Monday, November 9, 2015

Stroller Redo: Personalize your stroller to stand out in a Disney park.

I just bought this stroller for $15! It is hard to tell from the photo but it was very faded and had quite a bit of mildew. I love this stroller because it is super maneuverable, has a large basket underneath for storage and is VERY light weight. 

I went to Walmart and found some upholstery fabric in the clearance section in an okay (but very noticeable) maroon color. I was hoping for something bright since it will stand out in a crowd of stroller's at a Disney park. I also had to purchase a little bit of Mickey fabric for a Disney touch. The total cost for fabric was $5.

I started by cleaning the whole thing with dish soap and water. The best thing I found to remove the mildew was Lysol Mildew and Shower cleaner. It does contain a bit of bleach, but it didn't seem to change the fabric at all and definitely removed the mildew spot's.

Next I removed the canopy of the stroller. I cut it into several section's to make a pattern.  I numbered them from 1-4 so that I could remember what order they went in when sewing them together. Here is an example:

Once I had sewn the canopy back together I added a small pocket in the back for park map's AND a small window. The original canopy was also a little bit short and since we wanted more shade I extended the canopy by cutting the front piece two inches longer. I hand stitched the rest of the fabric to the seat since you could not remove it and the grey was in okay condition.

I am very happy with how it turned out! See the "hidden" Mickey's? They're on the black fabric.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Disneyland Hotel Review's: Paradise Pier

I get a lot of questions about Disney hotels from clients. Since we have either visited or stayed in each hotel I thought I would take the time and do a series of information and reviews from our experiences with Disney property's.

For this post I will focus on Paradise Pier at Disneyland.

We have stayed at Paradise Pier twice. Once in 2007 and again in 2013. It is the cheaper choice of the three Disney owned properties at Disneyland. It is a nice boardwalk themed hotel with very large beach-style rooms and great views. It was clean and the staff was inc
redibly friendly and helpful during our visits.

The walk to the parks is a little bit long but not too bad at all - about 15 minutes from hotel to Disneyland's entrance. We stayed there when our son was 2 and never had a problem walking back to the hotel to rest. I also really enjoyed the walk through downtown Disney to/from the parks and you can catch the monorail into Disneyland from Downtown Disney which is fun too. The landscaping is beautiful and the pathways are wide and clean.


We really loved our room at Paradise Pier. They are pretty large, bright and cheery and clean. They sleep up to 5 people. The bedding has changed a little since this photo was taken, but the size, cleanliness and of course the view are the same. We had a view of the pool during our second stay and were on a lower floor and our first stay had a view of California Adventure park. Both were wonderful.


The pool at Paradise Pier is a roof top pool. It is located on the third floor terrace and is clean and a lot of fun. We usually visited there at night and really enjoyed it - although it was a little busy.


The lobby is smaller than I would usually like and is pretty disappointing as far as lobby's go. There is an entrance area that has the check in/out desk, concierge and entrance to their restaurant. Down the hall there is a door to a tv room that play's Disney cartoon's (see photo). Our then three year old loved it. There is also a door to an arcade area. I'm not a huge fan of the main floor of the hotel. It doesn't feel very inviting or open to me. When you first walk in you are greeted by a Goofy statue though, which is pretty darn cute. The photo on the left looking up at the ceiling the  main entrance.

PCH Grill is a beach themed restaurant located in the main entrance area at Paradise Pier. They offer a breakfast buffet (character dining) and a dinner buffet. We have not been to either as we prefer to get to the park's and enjoy the park ambiance while we eat, but I have heard wonderful thing's about both buffet's. Prices range from $15 - $60.  For menu information check Disneyland's website.

I would give this hotel a rating of 3 out of 5. It is comfortable and clean. If you're wanting to feel like you're staying in the Disney bubble it is an okay choice. There are hotel's of equal amenities and of equal distance that are a cheaper option so it really depend's on what you're hoping to get out of your vacation. Their lobby is very disappointing in my opinion, but they do maintain the Disney customer service. If you have any additional question's please feel free to ask me!

Friday, September 11, 2015

DIY Bleach Spray Character Tee

My son and I are always doing DIY projects for our one on one time.  We love this DIY bleach spray tee shirt so much we have done it four times. Today I'm going to share two of the final products with you.

What you need:
- Cotton tee shirt (we used Fruit of the Loom 100% cotton tee's from Walmart)
- Spray bottle
- Bleach
- Contact paper/Sticker
- Character Silhouette

1: Cut out your silhouette.

2: Tape your silhouette to a sticker or contact paper and cut out the image. Since I'm cheap I used the sticker that came on the shirt.

3: Stick your image to the tee shirt. We also added this circle for some extra details. It was just a crust shield for a pie. I taped it into position and then removed the tape so it didn't leave any lines. For the second picture we covered the rest of the tee to get a different look. 

4: Add a paper bag to the center of the shirt so that the bleach does not go through to the back. 

5: Fill a spray bottle with 1/2 bleach, 1/2 water. We used the travel bottle from Target. You can use any bottle, but make sure it spray's evenly or it will leave funny circle's with the bleach. 

6: Lightly spray the bleach over the tee shirt. It takes a few minute's to start to change color so we spray a little and wait to see how it look's. You can alway's add more. 

7: When you have it the way you like it quickly rinse in cold soapy water. We rinse them in the sink really well and then throw them in the washer right away. 

Here is the final product! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

DIY Mickey Headband

As a mom to two wonderful boy's I get to make many fun boy-type projects, which I fully enjoy. Sometime's though, I get the itch to create girly thing's, which either leaves me making them for myself or for my adorable nieces.

This one I made for myself for our last Walt Disney World trip, although I wear it at home all the time too!  This is one of my favorite headband's because it is so stretchy it never gives me a headache yet it stays in place. I also used material's that I already had in the house, which alway's makes me happy!

What you need:
- Pair of nylon's
- A few piece's of fabric
- Felt
- Hot glue gun and glue
- Scissors

1: Cut two strips of fabric. Mine were 1/2" wide by 15" long.

2: Cut one of the two strips in half to make two smaller strips.

3: Cut three pieces of felt. I cut mine the size I wanted my Mickey to end up. I like to leave a little extra to cut off after your done glueing so that I don't run out of space. I also leave my felt in the shape of a square so that I have some finger room to maneuver around the hot glue gun without getting burned. You can cut the corner's off later. 

4: Tie a knot in the end you are going to begin glueing first. This create's a center for the fabric and also prevent's burning your finger's. 

5: Start glueing your longest piece of fabric's knot to your felt beginning in the center and working your way around to make a "rose". 

6: Repeat step 5's process with the two smaller pieces to make Mickey's ears. 

7: Take a pair of old nylon's and cut one leg off. Then sew the foot of the nylon's to the top of the leg to create a circle that fit's your head.


 8: Glue your Mickey to the nylon's starting with Mickey's head so that you can make sure it is centered. Make sure to glue it over your stitching so that it is hidden under the Mickey.

Another idea would be to add a bow to make it a Minnie instead. I opted out of this since my boy's are huge Mickey fan's right now. If you wanted to do this -  I would tie a bow in some ribbon and glue it to the ear! If you do so share a picture. I would love to see how it turn out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Money Saving - Item's to Purchase at Home for a Disney Vacation:

Today I want to share a list of important item's that are much cheaper if you purchase them before your vacation. We have unfortunately had to pay park prices for certain item's that we either forgot, or ran out of, and it was a hard pill for me to swallow as a coupon cutting, alway's trying to save money mama.


I love rain storm's at Walt Disney World! It's refreshing, it's still warm out, the thunder is exciting, it's quite fun! However, it is a little more difficult if you're caught there without rain gear. They do sell adorable poncho's in just about every store, but they're expensive!

We like to buy poncho's ahead of time at Target or Walmart for $1. They usually only last us one trip, but for us it is worth the saving's to bring them, use them there and then toss them. That way we don't feel guilty if we don't drag the wet things home too.

Hand Sanitizer Wipe's:

Germ's are everywhere at Disney park's. We like to pack the hand sanitizing wipe's to clean our hand's often. There aren't always bathroom's right next to all eating area's so we have found this to be helpful. Target sells them for $1/travel pack in their travel size section.


These are of course a necessity. I alway's pack an entire package of diaper's and several package's of wipe's. Planning for at least 4 to 5 per day, per child.

On our last trip our son was 3 months old, which as any mommy know's, the younger they are the more diaper's they require. As prepared as I thought we were, we ran out! You have a couple option's if this happens. The Disney owned hotel's do sell packages of Huggie's (Mickey themed ;))  in their store's. They also have them to purchase in the baby care center's. Either way they end up being about $1/diaper. HUGE price jump from the .17/diaper I'm used to at home. You can also drive (if you have a rental car) or take a taxi (also expensive) to a nearby store. We decided by the time we took the bus or taxi it would still be more cost and time efficient to buy the park one's.

Some people do have them shipped to their hotel ahead of time too! Ordering them online could prevent this problem and save money. I haven't tried this yet, but would love to hear experiences if someone else has!


Hand held fan's are wonderful for everyone on a hot day. Disney park's sell cute mister fan's that are around $15. When our oldest son was one I found a fan for $1/Walmart that was foam so if he grabbed it, it wouldn't hurt him. Ive also noticed the spray mister fan for $5 online. We like to save money by packing these. We also let our little one put Disney sticker's on his fan to make it his own.


We have been sick several time's during our vacation's. I usually pack a variety of medication's to cover all ailment's.

On my first trip to Walt Disney World though I was less prepared being that we had our wedding the day before and I was exhausted from all of the celebrating. I came down with a cold. We purchased the two pill box of Tylenol cold that they offered at Main Street's Emporium. It was $6 for the two pill's. Ugh!

How do you save money if you're already there? Each Disney park has a first aid center that offer's over the counter medications, bandages, storage for medication's that need to be refrigerated, disposal containers for hypodermic needles and they have nurses you can talk to and who can take your temperature. I've visited them many time's with our little one's who were feverish.

 If you need to purchase medication the hotel's sell a variety in their store's. In the park's they also offer it in merchandise shops although you may have to ask where it is. Baby care center's also offer baby medications in their on-site store.

Glow Stick's:

We love to buy glow stick's for the kid's instead of spending money on the knick knack's they sell at night during parade's and firework show's. They're usually about a $1 at Target OR 2/$1 at the dollar store. We try to have one for each night of our trip.

The kid's love them and they're very easy to pack.

If you have any questions let me know. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Disney Quick Service - Our Favorite Restaurant's in the Park's

What is a Quick Service Meal?

The Disneyland and the Walt Disney World resorts offer delicious options for quick service meals. I've also seen quick service referred to as counter service, and just to avoid confusion, they are the same thing.

Quick service is where you order your food at a counter and they will either have it ready right away or with in a few minutes. Your food will be given to you on a tray where you will then take it to find a nearby table or bench to enjoy. All condiments, silverware, etc. are located on a condiment cart nearby.

Quick service meals are good for three reasons. One, you usually don't have to wait too long for your food. Two, they are a cheaper option than a sit down (table service) dining meal with the same wonderful Disney quality and ambiance. Three, several offer indoor seating protecting you from rain or giving you a break from the heat.

Menu's can change, but usually offer the same type of food. All menus will also offer kids meals. Make sure to do some research before your trip so you're prepared on where you'll want to go and at what time of day you'll want to go there. Some, but not all, of the restaurants offer breakfast, lunch or dinner options through out the day. We have missed breakfast before because we didn't look ahead to see what time quick service restaurant's opened and had to wait until lunch.

Photo: I love this picture of our little one patiently 
waiting for his food at the Riverside Mill Food Court
 at Port Orleans Riverside.

Here is a list of our favorite quick service meals in each park.

Magic Kingdom -

Columbia Harbour House -
Location: Liberty Square
Food options: Lobster rolls, chowder, chili, grilled salmon, fried fish or chicken basket's, macaroni and salad's.
Comments: Our favorite's are the Broccoli Peppercorn Salad and the Lobster Roll. Yum!

Be Our Guest Restaurant -
Location: Fantasyland
Food options: French classics - croque monsieur (cheese and ham sandwich), quiche, french onion soup, etc.
Comments: This is my absolute favorite counter service! It is slightly different from other counter service restaurant's as you order at a desk/counter and your server bring's your meal to the table you choose. The fun part is that they find your location by your Magic Band or by a rose shaped "locator" they give you if you do not have a Magic Band. This restaurant has a delicious Tuna Nicoise Salad that I could eat everyday! Make reservations ahead of time for a shorter wait. This one is popular.

Be Our Guest Restaurant photo from left to right: Chocolate Cream Puff, Master's Cupcake, Croque Monsieur with Green Bean's and the Tuna Nicoise Salad.

Animal Kingdom -

Yak and Yeti Local Food Cafes -
Location: Asia
Food options: Asian cuisine including mandarin, orange and sweet and sour chicken, rice, egg rolls, etc.
Comments: This restaurant is located near a courtyard that is usually fairly busy, but one of my favorite's. It's beautifully themed. In the back there is a fountain that is very relaxing to listen to.

Yak and Yeti Local Foods Cafe photo from left to right: Sweet and Sour Chicken with white rice and Mandarin Chicken with white rice

Flame Tree Barbecue -
Location: Discovery Island
Food options: Barbecue of course!
Comments: Our favorite is the pulled pork sandwich and the side of onion ring's. I LOVED the onion ring's when I was pregnant! They're great when you're not pregnant too.


Sunshine Season's -
Location: Future World
Food options:  There are different station's with in one location offering many option's for guests. We have enjoyed yogurt parfait's, wrap's, sushi and noodle dishes here.
Comments: They offer really great delicious and healthy option's. We go here often because there is something for everyone with so much variety available.

Sommerfest -
Location: World Showcase, Germany Pavilion
Food options: Traditional german food including pretzels, bratwurst, sauerkraut, etc.
Comments: The pretzel's are one of my favorite's. Also, not a lot of seating so if it's busy be prepared for that.

Yorkshire County Fish Shop -
Location: World Showcase, UK Pavilion
Food options: Fish and Chip's, yum!
Comments: We love to sit in the courtyard behind the tea shop.

Disney's Hollywood Studio's -

Starring Rolls Cafe -
Location: Sunset Boulevard
Food options: Sandwiches, sushi, baked good's, etc.
Comments: Their menu has changed several time's, but they almost alway's have sandwiches, croissants, bagel's, etc. We had a wonderful Olaf cupcake (photo below) last time we were there that was carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

Starring Rolls Cafe photo's left to right: Olaf cupcake at Starring Rolls Cafe, courtyard eating area outside cafe.

Disneyland -

Royal Street Veranda -
Location: New Orlean's Square
Food options: Clam chowder and gumbo bread bowls.
Comments: Fun outdoor seating area. We really like the clam chowder bowl.

Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante’ -
Location: Frontierland
Food options: Delicious mexican food.
Comments: Several options including tacos, enchiladas and my favorite the tostada salad.

Photo: Entrance to Ranco del Zocalo Restaurante.

Disney's California Adventure Park-

Lucky Fortune Cookery:
Location: Pacific Wharf
Food options: Asian cuisine including chicken, beef or tofu rice bowls and Edamame.
Comment's: We really like that you get to pick the sauce that come's with your rice bowl. Our favorite is the Thai Coconut Curry sauce with the beef rice bowl.

Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill:
Location: Pacific Wharf
Food options: Mexican cuisine.
Comment's: Good Mexican food. We really love the ambiance in this area as well. Lot's of seating!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

DIY Yoda Inspired Hooded Towel

Hooded Towel Tutorial:

I made a Yoda hooded towel for my son several weeks ago and after posting it on Facebook I have had several requests for a tutorial. I love to sew and was raised by a home economics teacher who taught me how to create my own pattern's from cutting them out of newspaper. A lot of the time I "wing it" so I will do my best to portray the process I used.

This pattern fits a larger child (ages 5 and up). If it's for someone smaller you'll want to make adjustments to the towel sizes.

Thing's Needed:

- 1 tan colored bath size towel
- 1 tan colored hand size towel
- 1 - 2 green colored hand size towel depending on how large you want the ears ( I used 2)
- Sewing machine
- Needle and green or neutral thread to match/blend with green/tan towels


Step 1:
Take the tan hand towel and fold it in half horizontally (sorry the coloring is off in some of these photo's).

Step 2:
Sew both of the shorter sides together. Leave the longer side open.

Step 3:
Turn towel right side out and put the seams together. This will make the towel thicker for drying hair and will eliminate exposed seams.

Step 4: 
Put both of the "points" of the towel together creating a hood.

Step 5:
Take the green hand towel and cut it in half vertically. Save the other side for the ears.

Step 6:
Fold the green strip in half and sew it lengthwise. Turn it right side out.

Step 7:
Pin the green strip to the outer edge of the tan hood. Sew the edges together.

Step 8:
Pin the hood to the bath sized towel and sew a straight line.

Step 9:
Cut a piece of newspaper to the size you would like the ears. I made them on the larger side, but you can cut yours the way you like it. Place the pattern on the other half of the green hand towel and cut four "ears" out.

Step 10:
Sew two of the ear pieces together leaving the base open so that you can turn them right side out. I like to use a pen or pencil to help push the tip of the ear all the way out. Repeat this with the other ear.

Step 11:
Sew a straight line through Yoda's ear to keep the pieces together and to give it some definition. Make sure to leave about an inch from the base of the ear so that you can tuck it under when you attach it to the hood. If you would like the ear's to stick out more you could add stuffing. I was worried they wouldn't dry quickly enough if I did this.

Step 12:
Attach the ear to the hood. I used a needle and thread. Tucking under the raw edges so that they aren't seen.

Here are my cute models displaying the final product!