Posts Tagged ‘adora’

Raising Kind Kids

Adora was recently featured on the TODAY Show sharing how we practice being kind. For more advice be sure to check out these great posts by the TODAY Parenting Team

Happy Halloween from my Family Circus

We love this holiday and everyone (even mama Chin) gets into it! From festive cupcakes, to a lion cage and trick or treating with Kiss we ate up Halloween 2015!

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With my sisters and their fun families!hallowen15 family

Mummy juice and treat cups!

Made these in a jiffy tonight with the kids. Just find some medical tape or white electrical tape, some googly eyes (craft store or eye ball stickers work too) and a hole puncher. Punch a hole in a piece of tape to put over the top of the juice box so your child has a place to stick their straw eventually. Wrap the tape around the juice box in all kinds of directions to give it a mummified feel. Add eyes.. and create a brow by placing another piece of the tape diagnolly across the top of the eyes. Tape the straw back on the side of the box.. and you got MUMMY JUICE!

The treat cups are so easy. Get orange cups and black paper. Cut out eyes, nose and mouth. Glue it all on and fill with whatever you got! ENJOY this Halloween Eve and happy Trick or Treating!

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Halloween Eve can be fun too!

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Adora punched a hole and now applies it to the top of the box.

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we don’t bite.. promise.

Disney World in 3 Days

Adora can't wait

We surprised them with a 5 day countdown to Disney by making Mickey Mouse pancakes for dinner and presenting them mouse ears.

Many of you have told me about your plans to visit Disney and wanted to know about the trip. We had a great time, packing a whole lot into three days. After you get your tickets be sure to make your account online at “my disney experience” and download the app. This is gonna be your go-to place for all your reservations and activities. Your “memory maker” will be linked here too. Memory maker holds all the pics photographers in the parks take during your visit. I highly suggest it but also think you should take your own pics too because quality/shots may not always turn out like you expect.

If you have small kids, in my experience staying at one of the resorts with access to the monorail is a good bet. If you plan on taking Disney train, busses, boats expect it to take at least 45 minutes to get there. You always have the option to cab it to a park too- which is obviously faster.

The big thing to know off the bat is 180 days out from your visit you can begin booking events, restaurants etc. Disney Dining Buddy was recently DISNEY Cshut down and honestly it’s what I used to secure some hard to get reservations for this last trip. If you wanna really eat at Cinderella’s Castle or Be Our Guest I’m not kidding when I say you need try to book when that clock strikes 12 at your 180 day out mark.

This year we visited Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney. There is so much to do and it can be overwhelming. I’ll share our itinerary to give you an idea of what we got done in a day with a 4 and 2 year old.

Upon Arrival: Aloha Dinner Show at the Polynesian

This was a fun way to start our trip after arriving in Orlando in the afternoon. The dinner show started around 8pm and was interactive. Adora loved being able to take part in dancing on the stage. The fire dancer and performer was the best. I do think it could have been 15 to 20 minutes shorter. The kids got tired early and traditional dance wasn’t enough to keep them entertained until the very end. The island food was plentiful and satisfying and I’m a big fan of the family style meal presentation.

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During the show people are encouraged to get up and dance

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Pineapple Bread Pudding!

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Memory Maker photo with the fam!

Day 1: Animal Kingdom & Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

We started the day back at the Polynesian for a character breakfast at Ohana. This was a chance to see Lilo, Stitch, Pluto and Mickey himself. The food and service was tasty! We headed to Animal Kingdom from there. The tree of life is something else. Definitely get your pic in front of it. It was cool seeing a walking tree on the way in. Our first stop was in DinoLand and the Boneyard. We took the DINOSAUR ride and I’m not sure who was more scared Adora or Robert! It was frightening but very cool. Definitely for a kid older than 5 since it appears you could be eaten by a T Rex at any moment. We toned it down with a milder Triceratop spin and then headed for the Kilamanjaro Safari ride. This is a must-do and definitely use your fast pass for this. We ate lunch on the go at the BBQ pit by DinoLand and then enjoyed the Festival of the Lion King indoors. Next time I hope to do Everest!

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At age 2, Bob is still warming up to the characters

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DINOSAUR: Scariest ride ever. Adora was horrified lol

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It’s a tree woman walking!

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The Kilimanjaro Safari rocks

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From there it was off to nap before heading to Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! They shut down the park for this.  Adora was Pinocchio and Bob was Jiminy Cricket. During the Halloween Parade Pinocchio spotted Adora and came over to give her a hug. I found it was a good time to go to the Town Square Theater and meet Tinkerbell and Mickey. There were no lines. This Mickey is cool because he speaks and interacts with the kiddos.

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Meet Tink and other characters in the Town Square Theater.

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Parade Tip: There’s good open space to view it near the Barber Shop in Town Square.

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At California Grill (The Contemporary) Bob’s outfit was a hit and he knew it. He worked the room like no other and stopped so people could snap photos of him. It was hilarious.

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Day 2: Magic Kingdom and Parents Night Out

We began the day at a character breakfast inside our resort. The kids met Alice, the Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Winnie and Tigger too. I find eating where you stay is a great time saver. We’re fans of buffets.. they speed things up.

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Comparing mary janes with Alice.

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Then it was back to Magic Kingdom for a morning filled with kid friendly rides. Aladdin’s magic carpet, Toy Story ride, Dumbo, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, It’s a Small world and Pirates of the Caribbean were age appropriate. Adora is 4 and really liked Thunder Mountain and so it’s a good roller coaster for starters.  My fave was the Jungle Cruise! The tour guides tell bad jokes the whole time and they really make you laugh. Next year.. we try Space Mountain! We had lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle and met the princess herself. Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White and Aurora all made appearances at the lunch. Afterwards, we saw Elsa and Anna at Fairytale Hall . Adora was thrilled can’t you tell? 🙂 We wrapped things up around 3pm with the Parade. It was perfect.

Let it Go: having some issues upon meeting the real Ice Queen. Bob was smitten with the princesses and Adora finally chilled out.

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Sign Here: Don’t forget to take your autograph books everywhere and have it opened when you meet the princesses and characters.

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disney mk1The resorts have an in-house babysitting service so we scheduled coverage so that we grown ups could go out to a nice dinner at Victoria and Albert’s. This is another place you have to schedule way ahead of time. There’s a 7 course or 10 course option. We did the 7 and it was more than enough. The food was wonderful quality and a nice twist on American cuisine. A+ for presentation and service. Guys wear a jacket.

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At the end of dinner they give you a rose. Robert brought it back for Adora and she lit up.

Day 3: Epcot, Downtown Disney & Hollywood Studios epcot1

On Day 3 we had breakfast scheduled at Akershu’s Royal Banquet Hall for the Princess character buffet but I canceled since we had already met a lot of royalty. The restaurant is a cool castle located at Epcot. It’s a bit of a walk but a good way to meet Belle and a lot of the princesses. We still headed to Epcot to do Spaceship Earth in the main dome. It’s a nice way to travel back in time and even though it’s in the dark it’s not scary for kids. Some other attractions to use your fast pass for would be Soarin’  (feel like you’re flying) and Mission Space.

From Epcot it was off to Downtown Disney where crews continue to do lots of construction. It’s actually has a new name too: Disney Springs. There we filled up at an animated lunch at the Rainforest Cafe and then Adora had her Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover. Getting reservations at the boutique in Cinderella’s castle is tough so this is a good alternative location. Adora decided she wanted to be Rapunzel. Check out her ombre hair lol.

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While they turn this into Disney Springs expect construction and extra time to park and walk.

Rainforest Cafe: It rains, storms inside while you're eating.

Rainforest Cafe: It rains, storms inside while you’re eating.

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Didn’t realize but you can do a Prince makeover too!

 

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downtown disney rapunzelNext up, Hollywood Studios to see Frozen: Sing Along Celebration.  The kids loved it when it started snowing in the theater- great effect! They also had a blast checking out the fake movie sets and playing in the Muppet fountain. We had Italian dinner at Mama’s Melrose Ristorante. The meatballs were huge. Next year we’ll try to make the Little Mermaid Show. hollywoodstudios

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Fake sets all over!

Last Night: Fireworks cruise

boatSo I was too late booking the Pirate cruise with Peter Pan and Hook but there were still pontoon cruises available that leave the Grand Floridian resort. The kids in their Wendy and Pirate pjs strapped on their life jackets and took a boat with us out onto Buena Vista lake. Our guide Paul was fantastic, giving us a lot of history on the resorts and different parks. At one point they park you so you can see the nightly light show (video below). Then they eventually get you a good view of the castle to watch the fireworks. The show is narrated by Jiminy Cricket and really is magical. Adora couldn’t stop talking about all the shooting stars she saw!fireworks4

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Both got their first trading pins!

Here’s the light show in action:

The End:

After a fun filled few days it was back to reality. We fueled up, headed out and in the words of the Mickey Mouse Club we’ll “See ya real soon!”.

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On the way to the airport Adora took this photo. She wanted to capture the sunrise.

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Headphones, movies and lollipops= flying life savers

Make a Chocolate Graveyard Cake

graveyard cake1My daughter and I decided to create a graveyard cake the week before Halloween. We are chocolate lovers but you can make this cake with any cake mix.

We used an organic chocolate mix from Whole Foods. I whipped the frosting together but you can use any frosting as long as it’s darker. Give the kiddos the task to crush the chocolate cookies (oreos work well). Another good job for them is breaking pretzel sticks in half to make the pathway. Adora loved sticking the Ghost Peeps on lollipop sticks too. The tombstones are made from milano cookies that we just decorated. Frost the cake, sprinkle the cookie crumbs on and the green sprinkles where you want grass. We put extra cookie crumbs on the path to make it look more like a dirt road.  graveyard cake

Good places to pick a pumpkin

cf familyFall is filled with invigorating things! Scarves, crunchy leaves, pumpkin spice, apple cider the list is endless  when it comes to things we love about now. We recently went to Cox Farms in Centreville VA to check out it’s new Enchanted Forest and pick some pumpkins. Here’s list of other great places to check out depending where you live.

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Great Country Farms Bluemont VA

Butler’s Orchard Germantown MD

Waters Orchard Germantown MD

Marker Miller Orchards Winchester VA

If you go to Cox Farms be sure to try the slides (as an adult too!), the apple cider, take the hayride and check out the new Enchanted Forest. You can walk the trail at night too which will make it extra spooky. We loved the sleeping dragon along the way and the upside house. Oh, don’t forget to stop by the Market Place for your pumpkin too!

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Enchanted forest features fairy tale themes

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Grab kettle corn for the hayride!

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Lots to choose from!cf bob

 

 

 

Easy Pumpkin Decorating!

We carved our first pumpkin for the season and it was simple! Adora is 5 so poking the pattern in the pumpkin was a perfect task for her. Digging out the guts took a little nudging but she did it. Bob even got an arm in that too but honestly spent most of his time trying to pick up the other pumpkins all around us.  For those who don’t wanna cut in and get messy I found some fun ways to decorate smaller pumpkins like mummies, witches and owls for $5. (see below)

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psal4 These push-in decorating kits are only $10.

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$5 kits for baby pumpkins

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Some more fun pix!

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Countdown to Disney!

We surprised the kids with a countdown to Disney! 5 days until we’re at the happiest place on Earth. For dinner we wondered WWMD? What would Mickey Do– confetti Mickey pancakes of course!

COUNTDOWN CALENDAR!

WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR!

CONFETTI PANCAKES!

 

Back To School and the Past

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Adora and Bob on the front steps of the original Sydenstricker Schoolhouse (2015)

Back to School pictures this year came with a lesson American education!  I started researching one room schoolhouses in Virginia when I came across and fell in love with this little red school house in Springfield. It’s called the The Historic Sydenstricker Schoolhouse and it was built in 1928. This gem in our backyard is basically in it’s original condition- a real rarity when it comes to early 20th century school houses. The Upper Pohick Community League has maintained it since 1954. Fun fact.. they bought it for $550! Our visit was a real treat. The moment you walk through the doors you can smell an era long gone. The wood beneath you creaks and bends beautifully. The natural light shines perfectly through the old windows that you know have seen a lot of stories come and go. I had the best history guide to show me around. Lisa Friedrich Becker a history lover met me there. She has had a huge hand in efforts to preserve the school which is on the National Historic Registry. She showed me the hooks where kids use to hang their coats and the spot a local couple held their wedding reception in 1954. I brought my kids and gave them a little lesson on how eschool use to be back in the day. To be honest, it was more like a recollection of Little House on the Prairie— a show I was obsessed with as a child. Watching my children run up the stairs into the school house was a brief transport back in time. A time when things seemed so simple. Adora and Bob caused a bit of ruckus jumping and laughing and running in circles on the hardwood. They especially got a kick out of the chance to pull the rope and ring the original school bell. The bell, which was bought in Alexandria survived a fire that burned down the original building.

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During the 1950s the League sponsored a Boy and Girl Scout troop, as well as a “Litter Buggy” which collected trash from local roads. You can see the Schoolhouse in the background.

The school officially closed in 1939 but has played host to many community and private events since then despite it’s limitations– no running water, no bathroom.. unreliable heating and cooling. I’m surprised more photos have not surfaced over the years. They are always looking for anyone who attended Sydenstricker Schoolhouse or were early members of The Upper Pohick Community League. The search is on for any photos or documents they could help tell this unfolding story. Below is an event that the group is having to celebrate and raise awareness about the school.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Community Coffee House, 6-9 PM
FREE live music, coffee and baked goods all donated by members of our community and local businesses! Featuring the Fairfax Band Association Saxophone Quartet, singer Dave Brunelle… and more! Delicious food donated by The Swiss Bakery, Whole Foods Springfield, the Springfield Hilton and more!! There will be no charge for admission, but donations are greatly appreciated. It will be a great evening to celebrate our community!!

The Historic Sydenstricker Schoolhouse is located at 8511 Hooes Road in Springfield, VA 22153 More information available here.

Here’s to learning things… new and old this School Year! 

Bob enters Pre-K this year!

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Adora with her pencil that really writes!

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One of the first students to attend Sydenstricker Schoolhouse (1928)

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Can you imagine how much tag was played outside this school.

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Adora is sitting about where the fridge is in this undated picture of a dance.

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Here’s the schoolhouse decked out for an event in recent years (oh those floors!)

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Bob sitting on a vintage school desk donated by a local resident.

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Bring on the books!

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(photos taken with my iPhone for more historic and recent photos like the one below check out Sydenstricker Schoolhouse’s facebook page)

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Hacks4School: Save space and preserve your child’s art

Finally a solution to that growing pile of precious artwork and projects your little ones bring home. Start with designating an Art Drop Box to collect your child’s creations. At the end of the year send it off to Plum Print and they’ll digitize everything (including 3 D objects) and turn it into a beautiful masterpiece of a book!

#Hacks4School: Drowning in your little Picasso’s artwork? News4’s Angie Goff shares a digital trick that will help you keep all of your child’s school projects – in half the space! For more school hacks, check out our Pinterest board here –> http://nbc4dc.com/SeaeGn0

Posted by NBC Washington on Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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