Early Childhood Homeschooling Made Easy

Taking teaching and your child's future into your own hands.

Christmas Craft Projects

We’ve done numerous craft and baking projects this holiday season.  They are fun to do, they keep my daughter busy, and they can be a good learning tool.

Here are some of the projects we’ve done for Christmas.

Marshmallow Snowman

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Paper Wreath

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Paper Christmas Tree

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Holiday Coloring Pages (We’ve done a lot, but these were from her dance studio.)

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Chocolate Pretzel Snacks with Holiday Sprinkles

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Baking Cookies

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Salt Dough Ornaments

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Christmas Countdown Chart

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Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

Please feel free to share what types of Christmas crafts and baking projects you do with your kids.

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Beaded Salt Dough Ornaments

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This was the first year we made salt dough ornaments.  For the most part, they came out pretty good.  We’re happy with them, and my daughter was very proud of what we did.  Yesterday, we made some beaded salt dough ornaments.  We didn’t do anything all that special to make them.  My daughter rolled out the dough is circles/ovals, then put beads in them.  We used different colored dough for each ornament.  At first sight, these ornaments can look unimpressive.  But…The ornaments look great when put in front of a light.  They catch the light from the tree, and the beads kind of glow.  Very pretty.

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Once we added the varnish to them and hung them on the tree, we could see their true beauty.  I think these are my daughter’s favorite salt dough ornaments.  We might end up hanging them in our window during the summer like sun-catchers.

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* See previous post for salt dough recipe.

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Salt Dough Ornaments and Cinnamon Salt Dough Ornaments

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When I was little, my best friend’s mom made beautiful salt dough ornaments to sell at craft shows, and to sell to friends and neighbors.  I remember us having various ornaments that she made, and this beautiful fake blueberry pie that looked exactly like a real pie.  I was always impressed that she could make this stuff in her own kitchen.  One year, she even let my friend and me make some ornaments with the salt dough, just for fun.  It was something I always wanted to do on my own when I grew up.

Fast forward over 20 years, and my friend is no longer with us (she was killed by a drunk driver when we were in college), but I still remember the wonderful salt dough ornaments that her mom used to make.  I send her mom and dad a Christmas card every year.  This year when I was working on my Christmas cards, I decided that I would try my hand at making some salt dough ornaments with my daughter.  Kayla is 4 years old now, so she is old enough to do a lot of it on her own.  I know my ornaments won’t be quite like my friend’s mom’s ornaments, but they can still be special.

My daughter and I started out by using a very basic salt dough recipe.  (There are tons of slightly different recipes on the internet, but this one worked for us.)

Salt Dough Recipe

2 cups Flour

1 cup salt

1/2 cup water, and add more water as needed

We mixed the ingredients together in a bowl and kneaded it until it was the right consistency.  Keep adding water little by little until the dough is the way you want it.  If it gets too watery…sticky…add a little more flour.

Once the dough was just right, we divided out the dough.  Some of it we kept as is, and the rest we used to make colored dough.  We used Crayola kid’s paint to color the dough.  We made red dough, green dough, blue dough, and purple dough.  You can do whatever colors you want.  We were trying to stick to Christmas colors, and we also did purple so we could make a special ornament for one of our friends.  We put a dab of paint on a ball of dough, then kneaded the paint into the dough until it was the color we wanted.

Plain salt dough

Plain salt dough

Green dough

Green dough

Kayla working on making red dough.

Kayla working on making red dough.

She kneaded the red paint into the dough all by herself.

She kneaded the red paint into the dough all by herself.

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Colored salt dough

We used the plain dough to make a handprint.  She is giving the handprint to daddy as a surprise Christmas present.  We used the colored dough to make candy canes, and used cookie cutter to cut out ornaments.

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When making candy canes, we just rolled the dough with our hands to make two long worms and twisted them together.  In order to use the cookie cutters, we rolled the dough with a rolling pin, then cut out our shapes.  Once we were all done, we baked them in the oven at 200 degrees for 2 hours.  When we took them out, they were hardening up.  Not super hard, but hard enough.  After that, we just set them out so they could air dry.  Some recipes will tell you to bake them for longer times, like 4 hours, but we simply don’t have the time for that.  The way we did it worked fine.

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After letting them sit for 24 hours, we painted them.  Painting them is optional, especially if you used colored dough.  It adds to the fun of it to let the kids paint them.  Kayla enjoyed being able to paint the handprint for her dad, and ornament gifts for friends.  She was very proud of herself.  Right now, our first batch of ornaments have been painted and are ready to be covered in a varnish.  If you’re painting the ornaments completely, a varnish isn’t necessary, although it does give them a nice glossy finish.  Not all of ours are painted, so we plan to put varnish on all of them to give them a finishing touch.  Plus, this will make them last longer.  These are keepsakes we want to have for years to come.

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Another thing we tried was using a cookie mold tray/pan.  The pan has Christmas molds built in, as you can see in the picture below.  We just put the dough into the molds and baked it.  Halfway through baking, I pulled it out and popped the dough ornaments out of the molds.  I then added the ornaments to the baking sheet with the other dough ornaments we were baking to let them finish hardening.  I’m sure I could have baked them in the molds for the entire time, but I didn’t want to take the chance of them getting burned or stuck in the molds.  These dough ornaments came out great.  We were impressed by the detail.  They will be fun to paint.

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So far, we’ve done 3 batches of salt dough ornaments.  On the last batch, we recruited my husband to do some with us.  He wasn’t exactly thrilled to join in, but he humored us.  I’d like this to be a new family tradition.  Something we can do together every year.  My husband tends to only like to do things that were traditions in his family, and he loves to do stuff WITH his family.  Trying to get him to create new family traditions with me and our daughter can be a challenge at times, but it’s worth the effort.  In the end, he made a few really nice dough ornaments that should look great on the tree.  I think it is important to create holiday traditions with your family.  It is nice to carry on traditions that you grew up with, which are important to us, but it’s also important to create NEW traditions with your significant others and your kids.  It’s all about creating memories.

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In our last batch, we made some cinnamon salt dough.  This dough gives the ornaments a lovely cinnamon scent.  When we paint them tomorrow, we are going to add a touch of cinnamon to the paint to enhance the cinnamon scent.  What I loved most about the cinnamon dough was that it gave the ornaments a beautiful country Christmas look.  I wouldn’t mind keeping these natural and not painting them, but my daughter is looking forward to painting them tomorrow.

Cinnamon Salt Dough Recipe

1 cup Flour

1/2 cup Salt

1/2 cup Cinnamon

3/4 cup warm water

The recipe I used said you don’t need to bake them, just let them air dry for 24 hours.  We baked ours along with our other salt dough ornaments and they came out great.  200 degrees for 2 hours.

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Cinnamon salt dough

The cinnamon salt dough was probably my favorite, but my daughter and husband preferred the colored dough.  I could see the beauty in the simple cinnamon dough ornaments.  They look very traditional to me.  Something you would have seen hanging on trees years ago.

We plan to play around some more with our dough ornaments.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to try making some with beads tomorrow.  If I have time, I will try to type up a quick post with pictures of the dough ornaments with beads.

Happy ornament making!

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Frozen Birthday Party

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Like a lot of girls right now, my daughter wanted a Frozen birthday party.  My husband, who is a little Frozen crazy too, wanted to give her a big Frozen party for our family and close friends.  I was hesitant.  With my husband’s big family, parties are not exactly fun to plan and carry out.  But since Kayla was so excited, I decided to go ahead and do it.  The party was a success, but did require a lot of work to plan out.

As life sometimes happens, the morning of the party, Kayla woke up sick with an upset stomach.  Although the party went well, we didn’t get to put up all the decorations and do everything we planned, but we did get mostly everything done.  Kayla was a trooper while we set up for the party and during 3/4’s of the party.  Toward the end, her upset stomach started to catch up to her.

Here are some highlights from the party.

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We had cardboard stand ups so the kids could take pictures with them, and we used the Olaf one to play Pin the Nose on Olaf.  The kids loved them.

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We played Sven’s Buckets, and used fake snowballs to throw into the buckets.  This was my daughter’s favorite game/activity at the party.

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Then we played Pin the Nose on Olaf.

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Next up was building a snowman with Olaf stickers.  I had a set of Olaf stickers for all the kids where they have to put him together.  I also had other Frozen stickers, so they could create their own Frozen ornaments.

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I decorated a cake table for Kayla’s Frozen cake and Olaf cupcakes.  It came out really pretty.

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Kayla got a lot of present, and only about a third of them were Frozen related.  Which was fine with us because she’s getting plenty of Frozen stuff on her actual birthday and for Christmas.

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Party planning

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Frozen Fridays

As with many kids right now, especially little girls, my daughter loves everything Frozen. We have the dvd, the cd in the car, posters on the wall, several shirts, gym shoes, a backpack and lunch bag, an Elsa costume, coloring books, reading books, dolls, etc. The list goes on and on. Whatever we can find in the stores and online that is reasonably priced, we buy it. Although she has only watched the movie a handful off times, she has listened to the cd more times than I could possibly remember.

Due to this current obsession, I decided to do “Frozen Fridays” over the summer. My husband is always out fishing on Friday nights during the summer, and my daughter and I are free to do whatever we want for the evening. Since I am a stay at home mom, some Fridays can seem to last forever. My solution is to find activities for us to do to keep us busy. Each Friday, I would come up with different Frozen themed activities for us to do together. Although at times it has been a lot of work, it has also been fun.

Here are a few of our Frozen Friday activities:

Make your own Olaf

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Make your own Frozen Cakes

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Make Frozen Rice Crispie Treats

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Frozen Jello

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Snowball Cookies

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Blue Frozen Sugar Cookies

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Those are just some of our Frozen Friday activities. What type of Frozen activities have you done with your kids? I would love to hear about them, and see pictures.

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Best Rides and Attractions for Preschoolers at Disney World

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I’ve been to Disney World many times. The majority of my visits were when I was young, but I have been three times as an adult. I remember the rides I loved as a kid. They stand out in my mind and bring back great memories. There is nothing like being a child and going on some of the Disney classic rides for the first time. It truly is magical.

Last year when preparing for our trip, and my daughter’s first time going to Disney World, I did a lot of research. One of my main areas of focus was rides. I wanted to make sure I knew in advance what rides she was able to ride on (height requirements), and which ones were age appropriate for her. I knew there may be a few rides that she would be tall enough to get on, but she may not be quite ready for yet, for one reason or another. Luckily, since it was Disney World, she was able to ride on lots and lots of rides on our trip. She was thrilled since she is already a ride junkie.

When we went on our trip last November, we went the week before Kayla’s 3rd birthday. A year later, we are planning on going again, this time the week before her 4th birthday. Once again, I find myself researching rides to see what rides she will be tall enough to go on, and what rides are appropriate for her age. I don’t think any parent wants to take there kid on a ride that is going to traumatize them, or that will ruin their child’s love for rides. In all honesty, I think that most of the rides at Disney World are fairly tame for kids that are thrill seekers. But there are rides, for more timid riders, that may be a bit much.

So here is my list of the best rides and attractions for preschoolers at Disney World.

Magic Kingdom

– Dumbo

– It’s a Small World

– Peter Pan’s Flight

– PeopleMover

– Winnie the Pooh

– Mad Tea Party

– Regal Carrousel

– Jungle Cruise

– Magic Carpets (just like Dumbo, but with Aladdin’s carpets instead)

– Railroad

– Buzz Lightyear

– Enchanted Tales with Belle (not really a ride, but still cute)

– Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid

For more daring preschoolers, like my daughter, there are even more options. Some of these have height requirements, so make sure your little ones are tall enough. I am focusing on rides that are for kids 5 and younger.

– Astro Orbiter

– Big Thunder Mountain (40 inches or taller)

– Barnstormer (35 inches or taller)

– Haunted Mansion

– Pirates of the Caribbean

– 7 Dwarfs Mine Train (the newest family roller coaster, 38 inches or taller)

– Splash Mountain (40 inches or taller)

There are all types of stuff for youngsters to enjoy at the Magic Kingdom. Some of my favorites as a kid were the Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bears, and Carousel of Progress (which is also great for getting out of the heat).

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Epcot

– Spaceship Earth

– Journey into Imagination with Figment

– Gran Fiesta Tour (World Showcase, Mexico)

– Seas of Nemo and Friends

– Soarin (40 inches or taller)

– Test Track (40 inches or taller)

– Turtle Talk with Crush

There are other stuff for the little ones to do, but some of it won’t hold their interest very well. We actually used Ellen’s Energy Adventure to put our daughter down for a nap last year. She stayed awake up until she saw the dinosaurs, then she fell asleep on my lap. Kids also enjoy the kidcot fun spots. It can keep the kids entertained while adults and older kids check out the shops.

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Animal Kingdom

– Dinosaur (40 inches or taller)

– Kali River Rapids (38 inches or taller)

– Kilimanjaro Safaris

– TriceraTop Spin

There are a lot of shows, trails to see animals, and areas to keep the kids busy at Animal Kingdom. This was my husband’s favorite park because it’s more laidback. Not as many rides. There’s a lot of nature. It also has an education aspect to it.

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Hollywood Studios (MGM to those of you that haven’t been there in years.)

– Great Movie Ride

– Star Tours (40 inches or taller)

– Toy Story Mania

– Tower of Terror (40 inches or taller)

Hollywood Studios is a great place to see lots of shows for the little ones. They have the Muppets, Disney Junior, Beauty and the Beast, and Voyage of the Little Mermaid. There aren’t a ton of rides here, but the shows and atmosphere make it worth it. And now this year they have a Frozen Sing Along that will delight all the little Frozen fans.

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Disney World’s four theme parks are definitely geared towards kids and families. They have plenty of rides for young kids, with just enough stuff for older kids and adults to stay interested. I hear parents all the time worry about taking kids under 5 to Disney World because they think the little ones won’t have enough to do. Believe me, there will be more than enough stuff to keep your little one entertained at the World. It’s well worth the money.

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Getting a Lunch Fastpass+ Reservation for Be Our Guest Restaurant at Disney World

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Since Be Our Guest restaurant first opened at Disney Word, it has been a hard place to get into for lunch and dinner.  For dinner, you have to try to obtain an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) because it is a table service restaurant at dinnertime.  But for lunch, you either have to stand in the insanely long lines, or get a Fastpass+ reservation for it.  Be Our Guest is considered a quick service location for lunchtime.  (I know, it’s a little confusing.)  Luckily, we are staying onsite, so we have the option to get a Fastpass+ reservation.  This Fastpass+ does not count toward your normal 3 Fastpass+ reservations a day.  This is a separate system all together.

My first piece of advice for anyone trying to get a Fastpass+ for this is to not get stressed out.  If you are staying onsite in one of the Disney World resorts, you will have the opportunity to log onto a special website to get the Fastpass+.  The window opens up 27 days before the day you want to dine there.  Exactly 27 days.  So if you are going to be at Disney World from November 1st – 8th, and you want to eat at Be Our Guest on November 4th, you will need to make the Fastpass+ 27 days before your dining date.  Not 27 days from the start of your trip.  This has been confusing to a lot of people.  From my own personal experience, it doesn’t open up at exactly midnight from 27 days out.  You’ll just have to keep checking back all day until you finally see it open up.  Don’t get frustrated and give up, because it will open up eventually.

The website you will go to is:  https://beourguestlunch.disney.go.com/

When you go to the site, you can use your disneyworld.com username/email address and password to log on.  When you log in, you will need your 12 digit reservation number to proceed any further.  This will not be your normal confirmation number with the letters and numbers.  This reservation number has no letters in it at all.  You can find your reservation number in several places.

Places to find reservation number

–  If you booked a Disney vacation package and have less than 60 days until your trip, you can find it at  https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/trip/my-vacation/.  Click on the Check-in Online link.  When you click on it, or hover over the link, your 12 digit reservation number will appear in your browser URL address field.  (Where you type in website addresses at the top of your screen.)  I had to click on the link in order to see the number.

–  If you are taking the Magical Express to your resort, the number can be found on the luggage tags Disney mails to you.  Disney mails the luggage tags to you about 30 days before your trip.

–  If you are getting the Memory Maker package, you may be able to locate your 12 digit number with your package info.

–  I believe anyone that books a room-only stay at Disney resorts can find their number at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/trip/my-vacation/.  I assume they can locate their number the same way a person that books a package can locate theirs, by going to the Check-in Online link.  If not, you should be able to find it on your reservation page on the website.

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After typing in your reservation number and name on your reservation, you will be able to schedule your Fastpass+.  It’s very straightforward, and even allows you to pre-order your food.  The option to pre-order our food was a bonus for us.  Anything that can save some time in the parks is nice in our opinion.

The site will give you the option to add any celebrations to your party, such as, birthdays and anniversaries.  I was able to add my daughter’s birthday as a celebration.  It was a nice touch, and saves us from having to try to inform the host/hostess or waiter/waitress once we arrive.

The site will take you screen by screen to help you set up your Fastpass+.  The following screen shots are just an example of the options I had for one of my days.  This is not our actual reservation, but I did want to let people see what the site looks like once you’re logged on.  I found it frustrating when I was looking up information online that I couldn’t find much details about the actual site.

The first screen gives you options on what you’d like to do.  You can Select or Replace your Fastpass+, View, Modify Meal Selections, or Cancel.

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Next, you Select the Day you want to dine at Be our Guest.

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Then it tells you who will be part of your dining party.  Your dining party will be everyone staying in your hotel room for your package stay or your room-only stay.  You can reduce the size of your party upon arrival for your Fastpass+ reservation.

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After that, you will Select an Option for what type of Fastpass+ you want.  You can do Direct to Table or Expedited Arrival.  With Direct to Table, you get to pre-order your food so when you arrive, they will just bring you out your food.  You won’t have to worry about ordering food once you get there.  If you prefer Expedited Arrival, this is just the traditional Fastpass+ that will get you in sooner than the stand-by line, but you will order once you arrive at the restaurant.  On this page, you will also get to pick your Arrival Window for your Fastpass+.

If you are doing the Direct to Table option for dining, you will get to decide how you want to Plan Your Meal.  Do you want to plan for each member of your party individually, or do it as a group?

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The next screen will give you Meal Selection options.  It will give you the menu and let you decide what food you want to order for each member of your party.  My only complaint is that a few menu options appear to be missing.  It’s not a huge deal for us, but it was a bit disappointing that one of the entrees I was considering isn’t listed.  So if you’ve been viewing the menu online, please keep in mind that all menu items may not be options when you do the Direct to Table Fastpass+.

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Once you make all of your selections, it will let you Review Your Meal.  This is just a summary of the food you just picked out.  Make sure everything is right before moving on.

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This Fastpass+ does not appear to show up on your regular list of Fastpass+ reservations, so you should write down your confirmation information, take a picture of your screen with you cellphone so you have it on hand, or print out the page.

For anyone that wants to get into Be Our Guest for lunch, the Fastpass+ seems to be the best option available right now.  If we weren’t traveling with a soon to be 4-year-old that has her heart set on eating there this year, we probably would have taken a pass on this restaurant since it’s a bit of a hassle.  But for us, this was a must-do on our list this year to make our little princess (and birthday girl) happy.

* Sorry for the poor quality pictures. These are just simple pictures taken with my cellphone of the screen shots. I wanted to be able to show everyone exactly what the screens looked like when I booked my Fastpass+. Also, the screen shots are just examples, and are not our actual Fastpass+ reservation details. After doing the examples, I went in and made our official reservation.

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Once Again, We’re Counting Down to Disney

It’s been awhile since I’ve put up a new post.  I’ve had plenty of things I’ve wanted to share, but little time to sit down and type up a post, along with pictures.  I promise to do better.  With the summer coming to an end soon, it should be easier to find some time to get this blog rolling again.  

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Once again, my daughter is counting down to our trip to Disney World.  I was able to get her to hold out a little longer this year before putting up our chart, but eventually I had to give in and let the countdown begin.  We are currently under 90 days till our trip (80 to be exact), and I am in full on planning mode.  I am trying to prepare a loose itinerary, plan out what rides I want to try to get fastpass+ for, make any changes to our Advanced Dining Reservations, and make any arrangements that have yet to be made.  Sometimes it feels like a daunting task.  But other times…it just fuels the excitement.

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I’ve been going to Disney World for as long as I can remember.  I have wonderful memories of going there as a kid with my family.  Now as a parent, I am thoroughly enjoying passing down my love for Disney World to my daughter.  (I was even able to get my husband to appreciate Disney World when we went last year.)  I loved seeing her eyes light up when she saw her favorite characters in person, and when she got to go on the various rides for the first time.  The memories are priceless.

Over the course of the next few months, I will be doing multiple Disney themed posts.  If you are not a Disney fan, please bear with me.  If you are a Disney fan, please feel free to post comments sharing your own Disney experiences, memories, and tips.  Remember, everything I post here are just my opinions, or from research I’ve done online, through books, and from my own personal experiences.  I do not claim to be an expert.  I am just another Disney fan that enjoys sharing my love for Disney with others. Come along on this magical journey with me.

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* Note: If you are interested in how I made the Disney Countdown Chart, please see my previous post from July 2013.

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Princess Jasmine Cake

Kayla with her Jasmine cake.

Kayla with her Jasmine cake.

My daughter’s favorite Disney princess is Jasmine. She absolutely adores Jasmine, and she thinks Jasmine is the prettiest princess. Kayla has seen all of the princess movies now and read various books, and Jasmine remains her favorite. Since we’ll be celebrating Kayla’s 3rd birthday at Disney World, I inquired about Jasmine cakes. Apparently, Princess Jasmine cakes are not one of their standard cakes. Not even at Cinderella’s Royal Table where they make various princess cakes.

Instead of trying to convince a pastry chef at Disney World to make a special cake for my daughter, that would probably cost a small fortune, I decided to make my own mini Princess Jasmine cake. At first, I had grand ideas of how I would decorate it. In the end, it was a simply decorated cake because I was short on time and my daughter was getting restless waiting for me to get done in the kitchen.

Kayla helped me make the batter for the chocolate cake and bake it in the oven, but then I sent her out of the kitchen once the cake had cooled. I quickly decorated the cake using one of her Jasmine figurines, buttercream frosting that I tinted sky blue, and blue edible sparkles/glitter.

Examining the batter as we were making it.

Examining the batter as we were making it.

Tasting the batter.

Tasting the batter.

Poking the batter in the mold pan.

Poking the batter in the mold pan.

We slightly overfilled them, but Kayla was helping me pour.  They still came out fine.

We slightly overfilled them, but Kayla was helping me pour. They still came out fine.

Kayla helping me bake.

Kayla helping me bake.

Kayla staring me down.

Kayla staring me down.

The back of the cake as I was putting on the frosting.

The back of the cake as I was putting on the frosting.

Starting to ice the cake with the sky blue frosting.

Starting to ice the cake with the sky blue frosting.

When I showed the finished cake to Kayla, she was surprised and happy. She thought it was pretty, even without all the details I didn’t get to do. All she cared about was that it was her favorite princess, and that the cake sparkled. Kayla had fun licking the sparkles off the cake. She couldn’t wait to tell grandma that mommy made her a Jasmine cake (for her birthday…a month early). She spent a few days looking at it and eating it slowly. She wanted to show her friends her special cake. I was happy that she was happy. That’s really all that mattered to me.

Princess Jasmine Cake

Princess Jasmine Cake

Finished cake.  Not as detailed as I was planning, but still came out cute.

Finished cake. Not as detailed as I was planning, but still came out cute.

Kayla seeing her cake for the first time.

Kayla seeing her cake for the first time.

In awe of her cake.

In awe of her cake.

Cheesy smile.

Cheesy smile.

Tasting the blue frosting with blue sparkles.  She loved it.

Tasting the blue frosting with blue sparkles. She loved it.

My pretty girl and her Jasmine cake.

My pretty girl and her Jasmine cake.

Slowly eating her cake and trying to get Jasmine out.

Slowly eating her cake and trying to get Jasmine out.

Trying to get her Jasmine figurine out of the cake.

Trying to get her Jasmine figurine out of the cake.

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An Invitation for MyMagic+ Testing and the arrival of our MagicBands

Envelope containing our invitation for MyMagic+ Testing.

Envelope containing our invitation for MyMagic+ Testing.

On Thursday, October 10th, we finally reached our 30 day mark until our trip to Disney World. Kayla (my daughter) and I were already excited to finally reach this milestone. As soon as Kayla woke up in the morning, she jumped out of bed and wanted to update her Countdown to Disney chart. Today was a big day.

Me, Kayla, and her favorite monkey with the Countdown to Disney Chart.

Me, Kayla, and her favorite monkey with the Countdown to Disney Chart.

Me and Kayla with our chart.

Me and Kayla with our chart.

Kayla with her countdown chart.

Kayla with her countdown chart.

We updated the chart, we took a few pictures at her request, and I told her that our MagicBands should be getting shipped soon. She was so excited that she couldn’t stop smiling. Then to make the day even better, we received a letter from the mouse himself. Yes, we officially got invited to participate in the MyMagic+ testing. Kayla was thrilled to receive an invitation from Mickey Mouse. She made me read the entire invitation to her, and explain what it meant.

The Front of our invitation.

The Front of our invitation.

The back of our invitation.

The back of our invitation.

As if receiving the invitation wasn’t exciting enough, the next morning when we woke up, the UPS guy delivered us a package. Kayla was squealing with excitement when grandma announced that the package was from Disney. Kayla couldn’t believe that Mickey Mouse sent us a package. We immediately opened it, and it was our MagicBands. All three of them were customized exactly as we wanted them. My band is blue, Kayla’s is pink, and my husband’s is red. Our names are also printed on the inside of the bands.

Kayla waiting for grandma to come into the kitchen so she could open the box.

Kayla waiting for grandma to come into the kitchen so she could open the box.

Looking at the box.

Looking at the box.

Deep in thought.

Deep in thought.

MagicBands

MagicBands

The packaging is very nice. Impressive even. Kayla said it was fancy. I thought it was a nice touch that Disney sends them via UPS Next Day Air. This will definitely be comforting to people who are leaving on their vacations a week or two before actually arriving at Disney World. It gives you one less thing to have to worry about when you receive it early. I grew up in a family that used to drive down to Florida every year and spend several days visiting relatives, going sightseeing, and going to other theme parks before going to Disney World. So I think it is thoughtful of Disney to send out the bands early enough that most people would be able to receive them prior to their trip. Some people may argue that it’s a waste of money for them to ship it Next Day Air, but I liked it. Plus, I’m spending enough money on my resort and vacation package that I think this simple perk is the least Disney can do. :)

Kayla looking at our bands.

Kayla looking at our bands.

Grandma asking Kayla what she thinks of the MagicBands.

Grandma asking Kayla what she thinks of the MagicBands.

MagicBands in the box.  This is after I already removed the outer part off of Kayla's band.

MagicBands in the box. This is after I already removed the outer part off of Kayla’s band.

Kayla and I tried on our MagicBands. The band should be able to fit most people. It was easy to remove the outer part of the band to make it small enough for Kayla’s wrist. It fit on my wrist with no problems and was fairly comfortable. If I want a tight fit, I can even remove the outer part of the band and only use the smaller part meant for the kids. (I know, my wrist is small. Don’t judge.) My concern will be whether it makes me break out in a rash since my skin is sensitive to certain things. When we get closer to our trip, I may try wearing my band around the house for a day to see if it gives me any issues. I’d rather know before we go. I made my husband try his band on when he got home, and it fit with plenty of room to spare.

My excited sleepyhead trying on her MagicBand.

My excited sleepyhead trying on her MagicBand.

My MagicBand

My MagicBand

The MagicBands are made of some type of rubbery material, and are pretty flexible. There is a Mickey head on top of the band. On the inside of the band, there is a band number that is unique for each guest. I love the fact that you are able to customize the bands by choosing the color you want, and putting your name on it. It’s nice to be able to personalize it. I think this will help encourage young kids to wear them. Kayla loved seeing her pink MagicBand in the box. She knew right away that was her band.

MagicBands 022

My name on the inside of the band.

My name on the inside of the band.

Kayla's name on the inside of her band.

Kayla’s name on the inside of her band.

My daughter is very adamant that we don’t play with our MagicBands. She keeps telling me that they are for Disney World, and we can’t wear them yet. I appreciate how serious she is about it, but she may make it hard for me to wear it for a day to test how it feels and how my skin reacts. I may have to sneak and do this while she is hanging out with daddy in the basement.

After we received the bands, I checked my email and noticed I had an email from Disney. They actually sent an email notifying me that they shipped the MagicBands. The email provided the UPS tracking number for our package. Even though I saw it after the fact, I still appreciated that they did notify me and gave me the tools to track my package, if necessary.

After I already received the bands, I saw that Disney emailed me letting me know the MagicBands had shipped and informing me of the UPS tracking number.

After I already received the bands, I saw that Disney emailed me letting me know the MagicBands had shipped and informing me of the UPS tracking number.

Our Magicbands in the box they arrived in.

Our Magicbands in the box they arrived in.

It’s been an exciting week with lots of anticipation for our upcoming trip. Kayla is even more enthused about the idea of going to Disney World. I can’t wait for our magical adventure to begin.

If anyone else out there has already tested the MagicBands, let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear about your experience. If you’re someone who will be testing them on an upcoming trip, share your thoughts so far. Are you excited about the new technology? Does it intimidate you? Do you have concerns? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions.

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