In the midst of a busy day I found time to bake homemade cookies for my mommy cookie swap tonight. I love a good shortbread cookie recipe. It’s the greatest cookie to make when you are short on time and ingredients. This recipe also comes in handy when you have a little helper that really wants to cook with you! There are only 3 ingredients, well 4 if you count the extracts. The best part about this cookie batter is it doesn’t contain eggs. This makes for a safe and fun cooking experience for children of all ages. I whipped up this fun shortbread recipe with Sophia this afternoon and was really for my cookie swap! I plan to use this same recipe for her pajama party at school this week too!
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla extract 1/2 almond extract
Whip softened butter and sugar till combined and fluffy and add extract. Slowly add flour till all combined.
Flour surface and roll out dough. Cut into any shape you like. We chose a star. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes for tiny shapes 10 minutes for larger. You want the edges to be slightly golden brown.
Baking in a princess costume… optional! 🙂
Traveling to Disney World with toddlers is fun but at times hard. I would say just packing alone can be a major task. I spent a week packing our family of four. I wanted to be sure we had everything we needed for our trip. Before we left for our vacation I rented a double stroller with BabyQuip! Have you heard of this service before? It is amazing! Think of Uber but for baby equipment! You can go on their website and locate your destination to find representatives and what equipment they have for rent during your stay. It was super simple. Sasha, my Orlando / Disney rep arrived at the airport upon my arrival with a double bob stroller in the greatest condition I have ever seen. She was so friendly and accommodating. She followed my delayed plane and stayed in contact with me the entire time. When my trip came to an end, Sasha met me at the departure gate and took the stroller back. This was the simplest rental service I have ever used and I would highly recommend it to anyone traveling with children. BabyQuip also rents cribs, high chairs, toys and so much more! I will never carry heavy baby equipment with me when traveling again … I will forever use BabyQuip! I think this is one of the greatest “Mommy Hacks” I have found yet!
Traveling to Disney ?!?! Contact Sasha !! She was amazing to work with ! I highly recommend her!
Double Stroller is perfect for Park Days in Disney !
I think it’s about time for me to share some of my Disney Mommy Hacks!!! From the moment we booked our vacation I went to work on planning. I was so excited to have booked the hotel my daughter wanted to stay at. She is four and the Art of Animation was the perfect choice for our family! We also booked the dining plan! For our family this was great! We booked the plan that had one Quick Service , one Table Service, and one Snack a day! This was the perfect amount of food. We were actually able to have Sophia and Priscilla ( ages 4 & 1 ) share a meal ! If you are considering a dining plan I would highly recommend getting more information on it! You can also send me an email! 🙂 I joined this awesome group on Facebook.. ” Smart Moms Planning Disney” .. this group was a lifesaver! There were so many insider tips that I had no idea even existed! It was awesome to hear about others experiences and what to expect from moms that just came back from their trips! I would recommend trying to join this awesome group! Once you hit the time frame to book your dining, special experiences, and fast passes do so…. but don’t stress!!!! I called the first day and let me tell you nothing was available! The Disney guide told me not to worry and that things would open up as I got closer. I called every single day! As I got closer to our trip I called twice a day. This was to get to Cinderella’s Royal Table… and we did!!!! When I booked this reservation I screamed!!! At one point I was so excited to hold a reservation at both Bibbidi Boutiques but ultimately I decided to go with the Disney Springs location. My daughter is 4. She doesn’t understand that the castle has a boutique and I knew we had a jam packed day at Magic Kingdom and I wanted to have a special day for Epcot too! We took a Minnievan to Disney Springs for 8:30 am and she was so excited for her boutique experience! She was done up to be Snow White! I will say she truly felt like a princess that day! She believed she was Snow White! In Epcot she asked people to line up to take photos with her… and they did! It was incredible to see how the boutique made her feel!
***A huge tip I can give moms is to pack hair detangler!!!!! The night of the Bibbidi Boutique we desperately needed to get the hairstyles out. I used the kids line from Monat. I am slightly obsessed with this stuff from a consumer side. With in seconds her hair was combed out with not a single tear! Just a quick side note but well worth it for moms of little girls with long hair ***
From there we jumped back into another Minnievan and headed to Epcot for another day of Princesses and fun! I want to stop for a moment and tell you about this Minnievan! It is so simple to use and well worth it! You download the Lyft app to your mobile device and once you are in the Disney area you can access the use of the service from the app! It is so simple! You put your location along with your destination in and you will find a Minnievan provider in your area. These drivers are Disney cast members that not only work for Disney but also are trainer to install car seats safely into their vehicles. To me this is worth every single penny. They pick you up and drop you off at your destination with out the hassle of waiting for a shuttle and most of the time at a closer drop of location too. We felt the Minnievan was decently priced and really useful for our stay! During our trip we enjoyed the Bibbidi Boutique, Be our Guest, and Cinderella’s Royal Table. In addition, we were sooooo excited for our upgrade to a Nemo suite at our hotel and we had so many awesome fast past experiences! I booked fast passes but continuously changed them throughout the day! I even found that going up and talking to the Disney worker makes a world of difference. I cannot tell you how amazing they were! We got right into see Belle 30 minutes before our Fast Pass time even began and it was one of the coolest meet and greets in Magic Kingdom! Meeting Mickey is a must right when you enter the park! Be sure to make that fast pass first! Those go quickly and the wait line is very long! In Epcot there are so many amazing places to eat so I wouldn’t waste your meal credits on a sit down restaurant… but that’s just my opinion. We loved eating our way around the world just snacking! My favorites were the tacos and egg rolls! The big highlight for my girls in Epcot was meeting Elsa and Ana and of course the Frozen ride! If you search through the countries the princesses are all there! We had a blast there! We went to Hollywood studios. I would say this was our least favorite park. Sophia loved the breakfast meet and greet… but other than that… eh! Toy story land was so packed we did one ride and the frozen show and went to Disney springs. Disney Springs is awesome for down time! It has great shops, restaurants, and a few cute small rides! My girls love the train there! One big Magic Kingdom Hack is for the parades!!! They are a blast! We found not trying to get a spot on Main St is key!!!! We always walk down to Liberty Square and it is perfect! The girls had front row seats and danced the night away!!! I have a few more awesome tips and tricks to share .. stay tuned !
Staying at a Disney Resort is a great option! We love to stay on property. You have so many awesome perks when you chose to stay on site. We were able to take advantage of the Magical Express shuttle that takes you from the airport to the hotel and back. You also are able to include a meal plan if you choose and Disney offers hotel packages in many different price ranges that work for everyone’s budget. We have stayed in many different hotels on Disney property and this time we chose Art of Animation. Sophia was so excited to help us choose this hotel and our room. The rooms and pools are themed. There are Nemo, Cars, Lion King, and Little Mermaid rooms to choose from. Sophia is very princess obsessed so she chose the Little Mermaid room. At the time of booking we were unaware of how small the room was. When we arrived the room was great, but on the smaller side for our family of four and all of our belongings. We stayed in this room for two nights but eventually moved to a larger room in the Nemo building. The hotel staff was amazing and so accommodating with our need to move. The property is awesome and so kid friendly. Each area is decorated and exciting for the kids. There is so much to see and look at. There is one pool in the Nemo area that has a splash pad, a pool in the Little Mermaid area, and a great pool in the Cars location with orange cone shaped cabanas. I feel like this hotel has literally thought of it all. There was an on-site family arcade for the rainy night we were stuck inside. The food location has decent quick service food and pretty good coffee. This was a must have for this mama. The shuttles were pretty packed but they came frequently. We found an AMAZING MOMMY HACK while we were there called the Minnnie Van! This is a service provided by Disney cast members in connection with Lyft. You can order a Minnie Van from the app and it will arrive in minutes to pick you up and take you to your destination. It came equipped with two car seats and the driver was trained to install them safely. They were amazing! We used the minivan service several times and loved it! In all I will say if you have young children that love Disney movies I would highly recommend checking out the Art of Animation hotel! Again the staff was amazing and kind. There was so much pixie dust as they call it sprinkled in while we were there on our stay! The girls loved the resort and we did too! The shuttles took about 25 minutes to get to the parks and 35 minutes to the airport. On our way to the Magical Express in the morning heading home we were able to get our boarding passes and check our luggage right at the hotel before leaving! This was incredible especially traveling with two toddlers! In all this is a great and affordable family resort option!
When you are planning a family Disney trip there is sooooo much that goes into it! We just got home from our family vacation yesterday, so I am fresh with ideas and ready to share them! There are so many tips and tricks that I have learned along the way since the day we booked our family vacation, we will call these “mommy hacks”. Since you all have learned by now I do not love to make my blog posts long, I will give you an overview of a trip here and then break my “Mommy Hacks” into several easy to find posts! 🙂 Ok, so we booked our trip with a wonderful Disney agent on the phone after searching online for a few days to find just what type of resort we wanted. I highly recommend doing this. Disney World offers so many affordable options for every budget. We go every year and have stayed in many different places. This time we chose to stay at the Art of Animation. We had heard many wonderful things about this resort and how kid friendly and appealing it was. Sophia, our four year old, was so excited to stay here. We let her have a part in the booking process. She chose the Little Mermaid room. I will stop here and say, this room upon arrival was adorable but incredibly small. We stayed in this room two of the nights and due to the size and all of our belongings and double stroller we did have to upgrade to the Nemo rooms which are bigger suites. The rooms are all themed here. Nemo, Little Mermaid, Lion King, Cars. ( I will give a full review of the hotel in another post! ) * Booking with the agent on the phone was awesome! She helped us to know exactly what we needed. How many days of parks, the Christmas party, meal plan! It was worth it to make the phone call! We chose to book our airline tickets separately because we had JetBlue points. I joined a Moms Planning Disney Facebook group! This helped so much too! I learned some neat insider tips on the parks, restaurants, and things you just don’t think of that other moms do! If you have Facebook… join this group! I also downloaded the My Disney Experience App. Here I would check on reservations for meals and fast passes. I will explain more on this too!!! Lots of hacks here !! 😍 ( lets just say I got to know the cast members very well the last few months) The entire week was magical from the moment we landed and met Sasha at the airport… she is my go to Babyquip Orlando girl. I’ll tell you all about that too!!! No need to bring my stroller I rented one from her!!!! ” Speaking about transportation, I can’t wait to tell you about the Minnie Van. Kiss those crowded shuttles good-bye. Mommy Hack” The Bibbidi Boutique was the highlight of my daughters week… or was it eating at the Royal Table, or Be our Guest, or meeting Vampirina?!?? We did it all!!! And I cannot wait to tell you all about it! Like I said I will break my Disney blog posts into ” Mommy Hack” topics for easy navigation! I hope these help you to plan the best trip for your family!!!
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