World of Mickey Magic – Meet Tabitha, your 100% FREE Disney Travel Agent/Guru!

World of Mickey Magic

Good morning!  If you have ever been to Walt Disney World, you know how much time goes into planning a vacation there.  If you have never been, let me tell you how you can have a stress-free vacation planning experience.  My cousin, Tabitha, is a Walt Disney World travel agent and ALL OF HER SERVICES ARE 100% FREE!!!  (She is paid a commission by Disney directly)  She will NOT try to get you to stay at an expensive resort or buy extra features on your tickets in order to make a larger profit.  Actually, just the opposite!  Tabitha, a mother of 2 young girls, is extremely knowledgeable about how to stretch your hard earned dollar at Disney and is happy to share her secrets with you!  She will help make all your Disney vacation dreams come true!  Even if you have already booked a vacation, simply transfer your reservation to her and she will get to work to make sure you have the most magical vacation ever!

Here’s a list of a few of the main things Tabitha can do for you…

  • FREE! No-obligation Disney vacation package quotes.
  • FREE! Your very own Disney Specialist who can assist you in all planning details.
  • FREE! Advanced Dining Reservations, including Signature Meals and Character Meals.
  • FREE! Specialized Tips and Must See Attractions geared for YOUR vacation party!
  • FREE! Continual monitoring of your vacation package to make sure that you receive the lowest price! If Disney releases a new promo that lowers your vacation cost, I will adjust your reservation for you!
  • FREE! Delivery of all travel documents!

A message from Tabitha:

“My job is part travel consultant, part concierge, part Disney Guru and part Disney fan – all wrapped up with a little bit of Pixie Dust! I love planning trips for my client’s families. My goal is for everyone to have an exceptional and unforgettable Disney vacation filled with magical memories that last a lifetime. I chose to specialize in Disney travel because I believe Disney provides a level of service and entertainment that no other destination can provide.”

Did you know there’s a way to get free drinks at all of the parks at any time?  Neither did I!  Let Tabitha help you with your next Disney vacation and she’LL share this secret & many more with you, absolutely FREE!  You can contact her via Facebook here - World of Mickey Magic

Have a magical day! =)

Homemade Mini King Cakes

Happy Mardi Gras everyone!  In the spirit of the carnival season, I want to share a great recipe I found to make your very own mini king cakes!  It is very simple & you can let the kiddos help you make them!

Easy Mini King Cakes for Mardi Gras by EclecticRecipes.com #recipe

Ingredients:

Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls

Purple, Green & Gold (Yellow) sprinkles

Food coloring (optional)

 

 

Directions:

Step 1 – Unroll each cinnamon roll into a long strip and then fold it in half.

Pillsbury® Grands!® Cinnamon RollsMini King Cakes Step 1Mini King Cakes Step 2

Step 2 – Twist the strip and then form into a circle and smash the ends together.

Mini King Cakes Step 3Mini King Cakes Step 4

Step 3 – Place your mini king cakes on a lightly greased, non-stick baking sheet.

Mini King Cakes Step 5

Step 4 – Bake according to package directions (approx 20 mins).  Ice them as soon as they come out of the oven with the icing provided in the package.

Mini King Cakes Step 6

Step 5 – If you’d like to use food coloring on the icing, simply add a drop onto the mini king cake after you’ve iced it and spread the food coloring around with a butter knife.  Remember to color in 3 sections: purple (a drop of red & a drop of blue), green & yellow (gold).  Next, let the kiddos add the sprinkles!!  Viola!  Delicious mini king cakes!

Mini King Cakes Step 7 <– without food coloring    <– with food coloring

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

French Toast & Family

November is a month of thanksgiving and reflection.  It is easy to get lost in the hustle & bustle of everyday life and forget to pause and acknowledge all of the blessings that surround us.  Many of us moms have already begun thinking about Christmas presents and with that can come the stress of wanting to give our family members everything they want, especially our children.  We begin making our lists, scouring through newspaper advertisements for the hot toys of the year and searching online for deals.  Before you get yourself all worked up…

S T O P

What do you remember about the holidays from your childhood?  My parents always bought my brothers and I dozens of gifts each Christmas.  Thinking back, I hardly remember what any of those gifts were.  Did they make me happy?  Yes…temporarily.  Until the new wore off & then I got bored with them & moved on.  What I remember about the holidays is my Dad making breakfast on Christmas morning.  FRENCH TOAST.  It was my absolute favorite!  He didn’t make it too often during the year which made it even more special on Christmas morning.  The aroma of the cinnamon & butter filled the house.  It was better than any candle you could buy at Bath & Body Works.  My Dad was quirky.  He did things his own unique way and the way he cooked French Toast was no exception.  He greased the frying pan with a ‘butter sock’.  That’s right – a butter sock.  He took a clean, white tube sock & put a stick of butter in it.  As he rubbed the end of it on the hot pan, the butter would melt & distribute perfectly evenly on the pan.  As a kid, I thought nothing of it.  Didn’t all father’s make french toast this way?  LOL  I think back on it now and laugh to myself.  It is one of my fondest childhood memories.

The point is, the material gifts you give your children will make them happy for a short while but the things that will bring them true joy are the memories you make together.  Sitting down together for breakfast on Christmas morning, taking a bike ride together on new bikes from Santa, building those new lego sets together, etc….those are the things your children will remember when they are all grown up.

SO, STOP.  Stop stressing about how many gifts you’ll be able to afford to buy for Christmas.  Stop worrying over how many different dishes you ‘need’ to have on the table for Thanksgiving dinner.  Focus on your family and BEING a family together.  Then, and only then, will you find true joy this holiday season and make memories that will last a lifetime.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 

 

founder, The Wiggle Room NOLA

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Being Frugal for the Holidays

I grew up in a low income household & I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I attribute many positive aspects of the person I am today to my upbringing.  When money was short, love was abundant.  My mom is the sort of woman who can stretch a dollar farther than Gumby can stretch his legs.  Thanks to her frugalness (Is that a word? If not, I just coined it!  LOL), we always had food on the table & presents to open on Christmas morning.

Over the years, I have picked up on many of her tricks.  For one, I hardly ever buy anything at retail price.  Why?  Because it ALWAYS goes on sale!  There are many great ways to get deals on baby & kids clothes and toys.  I’m going to share a few with you today!

#1 ~ My favorite is thrift store shopping for winter clothes, dressy holiday clothes, play clothes & pj’s.  It makes no sense to me to pay full price for a shirt that my son may only wear 3 times before outgrowing it.   It takes patience and time to sift through the rows and rows of clothes, yes, but to me it is worth it to score a like new baby gap sweater for $2.00 that retails for $45!  (Chunky monkey’s Thanksgiving sweater, yay!)  Since many parents simply don’t have the time or patience to do this, I came up with The Wiggle Room.  It is an online thrift store of sorts for baby & kids clothes.  I shop thrift stores, garage sales & accept clothes via consignment from local moms and offer them to you for purchase online.  You simply browse through the pictures & descriptions of the clothes in the photo albums on the facebook page.  The albums are sorted by clothing size.  Place your order online & either pick it up from my home office in Metairie or have it shipped to you for a minimal fee.   All the clothes are freshly laundered & in ‘like new’ condition.  I take pride in only offer clothing that is nearly perfect.

#2 ~ Amazon.com –  First off, get an Amazon Prime Membership.  Pay one price all year long for an Amazon Prime Membership and it entitles you to FREE 2-DAY SHIPPING on nearly everything!  It will pay for itself 10 x’s over throughout the year.  Trust me!  This is especially useful during the holidays when they have last minute sales & you” still get the gifts in time for Christmas morning.  Next, sign up to have the Amazon Deal of the Day emailed to you every morning.  Third, check the Lightening Deals hourly.  Lightening deals only last for an hour each & have limited quantities.  These are the items offered at the most amazing prices!  Last year I purchased a Star Wars battle station that normally costs $80 for only $20 & got free 2-day shipping thanks to my Amazon Prime Membership.  Finally, add items you are interested in purchasing to your cart.  Log in to your Amazon.com account daily & if any of the prices of your items has decreased, there will be a notification at the top of your page alerting you to the price drop.

#3 ~ PricePinx.com – This is a really useful tool to track price drops on items on your Christmas list & its very simple to use.  The way it works is you go to PricePinx & add follow the directions to add Pinx to your bookmark toolbar.  Next, you shop online like you normally do & when you find an item you are interested in purchasing in the future, you highlight the price and simply click on the ‘pinx’ button on your bookmark toolbar.  You dont even have to register for an account. A  new window will pop open & you just put in your email addy, type a brief description of the item you are telling it to watch for you & click submit.  Done!  When the price changes, PricePinx will send you an email notification.  When I set my notifications, I did it on a few different retailers websites for the same item so that I would know who had the best deal.

#4 ~ Beat Black Friday – Did you know that retailers offer most of their advertised sale items ONLINE at 12:01 Black Friday morning?  YES!!  Skip the huge crowds & insane lines.  Go online & add the items you want to your cart before midnight.  Then, when midnight rolls around, refresh your cart & all of the discounted prices will be reflected.  Check out & get back into your warm bed & catch some Zzzzz’s!  I did this last year with JCPenny.com.  Genius!  Remember if you have an Amazon Prime Membership, you’ll be able to snag a ton of amazing Black Friday deals & get free 2-day shipping too!

#5 ~ Utilize Social Media! – Follow your favorite stores on Twitter & Facebook.  This is especially valuable during the holidays because there are lots of promos offered exclusively to Facebook & Twitter followers.  Now, Facebook has recently changed many of their features & one specifically pertains to following pages.  In order to see all the posts in your news feed from your favorite pages, you have to add them to one of your interest lists.  It’s very simple & quick to do this.  Go to the retailers Facebook page, for example, Bath & Body Works.  Click on the round gear button next to the ‘message’ button.  From the drop down menu, select “add to interest list”.  If you don’t have one created yet, click “new list” & make one.  Then add the page to your new interest list.  After that, all of that page’s posts will show up in your news feed.  This is a great way to find out about exclusive promo codes, free shipping days & even free products!  I know first hand that Bath & Body Works often offers coupons to their FB followers for free products.

#6 ~ Northshore Mama – Northshore Mama is a blogger who posts money saving tips for moms on a budget on her facebook page & blog.  She also does coupon match ups for Winn Dixie every couple of weeks.  Great resource!

Being frugal is just smart.  You work too hard for your money not to make the most of it.  Follow the tips above & you’ll find that your credit card bill in January won’t be half as bad as last year’s!!  If you have any other tips or tricks to stretching the dollar, please share in the comments section below.  Thanks!

 

 

 

founder, The Wiggle Room NOLA

{ Enter your email address on the right to subscribe to my blog, Follow on Twitter  & come shop on Facebook! }

Family traditions of the Fall

Fall has always been one of my favorite times of the year for many reason.  The changing colors of the leaves signaled the approaching holiday season and local fairs.  As a parent, I have always felt very strongly about continuing traditions and the Fall season provides the opportunity for many!  My favorite traditions for this time of the year are going to a pumpkin patch, carving our prized pumpkin and visiting school fairs.
Even though we live in the city, there are SO many pumpkin patches to choose from!  This year we chose St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church’s pumpkin patch.  I saw a few photos posted on FB from friends that went there & it seemed like a great backdrop for pictures. (If you don’t know that about me by now, let me fill you in.  I am a picture-aholic.  At the moment, I have over 2,500 pictures of my boys on my memory card from the last 3 months alone!  Preserving all the little moments of my boys’ childhood is something I am very passionate about…or maybe psychotic about.  It’s such a fine line…LOL)   With my boys in coordinating Fall outfits, we headed out to the pumpkin patch last Saturday morning.  Chunky monkey was sporting a precious onesie I had specially made for the occasion by Design-a-Latte and DH’s outfit was purchased from The Children’s Place ~ my #1 favorite childrens clothing store.  It was a beautiful day.  The pumpkin patch was everything I had hoped it would be ~ quiet, uncrowded & perfect for picture taking.  They even had a little spot set up with hay bales & scarecrows to take pictures in front of!   It was a bit difficult to maneuver the stroller down the rows of pumpkins – something to think about if you have an infant.  I ended up stashing the stroller on the side & carrying Chunky monkey around.  It was not an issue for us.  The staff was very polite and helpful, offering to carry our selected pumpkin for us…a big plus if you have a DH like mine who can’t leave the house if there’s a football game on…and in the Fall that is like 24/7?!  Overall, St Augustine’s pumpkin patch was the perfect choice for us this year.

Later that evening, we visiting our favorite local fair ~ The Cochon de Lait @ St. Edward the Confessor School.  Cochon de Lait means “the roasting of the pigs”.  And they do just that!  On the Saturday night of the fair each year, several whole pigs are roasted atop a huge fire.  It is truly a sight to see!  (maybe even a bit scary for the little ones)  IMO, this fair has the best of everything ~ rides, booths, entertainment & food!  I took Chunky monkey on his first ride ~ the carousel!  He seemed hypnotized by the lights.  I’ll have to add a pic later…don’t have access to it a.t.m.  DS loved the big sea serpent ride and of course had to buy a can of silly string.  I’ll never understand the appeal of that nasty stuff.  SMH  We bid on a few items in the silent auction & enjoyed some awesome food.  I had a crawfish pie, DS a cochon burger & DH a hot sausage sandwich.  There was a live band playing covers in the background which added to the overall carefree atmosphere of the festival.  We all had a great time.

This weekend we will carve our pumpkin into a fleur de lis, per the request of DS.  This will complete our family traditions for the season.  I hope that when my boys are grown and start their own families, they will fondly remember the things we did together every Fall and continue these traditions with their own children.  The family that plays together, stays together!  

HAPPY FALL, YA’LL!

What are your favorite things to do together as a family this time of the year?  I’d love to hear about them!  Please comment below…

founder, The Wiggle Room NOLA

{ Enter your email address on the right to subscribe to my blog, Follow on Twitter  & come shop on Facebook! }

You can’t flush a baby down a toilet!

{Sidenote~ Thanks to all the positive feedback I received in response to my blog post yesterday, I will henceforth be referring to my 5 month old son as “chunky monkey”. Thanks again! }

I am the oldest of 3 children and the only girl.  My brothers and I are all about 4 1/2 years apart.  Growing up, my middle brother never got along with myself nor my youngest brother.  As a matter of a fact, when he was born, I have been told that I attempted to flush him down the toilet in the hospital bathroom. *Imageangelic*  However, my baby brother and I, who are 10 years apart, have always gotten along wonderfully.

When DH & I had our first son, it seemed like everyone instantly wanted to know when we were planning on having our NEXT child!  For years this nagging progressed and only got worse as year after year went by.  I think everyone wanted us to join them in having chaotic, stressful lives!  All around us our friends and family members were having kids close in age.  They seemed to often be stressed out about one thing or another related to having to either “get all the kids ready” or “take all the kids to their extracurricular activities on time”, etc.  For a while, their stress and complications caused by having more than one child within 2 or 3 years of each other made the idea of having another child myself even more unappealing.

For DH & I, having our first child so young (21 yrs old) was a decision we made together for personal reasons and took very seriously.  We did it for specific reasons related to the health of our parents and wanting them to have a relationship with our child.  It was quite a challenge being a young parent, emotionally and financially.  So, as the years went by, we became more comfortable in parenthood and more financially stable.  We absolutely adored our DS and were extremely comfortable & content as a 3 person family.

Then came the 30 year old itch.  I had long heard of this mysterious ailment but never thought I would get infected! By this time, our DS was 8 years old and very independent.  DH & I had taken DS on many family vacations including a couple of extravagant trips to Disney World & also celebrated our 10 yr wedding anniversary with a 2nd honeymoon in Niagara Falls, CA.  We had been blessed with the opportunity to really, thoroughly enjoy raising DS for the last 8 years and focusing all our attention and love on him.  We decided to go ahead and try to have one more baby.  5 days before our DS’s 9th birthday, our 2nd DS- chunky monkey- was born.

It has been 5 months now and though I cannot say, “I can’t remember what life was like before chunky monkey was born.” (like I hear so many moms say about their 2nd & 3rd child)….I can say that our life before him was really simple and now it takes a bit more time & planning to go about our day.  But since DS is 9 yrs old and mostly self-sufficient, it’s really not that difficult to juggle being a mom of 2.  When chunky monkey naps, I get to spend 1-on-1 time with DS and when he’s awake we all play with him together.  DS helps me whenever we are out & about- carrying the diaper bag, riding in the back seat to take care of the baby while we’re on the road, etc.  DS adores him and we all get to enjoy watching him reach his baby milestones month by month.

Though the idea was to start early, finish early and now we’ll be raising children into our late 40’s, early 50’s, I absolutely LOVE the 9 year age gap between my boys.  It’s almost like as if they both get to be only children in a sense yet they have each other and the bond of being brothers.  By the time chucky monkey is 9 yrs old, DS will be off to college.  Until then, he will be his big brother’s biggest fan at the ball park and likewise, he will have DS as his best friend to teach him how to catch lizards, play pitch & catch, video games & army guys.  There are pros to having your children close in age ~ get them all raised & out the house within a few years of each other.  I’m here to tell you that there are also pros to having children several years apart & for me, having chucky monkey 9 yrs after DS was the best decision we could have made!

 

 

 

founder, The Wiggle Room NOLA

{ Enter your email address on the right to subscribe to my blog, Follow on Twitter  & come shop on Facebook! }

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

…We were all taught that mantra growing up.  I often wonder why some adults seem to think it only applies to children?

My 5 month old DS is one of the happiest babies I have ever known.  It amazes me every day just how much he smiles & hardly ever gets fussy.  (DH & I are truly blessed!)  So much that he often gathers attention in public for his big smiles & happy babbling.  While I wish that was the only reason people seem to gravitate towards him, it isn’t.  DS is in the 95% for weight and 86% for height compared to other babies his age.  Bottom line ~ he’s chunky.  I’m talking triple chin, sumo belly, thunder thighs chunky.  All the more to love!  As I have been told by one of my Mom’s friends, this used to be called “thriving”.  Apparently, babies used to die from what was clinically diagnosed as “failure to thrive”.  WOW  LOL

Anyways, it never fails that every single time we are in public someone stops us and comments on how “fat”, “chunky”, “chubby”, “fluffy”, etc. he is.  At first, it was funny & cute.  I’d laugh right along with them.  But now, after 3 months of dealing with this NON-STOP, I wonder if people realize that it might be a tad bit offensive to approach a complete stranger and tell them that their baby is overweight?  What ever happened to “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”?

Am I being overly sensitive or do I have ground to stand on here?  I’d love to hear your opinions!  Please comment below…

 

 

 

founder, The Wiggle Room NOLA

{ Enter your email address on the right to subscribe to my blog, Follow on Twitter  & come shop on Facebook! }

Baby crying? There’s an app for that!

In today’s world of Iphones, Ipads & Droids, there’s hardly anything that we can’t do with our smorgasbord of electronic devices.

Enter crying baby.  

I was confronted head on with this scenario today while trying to to get my exhausted, cranky & hungry 5 month old DS home from the doctor’s office despite the bumper to bumper traffic on Metairie Road.  He was having a stage 5 meltdown and there was absolutely nowhere & nothing I could do on Parking Lot Blvd, excuse me I meant Metairie Road.  After bending myself into positions that would have made Gumby cringe, in several feeble attempts to reach DS in the back seat &  put his paci in his mouth, a light bulb went off!  Several months ago while I was on maternity leave, I downloaded some baby apps on my Droid Bionic smartphone.  So, I quickly opened my ‘baby’ category of apps & selected one titled “Baby Music Box”.  I tapped play, set that sucker on DS’s lap in the back seat and, to my surprise, he almost instantly stopped crying!  The high pitched tink-tink-tink music probably had all the dogs within a 1 mile radius comatosed.  LOL  He stayed completely silent the rest of the ride home while the tink-tink-tink played on.

I have always loved my smartphone and am completely spoiled by having access to pretty much everything at my fingertips.  This evening, my dependence on my Bionic rose to a whole new level.

Sorry Words with Friends…you have been replaced by “Baby Music Box” as my most favorite app.  Now if we could just find one for changing dirty diapers….

 

 

 

founder, The Wiggle Room NOLA

{ Enter your email address on the right to subscribe to my blog, Follow on Twitter  & come shop on Facebook! }

My Wiggle Worms

My Wiggle Worms

Brayden (9 yrs) & Nate ( 4 wks)

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