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    Disney World One Day Memory Maker – Is It Worth It? What Do You Get?

    Disney World Memory Maker Package Deal

    So you’re heading to Disney World!! You might remember this piece that I wrote a couple years ago about how important it is to be present in your family vacation. This absolutely includes jumping right in for pictures with the kids! Of course, the hardest thing about taking pictures on vacation can be trying to get everyone in a single picture – afterall, someone has to take the picture, right?  With Disney’s Memory Maker you can get everyone in front of the camera and get a digital download of every single image.  Memory Maker pictures are all linked to your My Disney Experience account and pictures include candids from rides that offer them and any images snapped by park photographers.  (Make sure you swipe your MagicBand or park ticket after taking these pics to ensure they end up in your account!)

    Memory Maker images are high resolution downloads and include copyright release.

    For years, Disney World has offered photography services that make it easier to get everyone in the picture, but of course they come with a price.  Did you know that Park Photographers are more than happy to take a picture with YOUR camera after they snap one with theirs?  That’s always a nice option, and even nicer, FREE.  Park photographers can be found ALL OVER the Parks and you can locate them on the My Disney Experience app. Read more

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    American Girl WellieWishers Willa Doll Toy Review

    This post is sponsored by American Girl. We received a sample of this product in order to facilitate the review. All opinions are 100% our own.

    American Girl Wellie Wishers Willa Doll

    Many months ago, when we first heard that American Girl was going to release a new line of dolls, I have to admit: I was skeptical.  I was skeptical because the only information that I kept reading was that these new dolls, WellieWishers, were going to be a good bit CHEAPER than traditional American Dolls.  That, of course, left me to wonder: how will WellieWishers compare to their 18 inch tall counterparts?

    Lily discovered American Girl Dolls at a pretty young age.  It was 2013 and she was 3 years old.  We were going out of our minds trying to come up with an incentive to get her to give up sucking her finger when she slept.  That was the year that the American Girl Doll of the Year was Saige… a girl who just happened to have red hair and love horses.  It turned out that Saige worked wonders as a big-time bribe and so Lily’s passion for AG began.

    Lilyana with Saige Doll

    3 years later and now this beauty is a full-blown American Girl fan.  I read all of the original American Girl books (Molly, Samantha and Kirsten) when I was right around Lily’s current age, so I really enjoy seeing her loving the stories as much as I did.

    Lilyana as Saige

    Lily has been asking to check out the WellieWishers line of dolls since the first time she got a look at them.  I like that they are so widely accessible – we have seen them for sale at Toys R Us, Kohl’s and even on Amazon.  These are, of course, in addition to the American Girl website and American Girl Flagship Stores which also sell them.

    WellieWishers sell for $60 each and in addition to the line of dolls and accessories, there is also a book series and a television show (stream the show for FREE on Amazon Prime).

    WellieWisher Dolls

    We had the opportunity to check out Willa, who as you’ll see, is absolutely ADORABLE!

    Wellie Wishers Doll Willa

    From her curls to her colorful lion-themed outfit, Willa is outrageously cute.  Her ladybug Wellies Boots are the icing on the cake!

    Wellie Wishers Doll Willa Skirt

    Wellie Wishers Doll Willa Skirt Wellies Rain Boots

    Listen to Lily tell you what she loves about Willa in this video review:

    My favorite gauge as far as a toy’s “worth” goes, is watching how much playtime it receives from my kids. Do they open the box, play with the toy for 5 minutes and never look at it again? Or do they cling hard and fast to that toy and tote it around for months or even years? American Girl dolls, for Lily, have now held her interest for years and receive almost daily playtime. So far, Willa is no exception. She even came on our Disney Cruise with us last month. Her smaller size (15 inches compared to the 18 inch tall traditional AG dolls) made her very portable and she was a welcome addition. Lily was able to tote Willa around and the doll never became extra baggage for Bob or I to haul. American Girl dolls have been a worthwhile investment for us, and of course I am always on the lookout for great deals on them!

    Lily with Willa Doll

    American Girl Willa on Cruise Ship

    I’m sure Willa is just the first WellieWisher doll in Lily’s collection! She is already saving up her pennies and can’t wait to bring another one home. Be sure to check out the WellieWishers – I would love to know you you think of them!

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    Laura Ingalls 18″ Doll by The Queen’s Treasures Review + Giveaway

    This post is sponsored by The Queen’s Treasures. We received a sample of the product reviewed in this post to facilitate the review. No compensation was received. All opinions and nostalgia are 100% our own.

    Lily Holding Laura Ingalls Dolls

    When I was in 2nd grade, we had a book project to complete for Language Arts class. We were to choose a chapter book from a list provided by our teacher and then create some sort of game that we had to present to the class. I remember checking a hardback copy of Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder out of the library and immediately being drawn into the pioneer’s tale.  From setting up their homestead to prairie fires and grasshopper attacks, I became entranced by the story.  I loved reading a real story written about a real girl who was just about my same age.  She loved horses and her dog and going to school – all of the same things that I loved!

    I still remember the game that I created for that book report.  My parents got me a piece of square plywood and we glued a piece of poster board on top Using a black marker I carefully constructed a path of squares until I had a board game.  I colored in the squares with crayon and made trivia cards out of cardstock.  Each card offered a fact about about a character or event in the book.  If the news was good, the player could advance on the game board.  If the card told a negative fact, the player lost a turn or had to go backwards.

    It’s funny how that project was now more than 25 years ago and yet I can still remember so many details about it.  Of course, the biggest takeaway was the beginning of my love for the Little House on the Prairie books.  A few years after reading the books for the first time, I started to watch the television series.  Every day I’d race off the bus, finish my homework in minutes and settle in front of the tv to watch Little House at 4 pm.

    It shouldn’t surprise you that I have already introduced my own daughter to this wonderful world of stories.  Over the Summer we visited the local library and she enjoyed the Little House Friends book series which is an easy reader set of books that tell snippets of different Laura Ingalls stories.  Lily is now in 2nd grade and her grandparents bought her the Little House box set of all of the original books for her birthday.  She recently dove into the first book and is thoroughly enjoying it.

    Lily Reading Little House in the Big Woods

    So with myself, an already-proclaimed-fan of Little House and now my daughter following in my literary footsteps, I can’t being to tell you how excited we were to check out a very special new doll made exclusively by The Queen’s Treasures. An officially licensed Little House on the Prairie Laura Ingalls 18” Doll can be purchased from TheQueensTreasures.com and Target.com for $99.99. In addition to the doll, The Queen’s Treasures also makes a line of fun accessories to further the prairie fun!

    This doll will also fit any clothing or furniture that you might already own for other 18″ dolls.

    Laura Ingalls Doll

    This Laura Ingalls doll is just BEAUTIFUL!  So much attention to detail in her facial features and I love the gorgeous color of her eyes.  She comes packed up in a cute box that resembles a log cabin.  Inside the box you will find the doll (in her nightgown and night cap), a pillow, a patchwork quilt, Laura’s little rag doll and also a small pamphlet with a nice introduction to Laura Ingalls.

    Laura Ingalls Prairie Doll The Queens Treasures

    Right now you can actually enter this giveaway for the chance to win the complete collection ($700+ value) as well as the complete Little House on the Prairie DVD set ($100+ value) and Laura Ingalls Wilder documentary ($20+ value).

    We are so happy with this doll, and I know she is going to be spoiled with a whole lot of love!  She would be an amazing gift for Little House fans of all ages.  To purchase this Laura Ingalls doll or any of her accessories, head over to The Queen’s Treasures or Target!

    Right now you can actually enter this giveaway for the chance to win the complete collection ($700+ value) as well as the complete Little House on the Prairie DVD set ($100+ value) and Laura Ingalls Wilder documentary ($20+ value).

    Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Ninja Coffee Bar Glass Carafe System Review from a Professed Coffee Snob

    This post is sponsored by SharkNinja.  We received a product sample in order to facilitate this review.  No compensation was received.  All opinions are 100% our own.

    ninja-coffee-bar-in-box

    I don’t just like coffee.

    I don’t just need coffee.

    I am actually crazy in love with coffee and I don’t have time in my life to waste on a poorly brewed cup of Joe.  

    Here’s a true story:  Last Spring we were on our way home from Lily’s dance recital.  I needed a decent iced coffee.  I was weary and exhausted from weeping happy proud tears while watching my little ballerina. The show was also 3 hours long and I was drained of all energy. If there had been a Starbucks within a 10 mile radius, we would have just driven there.  Yes, I am willing to pay a little more money for consistency and quality.  We stopped at a popular fast food restaurant and I ordered “1 large iced coffee, no sugar, very light cream.”  We received a coffee with so much cream, it was nearly white.  I figured I could try to drink it and deal with the taste, as by this time the drive thru line AND the line inside were so long, I wasn’t going to wait to exchange it.  I took one sip and nearly spit it back out, it was THAT bad.  20 minutes later we passed a second fast food restaurant.  This one specializes in COFFEE and donuts.  I ordered the same exact drink, throwing my first iced coffee in their trash can as I walked in the door.  The cream coloring looked about right when they handed it to me. I got back in the car and we jumped back on the turnpike just as I took my first sip.  SO MUCH SUGAR!!!!  I don’t like ANY sugar in my coffee, but can deal with a tiny amount.  I swear they filled my cup halfway with sugar.  HORRIBLE!

    If you’re keeping track, that’s now TWO total crap coffees out of 2 restaurants.  My sister had graciously agreed to watch Landon during Lily’s recital so we were almost at her house when we finally passed a Starbucks and I got my not-so-difficult order in my hand.

    I tell you that slightly long-winded story for 2 reasons: 1) To prove that I truly care about the taste quality of a cup of coffee and 2) So that you understand the depth of my excitement over finding a product that makes one HECK of a latte (or coffee) in my OWN HOME!

    That’s right.  I’d like you all to meet my brand new Ninja Coffee Bar Glass Carafe System.  This machine now takes up some prime real estate on my counter and believe me when I tell you that it is WELL-deserved.  I spent the last, oh, 8ish years owning one of those “single cup coffee brewers” that EVERYONE seems to have.  They were exciting – very quick, convenient, lots of flavor options, etc.  But their “cups” were also very pricey compared to buying ground or whole bean bags of coffee and I wasn’t convinced that the quality rivaled the local coffee shop.  Even so, it was very hard for me to even consider trading that brewer for a Ninja, even though I was hearing fabulous things about the them.

    The Ninja Coffee Bar Glass Carafe System makes some big claims.  It brews single cups, XL cups, travel cups, XL tumblers, half carafe, whole carafe, iced coffee and even specialty beverages like a latte.  Let’s take a look at this machine out of the box.

    ninja-coffee-bar

    I love the black + stainless look.  Right away you’ll notice the large removable water reservoir which is easy to fill up and rinse out.  The brewer has a timer feature so you can set up your coffee the night before and have a freshly brewed carafe waiting for you in the morning.  Underneath the carafe is a warming plate which will keep your coffee warm for hours (though my coffee is usually consumed way too quickly to use that feature)!

    Here’s a slightly closer look – notice how many options there are to get the exact brew you’d like!

    ninja-coffee-bar-glass-caraffe

    Not only does this brewer make an EXCELLENT cup of coffee or latte (hot OR iced, both are delicious), but take a look at the side of the machine for two of my favorite features!  The swing-out frother works GREAT and is easy to use.  It pops off easily to be washed and when it’s not in use, simply tuck it the arm back on the side of the machine.  ALSO!  Check out the handy little measuring spoon and its holder!  It’s always right where I need it – no more fumbling around in the junk drawer or in the coffee can.

    ninja-coffee-bar-milk-frother

    I have made some excellent milk foam using whole milk, skim milk, even almond milk.  To get a great tasting latte, I use 2 large scoops of ground espresso beans.  I brew a cup on the “specialty” setting.  While that brews, I microwave 1/2 cup of milk for 1 minute and froth it for about 30 seconds.

    The brewer finishes up and I pour the foam on top.  O.M.G.

    diy-latte-foam

    We are talking coffee shop quality in my very own kitchen!  I have been enjoying an afternoon latte most days over the last few weeks and am seriously in heaven!

    I never thought I would be able to part with my “other” brewer, but I’m here to tell you: I am a total convert.  I love my Ninja Coffee Bar Glass Carafe System!!  I highly recommend this product for any serious coffee lovers out there.  I’ll be stocking up on more holiday blend espresso beans this year after the holidays to enjoy all year long with my Ninja!

    You can purchase a Ninja Coffee Bar Glass Carafe System at retailers nationwide and I will have my eye out for any great deals that pop up, so be ready!

    Follow Ninja for updates and the latest happenings on Instagram and Facebook!

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    Win Crayola Color Wonder Products in the #MessyKidsContest

    This post is sponsored by Crayola.  We received product samples to facilitate this post.  No compensation was received.  All opinions are 100% our own.

    Crayola Color Wonder Products

    If you’re anything like me, some products are worth their weight in gold.  Whether they are convenient or simply solve a problem, I am always on the lookout for products that make life a little easier.  Crayola Color Wonder Products are nothing short of a miracle in this house.  I have a very (very!) busy 3 year old and much like his older sister, he LOVES coloring.  LOVES IT!  He loves markers, crayolas, paint, you name it.  Of course, the last thing that I ever want to do is arm my toddler with REAL markers.  He would take great joy in “decorating” every single wall in our house!

    That’s where the Mess Free Color Products from Crayola have entered our lives.  These amazing markers and paints ONLY WORK on Color Wonder paper.  That’s right – no more worrying about stray marker marks!!  We love using Color Wonder products at home, but also always pack some in our travel bag as well.  They are wonderful boredom busters and we don’t have to worry about any mess!  Playing with art supplies also helps kids practice their fine motor skills and reinforces color identification!

    We loaded our suitcase with several Crayola Color Wonder Sets and took them on vacation last week.  They were perfect for the car and also for moments in our room when we were relaxing before our next activity.

    Color Wonder Paw Patrol Coloring Book

    Kids Playing with Color Wonder Markers

    crayola-color-wonder-travel-desk

    You can enter the Crayola #MessyKidContest for the chance to win some great Color Wonder Products for your own kiddos!

    Here’s how:

    • On Instagram, follow @Crayola.
    • Post a photograph of your child’s messy moment that could have used a Color Wonder intervention to your Instagram page, including the hashtag #MessyKidsContest and tagging @Crayola in the comment of the post to receive one (1) entry (an “Entry”).
    • Winners will be chosen weekly though 11/21/16. Weekly winners will win $250 in Color Wonder product. One grand prize winner will be awarded $1000 in the form in a check. For complete rules go here.
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    We Spent Halloween on the High Seas with DISNEY!

    Disney Castaway Cay

    Hey hey!

    If you’re thinking my posts over the last week have been a little LIGHT, you’d be RIGHT! We just returned from 7 magnificent nights aboard the Disney Magic. We cruised out of New York stopped at Castaway Cay (Bahamas) and Port Canaveral (with a day in the Disney Parks)!

    And as our vacations tend to go, we mixed business with pleasure. We had the time of our lives while scouring the ship for video and photos, tips, tricks and so much more. Believe me when I tell that Bob and I have amassed months (years? LOL) worth of great Disney-related blog fodder. I can’t wait to share it all with you!!

    Now that we are home, I am more ready than ever to dive head first into HOLIDAY DEALS season!! ARE YOU READY?! Let’s go!!

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