Friday, July 18

Pop Secret Perfect Pop App

This post is sponsored by Pop Secret, but my opinions are all my own.

Family movie nights have been a regular occurrence around here since Emmy was little.  Though the day changes with Skip's schedule, we have them almost weekly.  As parents, we know that our time with our kids is fleeting and so precious.  Because of this there are few things I love more than snuggling up on the couch with them and watching a movie!

We always make sure to have a kid-friendly movie queued up to go.  Charlie has her milk, Emmy her juice, and the best part?  Snacks a plenty!  Chocolate, gummy candy, and Pop Secret Popcorn are a must.  But nothing ruins movie night more than burned I right?

The downside to trying to achieve the perfect bag of popcorn is that someone {usually me} has to stand in front of the microwave while it's popping, attempting to count the pops or something to make sure it doesn't burn.  And I don't know about you, but that is never fun...nor am I really that good about it.  I remember being so excited years ago when the POPCORN button was being introduced on microwaves {wow I'm old} However, it still never really worked the way I'd always hoped and I was still ending up with burned popcorn.

But now, thanks to Pop Secret and the Pop Secret App, I no longer have to stand there counting kernels or suffer through another bag of burned popcorn!  Not only that, it is so easy to use!

 All you have to do is download the Pop Secret App {which is free to download!}, grab your favorite Pop Secret Popcorn and you're ready to go!

For our movie night I bought Pop Secret Movie Theater Butter, cause in my world, the more butter the better!!

Put the bag into your microwave.

Either press the popcorn button on your microwave, or set it to the time listed on the bag.

Open the Pop Secret App, make sure the volume is all the way up on your phone, and point it towards the microwave.

As your popcorn pops, the app listens to each kernel to give you the perfect time to stop the timer.  I just loved watching the little bag grow higher and higher on the screen!

As soon as your bag has reached popcorn perfection, the app tells you when to stop.

Perfectly popped popcorn!

See, none of those burned spots in the bag I am usually so used to seeing.

Nothing better than a perfect bag of Pop Secret Popcorn to add to our family movie night!

I am hooked!  We will never make another bag of Pop Secret Movie Theater Butter without the Pop Secret App again!

If you're not a huge butter fan, you can also try out all these other delicious Pop Secret Popcorn flavors:
Light Butter
94% Fat Free Butter
Extra Butter

The Pop Secret App can be used with an IPhone 5+ on iOS 7+

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Pop Secret.  All experiences and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 15

Summer Lovin'

I swear every time I blink time seems to start moving faster and faster.  I cannot believe we're already halfway through July already!  It makes me way sadder than I'd like to admit, but at the same time we have been taking advantage of every moment we can this summer.  Our days and weeks have been so full, and I'm just loving it.  And I don't just mean that we're running around moving from activity to activity.  We have some of those days, and the rest are spent in lazy, playing outside in the sprinkler fashion.

We have been spending out time at playgrounds, walking, hiking, outside-eating, sprinkler-playing lots of snuggles time fun.

We added a new addition to the family.  Bella Callina {whose name changes daily} is Emmy's newest pet...and she really has been taking good care of it!

Emmy also decided to join the business world a little early and asked to run a lemonade stand one day.  We live on a relatively quiet street, so we thought, why not!?  She sat out there three seperate times during the day and actually had quite a few customers!  I just love that she wanted to participate in this very time-honored kid tradition!

I've also been trying to fill in every spare moment I have with home projects, deep cleaning, and de-cluttering.

I'll have to show case some of what I've been doing on here another time!

We had a great eye appointment for Charlie yesterday, and girlfriend no longer has to wear her eye patch!!  The doctor said she has 20/20 vision in both eyes and since the wandering eye is getting much better, she should grow out of it on her own!  We do have to go back again in October to check the progress again.  I'm sure there is always the possibility throughout her life of it coming back, but for now we're celebrating a patch-free life.

After years of nagging I was finally able to convince Skip to watch all the Harry Potter movies with me.  I have ever watched them all one after another like that and it was like visiting with old friends:)

 I'm also blond now....even more blond than in this picture I posted on Instagram, cause I added in a few more highlights last night.  Clearly I have a problem but blonds have more fun right? ;)

I feel like I'm so far behind in blogging, and some other things I'd like to get done around the house.  But this summer is flying by far to fast and I plan to just embrace and enjoy every moment I can!  Hope you're all having a wonderful summer as well!

Saturday, July 12

Food Allergies and Disney

I just wanted to write up a quick post about our experience with food allergies in Disney.  As the parent of an epi-pen kid, new experiences, especially restaurants, can be a bit unnerving.  You're not sure of what possible allergens they serve, how accommodating they will be, or how much of a risk cross-contamination with be.

I'm here to tell you that if you're planning a trip to Disney, then allergies are not something you need to worry about at all.  Disney was so wonderful in making sure Emmy was safe from all peanut products.

First off, if you are making any dining reservations for a sit-down meal, there is a spot to include any food allergies in your group.  We made sure to make note of Emmy's peanut allergy in each spot.  That info was then on all of our paperwork from Disney....itineraries, etc.

Our first meal at Disney was a sit-down lunch at Cinderella's castle.  As we were checking in we mentioned about Emmy's allergy to the woman.  She already had it written down, and there was a big "ALLERGY" stamped in red at the top of our ticket, so all the servers would know.  As soon as we sat down, the server said that the chef would be out soon to talk with us.  We only had to wait just a few minutes for him to come out.  He went over all the kid's meals and their ingredients.  He even offered to make something else if we weren't comfortable with any of the choices.  Emmy happily had the cheese and grapes appetizer and chicken nuggets for lunch.  For dessert she just had some ice cream I believe {desserts are always the toughest for a peanut allergy kid}.

The next day we had a reservation at Hollywood and Vine.  I was nervous about this one because it was a buffet, and so allergens can be a little harder to control in that environment.  Again, our servers already had in the computer about her allergy and we were told the chef would be out soon to take us around the buffet.  We had to wait a little over 5 minutes for him to come out, which really wasn't bad.  They told us he might be awhile since he had a few parents to talk to that day.  He walked around the whole buffet with Skip and Emmy, pointing out what foods contained peanuts or not.  Great!

The same thing happened when we were at the Tusker House the following day.  It was another buffet lunch and the chef thoroughly went over each option with Skip.  The chef here even brought out a special dessert plate for Emmy in case we were still nervous about any cross contamination around the desserts.

All the rest of our meals were quick service meals.  Obviously those are a little different than table service, but we still felt like we were getting the answers and help we needed.  Several times we would have a question about a particular food.  Skip would go up to the servers behind the counter and ask about the ingredients.  They would either get one of the chefs to answer our questions, or if it was a packaged item, they would get the box it came in so we could look at the ingredient list ourselves.

Thanks to Disney's complete understand and accommodation of food allergies, I did not have to worry about Emmy at all.  We were truly able to relax and enjoy all our meals in Disney!

Friday, July 11

My Tips for Disney with Kids!

I have been to Disney a handful of times now, all at different stages of my life.  By far, the most difficult stage to go, is when you're a parent with little kids.  But at the same time, that is also the most magical time.  Seeing their little faces light up is even better than was I was a kid myself.

Disney with little ones is no easy task though.  But with a little prep, some organization, and a dash of flexibility, your kids {and you!} can have an absolutely magical vacation.  Here are some of the tips and tricks that worked for me!

{one} This first time is the most important.  Before you head out on your trip, lower your expectations for what you think you'll be able to do there.  Then lower then a little more.  Then lower then again.  Even then you will not get to go on every ride, see every character, eat at every restaurant that you want to.  There will be tantrums, tears, and changes constantly made to your ideal schedule.  The quicker you get used to this idea, the smoother the whole thing will go.

{two} Really think about your kids as you are planning your trip.  Your child's personality, their fear of certain things, their behavior, schedule, etc are not going to be different just because you're in the most magical place on earth.  For instance, Charlie gets really fussy in restaurants.  This was still going to ring true in Disney, so I tried to tailor things to what would be easiest for everyone.

{three} If you are staying at the resorts and have the meal plan, make those reservations as soon as you can.  You can call or do it online 180 days before you check in.  If you want to do character meals, this is a must.  We made sure to do all our sit-down meals at lunchtime, since Charlie was a little less fussy then.  It would have been too much to force her to do that at dinner, so we made those all quick service meals.

{four} Character meals really are wonderful if you have kids.  The restaurants are obviously super kid friendly and often interactive a bit.  Plus it's a way to get all those pictures and autographs without having to wait on really long lines.

{five} If you are staying on property you can make up to three FastPass selections per person per day of you trip, up to 60 days in advance I think.  When making these selections, think not only about what your kid most wants to see, but also which rides and attractions are most popular.  The wait at Dumbo was never really that long, so I never got a FastPass for it....but it was a must for us to meet Elsa and Anna {10 minutes vs 4 hours?  Yes please!}  Kids do not like waiting in line, so having a few FastPasses is key.

{six} Pick and chose what rides to go on, based on wait times.  No matter what they were waiting for, my girls could not wait more than 30 minutes for something.  They would have just gotten too whiny and fussy, and it would not have been worth it.  So we either got FastPasses, or just didn't go on rides with long waits.  While you're in line you're going to have to get creative with keeping them busy.  Rock, paper, scissors...math facts...I spy...singing...dancing were all things we did to keep them occupied on the line.

{seven} Bring snacks and drinks into the park each day for when they get hungry and you don't want to shell out tons of $$$ on Disney snacks.  Also throw some lollipops and fruit snacks in your bag.  These work wonders when meltdowns are about to happen.

{eight} Be very clear about souvenirs and toys.  My girls knew they had gift cards to spend, but that was it.  They could pick out whatever they wanted to buy, but once the money was gone, that was it.  We also encouraged them to only buy one thing at a time, so as not to blow all the money the first day.

{nine} Make bathroom trips right before long rides, lines.  You don't want to be stuck and have an emergency on your hands.

{ten} If you have kids younger than 7, definitely bring or rent a stroller.  The parks are really big and there is a ton of walking to do.  They and you will be much happier if they can sit for a bit.

{eleven} Know your kids' limits.  If they don't like the characters, do not force them to go see them.  If there's a ride you really want to go on, but your kid is scared of it, do not make them just for yourself.  Pushing them too hard will just end up making both of you miserable.

{twelve} Kids will need a break at some point during the day.  You can either push through until just after dinner, and head home before the night parade and fireworks.  Or you can pop back to the hotel for an afternoon rest before heading back to the park at night.  My kids would not have handled the fireworks and nighttime show that well, so we just called it a night after dinner.  It was just what was best for them.

{thirteen} Make sure to bring a change of clothes for the kids in a plastic bag.  There will be accidents, rain, they'll spill something on themselves, etc.  It's best to be prepared.

{fourteen} Longer, sit-down rides are your new best friend.  The trains, safari, etc are pretty much a parent's dream.  It is a long day of chasing after your kid...having all of you in one spot sitting down for 20 minutes is like a vacation in itself.  Plus what kid doesn't love the train?  Hop on whenever you all need a break!

{fifteen} You'll want to aim to get there before the park opens.  It takes a while to get to each park sometimes, plus the ticket booth, plus security.  If the park opens at 9 and you don't pull in till then, you won't actually be riding rides for a bit.  Getting there as early as possible is's a little less crowded and kids are always fresher and happier in the morning!

{sixteen} Let each kid bring a little toy into the park for comfort use...however do not make it their favorite toy of all time.  Yes, Charlie might have done better a few times if we brought her monkey with us, but it would have been the worst thing in the world if we had lost it at any point.  So rather than stress that we let each of the girls bring their second favorite toy into the park.

{seventeen} The park hopper can be a great option for people.  For little kids it probably won't be the best option.  I think kids do better with the most consistency as possible.  Taking time to leave one park, to go to another, can mess them up.  Plus, it takes so long to get around with kids that I knew it would just take out precious park time!

{eighteen} Make sure the adults of the group bring book bags into the park.  You need to bring lots of stuff for kids {water, snacks, changes of clothes, toys, fans, phones, medicines, etc.}  I liked having it all in one spot so when we dropped off the stroller so we could bring it with us on rides.

{nineteen}Bring an autograph book from home.  I just purchased one at CVS before we left...much cheaper than buying it in the park.  And collecting autographs was one of Emmy's favorite parts of the it makes a great souvenir!

{twenty} Remember that Disney is never going to be a relaxing vacation for parents.  It's work.  You won't get to do everything you want to do.  But seeing their little faces light up when they see the castle, their favorite character, or their first big ride will make every second worth it:)

What are your best tips for Disney with kids?

Wednesday, July 9

So What

I figured you could all use a break from the incessant Disney posts, so I thought a little So What Wednesday was in order!

So what if
I still have more to write about Disney.  It was such a fabulous trip and I don't want to forget any of it!

I am constantly trying to get the girls to go outside to play, even when it's 97* out...momma needs a tan!

I'm going to start the "going back to blonde" process this week.  No matter what I do my hair is just not growing.  So screw it, I'm happier blonde so that's what I'm gonna do.  You only live once right?  Also, I promise I'll stop talking about my hair.

I'm already getting sad about summer being over.  Yes, I know it's only the beginning of July, but we're jammed packed with things to do over the next few weeks and I just know it's going to fly!

I woke up with the biggest smile on my face cause Skip and I get to head out for a date night tonight!  Other than weddings and work functions, we haven't gone out just the two of us in months.  I'm like a giddy school girl today.

I shed a few tears yesterday when we picked up Emmy's school uniform.  It makes her look so grown-up!  I can't handle it.

Holding my bestie's baby just makes me want another of my own.  Sadly that shop is closed, but the ache is definitely still there.

I really loved last night's episode of Pretty Little Liars.  Lies, romance, and a giant explosion.  I'm so glad my high school years were less stressful.

I'm already planning our next trip to Disney.  It won't be for years, but it's always good to be prepared!!

I can't decide if we should go on a family vacation next year, or if Skip and I should have a big 10th anniversary party...thoughts?  It's it weird to have an anniversary party after only 10 years?

 I have been so busy working on some home improvement projects that I've totally been neglecting the regular cleaning.  Spray painting is just so much more fun than folding laundry!

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Life After I Dew

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