Family Time vs. Screen Time – End the Battle

Online school, Zoom meetings, Facetime calls… this past year has been filled with screens. By all of us. It became a new normal.

One thing I’ve noticed though is that as the world has started to open up a bit, my kids are still attached to the screens. More than I would like. Has anyone else noticed this struggle. I hate being the bad guy, and most days I just don’t have the energy along with everything else that needs to be done.

My goal this year is to spend more quality time together and that means more intention in what we do and where we spend our time.

Using Circle Home Plus takes the struggle out of disagreeing about screen time. I also love that I am able to control what the boys are able to access on the devices they use. I can cut out certain websites they can access and add parental controls.

There are time limits and bedtime cutoffs, that let me worry about making plans for the next day and not have the screen battle. There are so many benefits and features to use with Circle Home Plus – find them all here.

Any screen in your house can be managed with this – Smart TV’s, gaming consoles, tablets — any internet connected device. I love that it helps keeps my family safe from the strangers online.

Save 20% on your purchase of Circle Home Plus with promo code MOMSMEET2021 – valid until 10/15/21

Because there are limits to our screens (mine too) we can focus on more family activities and things we have been wanting to do around the house. I love that one the bedtime feature is set, it gives our eyes a rest and cuts the blue light that can make it so difficult to fall asleep.

Arts and Crafts – Create Screen Bugs — see how we make screen bugs for our porch every summer and how its a great activity for the entire family.

Get your kids in the kitchen. My favorite thing to do with the boys each weekend is get in the kitchen and make a mess. The messier the better, right?

Get the perfect, and kid friendly recipe for Sourdough Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins — they honestly could be made with any of your favorite berries and your kids can customize the add-ins.

Where is your favorite outdoor location? The beach, a trail, the mountains, a park… whatever is close to you. Spend the day there. Be mindful of no screens… and honestly when you get back home there is a good chance your kids will be so exhausted from the day, they won’t remember them either.

Get outside and garden…or paint rocks…or do both! You don’t have to go far from home to find plenty of outdoor fun. We started growing our Yoda Chia Garden inside of our Rock Garden. Every time we walk by it, it gives us a quick smile and a story to tell.

“I received this product for free from Moms Meet to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this post may contain affiliate links.”

Out of this World Adventure on the Space Coast

I’ve lived in Florida for 20 years, and honestly still can’t believe this was our first trip to Kennedy Space Center. Every time a rocket launch happens (that luckily we can watch from our yard) I tell myself we need to head up. It’s less than a two hour drive from the Treasure Coast.

I knew with a birthday celebration weekend (and no Covid birthday party) it was the perfect time for my five year old who is currently obsessed with planets.

The first question I get about most places we visit is now about social distancing guidelines and if they are enforced. I have found with most larger places or companies, there are more guidelines.

There were plenty of outdoor spaces and distance markers throughout buildings. Masks were required while we were there and I honestly didn’t see too many people trying to get around that. People did remove their masks for pictures, but that can be said for most places.

Because we had never been there I wasn’t sure what to expect. Something I didn’t realize is that the entire complex is made up of different buildings. It’s not just one big place. Make sure you grab a map when you get there so you know where everything is located. There are also different showtimes that you will need to pay attention to, so you don’t miss a program you might be interested in.

I recommend planning your day or a general idea of your day before you get there.

As you can see there are still a lot of different hands on interactive activities, completely up to you if you are comfortable toughing them…but there are sanitizing stations very close to all of them.

One of the kids favorite places was the Planet Play playground. Before we went I wasn’t sure if I would even show it to the kids because of germs, but once we were there and saw the cleaning procedures in place and was able to chat with the staff members about when and how they clean, I was fine letting the boys play. They could have stayed in that location all day if I would have let them.

While there we of course saw the huge rocket booster leading the way to the Atlantis exhibit. Whatever you do, don’t miss this one. Hands down this was my favorite. Before you get to the actual shuttle, there is a short movie to give a backstory, so even if you don’t have much back story — or any — you can get caught up quickly and feel how awesome this moment is.

Spoiler: once the movie is over the screen lifts up to reveal the actual Atlantis shuttle. It’s there and massive. I stood there imagining its journey and the fact that it had been to OUTER SPACE. I might have “nerded” out but I loved every minute of it.

In typical Florida fashion, it started raining while we were there. Just plan on that. But unlike other parks you may visit…a majority of the exhibits and experiences are inside minus a few. The weather didn’t impact the events of the day. In face when we walked out of Atlantis we honestly didn’t realize it had stormed as much as it did.

There are even some fun pop up experiences — like a photo op with an astronaut — keep your eyes open.

There are a few places to eat, if your kids start to get hangry, but pay attention to the times they are open. When we were there, one location wasn’t open and the other closed before the park did. There are also plenty of places to sit outside and eat if that’s something you enjoy doing. We always make sure to take a selection of snacks and bottled water for when we need to take a little break.

Forever Remembered was beautiful tribute to the Challenger and Columbia crews. Each member that was lost has a tribute to them and who they were outside of the space program. Even the boys were drawn in and wanted to learn more about each crew member.

If you haven’t visited Kennedy Space center recently, whether you live in Florida or are just coming in for a getaway, make sure to plan a day here.

Hospital or Walk In Clinic…What Has More Germs? – 10 Questions with a Pediatric Infectious Diseases Doctor – Palm Beach Children’s Hospital

The first week the country went into lockdown in 2020, my husband announced (quite dramatically) to the kids that we were not going to the hospital if one of them fell and broke their arm while running around in the backyard…

Guess what happened…

You guessed it. My youngest son tripped over the play set ladder and fell on his arm. Wouldn’t you know…day one of staying at home really meant heading to the emergency room. As a mom things are scary enough, but add the unknown on top of it and I was not in a great place. I had a million questions and a year ago, no one had answers.

Time and experience has shed light on some of those questions other parents are still having.

Here are some of the questions I wish I had answers to then, from Pediatric Infectious Diseases Doctor, Chad R. Sanborn, MD — Palm Beach Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, FL.

Chad R. Sanborn, MD — Palm Beach Children’s Hospital

1) If I need to –  is it better to take my child to a walk in clinic or hospital? Do hospitals have more germs than clinics? Where is there less risk for exposure? 

 Well, I wouldn’t actually make that decision based upon exposure to germs. While the patients at the hospital are generally sicker, that doesn’t mean they are more contagious or that they even have an infection at all. At a busy walk in center you may be exposed to more germs than at a not so busy hospital emergency department, and vice versa. Both are cleaned regularly after each patient and should have COVID protocols in place to keep potentially contagious patients away from non-contagious ones. Everyone in the medical profession these days is paying extra attention to the possibility of transmitting infections. I would make the decision on where to take your child more on the acuity of the illness – in general, moderate to very sick children should be brought to the Emergency Department and minor illness should be brought to a walk in clinic or to the primary care doctor if possible.

The 138-bed Palm Beach Children’s Hospital is the largest between Fort Lauderdale and
Orlando.

2) Are you limiting people at the hospital? How have visitations changed? 

 Yes. So we allow one parent or caretaker with the child while they are in the Emergency Department or are admitted to the floor. We attempt to limit the number of “change outs” of that caretaker as well.  While visitors are great for patient and family morale, this whole pandemic has made us realize that now is not a great time for friends and extended family to visit a child once hospitalized. For that reason we don’t allow visitors at the moment. The whole point is that while we can control what is happening in the hospital and know the potential exposures/risk of exposure for our patients and their immediate family, we are less sure about those extended visitors. We want to minimize the amount of outside germs from people we are not caring for that get brought in. 

Palm Beach Children’s Hospital has four dedicated units including a 14-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and an
entire floor dedicated to pediatric oncology.

3) What are the wait times usually like at the emergency room? Should only one parent come with their child, or are both parents OK? 

 It varies by the day and time of day, but right now wait times are generally down to a few minutes. we recommend that only one parent come with their child for the same reasons as above. We want to limit the amount of crowding in any particular unit and try to keep as much “outside” germs from entering the hospital as we can.

4) What COVID safety measures are in place in the hospital/ emergency room? 

All of our staff at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital have appropriate and sufficient PPE while caring for patients with diagnosed or suspected COVID related infection. We clean all areas of the hospital frequently, and the housekeeping staff is doing a terrific job of keeping hallways, patient rooms, and common areas as spotless and sanitized as possible. We limit the number of caretakers accompanying a child in the ER and on the Pediatric units. Patients with COVID are put under the appropriate isolation measures and we try to limit the entry/exit of individuals from those rooms. Additionally, all staff are reminded to screen for symptoms daily and avoid work and get tested if feeling ill.  Finally, we have offered vaccination to our hospital staff so those who have gotten vaccinated are much less likely to spread infection ourselves.

5) Is the hospital busier now than this time last year, or less? What are you seeing more of than usual? 

Similar to most medical centers, the hospital is less busy than this time last year. We do see some signs of this changing over the last few weeks, however. I think what we have found is that social distancing and wearing masks REALLY works well at keeping the number of “typical” infections to a minimum. We are seeing almost no influenza, for example. We certainly are seeing COVID and the post infectious Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases, but that is by no means the main thing we are seeing at the Children’s Hospital. What we are seeing a lot of are suspected and confirmed appendicitis cases, injuries, and for whatever reason, more newly diagnosed diabetics. For the last two weeks we have been seeing two common seasonal respiratory viruses, Adenovirus and Rhinovirus, which may mean that people are going out and about a bit more.

Palm Beach Children’s Hospital has a 12 bed dedicated pediatric emergency department and a 45-
bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. There is also a DinoSOAR secret garden within the hospital. (pictured above)

6) What do you wish more parents knew about coming to the hospital with their child? 

The hospital IS NOT full of COVID infected children nor is it overcrowded at all. We have safety protocols in place and all staff members are taking great care to ensure that there is no spread of infections throughout the hospital.  The hospital is a safe place for your child to get treated and cared for, and I would not put off an ER visit or doctor visit over fear of you or your child getting infected with Coronavirus as we are all working to care for your family in the safest way possible. 

7) What is the best advice you give to parents about their kids returning back to the classroom? (mask wearing, clothes washing, hand washing) 

All of the above, along with social distancing. I think what we are seeing is that schools do not seem to be “hotspots” of COVID infection, although certainly transmission can occur. I strongly encourage mask wearing as we have found that this works quite well at stopping the spread of infection both in and out of the classroom. To our surprise, what we have seen in many schools and in hospitals/doctor offices is that children, even little ones over age two, are actually quite good at following rules and keeping their masks on! 

I would teach and encourage hand washing as well. While we have found that contact with fomites is not an efficient way to spread COVID, contaminated little hands do find their way to their faces frequently and that may put them higher at risk. I would change and wash the your child’s clothing immediately upon return to the home as well. Finally, it is just as important to monitor what your children are doing after school, be it with friends, in afterschool activities or in sports, particularly if your children are older. We can control what happens within the school and the youngest ones will come home straight away,  but we have to take just as much care with what happens after class and on weekends to prevent the spread of infection. Remember – what you and your children are exposed to affects the entire classroom/school,  not just your immediate family!

DinoSOAR secret garden – a wonderful place for patients and parents to enjoy while undergoing treatment at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital.

8) Most sports and kids activities do not require masks for the children — is this safe? Or would you advise parents to wait to join activities? 

It depends. For outdoor activities, wearing masks may be less important as there is more opportunity for distancing and the virus is being diluted in the air, and there is more airflow in general. For indoor activities, most can be done safely, although this is somewhat higher risk. I would recommend mask wearing when feasible for most indoor activities. I would say whether or not to have your child participate depends on comfort level, developmental stage of the child (i.e. can they follow directions? How self aware are they?) and the home risk factors  (does a high risk unvaccinated individual live with you? Is your child medically fragile or have underlying medical conditions?). So, while there is no “right” answer for everyone, I do think that many activities can be done safely. As with most things, when in doubt, always consult your pediatric provider to see what advice they may have for your particular situation.

9) Is COVID worse in children?

Actually, what we are seeing is the opposite. Children, in general, seem to do quite well with coronavirus infection. While we do care for children acutely sick with COVID in the hospital, that number is surprisingly low. Additionally, we are seeing some incidentally positive children – e.g. patient is admitted for a bad urinary tract infection or an injury and we find that they are COVID positive, but are not sick from COVID. For the children we see with a more serious condition known Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a severe illness that can occur 1-2 months after a coronavirus infection, we often find that the child was infected several weeks prior with minimal if any symptoms. Thankfully this condition is treatable and only a small percentage of infected children go on to develop MIS-C, but we have learned that symptoms from the initial infection in children are often minimal. 

Palm Beach Children’s Hospital provides
resources for the entire family. Child Life Specialists are caring, non-medical professionals who
provide play and diversion therapy to help reduce the stress and anxiety of pediatric patients.

10) What about vaccines for children? When my time comes, should I get one?

So yes, vaccines for children are on the way. There are studies already underway in the 12-18 yr old age group for both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, and both manufacturers as well as Johnson and Johnson will soon be studying these vaccines in even younger children in a stepwise fashion. While children do get less sick from infection, it will be very important to have them vaccinated to stop the spread in the community and to keep them from being in that small percentage of children who do get very ill from COVID. 

In the meantime, yes, I wholeheartedly recommend vaccine for parents and their loved ones if and when they qualify to receive the vaccine in their community. What we are finding is that they are safe and are highly effective at keeping you from getting very sick from COVID. Additionally, we are beginning to get data that suggest these vaccines stop the spread of asymptomatic infection, which is truly wonderful news. This is our way out of this mess- even us doctors and nurses want to be able to stop wearing masks, see our friends and family, travel, and have a return to “normal.” We are sick of all this just like you are! So I do urge people to get vaccinated, and ask questions of their medical professionals if they have any doubts. The internet can be a great source of information, but it’s no substitute to talking to a trained professional who knows you and your family’s particular situation. 

Although I would love to never have to visit a hospital, as a mom of two very active boys, I know that I more than likely will. I promise it will be at the worst time too…because that’s when things happen.

Knowing that there are such wonderful state of the art resources and medical personnel in South Florida at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital takes a huge weight off of my shoulders as a parent.

Now for the million other things I still have to worry about……

Find out more about all of the services found at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital and how you too can take some of the worry away from your family medical care choices.

Turn Your Space Coast Day Trip into a STAYCATION at Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

We don’t live far from Cocoa Beach — probably about 90 minutes. Far enough that it’s not just a quick pop in place to go during the day, but close enough we could drive up and back the same day if we wanted to.

I didn’t want to.

We planned on visiting Kennedy Space Center for my youngest’s 5th birthday — and instead of a bunch of gifts, we decided to stay the night at Beachside Hotel and Suites. We have become big on gifting experiences and not just “stuff”.

It would be the perfect #staycation location…especially after a long day of exploring, it would be nice to go back to the hotel and hang out at the lazy river. That’s just what we did. I mean… look at it… it’s adorable!

Lazy River at Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

I’m not sure what my boys love more… staying at a hotel, or lazy rivers at a hotel. Either way, this was the perfect way to end our day at Kennedy Space Center and start our stay. Since I knew we were making it a staycation weekend, I made sure to find a location that was pet friendly too. That way we could take our furry family member with us. We requested an early check in, so we could drop off all of our things, let Zero walk around the property a bit and then be on our way.

It was also nice knowing that if we needed to pop in and check on him during the day exploring we could, and he wasn’t far.

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, FL

There was plenty of room at Beachside Hotel… and two separate rooms in case we wanted to put the boys to bed a little earlier. My favorite was that we could sit on the porch right outside of our room and enjoy a few adult beverages, while the boys were relaxing inside. It was a mini date night overlooking the pool on a nice Florida evening.

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

We were also able to take a walk over to the beach, and I made a mental note to book a stay there the next time there was a weekend rocket launch. It is the perfect location. It’s very near the cruise ship ports too… we were able to see a few Disney cruise ships waiting for us (fingers crossed for 2023???) on our drive to Kennedy from the hotel.

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

There was a fun retro “throwback” feel to the property. With their on-site bar and restaurant right next to the sand play area for the boys. We felt right at home, and plenty of room for being socially distant. We had planned on going out for dinner, but once we were there and enjoying the lazy river and sand area… the boys didn’t want to leave. Neither did we. 🙂

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

It occurred to me a few times that evening that we could be driving back home… or we could already be home… but I was so happy that we stayed. It was something we needed and something that felt special. The boys were elated that we were somewhere that felt like a vacation, but it wasn’t too far from home.

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

Because of Florida weather, you never know what you are going to get. Locals understand this and always have a backup plan. Even if there are afternoon rain showers, stick around… it will change in a matter of minutes. Something I didn’t know until we got there, and I thought was awesome were the complementary bikes to use around the area.

They also had anything else you might want to take for a weekend away at the beach… one less thing to worry about. We hadn’t planned on popping over to the beach because the forecast hadn’t looked all that favorable, but there was a clear spot in the morning we were able to walk over and grabbed boogie boards for the boys. It was a complete surprise for them but made it look like a was a superhero.

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach Florida

No matter where you might be in Florida… Beachside Hotel and Suites really does offer the perfect weekend away. Wether you are up the street or a few hours away, it feels like you are on vacation. That’s something we could all use right now… a socially distanced get away with your family. Making memories one weekend at a time.

A ‘No Fail’ Cut Out Cookie — Cut Out This Dough After it Bakes

Ingredients for a basic Black and White Cookie

I can’t make a cut out cookie. I gave up ages ago. I blame it on living in Florida, low elevation, humidity, an old oven… a million variables that I can’t change. But as I was eating a black and white cookie, I thought I might be able to actually cut out one that is already baked.

If you’ve ever made these cookies, they are not the type of dough you roll out, its a scoop onto the sheet type situation.

I followed a basic cookie recipe : Sally’s Baking Addiction Black and White Cookies and made a few changes along the way.

I first tried to use the cookie cutter with the cookies upside down but found that having the cookies right side up at the start worked out much better. I don’t think you can use a very detailed cookie cutter, but this one worked perfectly.

I also discovered that my boys were happy to eat the spare cookies that were cut out and they loved dipping them in the icing. So I was able to make smaller icing cups just for them and they were like personal Dunkaroos.

Once I had all of the cookies cut out, I made one color of icing. Following the icing recipe. I was not able to find clear vanilla extract, which was my inspiration for light pink. Depending on the holiday or special occasion – you can choose complimentary colors.

For the first color, I dipped the whole cookie into the icing. I knew I wanted to do it at an angle and found this was the easiest way. I made sure to cover the counter with wax paper because there was quite a bit of icing that dripped off. I in no way wanted to have to clean that off of my counter.

Because I was going from pink to red, I could use the left over pink and the same bowl. I simply added more food coloring when I knew I didn’t need pink anymore.

I waited for the pink on the cookies to dry completely. This is an important step to stay a little more neat and organized.

Grab some sprinkles or candies to add to the “other” side of the cookie. You will want to add these when your second color is still wet. This icing does harden pretty quickly.

Instead of dipping the second side, I used a spatula and was able to spread the red on… that was easier for this portion of the process, then immediately added sprinkles. My youngest son helped with this part and loved that they only stayed on the red part.

Are the cookies perfectly smooth? Nope. Is that OK? Yup. They were darn delicious.

Now that I have found this recipe… it is a perfect addition to any of our holiday gatherings. All I have to do is change the icing color. Everything tastes better if it’s shaped like a Mickey head right??? I’m already planing green and yellow for Easter… red and blue for Fourth of July… you get the picture.

Front Porch Friends – Surprise your favorite neighborhood friends – RAOK- #lovecorn

We have always enjoyed our neighborhood. It’s a very quiet area in Florida to live, although our city is growing quickly. We have lived here for over 10 years now and luckily have had the same neighbors around us the entire time.

They were here when we were married and when we brought both boys home. They sent over treats for the dogs that have since passed, as well as our new furry friend. Even though we have lived so close for many many years, it wasn’t until this year that we really learned more about each other.

For months, the only people we really saw were — each other. On the bike rides, the evening walks or simply checking the mail. Those familiar waves from the front yard became the most exciting part of the day.

So as we thought about our Random Acts of Kindness… for Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year, we wanted to make sure to include our neighbors in that.

We have taken baked treats over the last few months, but as soon as I saw Love Corn, I thought it would be a perfect front porch present.

I printed up simple signs on Canva (which is the best… if you aren’t using it – use it) and let the boys get creative. This way they felt more attached to the project. It also shows that they were part of the process and gave us a great morning activity together, talking about other Random Acts of Kindness.

You can find Love Corn at Target, Whole Foods Market, Walgreens and CVS in Florida. They are awesome to travel with because they don’t melt and don’t make a mess. They are a healthier alternative to chips and pretzels — plus there are different flavors so you can try different varieties or mix and match.

If you are interested in trying Love Corn, use code MOMSLOVE at checkout (until 10/31/21) for a 25% discount on their website.

I received this product for free from Moms Meet to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Stay Where You Play – Wyndham Orlando Resort

I get asked a lot where we stay when we visit Orlando. I always like trying different properties around the city, to see what they offer families, to check their amenities and see what other fun activities might be in the area.

Most of the time Orlando is associated with the larger theme parks, which is absolutely true…but there are plenty of other family activities that aren’t at the parks. Actually at certain times of the year, we AVOID the parks… when everyone else is there. This was the perfect weekend to explore a new area.

We recently stayed at Wyndham Orlando Resort (located on International Drive). International Drive is a main tourist location in Orlando with plenty of restaurants and activities. It is always quite busy and is close to the Orange County Convention Center. Honestly, whatever you might like or want to do… you could find it on International Drive. You can stay where you play.

As you drive on I-4, you see The Wheel at ICON Park. It has become a landmark in Orlando for residents and visitors alike. If you have seen The Wheel, you know exactly where the hotel is located. One amazing feature of the property is its super close location to ICON Park.

Wyndham Orlando Resort has recently undergone a multi-million dollar renovation to their 613 rooms. With all of the amenities families need while staying for the weekend or longer.

Each room door opens to the outside, which is great when you are traveling with you furry family. I love finding properties that are family and pet friendly. Each room also includes a mini fridge, a 40 inch flat screen tv and Wi-Fi. Can’t leave home without it. I was able to get some work done when we returned from our daily adventures while the boys could rest.

There are also connecting rooms if you are traveling with friends or a larger family. I selected to stay in the new Family Bunk Rooms that have a separate area for the kids (with their own TV). The boys absolutely loved having their own area, and I enjoyed that they weren’t hopping from bed to bed all night. It’s located across from the bathroom, so they were able to leave that light on and feel completely comfortable and a little more independent in their new space at night.

Each morning we took a short drive (totally walkable) to ICON Park for breakfast. Free parking garage by the way!

There was an adorable French inspired cafe – iCafe de Paris – with great coffee and crepes. Along with plenty of outdoor and socially distance seating for the family. we honestly had the place almost completely to ourselves around 9:30am, something to keep in mind.

They call ICON Park a walkable neighborhood because there is so much to do and see. Plenty of restaurants and shops as well as Madam Tussauds Orlando, Sea LIFE Aquarium Orlando, Orlando Starflyer, SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology as well as The Wheel. If you have any hesitations – don’t worry…it goes incredibly slow with no jerking or fast movements. It is relaxing with great views from 400 feet above Orlando.

There are honestly so many options, you could spend the whole day there or depending on the Florida weather you could head back to Wyndham Orlando Resort and enjoy the pool. I have found when we stay at a property so close to all of the activities, it is much easier to take those much needed breaks in the middle of the day that everyone needs. That way we are ready to find new adventures in the afternoon.

Orlando doesn’t have to feel rushed, or busy. If you stay where you play it takes the stress of the roads and traffic away. Slow down…enjoy the moments and create memories.

Take a Break at The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, Hollywood Studios – Disney World

We never slow down at the parks. It’s always quick service and back to the next ride… but honestly I look at the sit down options and always regret not making reservations.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

Since the Disney World properties have reopened, I’ve noticed Hollywood Studios seems to be busier than the other parks but wanted to at least take an afternoon to pop in and try out the new Mickey’s Runaway Railroad… I mean honestly it’s not new anymore, but we had not ridden it. I also wanted to try to get on Rise of the Resistance and visit Toy Story Land again. Here is what I have learned about Toy Story Land, check out my previous post here in case you missed it.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

I was able to make a reservation on the My Disney Experience App for Saturday afternoon and planned to have a late lunch, then explore the park for the last few hours before closing.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

When you arrive they have parties wait outside until your table is ready. There is someone who will escort your party into the drive in area. There is one door in and one door out. I’m not sure if that is an after COVID change, or if it has always been that way.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

Each table is set up inside 50’s inspired cars. There are different options but we didn’t get to choose which type of car we had. Some have tables on the inside, like a standard table everyone sits around. Others, like the one we had, are almost like counter booths, where you sit behind other people in your party.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

I think the kids liked this style better because it was new and felt a little more fun and special.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

While you are at your table there are sci-fi shows and movie clips from the 50’s playing. All family friendly of course…but I wasn’t expecting my 4 year old to be a little scared of the martians and UFO’s – think Twilight Zone – in black and white with strings attached. There were also some fun Tom and Jerry mixed in with it.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

Something I wasn’t expecting was the sense of relaxation. As we sat there eating lunch and soaking everything in… the hustle and bustle of Disney and the parks was completely gone. There wasn’t a line, wasn’t a reason to try to rush away somewhere. It was quite peaceful.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

Now, it’s not somewhere that I would say we have to go every time.. much like other Disney sit down dinning options it becomes a little pricy, but if it’s something you haven’t tried or are looking for a nice break in the middle of your day… I think this is a solid choice, especially if you have kids.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

5 Ways to FEEL BETTER and DO MORE

This mama is tired. I’ve gotten tired of saying I’m tired. I feel like that’s an everyday thing. Anyone else?

I’m not sure if this is what motherhood and adulthood feel like, but I’m fairly sure I wasn’t helping myself out either. I’m edging closer to 40 everyday (I honestly can’t believe that’s a thing) and things weren’t going to magically change on their own. If I didn’t start making small changes, I wasn’t going to be as productive as I needed to be. For some unknown reason, it’s frowned on to have naps during work hours. 🙂

Get Rid Of Things Just Do It

Cleaning out clutter is a fast way to focus on what you have and what you no longer need.

I started watching way to many minimalism YouTube videos over holiday break, and while I will never be what someone would call a minimalist, several things resonated with me.

Think of your items as inventory. Do you know what you have? Do you know where it is? Is it serving a purpose? Most of my answers were no.

“Maybe I have that thing I used to have. Maybe I don’t. I have no idea where it is. It’s easier to just go buy a new one. “

It should take as much energy to put something away as it does to leave it out. *Looking around at piles of clothes I didn’t have the energy to fight with other clothes to put away.

I started peeling away at the onion. Not getting rid of everything at once, but going through each room once. Removing things that are just there with absolutely no purpose. Then when I was ready, peeling back the second onion layer and so on.

It’s not something that has to be done at one time. It really is a process. I have discovered a few things during this process.

  1. I don’t miss anything I have gotten rid of.
  2. I can actually find things I am looking for.
  3. I don’t have to spend as much time and energy completing tasks around the house.

Take Care of You (and your skin)

Tru Skin Serum

Masks are here. I don’t know how long that will be but my face isn’t taking it well. I’ve noticed the older I get, the more sensitive my skin has become. Years of living in Florida haven’t been kind… but I haven’t done the best I can taking care of it either.

I’ve been looking for products for myself that help improve my skin, masks or not and can’t rave enough about Tru Skin Vitamin C Serum. I’ve incorporated it into my weekly skin routine and have already noticed a difference. I honestly believe when you take better care of yourself, you feel better to face the day.

Tru Skin Vitamin C targets dark spots, fine lines, and overall tone of your skin while protecting and feeding it. It’s made without fillers and silicones but has a high concentration of organic aloe that calms and soothe. Use code MOM10 to save 10% on and TruSkin product on their website. Keep an eye out over the next few months they will have new branding, but the formulations won’t change.

Whatever area you are looking to improve, take those small baby steps. A year from now you will be happy you started when you did.

Set Small Goals

Handlettering Practice Books

I’ve been wanting to learn something new for years. Hand lettering. It looks so relaxing and creative. I never made it a priority. I never took those steps to actually learn it. It was something I just always said I wanted to learn how to do someday. Why did I keep waiting? It wasn’t like it was going to magically happen.

What was the first thing I needed to do to get started? Get a practice book? That’s easy enough.

Ordered it. Once step closer. Then what was my next step? Open the first page and start.

I waited almost 5 years for this? WHY???

I made a small step toward something bigger, and it felt great. Now I make a date with myself to sit down and practice. To work on something for ME. Not for my kids, not for my husband, not for my friends. For ME. It’s hard to set that time aside, but since I’ve taken so many other small steps…I can take another small step and just sit down to put in the work.

Drink More Water

Annoying right? You hear everyone say it but it’s true.

I felt terrible yesterday. I was tired, I was cranky and all I wanted to do was letdown and watch a rom-com on Netflix. But something I’ve been paying attention to is why I’m feeling specific ways. As I went through the list of why I was feeling that way – I realized I had no water all day. I had plenty of coffee, but no water.

I made myself get up and get a big glass of ice water and within 20 minutes my mood had changed. I felt better. During the work wee it is easy for me to grab a water as I’m walking out the door for work but difficult for me to remember to drink it when I’m at home. Incorporating it into my routine has made such a difference during the day.

Plan ALL. THE. THINGS.

Vision Board to help set goals.

Something else I have learned about myself. If I don’t have a list to follow, or an end goal in mind I do absolutely nothing to move forward.

I will sit and look around like I have absolutely no idea where to start. Wasting time.

But if I know what I need to do, I can make a list of actionable steps and start working toward that. My kids and I sat down and made a vision board for the year. (Click here to read more about that) Once that was in place I could look at the things I wanted to get done and start incorporating those things into our week. Into my monthly planning. When I see what goals we are working toward and how we are getting closer to them, it gets me more energized to do more to make them happen.

They have become more of a priority instead of something I randomly think about while running errands. It’s funny that even some of the ones that I’m not currently planning seem to be coming together for us. I love the power of positive thinking and have seen a hugh difference in my pattern of thought when I focus on the positive.

No matter what season you are in in life… making these five small changes can dramatically increase your energy level and keep you motivated on those days that you might not feel as much energy as you would like. Small steps toward big goals.

We got this.

Disclaimer: I received TruSkin Vitamin C from Moms Meet to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Making the Best of a NEW YEAR – 10 questions to help your kids create a vision board…

I’m not the only one that had to cancel plans this past year. Cancel, rebook, reschedule and then simply not plan anything. It goes against everything I am as a LIST maker.

Continue reading “Making the Best of a NEW YEAR – 10 questions to help your kids create a vision board…”