The Momma Diaries

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Snacking Solutions For Busy Moms


Busy, Busy, Busy. That seems to be our family's motto. We always have something going on. Aside from my husbands crazy work schedule, and although I do not work outside of the home, I still have my fair share of appointments. And of course there's the kids. It seems like the older they get, the crazier their schedules become. Lincoln is 7-years old, and in the first grade. Between his homework, swimming lessons, sports activities (he plays soccer, baseball, and basketball during their seasons), he is one busy boy! However, he loves to keep busy, so of course we happily keep up with his fluctuating schedule.

Avery is only 3-years old. I'm being a bit selfish with him and not sending him to preschool until next year. He's my last baby and I'm trying to enjoy this special time I have with just him. While Avery might not have as many activities as Lincoln, he still keeps me plenty busy!

More times than not I am so busy doing something for my children, that I forget to take care of myself! It's all too easy to do, and I can guarantee if you're a parent, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Something as easy as grabbing a healthy snack often goes forgotten until I'm completely ravenous and reaching for the convenience of a candy bar! Thankfully, I recently found the perfect solution -- VitaTops Muffin Tops!

snacking solutions for busy moms, #VitaTops
I love the convenience of grabbing a muffin -- and VitaTops provide the very best part of the muffin...THE TOP!! With only 100-150 calories per serving, it's a treat I can feel good about eating! It allows me to indulge all while supplementing my overall wellness with nutrition. All VitaTops Muffin Tops use only clean and simple ingredients, and offer a wide range of nutritional benefits.
snacking solutions for busy moms, #VitaTops
VitaTops are conveniently located in the freezer section of your store. I found my VitaTops Wild Blueberry Muffin Tops at Stop & Shop! You can find yours at your nearest Publix, Kroger, Stop & Shop, Shop-Rite, or Target locations.
snacking solutions for busy moms, #VitaTops
Want to indulge with me? CLICK HERE for this coupon! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do -- I'm warning you, though...you may want to hide them from your kiddos! They're THAT good!!
snacking solutions for busy moms, #VitaTops
Which VitaTops Muffin Tops would you like to try? Don't forget to print your coupon!!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Why a Disney Cruise is the ULTIMATE Family Vacation

I just returned from a whirlwind 9 day stay for the 2017 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (#DisneySMMC)! I am still having a hard time putting into words the magic that was experienced. This years celebration was different in that it was both on land and on SEA! So how did this work? Well, we started our celebration at Port Orleans Riverside, located at the Walt Disney World Resort -- but more on that later! After our celebration on land, we embarked on Disney Cruise Line's newly reimagined vessel, the Disney Wonder.
Disney Wonder Cruise Ship
photo credit: Todd Anderson
I have never ever cruised before, and I'm told that since I've experienced the magic of a Disney cruise, no others will even compare! It's easy to see why. We were treated like royalty aboard the ship. The personalization and pure magic, is really only something that Disney can do.

So while this may have been my first cruise, it certainly won't be my last! In fact, we took full advantage of the onboard booking offer while we were on the ship. A Disney Cruise is the ultimate family vacation. Here's why:

Sail-Away Party

Disney knows how to party! In fact, the party begins before you even leave the port! Literally the moment you walk onto the ship, you are transported into a magical world. Here we are being introduced, "The Allen Family!!!"
Then it's time for the Adventures Away celebration! Enjoy a show on the upper decks featuring some of your favorite Disney characters, and get your boogie on! It is the perfect way to kick-off your vacation!
Disney Cruise Adventures Away Party
photo credit: Matt Stroshane
Entertainment

Entertainment aboard a Disney Cruise Ship is top notch.  Our 3-night cruise included 3 different Broadway style shows each evening: The Golden Mickeys -- a tribute to the enchanting movies of Walt Disney, complete with a Red Carpet. Disney Dreams -- a musical about the power of dreams and family, featuring characters from all-time Disney classics.  And Frozen, A Musical Spectacular -- a full-length retelling of Anna and Elsa's Frozen adventures in Arendelle. 
Frozen, A Musical Spectacular, Disney Wonder Cruise Ship
Frozen was definitely our family's favorite show. It was exceptional. In fact, Avery keeps telling me, "Mommy, I miss Olaf!" Speaking of my little Avery, he sure loved eating his popcorn during the shows! 

Dining

Disney Cruise Lines are well-known for their signature dining. There are 3 main restaurants aboard the Wonder, and we were on a rotating schedule so we experienced them all. Animator's Palate -- an innovative dining experience where you can watch Disney animated characters come to life before your eyes!
Animator's Palate Restaurant
Triton's -- inspired by The Little Mermaid, here you can experience fine dining "under the sea!" While I loved the entertainment at Animator's Palate, Triton's is where I had my best meal. This beef tenderloin was incredible. YUM!
And finally we also had the honor of eating at the Wonder's newest restaurant, Tiana's Place, inspired by The Princess and the Frog.  
Tiana's Place, Disney Wonder
photo credit: Matt Stroshane
Tiana's Place was so, so fun! It was like you stepped into New Orleans! It also has live jazz music that is sure to make you want to clap along to the beat. Tiana is also there to welcome her guests, and she is incredibly sweet. My favorite part of Tiana's place were the mouthwatering beignets! You'll want to make sure you save room for dessert!!
Tiana's Place Beignets
photo credit: Matt Stroshane
I'm serious. They melt in your mouth! For dinner they were served with a chocolate expresso dipping sauce, which was very good; however, I also had the opportunity to dine there for lunch and they were served with a vanilla dipping sauce. AMAZING!! 

They feed you very, very well onboard a Disney Cruise!
Hospitality

I have never received such exceptional service in my life. You have the same servers throughout your entire dining rotation. They were phenomenal. They knew my kids names. They knew our favorite drinks. Our head server, Putu, knew my little Avery wanted his "Mickey ice cream" after each meal. He also brought Lincoln out some chocolate chip cookies for dessert, even though it wasn't on the menu! Putu also performed magic tricks for my boys each evening. 

Our stateroom host, Bam, was also spectacular. He made sure to make a point to check-in with us whenever he'd see us. He also made fun towel-shaped animals the boys enjoyed coming back to each evening. 
chocolates before bedtime? yes, please!
Pools

I think Lincoln must have gone down the slide at the AquaLab 20 times on our first day. The AquaLab on the Wonder is a 1,800 square-foot water play space! Have little ones? No worries, Dory's Reef offers a designated splash deck for children ages 3 and younger.
Disney Wonder AquaLab
photo credit: Matt Stroshane
Oceaneer Club and Lab

I am typically not one to drop my kids off somewhere, but the Oceaneer Club and Lab are unlike any type of kids club I've ever seen! It is a multi-themed magical place for children ages 3-12. While Avery didn't participate in this, Lincoln did -- and he loved every second of it! While the Oceaneer Lab is about learning while having fun, the Oceaneer Club is pure Disney fantasy! There is always something exciting happening!
Disney Cruise Line Oceaneer Club and Lab
Castaway Cay (pronounced "Key")

Disney's very own private island in the Bahamas, reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests. I have visited many beaches, and none of them compare to the beauty of Castaway Cay. The crystal clear turquoise ocean water was breathtaking. 

Castaway Cay offers all you could ever imagine on an island. There is something to do for everyone. There are various Port Adventures like snorkeling, parasailing, and boat tours. Lincoln fully intends on parasailing on our next cruise. You have to be at least 8 years old, and he will turn that magic number come November.
While we chose to stay on the Castaway Family Beach, Serenity Bay is an adult only oasis reserved for adults 18 years of age and older. If you have little ones and still want to relax at Serenity Bay, Scuttles Cove is a kids club supervised by Disney counselors. 
Castaway Cay Pelican Plunge
photo credit: Matt Stroshane
The Pelican Plunge, a 2,400-square-foot floating platform is a water-play area featuring two twisting water slides. The entire family will enjoy playing in the refreshing lagoon.
While there is so much you can do on Castaway Cay, our family chose to mostly relax on the beach and play in the sand; all while taking in the breathtaking views.
Disney's Castaway Cay
photo credit: Todd Anderson
I so wish we had more time to spend on that beautiful island! But of course, there's always next time!
Castaway Cay Family Photo

Have I convinced you to start planning your very own Disney Cruise? I really cannot say enough wonderful things about our time spent aboard the Wonder. Like I said earlier, there are always special incentives when you book your next cruise while you're still onboard -- so we totally took advantage of that! I think it's safe to say we're a cruising family! 
Why a Disney Cruise is the ULTIMATE Family Vacation, Disney Cruise Tips, Disney Cruise Review
click here to pin this image for later!!
Have you gone on a Disney Cruise? Please tell me your experiences!!

I was invited to the 2017 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I paid a nominal conference fee to attend and received discounted & complimentary items from Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, and their sponsors. I was not asked to write about my experience. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Easy DIY Disney Cruise Door Magnets

In case you missed it, we're going to the 2017 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration! This years conference is BOTH on land and on sea! Which means, we're going on our first ever Disney Cruise!! If you've ever been on a Disney Cruise, or even heard of one for that matter, then you might be familiar with how a lot of the guests decorate their cabin door with magnets. These just aren't regular magnets either, they are full-on Disney themed, and so much fun! Some may go with a classic Mickey & Minnie theme, while others will choose Star Wars, Disney Princesses, or Marvel characters! The possibilities are really endless.

While I consider myself somewhat crafty, I initially turned to Etsy to see what I could find. After a lot of searching, several other members also attending DisneySMMC recommended CoCoBeans. I checked out her shop, and immediately placed my order...as did almost every other conference attendee. No joke, I received my order a few days later. Fastest shipping ever!
DIY Disney Cruise Door Magnets
I love how they came out, and cannot wait to decorate our cabin door! I also really enjoy supporting small businesses, and the fact that so many attendees placed orders through CoCoBeans, is so amazing! The little baggies contain Pirate Lego Mini-Figures, aren't they cute?! Perfect for Pirate Night on our Cruise!! 

So while I love that I supported a small business, I decided I wanted to attempt to make a couple of magnets myself! And you know what? It wasn't so hard. In fact, it was pretty darn easy! 
DIY Disney Cruise Door Magnets
The image of the cruise ship is digital clip art that I had customized. You can find digital clip art on Etsy (of course). Just enter whatever it is you're looking for, and type it into the search box. I guarantee you will find something you like. It is also super affordable. I've found clip art averaging around $2 or $3. 

The Disney Cruise Line nameplate I found on Pinterest. You can easily download your own by clicking here. Then all you will need to do is upload the image in PicMonkey, or your favorite photo editing software, and add whatever text you like. The font I used is Waltograph

Once you have your images you want to use customized, you're ready to print! Here's what you will need to turn your creation into magnets:
Directions:
  • Print your image onto the cardstock paper.
  • Cut your image down in size.
  • Place image on a sheet of self-adhesive laminating paper.
  • Place another sheet of laminating paper on the opposite side.
  • Trim image down to cut away excess laminating paper.
  • Attach magnetic strip on the back.
AND YOU'RE DONE!! THAT'S IT!! 

Like I said, so incredibly easy, and if you're like me, you will actually have fun making these. Promise. Then you can hang on your fridge and admire until it's time to embark on your Disney Cruise!!

DIY Disney Cruise Door Magnets
Have you been on a Disney Cruise? Did you decorate your stateroom door with magnets?

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