Have you ever been to Disney and met the wonderful Disney characters? The Disney character ‘Meet-and-Greet’ are amazing, they’re smiling, they’re interacting, they’re excited to see you and they’re ready and willing to take a picture with you, only before you know it, the experience is over.
When I was planning our very first family trip to the parks, I knew I wanted to have the characters signature. I also knew I didn’t want the signature book that Disney World has to offer. As someone who doesn’t like to store things away I knew the signature book would eventually make it’s way in a box and be stored somewhere. Instead, I wanted something that would be displayed on our walls for us to enjoy looking at even after our trip.
I’ve included a few of the moments we’ve captured on camera from our experiences with the characters signing our frames.
Jake from Disney’s ‘Jake and The Neverland Pirates’
Disney’s Donald Duck
Tinker Bell from Disney’s ‘Tinker Bell’
Merida from Disney’s ‘Brave’
Snow White from Disney’s ‘Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs’
Ariel from Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’
• Prior to our trip, I simply purchase a picture frame that includes a white mat.
• I include a sharpie for the characters to sign with – keep it inside the zip lock bag, don’t be shy, you can tell them where to sign if there’s a gap needed to be filled.
∗ Please know, not all Disney characters will sign – simply ask the cast member that’s with the character to know if they sign, characters like Olaf from Frozen will not sign, as he hasn’t been to school and can’t read nor write, Baymax from Big Hero 6, Belle from Beauty and The Beast at Magic Kingdom will not sign, however Belle at the EPCOT park will!
• You can do more than one Disney trip for character signatures in one mat frame – as I have done in the past. I simply choose a different sharpie color per trip and write the date of the trip on the back of the frame. The front of the frame will remind you which character signature color goes with which trip.
• I store the mat in a zip lock bag – gallon size, and pack it inside our backpack. Florida weather can be unpredictable and to avoid getting the mat wet on a rainy day, I like to place it inside a zip lock. If you ever visit the Disney World parks bring an umbrella, rain or shine, it’ll be useful.
• Get back from your vacation, choose your favorite picture, print it and frame! If you have kids or not, this picture frame signature idea is the best! It’ll be a great reminder of an even greater trip!
Disney World: 2015 – 2017 Character Signing Mat
Disney World: 2015 – 2017 Character Signing Mat
Disney World: 2018 Character Signing Mat
A few character signatures we’ve collected over the years have been, Mickey – although we’ve met multiple ‘Mickeys’ we now just get one of their signatures, since the same character will sign the same way, Merida from Brave, Lilo from Lilo and Stitch, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Pluto, Gaston from Beauty and The Beast, Belle from Beauty and The Beast, Sofia from Sofia The First, Tinker Belle, Donald Duck, Jake from Jake and The Neverland Pirates, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Snow White from Snow white and The Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Elena from Elena of Avalor, Woody from Toy Story, Buzz from Toy Story, Pocahontas, Timon from The Lion King, Tarzan and Daisy.
∗ Please know, the best way to guarantee having a character experience is to make reservations at a restaurant with Character Dining – they’re amazing, just be sure to book your reservation early!
Hope this has inspired you in preparation for your visit to the Disney parks.
Disclosure: Mom Life With Chiari is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. I will not recommend or buy anything that I do not already own and love or would not use for myself and my family. I make a small commission when you click and make a purchase on any link my website provides at NO additional cost to you. Thank you in advance for supporting companies that support me!
We started this Fourth of July by planning some hearty meals – had homemade tacos for lunch and will be having hot dogs and chips for dinner. Because if all my little ones eat all their food – it’s a win in my book!
A couple fun facts for you to enjoy:
Americans spent over $1 billion on fireworks in 2017
and in 2017 Americans consumed about 150 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July!
I appreciate this photograph because of the Marines pictured. Thank you to all those serving and veterans, those past and present that have kept my family and I safe.
We are truly the land of the free because of the brave.
A few years ago, I changed our laundry detergent and bath soaps to make them clean and clear, so that they were safer for the kids that have sensitive skin due to Eczema. So, this year my plan was to remove the chemicals and begin using toxin free and natural cleaning products. This can be intimidating, one because I don’t know anyone that has gone natural with their cleaning products and two, it needed to budget friendly. Also, don’t feel intimidated by any of it, it can all seem overwhelming – but it’s so simple! I took the first step and made the change, I changed our hand soaps, dish soaps and cleaning products using Grove Collaborative.
Grove Collaborative offers personal care products, cleaning products, laundry products that are essential oil based, they’re strong products yet natural – some products even being gluten free. Also, if you love candles, the safest are made from soy and beeswax, these reduce allergies and toxins in the home – Grove has soy. They offer brands such as Mrs. Meyer’s, Seventh Generation, Method, Natracare, Tom’s, Yes To, Dr. Brooner’s, Burt’s Bees and Acure – to name a few! If you’re interested in gluten free products be sure to read the ingredients before making your purchase. They have microfiber cloths for scrubbing and getting surfaces clean, as well as walnut sponges. Which can replace the use of paper towels when cleaning. As for laundry, I stopped using dryer sheets and fabric softener, instead replaced them with wool dryer balls. The more wool dyer balls you have in the dryer, the less drying time. You can use 3 or even 6 at a time! Also, sprinkle some essential oils on the wool dryer balls, it’ll leave your clothes smelling great. Just replace the dryer balls when necessary – if you haven’t tried these, you must! They have a glass spray with silicon bottom where you can pour in the cleaning concentrates, just top with water and you’re all set to clean! It’s a set of three concentrates, one for tub, tile and an all purpose.
I’d say that the Mrs. Meyer’s scent in Peony is my absolute favorite, but the Lavender glass cleaner did not disappoint. The Lavender from Method is also another great scent!
• Set of 3 – Grove Collaborative Dryer Balls & Lavender Essential Oil Set
• Grove Collaborative Glass Spray Bottle With Silicon Sleeve
If you have kids or not, and just interested in making your home as toxin free as possible using chemical free and natural products, give them a try! Just click on Grove Collaborative then on the ‘Get Started’ option, you will receive a free 5 piece set of Mrs. Meyer’s products with your purchase – in the scent of your choice! This link has no expiration date – feel free to share if you’d like.
Hope you enjoy your free products and let me know which scents you have tried or will try and recommend!
* Some of my blog posts contain affiliate links, which means that by clicking on the item AND making a purchase I may receive a small commission at NO ADDITIONAL cost to you. I do not recommend products that I do not already own and love or would not use on myself or my family. I thank you in advance for supporting brands that support me!
This season of Lent – a forty day season which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, is a time for many things. It’s focusing on my relationship with God and a time when the older children will be encouraged to freely offer to give something up – often times this is a favorite stuffed animal/toy, barbie or Lego man.
In light of the joyful Resurrection of Jesus and because I have children, I celebrate the Resurrection by also preparing for our ‘Family Easter Egg Hunt’ a tradition we started about seven years ago. I will do the preparations for the Easter egg hunt before Holy Week – because I am a bit of a planner.
Also, know that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make this day extra special and memorable for the children. My kids don’t know an expensive plastic egg from the next, so it’s OK. If you decide to visit your local Dollar Store or anywhere else, trust that everything will turn out fantastic.
> As for food, I’ll do something that won’t take too much time to do, we’ll serve the kids pancakes and assemble a type of bar toppings, with mini chocolate chips, fresh blueberries, strawberries and whip cream, chocolate milk and orange juice.
> I will assemble the eggs, store them in shopping bags and place them in the fridge to preserve the candy – as far back in the fridge as I can! Tip – since you will be tossing the eggs on the grass – gently, at times they will open apart, to avoid this problem on Easter day, simply place a tiny piece of scotch tape on the opening edge.
>Easter Sunday afternoon we will go to our local park – one with more greenery area as oppose to an actual playground-ish area, sit the kids facing the opposite direction of where the hunt will be and we will then spread the eggs on the grass area for them. The excitement in the children is like no other.
I have in the past went to stores like my local party store for candy or decorations and have always gone back to Targetfor better deals – so this year, it’s where I’ve gone back to. Tip – save your decorations and/or kids baskets for later years, it’ll save you time and money. Also, keep in mind that with Target, you can also order online and pick up in-store for free. And for this mama of 6, this is a time saver!
Kids Easter Baskets ⁄ ⁄ I have a few Easter baskets from years past that are still in great condition however I still manage to buy one or two new ones each year – either because we invited someone, etc. This is the Pink Easter Felt Bunny Basketfor $3.00 so, definitely check their kids Easter basket inventory
Easter Eggs ⁄ ⁄ Easter Fillable Plastic Eggs 48ct for $2.50 – I will usually count one dozen eggs per child. It seems like a lot, but the kids truly enjoy running around filling their baskets with eggs. So, if you can, count the number of children participating, family kids and/or friends before purchasing the Easter eggs. And of course, there’s no Egg Hunt without a Golden Egg. There’s this Jumbo Golden Eggfor $5.00 or you can also have a Regular size Golden Egg – or two. I’ve had two Golden Eggs at a time in past years because the kids just enjoy looking for it so much. Just place an extra special something inside, say two candies instead of one or $1.00 Tip: Don’t just fill these up with candy, stop by the Target Dollar Section and place small trinkets, like small toy cars, last year I found tiny rubber chickens – can’t even tell you how fun these were!
Games ⁄ ⁄ Since the children always want to spend more time at the park, I take games. I have the potato sack game + an egg and spoon game – I found these at Target Sack Race Lawn Game and the Wooden Egg + Spoon Game they’re so fun and the kids can’t get enough of these!
I have enjoyed sharing our family Easter Egg Hunt tradition with you and hope you have gathered some fun ideas for the start of your very own family Easter tradition with your kids. Because it’s never too late to start something new! Happy (early) Easter.
*Note teachers encourage parents to purchase the good ole’ fashioned desk top with a mouse – “non touchscreen” computer. Why you ask, because there are kids that will arrive to school, sit in front of a computer and will begin swiping the screen with their finger as if the screen were a touchscreen – not knowing how to use a mouse. The desktops are still in most our kids school libraries and inside their classrooms. The school budgets do not call to keep their technology up-to-date year after year. While our children are technology savvy and know how to use touchscreens from using the iPhones and iPads, at school the teacher will have a desktop computer with keyboard and mouse for them to use.
⇒ Backpack and Lunch Box: I get the kids school backpacks and lunch boxes from Pottery Barn Kids, the personalisation is optional – be sure to check their sale selections as well, it’s great!
Since my surgeries for my rare disorders In 2013 Life Began with Chiari + Syringomyelia looking back overtime it’s all given me a chance to be present and to live in the moment. I like to keep things that have significance to my family. While minimalism isn’t for everyone, I think that to a certain extent we all want to free ourselves from the chaos that clutter can create. The KonMari method also suggests that you begin with your closet. This is all in an attempt to encourage you to begin to simplify and organize your home. She mentions starting with your closet, but I think it’s just a matter of starting somewhere! I also think the truth behind our attachment to things may be emotional or sentimental. What I like to do with my little ones is to only keep clothes they will benefit from in the short months to come. Otherwise, I’ll pass it on to someone else or take it to my local Goodwill. So, once something has served it’s purpose in my home, anything from toys no longer being played with, it’s donated and out the door. Also keep in mind the intention for why something came in to your home, does it continue to serve a purpose in your home?
The older kids and I will also go through toys multiple times a year, such as before and after birthdays. As occasions like these can bring lots of new things that can cast a shadow over our older belongings. Also holidays or a move can be a great time for cleaning out clutter. At times even things that are given to the kids as gifts that are not necessary or they already have, will instead be given to a child in need. My little ones will be fully aware and this serves as a teaching lesson in giving back.
It’s simple …
⇒ declutter your home
⇒ change it to simplify
⇒ organize it
⇒ leave only those things that spark joy
⇒ get rid of old/bad habits + turn your home into a clutter-free space
It’s changing your relationship with things you own, taking control and freeing space in your home and your life. I believe this method will help you process things as being just that, things. I also remind myself to remove the guilt that can come from letting things go and see them as something that no longer serves purpose in my life. Once you begin to change this behavior of surrounding yourself with stuff, you’ll shop more consciousness and truly surround yourself with meaningful objects. Otherwise you will continue to label things as “necessary” and never let go of anything.
If there’s one thing you should know about me, is that, I. Love. Thrifting. I am frugal, not to be confused with being cheap. So, I consequently have developed a good eye for finding good quality things. Which by the way you can also thrift online, heard of Thred Up? And I don’t go just because my tribe has grown to where it’s at. I go because I love the hunt and the thrill of a good find. So, here are a few things to keep in mind on your next trip to the thrift store and if you have never gone – you must!
⇒ Charge your phone and eat.
⇒ Be sure you have cleared out space in your car, for large items.
⇒ Wear comfortable shoes and take a hands free bag/purse, this will make browsing easier.
⇒ Know your people’s sizes! I have the sizes saved in my phone, especially the kids, they are constantly outgrowing their clothes.
⇒ If you’re in search of a table or desk don’t be hesitant to go to a thrift store before going to a department store. And if you are in the hunt for a furniture piece measure the space at home and take the measuring tape to the store with you.
⇒ Start in the furniture section. If you like something, let the store associate know right away. They’ll bring it to the back of the register area and reserve it for you.
**DO NOT buy anything such as throw pillows or mattress’, can you say bedbugs?!
⇒ Carry or load everything in your shopping cart, even “maybe items” and don’t put it back unless you’re absolutely sure you don’t want it.
⇒ There’s no need to touch every single clothing item on the racks, just keep an eye out for good fabrics, such as denim/chambray, cotton, silk, linen, etc.
⇒ Inspect/check items thoroughly.
⇒ Know good quality brands as well, here are a few of my personal favorites.
If you’re pregnant, Liz Lange Maternity from Target, A Pea In The Pod, Gap Maternity or Old Navy Maternity.
For women, Old Navy, Gap, Joe Fresh from Nordstrom, BP. from Nordstrom, Lush from Nordstrom, A New Day from Target or Merona from Target.
For men, True Religion, Gap, Old Navy, Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis, Banana Republic, Dockers or Kenneth Cole Reaction.
And for kids, Gap, Baby Gap, Hanna Andersson, Old Navy or Cat and Jack from Target.
⇒ Search off season too, say start looking at Winter sweaters for the family in the Summer. Just remember to size up.
⇒ Thrift stores like Goodwill have a color system, this specific color is assigned each week and will have a percentage off. So, what may have cost you $3, if it’s within the color assigned for the week, may only cost you say $1.50!
⇒ I come from a smoke-free environment and appreciate smoke-free environment items. So, if it has a cigarette smell, don’t buy it!
⇒ If you like accessories, take a look at their jewelry case, you may be pleasantly surprise of what you may find.
⇒ Every thrift store is different, yes they technically carry the same things however I’ve found that the area will influence the donations the store receives. I have three stores I generally tend to visit the most and have found that “A” will be best to shop for my husband, “B” for the kids and “C” for furniture.
⇒ Lastly when I arrive home, I like to remove all tags and put in to wash ASAP.