Top 10 Tips for Disney World With Little Kids 2022

From http://www.disneyworld.eu

1. Bring enough strollers!

We have 4 kids, so I made sure to have 2 double strollers, so yup, one seat for each kid. So worth it because with all the walking even my 7 year old wanted to sit sometimes. One double we brought from home which was great for the airport. And then we rented another double stroller from Scooterbug. They were great, and brought the stroller straight to the resort and picked it up. I highly recommend having seating for all kids under age 10 if at all possible.

2. Location Matters

We stayed at the Art of Animation Resort which we loved. Between the Nemo Area, Cars, and Lion King themes they had plenty of fun decor and entertainment for the kids. Even though it was a bit cold for the beautiful pools, though they kept the water very warm and there were always kids swimming. Click here for more information.

3. Prepare the Kids

To help prepare our kids, we showed them some videos of Disney World so they could get a sense of what a would be like and to help them get excited. If you have the Disney Now app, they have videos of various rides that my kids really enjoyed.

4. Plan Your Transportation

Some people rent cars, but since we were staying at a Disney resort, we had access to free Disney transportation. So we decided to take advantage, and use only that for the duration of our trip. And it worked out overall pretty well, but honestly, it was a little exhausting because we had to fold up our strollers and the kids and rush them on and off the buses. For me the most stressful transportation was the Skyliner. From the Art of Animation, that was only way to get to Hollywood Studios. I found it really stressful because you have to get on while its moving so I had to help herd my party of 8, including 4 kids under age 8, onto the Skyliner, while folding up our stroller and holding our bags, plus unloading everyone and everything when we arrived. We actually took an uber back to the hotel that night. The bus to Epcot and Magic Kingdom also entailed folding and loading and unloading, but at least the bus stops and is not suspended mid air! Read more about the Skyliner here.

5. Make a Plan for the Flights

For the flight we made sure that each of the kids had a tablet with their favorite shows and games charged and loaded up. There are some times to try to avoid screen time, but a flight with your four children is not that time! We didn’t want to be that family that was too rowdy and annoying to the other passengers. It wasn’t a long flight so we managed pretty well. It was our first time flying with all the kids. The airport was definitely more challenging than the flights actually! We enjoyed having strollers with us in the airport so the little ones could sit and be contained, but it was a bit stressful to fold and unfold the stroller at security check and boarding.

6. Plan Your Itinerary

I spent hours reading about the Disneyworld parks online before our trip. Since we were going for a relatively short trip, with only 3 full park days, with one half day and one travel day, I wanted to figure out which parks were best for young kids. As you probably know, there are 4 Disneyworld parks, the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. You probably want to know which parks are best for young kids and toddlers. We skipped Animal Kingdom since we have zoos nearby so it didn’t feel as worthwhile on a short trip. People do enjoy that park, but I understand that the rides there are geared towards bigger kids and adults. Magic Kingdom was the first park we went to and it was perfect. The parades and seeing the princesses in person , plus the fireworks show with the flying Tinkerbell really wowed them. And there was plenty for even my two year old to enjoy. There is the most to do at this park. It can easily be two days. We also enjoyed Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

7. Plan Your Days

Once you figure out how many days you have to spend in the parks you can figure out which days you want to go to the parks you chose. In the end we went with the Magic Kingdom for 1.5 days, and 1 day each at Hollywood Studios and Epcot. If you have four full days to spend at the parks, it would make sense to try all four parks. Longer than four full days, a lot of people like to take a rest day in the middle of the trip to relax. Park days are a lot of walking and can be exhausting. Magic Kingdom is busiest on weekends and Monday. We went on Monday anyway and it was really crowded. Epcot and Hollywood Studios were crowded but not too crazy on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Magic kingdom was definitely less crowded on Thursday vs. Monday. Next up some rides that worked for our family including kids ages 2,4,6,7.

8. Our Top Rides at Magic Kingdom

  • Peter Pans Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Tomorrowland People Mover
  • Under the Sea: The Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel
  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
  • Princess Fairytale Hall
  • It’s a Small World.

9. Our Top Rides at Epcot

  • Space Ship Earth
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

10. Our Top Rides at Hollywood Studios

11. Have Fun and Take Pictures!

Ridiculously Easy Baked Meatballs

On a recent busy day I discovered a #ridiculouslyeasy way to make meatballs. I usually make them in a pot but I had to run out to soccer with my daughter and didn’t want to leave a pot on the flame while we were out. So, I decided to try making my meatballs recipe in the oven, and now I can’t believe I’ve been waiting my whole life to bake them. It makes life so much easier and it comes out perfect each time.

I was in a rush so I did it super lazy style – I just dumped one lb of ground beef, 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, and 1 egg in a 9×13 pan and mixed it up right in the pan and formed the meatballs. Mixed the sauce ( 1 can marinara and 1 can cranberry sauce) around the meatballs right in the pan. Then bake it covered at 350 for about an hour. Couldn’t be easier, and comes out just as good as in the pot! Hope your family enjoys!

Ridiculously Easy Oven-Baked Meatballs

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: So Easy
  • Print
This is a great alternative way to make meatballs on nights when you don’t have time to babysit a pot. I have to admit that more than once, the bottom of my meatball pot has burned a little. Baking the meatballs makes them a lot less burnable.

Ingredients

Meatballs: * 1 lb of ground beef * 1/4 cup of bread crumbs * 1 egg

Sauce: *1 26 oz jar of marinara sauce *1 can of jellied cranberry sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Dump the meat, egg, and breadcrumbs directly into the pan
  3. Mix together well and form into meatballs
  4. Pour the marinara sauce and cranberry sauce into the pan and mix around the meatballs
  5. Bake covered for at least 1 hour
  6. Enjoy with some spaghetti and vegetable soup for a complete dinner

Nutrition

Per Serving: 580 calories; 33 g fat; 50.6 g carbohydrates; 20.3 g protein; 50 mg cholesterol; 760 mg sodium.

My Youngest Child is Starting School This Fall

#allthefeels #growingup

It’s finally happening, something that has taken almost a decade to occur. One of those big parenting milestones. My youngest child is starting preschool this Fall, after being home with me since he was born. This will be the first time in almost a decade that I won’t have a child at home with me.

Baby Blur

My thirties have really been a “baby blur” for me. After spending my twenties getting established in my career, I spent my 30s having a bunch of babies. Or to be exact four babies. For the past while, I have mostly been pregnant with a baby, nursing a baby, or taking care of a baby (and working part-time for most of that time).

My son D was born right before the pandemic, so now he is almost 2. In some ways, this feels like its been the longest 2 years of my life, but also like those years have absolutely flown by. I guess that is one of those parenting paradoxes. But anyone who has kids knows, the pandemic has been a hard time for parents and their kids. During 2020, when all of my kids were home, quarantined from school, while D was a baby, it was just pure chaos. Getting the older ones on their zooms while taking care of a baby was a little crazy. Then as 2021 rolled in, my kids were back in school. But the world wasn’t fully opened yet to do some of the usual mommy and me things with toddler D, and trying to balance working from home while also caring for him. So, it was a little bit of a different year having a toddler home, stuck at home a lot more, sometimes leading to some cabin fever. But still it was precious time with my little one, that I can’t believe is ending.

Identity Crisis

When you’re in a blur phase it can sometimes be overwhelming and all encompassing. And also hard to imagine that it will ever end. But somehow all these years have flown by, as time always moves forward. Now my three girls are all in school and my son is about to start pre-school too. And while I think it will be good for him to socialize and and be in a structured environment, I also am experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. For so many years I had a cute side kick with me as I went about my days and did errands. And though it made things a little more challenging sometimes, being the mom of a baby and/or being pregnant became a big part of my identity.

Moving Forward

So now with my littlest one stepping forward to start school, I have to find myself again as a person, beyond my mom status. As I am writing this, its the night before my kids first day of school. I really can’t believe that for the first time in years I won’t have any kids at home. I’m nervous for all of them, especially my little one. As much as I think he will enjoy playing with other kids and having a busy day, I will really miss having my little buddy around.

Now is my chance to focus on my career, as I am starting a new job this year working in public health. It will be kind of cool to work without distractions

Always in My Heart and Mind

Part of being a mom is being there but also knowing when to let go a little. I hope this is the right time. I hope all of my kids have an amazing year at school. And I hope we all grow and flourish this year.

If you liked this article try reading Top Five Park Safety Tips for Parents of Toddlers, How to Encourage Your Baby to Walk, or Growing Up During a Pandemic.

Top Five Park Safety Tips for Parents of Toddlers

When the weather gets nice there are few things that a toddler likes to do more than go to the park. What could be more fun than running, climbing and sliding? But even though going to the park is a great activity for kids, there can be some dangers.

Don’t put your toddler on your lap on the slide.

Intuitively, it may seem safer to put your child on your lap while going down a large scary slide, but it actually is a very dangerous practice. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that 352,698 children under age 6 sustained injuries on slides in the United States between 2002 through 2015, many of which were leg fractures. In the under six crowd, toddlers age 12-23 months had the biggest percentage of injuries. Of those injuries, 36% were fractures, mostly of the lower leg bone called the tibia. In fact this injury is often called a toddlers fracture, or a spiral fracture of the tibia.

Look for the sign

Most climbing structures are labeled by what ages they are appropriate for, usually ages 2-5 or 5-12. Its best to stick to stick to the areas that are better suited your little one’s age group.

Scan the area

Make sure there is secure padding such as rubber mats, mulch, or woodchips for soft landings in case of any falls. Also, keep an eye out for rusted areas or bent or broken looking playground equipment. Last, watch out for dangerous garbage on the ground, such as broken glass bottles and such.

Stay close

Don’t be afraid to be a little bit of a helicopter parent, especially with the 1-2 year old age group that love to run off but don’t really understand their safety limits. In my experience, many of the play structures designed for little ones still have dangerous drop offs where a kid not being careful could fall. Since my son is such a little runner, I personally prefer gated playgrounds for a little extra safety.

Sunscreen, of course!

Happy playing for the rest of the summer!

Spring Dresses at Target for under $30!

And they all have pockets!!

As I was making my weekly Target trip a few weeks ago to pick up household supplies and and groceries, I noticed so many new floral and flowy spring dresses for women in the front of the store. At first I just walked on by since that wasn’t my typical style. But on subsequent trips, I noticed that many of the dresses, especially those by Universal Thread, have pockets. Dresses with pockets are a rare unicorn, so I ended up trying a few and here are some of my favorites.

Women's Tie-Dye Long Sleeve Tiered Dress - Universal Thread™ - image 1 of 8
I love the fabric and the ombre on this one.
Women's Floral Print Ruffle Sleeveless Dress - Universal Thread™ - image 1 of 8
Perfect for when you want to be comfy but a little dressy.
Women's Short Sleeve Shirtdress - Universal Thread™ - image 1 of 8
Perfect for running errands.
Women's Flutter Sleeveless Dress - Universal Thread™ Floral - image 1 of 8
You can wear this one to brunch.
Women's Gauze Tiered Tank Dress - Universal Thread™ - image 1 of 8
The perfect sundress.

Happy dress weather!

To read more posts about fashion click below!

How to Heal Diastasis Recti Part I: Breathing

This is the second part in a series about healing a diastasis recti. I’ve been healing my diastasis recti since my baby was born 16 months ago, and I’m proud to say that my gap is no longer considered a clinical diastasis, since it is less than one inch . For part one click here! And to find out how to heal your diastasis recti keep reading!

So you have diastasis recti, what now?

To recap, diastasis recti is an increased separation between the two halves of the outermost abdominal muscles, called the rectus abdominis, or the “six pack” muscle. It is a commonly seen issue with moms after they have a baby, especially after having multiple children.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dr-image-2.png
On the right you can see a significant diastasis recti occurring during pregnancy.

You read my other article, and already determined that you do indeed have a diastasis recti, and you are all ready do some exercise to fix it. And yet I’m going to advise you start healing your diastasis recti by correcting your breathing!

Why Start with Breathing?

Breathing is the foundation of our system and breathing properly sets the stage for all of our functioning. Deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic nervous system to rest and relax, also promotes healing and tissue repair by increasing oxygen, plus helps decrease neck and low back pain, as well as decrease anxiety and increase well-being.

All that is great, right? But how does correct breathing help heal a diastasis? Because if you use you learn to breathe properly connecting your diaphragm and pelvic floor, you will activate your core and strengthen your pelvic floor, and prevent pressure from going out and down, making your diastasis worse, or harming your pelvic floor.

The Core

Let’s backtrack for a minute, to understand the function of the core. You can think of the core as a cannister which manages the pressure of air that we breathe, in order to support and protect the spine and pelvis. If the diaphragm, the pelvic floor, the spinal stabilizers or deep abdominals are not in alignment with each other we are going have dysfunction.

Breathing properly helps us regulate that system. When you breathe correctly, on an inhale the diaphragm contracts down which puts pressure onto the abdominal wall and down onto the pelvic floor. On an exhale the pelvic floor contracts up, abdominal wall moves in and the diaphragm comes up, this creates abdominal pressure to protect our spine.

Relearning to Breathe Post-partum

During pregnancy, to accommodate your growing baby, the diaphragm gets pushed up, and the ribs get pushed out. In addition, the back tightens to offset the weight in front. Due to those changes, as many pregnant women can attest, it can be difficult to get a deep breath in or get a good exhale out. This can lead to a paradoxical breathing pattern, where you breathe into your chest and shoulders, overusing muscles in the chest and neck.

That breathing pattern can lead to other problems, since the diaphragm is rising on the inhale, it must come DOWN on the exhale. As you can see in the image on the left, that cause pressure down into the pelvic floor, and out into the abdominal wall. potentially leading to tightness and weakness and then possible prolapse and leaking, or causing or exacerbating a diastasis recti.

Postpartum, to get back into alignment, we need to bring our ribs back down and regain abdominal control to provide tension for the diaphragm. And often we need to relearn correct breathing after only being able to breathe in a more shallow fashion throughout pregnancy. Restoring the normal working of the breathing system is essential for healing a diastasis, because it helps bring the core into the correct alignment for function and breathing, as well as preventing prolapse or increasing a diastasis.

Side-lying Breathing

Getting my breathe on

My favorite way to start practicing 360 breathing is by lying on your side. Its the most comfortable and easiest way to breathe when you have a weak core and you are used to overusing your back and neck muscles. Breathe in through your nose, and out with a “haa” noise to activate your core. For side-lying breathing you want your side to come up when you inhale. When you exhale, your pelvic floor should rise to initiate the exhale and your ribs should come back down. If you are using a shallow breathing pattern your chest expands with neck and shoulders, and the side does not move. If your side moves, your diaphragm is expanding and you are getting air into your belly. That’s good! Make sure to practice on both sides so both sets of ribs get a chance to move. From there, you can practice breathing lying on your back, sitting, or standing.

It takes a lot of practice and commitment to change a breathing pattern but its worth it!

Disclaimer
**The content on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for diagnosis or care from a physical therapist or other health care professional.

Easy & Delicious Spanish Chicken and Rice

  1. Easy & Delicious Spanish Chicken and Rice

    • Servings: 4
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Rating: ★★★★★
    • Print

    A super-easy sheet pan dinner that is a real crowd pleaser too!


    I love an easy chicken dinner.  And a chicken dinner that cooks with a built in side dish is even better.  I’ve been using the Near East boxed rice for a while, boiling them in a pot as directed.  When I discovered they could be baked in the oven by adding the water and spice to a pan, I was happy.  When I then figured out that you can bake chicken on top of the rice and have a fantastic meal, I was thrilled! This all-in-one sheet pan, Spanish Chicken and Rice dish will be a winner with everyone in the family, adults and kids alike.  It’s become a real staple in our home lately.  You can also customize the rice, by mixing in canned beans (our favorite) or other mix-ins such as sausage, onions, peppers, peas and carrots, whatever your family likes!

    Ingredients


    Directions

    1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
    2. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray
    3. Pour the rice from the box onto the pan and spread it out so it lies in a single layer
    4. Sprinkle HALF of the spice packet onto the rice (you can also add canned beans here to give the dish more flavor and body or any other mix-in you like with rice!)
    5. Then place the chicken pieces on top of the rice and sprinkle the rest of the spice pack on top of the chicken
    6. Bake covered for 1 hour, and then uncovered for 30 minutes.
    7. Enjoy!

Growing Up During a Pandemic

I took my one-year-old, David, to Stew Leonard’s grocery store yesterday, and he was extremely entertained by the fun displays and colors there, as you can see from his face below.

When going to a grocery store is one of the most exciting experiences you’ve ever had #pandemicparenting #pandemicbaby #davidmax #momlifeinleggings #stewleonards

See my post on instagram about it!

It got me thinking about how different his babyhood and early toddlerhood has been from his older sisters. I’ve been lucky enough to work part time for the past several years, so I was able to bring them to all kinds of classes, toddler gyms, the library, and other fun places. During this past summer and fall I was able to do outdoor activities with David, but now that its cold outside and cases are rising, we are not doing those kinds of indoor activities and classes, due to the risk of Covid-19 exposure. So going to a grocery store was an exciting experience for him!

I’m so excited that vaccines are becoming available, and really look forward to being able to get back to regular life soon, for so many reasons.

Sweater vests are somehow a hot fashion trend in 2020

Enjoying my new vest!

After spending the better part of 2020 wearing loungewear at home, a thought suddenly occurred to me, with the weather getting cooler. How can I be even more cozy and comfortable right now? And I realized that a sweater vest (with pockets OF COURSE) is exactly what I need in my closet.

Yup, Sweater vests are Popular Again.

And, it turns out that I am not the only one that feels that way! According to ITK , sweater vests are super fashionable in in 2020. And according to Lyst, searches for sweater vests are up 102% recently. (They also state that velour tracksuits are getting popular again. Everyone just wants to be comfortable nowadays!) I love it when I’m accidently on trend!

My interest in sweater vests was piqued when I was browsing Macy’s for some holiday gifts for my nearest and dearest when this beauty popped up in my search. It looks cozy, has a nice front and side drape, is nice and long and it has pockets!

Karen Scott Duster Vest, Order Here $23.99

Credit: Macy’s

Unfortunately though, that vest is sold out, so since then I’ve been on the hunt for something similar.

I ended up buying this similar style from Amazon.

A2Y Women’s Open Front Long Sleeveless Draped Side Pockets Vest Knit Sweater: Order Here $24.99

Credit: Amazon

I also ended up ordering this super warm and fuzzy vest from Bloomingdales, on sale right now!

Echo Faux Fur Colorblock Zip Front Vest: Order here $90.30

Echo - Faux Fur Colorblock Zip Front Vest
Credit: Bloomingdales

Here are some more cute options:

Ruffled Knit Vest, Order Here $49.90

Image 1 of RUFFLED KNIT VEST from Zara
Credit: Zara

Women’s Simply Vera Vera Wang Faux-Shearling Vest: Order Here $43.35

Credit: Kohls

Cybil Cable-Knit Sweater Vest: Order Here $158.00

Credit: Anthropolgie

If you enjoyed this post about comfy fashion, check out my post Why I am So Excited that Joggers are in Style Now!

Check Out my new Guest Post!

I usually just post my thoughts here for fun, but recently I had the privilege of having some of my writing published on the blog of Meredith Castin PT, DPT, aka the Non-clinical PT.

Check out my post there “7 Tips for Effective School-Based Telehealth.”

I was really overwhelmed as a school based PT when forced to transition to teletherapy at the start of the pandemic, and these tips helped get me start off on the right foot with new students.

And make sure to follow her as well!