Baby books and ways to keep up...

I can't tell you how many years I was behind on my children's baby books. I was waaayyy behind! I really wanted to make it a priority to catch up before I took on our next journey - homeschooling! I know that I'll have even less time to do "side projects". I kept a family blog for a couple of years with my first two and I documented everything my first two did their first year. When it came time to jot down the info into the books it was so easy! I'm so glad I kept that up. I do keep my baby books in view. I keep them where I can see them. It reminds me to keep up with them and when I have mementos or pictures developed I slip it in their tub and it's easier than searching around for them when I decide to do the books. Every month I work on them, even it's just to remind me to trace their hand or put in their little tickets stubs from visiting someplace new!

Strategies I use to stay organized ~
~Put each child's baby book in a clear storage tub, and keep the tub in a visual place! Ever heard out of sight, out of mind? It's completely true! When you don't see the books, you forget that you want to keep up with it!
~Place mementos, love notes, cards, kids artwork, pictures, Dr. visit summary pages, other pieces of  memorabilia in the tub as the month goes along. I also love when they are little to stamp or trace their foot and hand every couple of months for those pages. You can layer them at the end of the end to show growth!
~Every month - clean out the tub and place collected memories in the baby book where they go.
~Photo collages are so easy from Walgreens. I made a collage for each month up to a year, and then for birthday parties too. I uploaded my pics from Facebook and Instagram and I was done within minutes! It's really that easy! I did my journaling on the page, so I didn't need a title or words with the pics.
~Cut up the Christmas cards and birthday invites for pictures for the friends page! All the Christmas cards and 1st birthday invites that had photos I used for the friends page and it it filled up quickly!
~Put pictures on Facebook each month or on Shutterfly! Keeping up with it monthly is easier than at the end of the year trying to catch up! Here is a Shutterfly code for 101 free prints!
~Organize pictures by month on your laptop/computer. Every month I download my phone to my laptop as well as any pics taken that month and label them Sept 2014 for example. In that folder I have another folder that might say dads phone, mom's phone. Just so I remember when they were taken.
I hope my strategies help you stay on top of those baby books or help you catch up! It truly feels like an accomplishment! LOL!

Feel free to leave a comment on strategies you use to stay organized and on top of baby books. The first year really is where all the work starts and the birth story and such. After the 1st 12 months, it gets easier I promise if you can stay on top of it!

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Disney Junior #powerofdoinggood

 I have many seen commercials on Disney Junior for #powerofdoinggood - Being a Good Citizen. They are helping kids realize that even though they are young, you can still make a difference to our planet, in someones life or to the life of an animal. I found about the event in my area by following Genevieve Goings on Twitter, if you don't know who that is... she is the singer from Choo Choo Soul! She announced that she would be at the event, which I got super excited about because we love her songs on Disney Junior. (unfortunately we got there after she left) I invited friends from Facebook after I was able to get tickets, there was another window earlier in the year for an event and I couldn't get tickets. I don't think my friends really knew what it was... in fact neither did I, but it looked like something my girls would like!
   We choose a 2 pm time slot for arrival and there were shows every 30 minutes continuously. It was over an hour away from where we live at a park called Oyster Creek in Sugarland. They had officers working the street and in the parking lot, so it felt very safe! I saw a few moms with umbrellas, so I loaded up all the umbrellas I could find to create shade on this hot day. I'm glad I had them! No strollers were allowed in the event, which I hadn't planned on, but I understand why (it would be a traffic jam and I'm glad all my kiddos can walk!). After presenting your tickets we were given yellow DisneyJunior bags, which I saw we were getting, so because I left my diaper bag in the car I used the yellow bag! Thank you! They also gave us a water bottle, which was very considerate. They had hydration stations where you could fill them up while there. Truly - they thought of everything, Disney usually does though!
The kids could choose a Jake headband or a Sofia tiara to earn stickers at the event stations. Each station was a point of being a good citizen - Helping family, others, animals, the environment. Once they earned their 4 stickers, they were ready to watch the show with Jake and Sofia. So however long it took your kids to go through each station they chose, was up to each family. After we earned our 4 stickers we stood in line for the next show, which we had caught bits and pieces while doing stations. It was very organized and well planned for traffic flow. The Radio Disney DJ's came on stage and did a couple of activities and then Jake and Sofia came out and sang one song together. That was it, but it was short and sweet and to the point. It truly was so hot, that doing all the stations and the song was about an hour.
If you have this event coming to your area, I would highly recommend! Bring sunscreen, a fan or umbrella and have snacks for the ride home!

Links for upcoming events and printable -
The flyer for upcoming events
Genevieve from ChooChooSoul on Twitter

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Places to buy Frozen!

My girls LOVE Frozen! I've said that before! There are places we are still finding Frozen merchandise - shirts, lunch boxes, socks, and lots of books! My girls on constantly on the lookout! No, we don't buy everything we see, but I do text my Frozen momma friends who are also looking for stuff for their children and I am more than willing to buy for them. I will even stand in the line for an Elsa dress on a Saturday for a childhood friend who doesn't live close to a Disney Store. So here is where I am finding Frozen items -
Barnes and Noble - Books, dolls, and even the figurines! Check endcaps near the escalators and not necessarily in the kids section.
Hallmark -

Olaf ornament is coming soon and they had some stationary Frozen items too- notepads, diary, pens, and a few other little things.
Target - Cute shirts and panties, when you can find them!
Marshalls/Home Goods - Frozen lunch tins with a puzzle inside, also we've found books and busy notepads
Toys R Us - Hit or Miss! I was recently in Baton Rouge and hit Frozen jackpot! Olaf summer tea set, a doll set with toddler dolls - and Sven and Olaf. They had crowns, dolls and more. Our local store never has anything really.
Walmart - $1 Stickers! Hidden near the cards.party aisle or near office supplies/posters area.

Bed Bath and Beyond - Tervis tumblers! Olaf and Elsa/Anna

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great family pics at Disney - Color Coordinate or matchy matchy...

I admit it, I'm one of "those moms". Every day is picture day here at our house. I love documenting my girls and the little things we do daily and especially the big things we do - like going to Disney! My husband hates when I ask what's the "color scheme" when we head to church. Or sometimes I'll wait to see what he chooses to wear and then choose coordinating colors for the girls. Not always do I do this, but a lot of times! Planning what my two girls wore (#3 wasn't born yet) was the hardest part. I planned around our character dinners and at what park we were doing! We did 7 character dinners and I knew that what we wore to those would probably be my favorite pics from the trip. After I planned for the girls, I laid out each day for my husband on the floor so he could visually see what they were wearing. Then he laid out his matching outfit for that day too. Some of the days we had two outfits - park time, dinner time. If you get hot and sweaty it's nice to have a change. We packed our clothes together for that day in our suitcase too, so it was easy to just grab that set of clothes out for the next day. I wrote on my calendar, along the reservation number and the outfit for the day so I would remember what we were wearing. This was nice for those late nights at the park, to just look at the calendar and it told me what to wear! I think planning outfits ahead of time makes for a less stressful trip for sure!

Here are a few other pics from our trip where you can see the color coordination:

Are you a matchy matchy type family? Or Color Coordinated family? We are both! We love Disney and spending time with our family and not having to stress about what to wear while on vacation is a plus in my book! I think pictures look better when coordinated or matching too!

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DIY Animal Kingdom shirts

On our last trip in  to WDW May 2012, I wanted to make shirts for the girls. I knew that these shirts wouldn't last long since kids grow so fast and I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on a custom top from Etsy - although they have some really cute ones! Being a one income family, I have to watch my spending and can't go crazy...as much as I'd like too! Ha! I got a simple white tank top from Target for $3 and it had a pocket on the one side. I used my stitch ripper to carefully take it off. Came off fine! Then I used my Mickey head tracer and traced it on the backside of my zebra fabric and cut it out. I then took one long strip of fabric and pinned it in folds across the front of the shirt. I didn't do the back because they would sit on it anyway. I just sewed straight across the folds removing the pins as I went along. The Mickey head was a little harder to sew on, since it has lots of curves. I'm not a professional seamstress by any means, but you don't have to be to make this shirt! No it's not perfect, but it looked great in photos and I had people stop me and ask about it! I added a $2.99 hair bow from Hobby Lobby and viola! Loved the finished product! The skirts are from Target with little shorts underneath.

I cut out a Mickey head out of my fabric and spray adhesive glued in one, then just stitched it around. I found out that the curves are not easy! That's the entire head! Ha! It didn't turn out perfect, but I knew that the shirts might not last past our trip and I was ok with that! The bottom strip of fabric I measured twice or three times the length of the shirt and then I used pins to create the ruffle. I just straight sewed it down the middle and it turned out cute. I am not a seamstress, so this was just an easy way to make my idea. I would say this outfit cost me about $11 an outfit including the bow. The skirts and bows we have used again and again and the shirt we wear occasionally since our trip. 


Easy way to invite someone to Easter service

I know that inviting someone to church can be uncomfortable. Our church gives us flyers to hand out or place on neighbors doors. I did use those to invite some of my mommy friends who don't go my church, but I wanted to invite all of my neighbors on my street. We live on a great street where we have block parties, movie nights, summer bbq's and lots of street playtime with all the neighbor kids! We are truly blessed to have such great families on our street. A lot of my neighbors go to different churches in the area. Some of my neighbors are new to the street and I don't know if they attend church somewhere. For those neighbors I included my house number so they would know who was EGGing them. 
  I had the idea to make a handwritten note and then hide eggs in the yard of that neighbor. Some houses had 5 eggs and some had 20, if they had lots of kids! We hid them in secret when they weren't home or in the evening and a few of them we were just really quiet since they were home and hid them. My girls had a blast! They thought it was so fun to hide the eggs and we were also doing something that could possibly change someones life. 
Doing this was so easy and I received many texts from my neighbors saying their kids loved it and they might be able to make it. Even if they don't I did my part and invited them. I have seen from experience that if you invite someone to go to church on a special event time or at a time when you are going, they are more likely to come along. I think that a lot of people visit church on Easter, sometimes as the only day of the year. So inviting them to come to church could make an eternal difference. This isn't about my church being the best or anything, but more about getting people to interact with God and hearing a message about him. I have no idea what the message is, but I trust my pastor and I love my church. I know from experience that the message for Easter services is always a powerful one and one to be shared. 
I encourage you to go out and invite someone to church and if you want to EGG them - go for it! It's fun and casual and is just a neat way to take that step that is sometimes nerve wracking!


#UBP14 Ultimate Blog Party

I'm Sarah- a Christian, Stay at home, (new) homeschooling mom to three little girls and self proclaimed Disneynerd. I love practically everything Disney and have since as far back as I can remember. Family trips to the Walt Disney World park started in 1986. I did go through a phase where Disney was not my focus or even on the radar, and then in 2007 and again in 2009 til today my #disneyside is in full force. I think having kids intensified that pull to get me back to the parks and back into the wonder and excitement of the Disney magic in movies and the music.
How I announced baby #3! 
   I love to talk Disney with friends who are planning trips and long to be on the Disney Moms Panel if it's God's timing! I know that I can be intense and full of knowledge when helping others and I find that those challenges and conversations stimulate me to want others to experience one of my happy places. I want their trip to be as stress free as possible so that they enjoy themselves and make those memories to last a lifetime. If I don't ever make the Moms Panel, than I could see myself joining a travel agency to help plan trips for other families. I love entering contests to win Disney vacations and hope to win a nights stay in Cinderella's castle which would be a dream come true for this momma and a few little girls!

   I recently (as in last May) started running and my husband told me he would take me to Disneyland if I ran a half marathon. So guess what?? I trained my patootie off and earned my pink Coast to Coast RunDisney medal in 2014. I ran the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland and then 5 weeks later ran the Princess Half Marathon at Disneyworld! I had an absolute blast and loved running at Disney!

 I'm not paid for anything I write or do. I would like to know how people do that and get paid, but I also like not having a bunch of ads down the side of my pages and truly do love just Sharing my Disney Love with others. I love to craft in Disney ways such as shirts for trips, scrapbooks from trips and cool ways to display those Disney moments in shadowboxes or with other crafts. Everyday has a touch of Disney at our house...from music in the car, to ringtones on my phone, to the tshirt on my back. I know that choosing to homeschool my kindergartner this coming school year is going to shift my focus again in a good way, but I was a teacher for 9 years and it's funny how Disney can slip into those lessons! I blog mostly about Disney, but I occasionally blog about running in general and other topics.

You can follow me on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter as @disneytrout
On Facebook and Google+ as well! 
In 2007 I was able to talk my hubby into visiting Disneyland Paris for only a day of our trip and it was a wonderful day!
I can't wait to meet some new blogger friends doing this Blog Party and hopefully some Disney lovers or homeschool moms too! 

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Disney Park Maps - DIY project

I know I'm not the only one out there who loves the maps from the Disney Parks! I see people making jewelry out them and coasters and all kinds of cool things on Etsy. I am not a "crafty" original kind of person, more of a see something I like and Disneyfy it and make it my own creation.
We had a craft day with my mommy group that I do weekly. They tell you what the craft is and supply some supplies and then you make it your own or you can copy their example. We usually know a few days beforehand in case we want to bring any other supplies to add to our craft. They had a paper lantern craft set up for us. They supplied tissue paper, wrapping paper, ribbon and paint. I looked up ideas on Pinterest and saw that someone had use an atlas to create a maps lantern and that got my mind turning! I have tons of maps! I loved using them in my classroom when it was time to learn about map skills with my 2nd graders and even my little girls today. Lots of learning can be done with them, but I wanted to create my lantern out of them. I also love to use my maps to help my friends plan their trips. I will write where you can find certain characters at, great viewing spots for parades or fireworks and then how to tour and get more fun for your time! As hard as it was to cut them up, I know that it was worth it! I did make sure to keep on from each park in each time period.
So I had an hour and a half to make my lantern and all I did was cut out circles! I was told I would need 60 3" circles. But it all depended on what size lantern you used, which I of course had no idea til I got there! It was a 14" lantern. I ended up using around 60 circles for this project.
I finished my lantern the next day armed with my circles and my hot glue gun!

The first pic is the lantern upside down. I only used a dot of hot glue.
My Animal Kingdom map was well worn from the day we used it!

Most maps I got 5 circles from, but the new maps are less colorful and I got less circles!
I hung it up in my laundry room since I'm in there a lot! I loved how it turned out and it was so easy to make. Love the older maps version for this project though! Larger fonts and more colorful! So what do you do with the park maps? I'd love to see!!

The case of the missing Frozen merchandise!

Ever since last Halloween, my oldest daughter has loved Frozen. We got her the costume of Elsa before we ever saw the movie and we have since added to our Frozen collection... There are lots of things out there, if you can find them! Here is the problem - everybody is in love with Frozen! We have a Disney Store in our local mall and we are regulars to visit. Today we visited after having a playdate at the mall playground and they had Frozen music/jewelry boxes! I got so excited! I immediately scooped up the last 5 they had a texted all my Frozen momma friends whose daughters also love Frozen and offered to pick them up for them! Cause I'm nice like that! Ha! I love shopping for other people and finding deals! Of course both of my girls wanted the music box, but I told them we only needed one for the family. Sometimes we buy stuff for a particular sister and then other times it's for "the family" meaning that it's all of ours and we share it.
 We not only have these two suits, but also the towel that we haven't seen since it hit the stores!

They also had Anna and Elsa cups, which we haven't had in a long time. Stuff was literally flying off the shelves! This past Tuesday they had Anna costumes and boots and by Friday - nothing! If you see something you better grab it quick cause they don't last!
Last week they had the cute little hula Olaf that attached to your car dash and would do the hula. Gone by the end of the day! I think Disney is trying to keep up with demand and put more stuff out and had no idea that Frozen would be such a hit! Even in the parks we could only find a two items at Disneyland and at Walt Disney World in Norway at EPCOT was THE only place I saw anything Frozen!

This little guy is sooo cute! He's $10 at the Disney Store and he is a dash board hula figure. There is a sticker for him to stick to your dash and everything! He sells out quick! I did not buy him since my husband would not drive my car if I had one! Ha!

Found this umbrella at Toys R Us! So cute! We didn't buy it since we have the umbrellas from the Disney Store.
Other places we had found Frozen merchandise-
JCPenney - shirts, costumes, dolls, figurines, hit or miss at stores now
Walmart- We found pillow, blanket and dinnerware before Christmas. Now it's hit or miss on anything
Stride Rite - Anna boots, necklace and a Frozen watch
Children's Place - Frozen shirts for toddlers, and older girls - hit or miss again these days
Target - books, costumes, figurines, dolls, shirt, luggage that looks like a sled - hard to find, but they usually have a small selection every now and then

I am not kidding when I say that it's soooo hard to find this stuff! People are selling some of this on Ebay for ridiculous prices and making a fortune off others and I find that wrong. Paying $800 for an Elsa costume is just crazy! Be patient, I'm sure Disney has more in store for us! Our Disney Store gets stuff in each shipment, but they never know what that will be! Be patient and know that it's coming! 


Have you heard of Mayhem? #inspiredbymayhem

I found a mom on Instagram a few weeks ago called @2sisters_angie she and her daughter make dresses out of tablecloths, construction paper and tape. I can't wait to do it with my girls, I just haven't yet. If you want to see more of her creations check out www.fashionbymayhem.com She is just a normal mom who all of a sudden has 340,000 followers on Instagram. She has done Disney princesses, fashion models, celebrities and even book inspired dresses! She truly is so creative and I love that they do it together.
I am apart of a mommy group through my church and we meet each Thursday. We have breakfast buffet everyday along with praise and worship and usually a guest speaker. We also have sessions where we get to do crafts and sometimes team challenges. This years team challenge reminded me alot of Mayhem! Our task for each table of moms was to use only certain given supplies to create an outfit. We were given lots of duct tape, regular tape and wrapping paper! They also had newspaper and a few other odds and ends. We were only given about 30-40 minutes to make our creation. We only had three people at our table since some of our ladies were out that day. A lot of other tables had 8 moms.
Here is what we started with
wrapping paper, white and silver glittery duct tape and pink tissue paper is what we ended up using.

And here is what we created!
We had to give a fashion show speech per say when our model got on stage. (there were prizes for the best dressed and presentation) I completely made it all up along the way and we ended up winning! I made up that our dress was inspired by Glenda the good witch ready for a night out on the town. With her ruffles in the back and the v neck neckline it accentuates all the right places. She is dressed in her couture gown along with her MK bag and Jimmy Choo shoes. Her crown, earrings, shoes and crystal embellishments on her dress (made out of duct tape) were all covered in Swarovski crystals. This dress is one of a kind and will be on display in the Smithsonian.

I think this would be an awesome moms night out activity or even a bridal shower/baby shower game! The creative juices were definitely tapped and there was lots of laughter!
Here are the other tables along with ours.
Loved her skirt and she had a long red sash on the side. So pretty!

A nun.

A peacock inspired dress

Date night outfit

The mom vest - it had all these pockets and the other moms acted like children and she was well prepared for anything her "kids" threw at her! Ha! It was so cute!

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