it up!! We celebrated make it Monday with homemade kettle popcorn, and we snuggled up on the living room floor with pillows and blankets to settle in and watch an hour of Curious George. Here are the pictures from our Monday.

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