Monday, April 30, 2018

Watermelon and Feta Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

    This post was sponsored by Fresh From Florida as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, however, all opinions expressed are my own.

    High temps are fast approaching, and that means pool parties and family get togethers by the pool. Bring me all the deli sandwiches, chips, and ice cold juicy fruit under the hot sun and I will call it a successful party. Recently, I've been recreating some of my favorite party foods for something new and exciting. One of my new favorites is this Watermelon and Feta Salad with Blueberry Dressing created using fruit from Fresh from Florida. 

    Wednesday, April 18, 2018

    5 Tips for a Relaxing Disney Cruise with a Baby

    When we first started planning a Disney cruise vacation, I planned on leaving our little one at home after going back and forth a couple times we decided ultimately to bring him (and the in-laws) along for the ride. 

    We are big Disney fans, and have been pass holders for the past couple years (I actually even worked there in college)--so the Disney cruise just sounded like the next step. Even though we live so close to so many ports here in Florida, this was our first cruise and we were so excited to experience it as a family.

    Our 3 night cruise left from Port Canaveral and stopped at Nassau and the Disney Island, Castaway Cay. We decided not to get off at Nassau and spend the day on the ship while there were less people on the ship. My husband and I enjoyed a little time at the spa on this day, while our oldest played in the Oceaneer Club and the little one napped in the room with my in-laws. 

    Unfortunately, mother nature decided she would bring a cold front in--and we didn't get to stop at Castaway Cay since the wind was so powerful. Since we weren't able to dock we got to spend another day on the ship. They had all kinds of activities to do on the ship that day, including a 5K on deck 4 for those runners that were planning on running at Castaway Cay. 

    Despite not getting off the ship the entire time at sea, we had such a blast. We traveled with our 3.5 and 15 month old sons, the Disney cruise was by far the easiest vacation we we have been on with them and we have already started planning our next.

    Here are my tips that will help make your Disney cruise with toddlers or infants even more relaxing.

    1. Packing for Baby on the Disney Cruise 

    If you have multiple kiddos, try packing everything in one suitcase. Cruise rooms are small, so the less baggage you have the better. Whenever we vacation, we always unpack our belongings--this time was no different and actually was a must. After unpacking, our bags fit nicely under the bed leaving us with plenty of extra room.

    You will want to pack a day bag as your bags will not arrive to your room until after you have gotten in your room. (Ours were actually waiting at our door at 1:00PM when we were allowed in, but we also had the very first check in time.) I would plan to not have your bag any earlier than 4PM. We only brought one carry on so we wouldn't have a whole bunch of things to carry around.

    In your day bag, you will want to pack:

    Swim Diapers
    Sippy Cups
    Change of Clothes
    Water Shoes

    2. Check In Early for your Disney Cruise

    If this is your first time cruising with Disney you will be able to check in 75 days before your scheduled cruise. After going through questions about each guest in your party, you will get to the most important part of check in--port arrival time. Choose the earliest arrival time. We were one of the very first guests on board, we were able to grab something to eat and enjoy the splash pad before it got busy. We also were able to go to our room at 1PM, when the rooms were ready. 

    Another benefit of checking in online--you can register your kids for the It's a Small World Nursery or the Oceaneer's Club. When you arrive at one of these on the first day, the kids are registered and all you do is grab their magic bands and go. These special magic bands have a GPS in them so they can easily tell you what section your kiddo is in when you come pick them up. Trust me, it's needed--the place is huge! When picking them up you will need to provide a special word that you gave at check in and your Key to the World card--they will verify this information with your picture as well. 

    3. Get a Verandah!

    As first time cruisers, a verandah was a must. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel as I get sea sick on small boats so looking out on the horizon was a must. However, I didn't realize how often we would use it! It was nice to be able to go out there once the littles had gone down for a nap, or gone to bed for the night. It also made the room seem so much bigger, which is a definite plus! 

    If you do opt out of a verandah, you have a black out curtain between the couch/bunk bed area and the main sleeping area. This works as a light and sound barrier, and is great for when you want to watch the late night "live shows". 

    4. It's a Small World Nursery- The Disney Cruise Nursery

    This place was magical. The ladies looked straight out of Mary Poppins and had the sweetest voices. You could tell they loved their job, and I had no hesitation leaving Carson. We would start our dinner (early dinner begins at 5:30PM) as a family, the servers would bring the kids food out before ours and then one of us would take them to the kids club and nursery. This allowed us to have an adult only dinner, and actually enjoy each delicious course. 

    A couple things to note: the nursery does cost $9.00/hr for the first child and $8/hr for the second. They are able to contact you through the wave phone that is provided in each room, or through the app that you download on your phone. They will lay your child down for a nap/bedtime as well as feed them snacks and dinner (although we opted for dinner in our assigned dining room). They labeled everything that came in with them, so no worries if you forgot the label stickers at home. 

    You can reserve the nursery online at check in; we did not do that. It was never full when we visited, and we were able to get our son right in. I'm sure it does fill up though, so if you are in need of the nursery and know the time, I'd go ahead and register. 

    5. Baby Gear to Bring on the Disney Cruise 

    Disney caters to families, so when I say they provide all the gear you need for your trip and to leave it all at home, I mean it. We only brought a small umbrella stroller, as our gear for baby--and honestly could have done without. They provide a complimentary pack n play, that the host or hostess will take down each day if you'd like. 

    They also provide bottle warmers, sterilizers, and diaper pails--as well as complimentary strollers at guest services. However, if you do want a stroller you may want to bring one as those are very limited. If you are going to Castaway Cay, they have strollers and wagons on shore for you to use! I also loved that they had high chairs ready at our dinner every night, and when they saw us carrying a baby at Cabanas, they quickly grabbed a high chair. 

    I highly recommend baby wearing on the cruise. Bringing our Ergo 360 with us was easy and allowed me to carry around my little man without waiting for elevators, or pushing my stroller through crowds. I also recommend bringing a water bottle for yourself and your kiddos. It was easier to refill their water bottles, then to continue going back and forth to the water fountain. 

    These two items were my must haves!

    We are so very excited to travel again, and we pre-booked another while on the cruise which allowed us to receive an on board credit as well as a percentage off of our next cruise. 

    Have you been on a Disney Cruise? What are some tips you have? 

    Monday, April 9, 2018

    Bartaco Date Night

    bartaco is one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa in Hyde Park. I was invited to try the secret taco and the rest of the delicious food they offer. We also love to visit the bartaco in Orlando! This is the perfect restaurant for both date nights and family dinners!
    Date nights have always been one of my favorite escapes. Even before having kids, we planned date nights to just get out and enjoy each others company. Thankfully, we have family and friends who are always excited to watch our little ones which makes these dates a little easier. Don't get me wrong we also love having date nights in, there may or may not be some food delivered for that though.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2018

    Kitchen Reveal with Libman Wonder Mop

    We have been in our house for about 2 months now. Before moving in, I made a pact with myself that I would not keep clutter, and the house would stay semi-organized because of it. Semi-organized as in I have two kids, so sometimes it means we are just making memories. I searched high and low for a post on how to organize your cabinets. I had so many questions on where things should go for the most efficient kitchen. I found nothing. Here I am today to share with you how I organize my kitchen and keep it clean.
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