Kid Goals for the New Year

This post was sponsored by Amazon as part of an Ambassador Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own

It’s a new year, which means lots of goal setting, reevaluating things done last year, and making changes to our lives. When making your list of things to change or improve on for the next year, have you ever taken the time to think about having a discussion concerning your kids screen time and what they have access to online? As your kids age, now is the perfect time to make updated decisions about parental controls and age filters for your kiddos!

For parents interested in adjusting their own settings for the new year, what are the steps/where do they find those settings (whether on their child’s Fire Kids Edition tablet or on Parent Dashboard)?

I appreciate having the ability to monitor and manage Emma Kate’s screen time and activities because while I love the technology afforded to her with FreeTime Unlimited, I want her to be well rounded in her playtime as well.

So my question is, are you involved in managing your kid’s technology uses and time?
A survey Amazon FreeTime commissioned with 1,000+ parents of children ages 3-10 found that:
97% of parents say they are at least somewhat involved in managing their kids’ use of technology and 9 in 10 parents want to be even more involved.
For 77% of parents, it’s important that the content on their child’s tablet or smartphone is age-appropriate. For 68% it’s important that the content is educational.
Almost all parents surveyed (95%), want their children to use smartphones or tablets for educational purposes.
However, most parents (75%) don’t want to hover over their children when they’re using devices and two thirds of parents want their kids to have the freedom to explore when using their tablet or smartphone.

Looking for age appropriate educational titles that are available in Amazon FreeTime Unlimited? Check out this selection below:

  • A Day with Caillou – FreeTime Unlimited Edition
  • Daniel Tiger’s Stop & Go Potty – Freetime Unlimited Version
  • Disney Buddies: ABCs
  • Elmo Loves 123s – FreeTime Unlimited Edition
  • PINKFONG Dino World – FreeTime Unlimited Edition
  • Teach Your Monster to Read – FreeTime Unlimited Edition
  • Toca Lab – FreeTime Unlimited Edition
  • Wonster Words ABC Phonics – FreeTime Unlimited Edition

So you may be saying “tell me more about the Fire Kids Edition Tablet and more about the parental controls and FreeTime Unlimited!” Say no more, I’ve got you covered.

The Fire Kids Edition Tablets are the #1 kids’ tablets in the U.S. and come with a kid-proof case and a 2-year guarantee. You can get a replacement no questions asked. Each one comes with a one year subscription to Amazon FreeTime unlimited, which gives you and your child access to over 30,000 books, videos, audible books, apps, and games. There are also Spanish language books, plus thousands of kid-friendly websites and web videos.

You can have peace of mind using the Parental Control settings in FreeTime, where parents can set time limits, change age filters, enable/disable web browser access, and you can even choose whether to allow in-app purchasing (that’s a big fat no for my child, ha!) Parents can also use Parent Dashboard to review the digital content their kids are using in FreeTime, determine how to manage time limits and educational goals, and remotely adjust their child’s FreeTime settings. I love helping Emma Kate set educational goals on her tablet!

Now that Emma Kate is almost four and a half, we are working on letter sounds, reading lots of books, and learning songs and Spanish words. I love how easy it is to work with her, and setting up the parental controls is a breeze. My favorites are the screen time limits and age filters. I also turn off the option that would just let her browse the web.

Here are a few more favorites:

  • Weekday and weekend settings—parents can set time limits by weekdays and weekends.
  • Bedtime—parents can control when FreeTime shuts down for the day and turns back on the next morning.
  • Learn First—parents can set daily goals for educational content, and block access to entertainment content until after educational goals are met each day.
  • Screen time by category—parents can restrict certain categories, such as apps and games, while leaving unlimited time for reading.
  • Total screen time—parents can choose a set amount of total screen time per day, after which the tablet will shut down for the day.
  • Age filters—parents can adjust settings to tailor the FreeTime experience for each child and ensure the content their kids are viewing is age-appropriate for them.

What are your goals for your kids this year when it comes to their education and screen time? I would love to hear!

Know Your Dose This Cold and Flu Season

This post is brought to you by the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition’s Know Your Dose campaign and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

You may or may not remember, but last year’s cold and flu season was a doozy. I was able to avoid the flu, but my poor husband was not, and my daughter had a couple of colds (daycare life). No one likes to be sick in bed and feeling poorly, so we often reach for medicines to help us feel better wuickly. The great thing about modern medicine is we can ease symptoms these days, but on the flip side, some people don’t end up taking the right dosage of said medicines. The Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition (AAC) is urging Americans to double check their medicine labels when treating cold and flu symptoms to avoid doubling up on acetaminophen.

Research published earlier this year shows that the odds of Americans taking more than the FDA-recommended maximum dose of 4,000 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen in one day increased 24 percent during cold and flu season. That’s a HUGE amount of people not using medicine properly. So why does this happen? Primarily, this is because more people are using over-the-counter (OTC) combination medications to treat upper respiratory cold and flu symptoms. Acetaminophen is safe and effective for treating fever and pain when used as directed; however, taking more acetaminophen than directed can lead to liver damage. Also, when your child is suffering with a cold or flu and you choose to treat their symptoms with an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, make sure you always use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. I will admit that especially when Emma Kate was little, I was always nervous about giving her the wrong amount of medicine when she was sick. It can be scary enough when your child isn’t well, but then add in not being sure on the dose, and it’s a double whammy for moms and dads.

If you or your family members get sick this season, follow these four steps to make sure you’re using medicines with acetaminophen safely:

  1. Always read and follow the label.
  2. Know if your medicines contain acetaminophen.
  3. Take only one medicine at a time that contains acetaminophen. Double check, don’t double up!
  4. Ask your healthcare provider or a pharmacist if you have questions about dosing instructions or medicines that contain acetaminophen.

KnowYourDose.org has great resources to help make sure you are giving yourself and your kids the right dose of medicine. So what should you do the next time you are sick, or even as a fitness enthusiants like me, want medicine to relieve aches and pains, double check your medicine labels so you don’t accidentally double up on acetaminophen.

Healthy Choices for A Fast Paced Life

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Healthy Choice

My days are pretty hectic, with multiple jobs, a house to keep up and clean, a four year old to take care of, errands to run, and the list goes on and on. One thing I do NOT have time for is recipes that take forever. I am pretty health conscious when it comes to my eating choices, so I want something with lots of nutrients that will help keep me full and energized through my day.

Lucky for me, Healthy Choice launched four morning Power Bowls to help with my exact meal time predicaments. I love the bowl format, and they are quick and easy, and taste delicious to boot. Each of the bowls contain purposeful ingredients for a good for you meal of leafy greens, proteins, ancient grains and steel cut oats. (yum yum!)

I tried the Unwrapped Burrito Scramble, which is made up of turkey sausage with egg whites, black beans and vegetables served on top of steel cut oats, farro, buckwheat and red quinoa with a spicy tomatillo sauce. I normally wouldn’t have thought to combine all of these ingredients, but it had a great flavor that kept me full until lunch. It had a bit of a kick to it, but I liked it a lot. I was running late one morning (what’s new) and knew I didn’t have time to cook a big meal before an appointment, so this was a great way to fill up with a quick protien breakfast and it fit perfectly in my on the go lifestyle. These would also be perfect for someone who works at an office to take along with them and heat up for a nutricious lunch!

Healthy Choice also launched vegan and vegetarian Power Bowls with bold and exotic flavor combinations, including 10-16 grams of protein and 7-16 grams of fiber in each bowl. Personally, I struggle to get enough protein in my body during the day, so this was a great way to add some in!

I tried the White Bean & Feta Salad – white kidney beans with kale, chard & spinach served on top of brown & red rice, red quinoa and black barley with a red wine vinaigrette topped with feta cheese, dried cranberries & roasted pepitas. Each flavor features a combination of vegetables, legumes and whole grains. A great option for my vegan and vegetarian friends looking for on the go meals packed with nutrients and flavor! I really liked the feta cheese and red wine vinaigrette. Yum yum!

I love that each ingredient matters in Healthy Choice Power Bowls, and all of the bowls have a base mixture of whole grains like red quinoa and whole grain barley, leafy greens like kale, chard and spinach, and proteins.


Disney Wonder Cruise 2018: Part 3

In case you missed part 1 and 2, catch up before reading this one!

The next morning we woke up and were almost to Key West. We also had an early princess meet and greet in the lobby, so we headed there before breakfast. This is a ticketed event, but also free (we snagged tickets when we got onboard on day 1). It’s a great way to meet a bunch of princesses at one time. Emma Kate loved it!

After the meet and greet we went to breakfast. I told EK she could have a donut if she ate all her food. Thankfully after she was sufficiently sugared up we took her to the pool to burn some energy. The weather forecast for the rest of the week was iffy, so we knew we needed to take advantage of the sunshine while we could (even if it was a tad chilly!)

A huge thanks to SwimZip for sending us these adorable swimsuits! We got so many compliments and the rash guard was perfect for Emma Kate since it was a little chilly. I love that these suits help protect against the suns harmful rays!

We let Emma Kate swim and go down the slide as we docked in the port. There was hardly anyone in the pool so we were able to get great seats and the little one went down the slide a bunch of times.

I took advantage of the warmth of the sun and got a dole whip with rum in it that I had heard so much about. I was warned in advance that the consistency was more slushie like that creamy ice cream, but I still wanted to try it…and the verdict…it was not my favorite. I LOVE Dole whip floats and I love rum, but this combo was not something I would get again. I am however glad I tried it!

We decided to just grab lunch at the pool because Emma Kate was having such a blast we didn’t want to pull her out to go change and go to the buffet. Bobby went and got his own food from Cabanas and ate at the pool chairs, and I got Emma Kate and I some chicken tenders and fries, so it worked out perfectly. After lunch, we all got changed and we brought Emma Kate to the kids club so Bobby and I could go watch the Saints game at the pub. I was surprised, we were the ONLY ONES IN THERE! Where did all the football fans go?!?

We were able to watch the game, but the sound was for a different game which made it kind of confusing, but we were just happy to get to watch anyway. We grabbed some snacks and relaxed on a sofa and cheered for our team as they beat the Tampa Bay Bucs. We had a nice view out the window, too.

As the game was coming to an end, we went and grabbed EK out of the kid’s club and decided to get off the ship for a few minutes and just walk around on dry land for a bit. Why not? It has been a minute since we have been to Key West, but I love how quaint it is, and we feel super safe there just walking around. Emma Kate LOVED chasing the animals.

After about 30 minutes we made our way back to the ship to get ready for dinner. We realized we walked right into the beginning of a little show where SANTA shows up on the ship for the first time! It was cute. There were lots of characters, and even snow!

Dinner that night was in Triton’s, but we took some family photos before we went in.

This one is my favorite haha

At dinner, EK decided to eat a lime, which was hysterical.

After dinner it was back to the kids club (she was SO antsy at Dinner I took her before we even ordered dessert.) and Bobby and I walked around on the deck and went back to Cove Cafe again. In the room that night we had a sweet gift from Disney, Emma Kate was pumped.

We were taking her to see her first movie in the theater the next day, so she was so excited we had snacks! And she loved the doll because it matched the dress she had on the night before. <3

After calming her down which took awhile, it was time for bed, and watching Elf again, before finally falling asleep.

I would love to help you with Disney Cruise questions! Email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com

Healthy Goals for 2019

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx and Planet Fitness. All opinions are my own.

Here we are, two weeks into a new year, and I am just now getting time to think about my health and fitness goals for the year. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know it started out as a running blog, and then morphed into a lifestyle blog. However, health and fitness is still a huge part of my life (and blog), and I wanted to share some of my top goals for the year in hopes to encourage you to make some goals of your own. I have paired each goal with a “tip” on how you can easily make this goal a reality. Ready? Read on!

1.) Drink more water: I seem to have this on my “list” of things to do every year. I will get in a good groove and do well with it for a little while, but then I slowly forget and know I am dehydrated. I particularly have a hard time in the winter when it’s cold and I don’t feel like drinking lots of cold water.

Tip: Get a really cute water bottle or cup with a fun straw to prompt you to drink more water. Or, set an alarm on your phone to go off every hour reminding you to go drink a glass. Cheers!

2.) Be more mindful of what food I eat: I have been learning a lot lately about macros, which has made me take a good hard look at the amount of carbs, fat, and protein in the foods I eat. I realized I don’t eat enough protein, and I eat a lot more fat than I should be. Just tracking my food intake for a few days was really eye opening!

Tip: Look at all the food labels for a week just to be mindful of what you put in your mouth. There are apps that can help you track macros and keep yourself in check.

3.) Be a good healthy example for Emma Kate: Having a child has most definitely made me more mindful of my habits, good and bad. She mimics everything I do, and I want her to grow up to be healthy and strong. I try my best to let her see me working out, eating healthy foods and snacks, and getting the proper amount of rest.

Tip: Include your kids in grown up activities like cooking a healthy dinner, going for a walk, or grocery shopping for healthy choices.

Show those muscles!

4.) Get to the gym in an affordable way: Gyms can be expensive, but for someone like me who loves strength training, it’s important that I have access to one. I not only love free weights and top of the line machines for lifting, but I love having a treadmill or bike for rainy days (or super hot/cold ones!)

Tip: That’s why I was really excited when I heard about the Planet Fitness “Get Down with Your Judgement Free Self” celebrations to start 2019 off in the best way possible. They have a sale going on right now through January 15th, where new members can join any location for just $1 down (enrollment fee) and $10 a month thereafter, no commitment. Guys, that’s huge! They have so much equipment, you will have everything you need to be fit in 2019. Not to mention, they have a welcoming, non-intimidating environment, which they call the Judgement Free Zone®.

They even have Free fitness training is included in all memberships, and cater to everyday people looking to become their best selves. Yes please! They also have fully equipped locker rooms, (they are nice!) flat screen televisions, unlimited small group fitness instruction by a certified trainer through the pe @ pf® program, and much more.

Lastly, Planet Fitness also provides members with a way to connect and support each other with “Planet of Triumphs,” an online community that celebrates accomplishments and inspirational stories of Planet Fitness members. It is a great way to share your story and encourage others, reinforcing the Company’s belief that ‘everyone belongs.’ The sale is only going on for a few more days so act now and find the location nearest you.

Also be sure to check out this video where you can hear more about the awesome sale:

A Word for 2019

You may have noticed over the past few days people have been talking nonstop about their “word” for 2019. Several years I have “tried’ to have a word and would just come up with one on my own I thought was a good idea, but then I would forget about it and honestly, I can’t even remember what any of those words were.

This past year has been a very trying time for my family, more so than any other year of my adult life. Therefore, I have found it necessary to find things I can cling to, to give me hope that things are going to be ok.

This year, instead of coming up with a word on my own, I decided to pray about it and see if I felt led to a word. A word did come to mind pretty immediately, but I dismissed it and kept praying and “searching” for another word…but that first word kept coming back. Finally after a few days, a few scripture passages that talked ALL ABOUT THIS WORD, I got the message. (I admit I can be a little hard headed sometimes…ok all the time.)

This word is actually one that has been in my face over and over during the hardships of 2018, and some days I was really great with it and some days I wasn’t. (More often than not it was a wasn’t, but hey I’m trying here.) That word? Trust.

Trust in myself. Trust in others. Most importantly, trust in God. I’m a bit of a control freak, and like to be in charge. In a lot of ways this is helpful, but not when it comes to my relationship with God. I have such. a. hard. time. letting go and trusting that what is happening to me is for my good.

Do I believe God is ultimately good? Yes. Do I believe God can do anything? Yes. My issue comes with believing that God will do good for ME in my personal situation. Sure I have seen him work miracles in others and of course in the Bible, but my “realism” struggles with my faith time and time again and I have a very difficult time being positive when going through a hard season. Can anyone else relate?

Or, I will believe good things are coming, but then push God to do the things I have on my agenda and in my time table. Yup. I make the plan then ask God to bless it. Friends, that isn’t the way God works. True trust and true surrender are about giving up OUR wants and desires and trading them for what God wants for our lives. So it ultimately boils down to…do we trust Him or not? Do we believe all things will work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to his plans? If we can really honestly say that we DO trust him, then opening our hands and giving up the time table and the “way” in which He chooses to work things out shouldn’t be a struggle. We shouldn’t have anxiety over the future or fear any outcome.

Keep in mind I type all this as I repeat it back to myself because it is a daily, sometimes hourly, and sometimes minute by minute struggle in my mind and heart. I often pray “I believe, help my unbelief!” as I inch closer to trusting in His faithfulness.

Does trusting God in a situation mean we are to sit around and do nothing? Absolutely not! There are things we can do in the trusting and waiting to prepare us for what is to come. Prayer, Bible reading, actively seeking Godly counsel, and listening for direction all come to mind. If you aren’t sure what God is telling you to do, then do the last thing He told you to do. Not sure what God’s will is? Do this instruction from the Bible until you are told further by Him:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

This verse often gets misquoted. Note that it does NOT say “give thanks FOR all circumstances.” Of course it would be silly to thank God for a car accident, a lost job, or a sick loved one. The point here is DESPITE whatever we are going through, we can trust God has good planned through it, and we can give thanks to Him anyway. It’s a hard choice, but a choice non the less we have to make every morning when our feet hit the floor.

So again, boiled down in it’s most simple, basic form, I ask my question again. Do you trust God? Out of habit you may say yes, but do your actions prove otherwise? If you are anxious, fearful, or stressed out, those are all tell tale signs that you are not trusting God in that moment. Don’t be hard on yourself if you worry or have anxiety about something. Just stop right when you start to feel those feelings, surrender them to God, and remember the verse from above: Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances.

Keep persevering my friends. Don’t give up if you are in a hard season. In the words of Charles Stanley, the dark moments of our lives will last only so long as is necessary for God to accomplish His purpose in us. 

So this year, I am working on trust. His will, His timing, His way. And while I wait, I will be rejoicing, praying, and thanking Him as I go. Have a great 2019 my friends. I love you all.

Disney Wonder Cruise 2018: Part 2

In case you missed part 1, catch up here before reading below!

We woke up the next morning ready for an awesome day at sea. First up, we had the Disney Jr. character breakfast.

Pro tip: Spots for this free but ticketed event fill up fast. However, they hold back some spots, so go to guest services as soon as you get on board to try to snag tickets.

Breakfast was in Animator’s, and we were seated right away and promptly given napkin hats.

I will say the breakfast portions were on the smaller side, so if you like a big breakfast I suggest ordering multiple items like Bobby did. However, the characters were fun! This was the first time we let Emma Kate use an autograph book, and she had a blast with it.

She was so excited to see Vamparina!

After breakfast, we saw Minnie Mouse was taking photos so we did that. The line was really short!

We also took a few pictures in the lobby and Emma Kate and I danced on “stage”.

Emma Kate was asking to go to the kids club, so off she went and Bobby and I walked around the ship taking some photos. The sun is deceptive, it was windy and pretty chilly!

The rest of the afternoon was pretty lazy. We got EK out of the club for lunch (we knew she wouldn’t eat enough or at all if we didn’t make her) and then brought her back. Bobby and I went to the gym and i’m pretty sure we all took a nap that day (the ONLY day she napped!) and then it was off to dinner for formal night. Emma Kate wore her Rapunzel dress, and we stopped for a quick dance party at Preludes before heading to Tiana’s Place.

I LOVED Tiana’s place. I know I am biased being a New Orleans native and all, but it was so fun with the music and dancing and had such an adorable atmosphere. Kudos on this one Disney!

We got to get up and dance, watch awesome musicians, and eat delicious food!

After dinner, Emma Kate was begging to go play in the club again (ok ok if you twist my arm, kid) so we dropped her off and Bobby and I walked around on the pool deck and started what would be our nightly tradition of hanging out in Cove Cafe and getting a snack.

Pro tip: In the evenings they had delicious cheese and crackers (like the kind from Palo) for free. So we would get a snack and sit in the quiet and relax.

They also had some seasonal coffee drinks for an extra charge.

We picked Emma Kate up around 9:00, watched Elf on TV for the 14th time so far, and went to sleep. More coming up soon!

If you would like help booking your next Disney cruise, let me know! heather@travelwiththemagic.com

12 Years

Back when I was a newlywed, I remember hearing about people who had been married for over ten years, and I thought “man, that’s a long time!” Here we are, 12 years in, and it’s been the blink of an eye. As I went through my wedding photos again to decide what to put in this post, I was reminded that 1.) I am definitely aging (ha) and 2.) I would do it all over again.

Adulting is hard, and 2018 was definitely the most tough year we have had together as a married couple, but here we are still standing. It hasn’t always been easy by any means, but as we strive to set a good and healthy example of a marriage for our daughter, we hope to encourage others who may feel like it’s too overwhelming. We took our vows very seriously on January 6, 2007, and they still hold true today.

I will admit, when you are 21 years old and saying “for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, till death do us part,” you aren’t THINKING about the bad times that may actually come and how you will respond. I haven’t always responded in the right way, but thankfully I have a husband who gives me grace every day and helps me learn and grow. We may be in a crazy season of life right now, but we are in it together.

While I definitely hope this next year brings about some hopeful and happy things for us, I know that even if it doesn’t, we can get through it because at least we have each other.

Disney Wonder Cruise 2018: Part 1

Back in December, we took Emma Kate on her very first Disney cruise. I found a good last minute deal, and we decided instead of spending a ton of money on Christmas, we would take a family vacation. We sailed on the Disney Wonder, and were to make stops at Key West, Castaway Cay, and Nassau.

We arrived the night before and stayed in a hotel so we would be near the port first thing the next morning. Emma Kate was so amped up that night and it took forever for her to go to sleep (ok, so I was excited too.)

That morning we walked around to burn off some of Emm Kate’s perpetual energy before driving the 10 minutes to the port.

We got the bags dropped off and the car parked, and we checked in. We got in line for a photo with this guy, and before you know it there were calling our group to board.

We immediately went to guest services and were able to snag princess meet and greet tickets as well as character breakfast tickets. Then we went to stand in line to see about changing our dining time (we had late which is WAY late for us) and to get PALO brunch reservations that were sold out online. We were able to get brunch, but they said they didn’t know about the dining which made me nervous. A downfall of booking late I guess, but I know there was no way Emma Kate was going to eat dinner at 8:15 when her normal bedtime is 7:45! We went up to the buffet to eat lunch, and then explored the ship. I loved seeing the Wonder all ready for Christmas!

At this point, Emma Kate still didn’t quite understand that the boat was going to start moving and we would be on it for a week. Oh well. She figured it out soon enough after we pulled out of port ha!

It was time to check out our room, and we went to drop off our carry on bags. We had an oceanview room on deck 2. At first I was a little bummed to not have a verandah, but honestly it ended up being great because 1.) The weather wasn’t great so I doubt I would have spent a ton of time out there, 2.) I didn’t have to worry about EK jumping off the balcony and 3.) We were midship, and the lobby is deck 3, so we were one quick flight of stairs to the lobby, restaurants, guest services, character meet and greets, and more.

We met our stateroom host, dropped off our things, and headed up to show Emma Kate the kids club. I was SO pumped about this because I knew she would love it. Heck I love it!

She was obsessed with the slide and went down about 100 times.

Don’t worry, I plan to do a whole post about the kid’s club, there is so much to say! After we left, we went back to the room for a minute before the muster drill and noticed DCL had left us a beautiful cheese tray. (Anyone who knows me knows that cheese is the way to my heart.)

We had a quick and delicious snack before the muster drill, and then it was time for the sail away party. It was at this moment that I teared up. Being up on the deck, about to sail away for a week, my daughter on my husbands shoulders singing and dancing and squealing at her favorite characters. I had waited so long to take her on her first Disney cruise and here we were. It was surreal and perfect.

We went to the front of the ship to watch us sail away, and then Emma Kate finally realized we were moving!

We went inside as it was getting close to early dinner time, and we still didn’t know what seating we had. Bobby decided to call the dining line, and just see where we were on the list and what we should do. He explained we had a small child that went to bed early, and they gave us THE LAST TABLE at main dining. Yall, I was so so thankful. They said there were 27 other families that had a request in as well, so I don’t know if it was because we called to follow up or what, but whatever it was, we were seriously breathing a huge sigh of relief. The only thing was…it was 5:25, and dinner was at 5:45! We hurried around getting dressed for dinner and made it to Animator’s Palate just in time.

I love this menu, and was excited to have it the first night. We met our super sweet server, Dee, who has been with DCL for 12 or 13 years! She was so great with Emma Kate and was from Thailand. Emma Kate did ok at dinner…she got a little antsy so we had mickey bars and other dessert and then brought her to the kids club for the first time alone.

This gave Bobby and I a chance to walk around and see more of the ship, grab a snack, and relax. We got a text that Emma Kate wanted us and we were so confused because we had just dropped her off! We ran up there and discovered that she just “wanted to tell us the slide was closed.” Seriously. That was it. Emma Kate has been going to daycare since she was a baby and has never before had to power to “summon” us while at school, so I think she liekd the idea, but I did not. I kind of wish she didn’t know that she could haha.

Pro Tip: After this happening a couple of times (and nothing was wrong), we asked the workers to put a note in her file to not text us unless something was really wrong (hurt, crying, sick, etc.) and to not text us just because she wants to tell us something.

We went back to the room and had another sweet surprise from DCL! Cheers to a great first day!

More coming up soon!

If you would like help booking your next Disney Cruise please email me, I would love to help you! heather@travelwiththemagic.com

Christmas 2018 Recap

Christmas is officially over, and like every year, I am officially sad. It seems to go by faster and faster every year, no matter how much I vow to “soak it all in this time” or “slow down and enjoy.” That being said, we had a wonderful 4 day weekend with family, and I have nothing to complain about (except for how quickly it went by!) I thought I would share a little recap with you all today as we prepare to close out 2018.

We kicked off the holiday weekend on Saturday with some wine and cheese outside with my parents. Christmas music played non stop every day, and we had great weather.

On Sunday, we had lunch with Bobby’s family. All of his siblings were in town which never happens (there are 5 of them total) so lots of photos were taken.

That night we went to dinner for my moms birthday and I didn’t think to take photos. The Saints almost gave us a heart attack, but managed to clinch a #1 seed for the playoffs!
Christmas eve was laid back, we went to the store (again) and hung out at the house doing some cooking and watching Christmas movies. Emma Kate and I also made and decorated sugar cookies for santa. She LOVED it and it kept her busy for almost two hours, which if you know my child, is a long time for her to stay focused on one thing.

That afternoon, we all got dressed and went to the 4:00 candlelight Christmas Eve church service.

The service was great, I love closing it out singing Silent Night with all the beautiful candles. (It wa slightly terrifying seeing my clild with fire, but she insisted on having ehr own.)

We went back home and ate Bobby’s delicious chicken and dumplings, watched more movies, and read the Christmas story from the Bible and Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Then it was time to set out the cookies and milk and head to bed.

The next morning, Emma Kate was up at 6:00 on the dot, so it was most definitely still dark when we opened gifts.

We had a very happy little girl, and took our time enjoying opening gifts, drinking coffee, and listening to Christmas music.


I made a special tequila sunrise mimosa for breakfast to go along with the sausage casserole I make every year.

We spent the rest of the morning playing and cooking preparing for lunch.

Emma Kate was super pumped about her new bike. After a new death experience (I forgot to explain the brakes to her), she got the hang of it and had a blast.

We had a delicious lunch, and sang happy birthday to my mom (she is a Christmas baby!)

That evening we hung out with more family and ate…again. (so. much. food.)

After we left, we drove around and looked at Christmas lights. There were two houses that had music and lights flashing together via a radio station! We got home and I realized we had not taken any family photos that day in front of the tree, so we did that before Emma Kate’s bedtime.

We were all pretty exhausted and went to bed early. The next three days we ate nothing but leftovers, and I enjoyed every bite! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and made wonderful memories with those you love.