Parent College Pre-Packing Woes

As you may remember, MD is moving into College this Friday with much excitement. However can I say one thing – “She’s making me crazy!” Mr Don and I both went to college however neither of us lived on campus so we have no experience on what to expect.  MD is a very organized and responsible you’d lady but right now her procrastination is making me nutz!

As previously posted we’ve purchased numerous amounts of dorm room items and MD organized them as best she could.  However this is what my livingroom looks like right now!

Yes – every inch of our livingroom floor is covered with stuff! Now Mr. Don thinks we’ve purchased far too much stuff, but the reality is she’s probably missing a few things that somehow were on my numerous lists.

With that said as a parent the issue I’m having now is getting my pre-college student moving!! Books need to be ordered, clothes need to be packed, there’s crap in her room that needs to be added to the chaos in the livingroom! We need ACTION!  So I’m doing what u really don’t want to do and instead of letting her figure it out, I’m aggressively walking her through the process.

1. I’ve made her a list of things that must be done each day. I’m hoping she’ll see the joy if crossing off each item once completed.

2. I’m quietly grabbing things out of her room and packing them so she doesn’t forget important things that I’ll have to drive or send to her.

3. I’m having her manage the laundry so she can pack as she folds!

4. I’ve come to realize that as sad as it will be to say goodbye to her at college, leaving my baby to start the journey of her new life, there will be more tears and yelling BEFORE we even get to the dorm!

Well all I can say to you I that everyone gets thru it. Tonight she’s finishing up decorations for her drawers and dorm door and I’ll be sneaking into her room to pull more things she’s forgotten like a good parent would. Hang in there!

Have a Magical Day!!

Tina

 

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Planning a Disney trip 101

Lots of people ask me what it takes to plan a Disney trip.   Usually by the time they’re asking me they’ve either already booked one or are still in the thinking about stage.  I’m going to give you a brief step by step what I do to plan our Disney family trip!

1. Family discussion.  Our family goes to Disney pretty regularly, but once a trip is decided the first thing we do is request the free Disney planning video here  https://www.disneyplanning.com/destinations/  This video shows us what’s new, helps us pick our hotel and gets us excited for a trip.

2. Booking. Now I’ve booked Disney trips every which way; thru Disney directly, AAA, BJs, etc but the best way I have found is using a travel agent! We use Michelle at AAA! (MWood@nyaaa.com) She’s amazing! Why? Well when I booked trips thru Disney and promos came up Disney never notified us about them.  Michelle calls us usually before the promo has even hit the newsstand. She’s already got the amount we’d save and just needs our OK.  She’s not even in my state but she keeps me up to date on when I should be making reservations, fast passes, etc.  She goes thru everything to make sure we have a perfect trip.

3. Plan a park per day – Yes Virginia you need to plan your parks! Disney has all types of special early/late park hours and special events. You want to make sure you have all of those things planned out BEFORE you arrive at Disney! Otherwise you’re going to WAIT and I mean a long time. I know people who’ve waited hours to get a table for dinner and hours for every ride – trust me that’s a miserable trip. Sit down with the Disney hours schedule and plan out one park each day (or multiple parks a day if you’re purchasing a hopper pass)..

4. Tickets and Dining. Now I’m not going to go into deep detail about these but personally I don’t usually get a hopper pass ticket – we go to one park per day and thats busy enough for us.  The Hopper passes take more planning and cost a lot.  Dining plans are a definite yes for my crew. The basic dining plan gives you one counter service and one table service with two snacks and a resort use only cup.  Since Disney restaurants are pretty expensive the dining plans make it reasonable, HOWEVER be aware you will have to pay gratuity and alcohol yourself – not covered by the plan AND if you’re going with a group over 6 people the gratuity (which is automatically calculated on the bill) goes up to 18%! We use Disney gift card for gratuity so we’re not using our credit cards!

4. Download My Disney Experience App – MDE- this baby is worth a million dollars, before and during your trip. Get to know it cuz everything you need is right here. Where are things at each park? What’s on the menu at this restaurant? How much is the VIP Safari tour? What are the wait times for each ride? It’s all right here. Once you’ve booked your trip log in and link your customer number so it will bring up your reservations. This site allows you while at Disney to check ride wait times, get more fast passes, order food and so much more.  Last trip I found the girls circled around a phone, thinking they were on YouTube or Instagram I was like Really!  Then I found out they were planning what to do next on the MDE looking up wait times Anderson adding on fast passes!

Now let’s get to planning!

5. ADRs. Now this isn’t a fancy Disney acronym Attack Donald Rightaway.  It actually stands for Advance Dinning Reservations.  If you want to eat at nice sit down restaurants and have a good dinning experience you need to reserve your seating. Otherwise you might be eating burgers all vacation.  So about 200 days out you should review restaurants at each park – check out menus, locations, character meals, etc. on each you’ve picked your places at the 180 mark at 7am (YES!) you can log in and pick your reservation then the My Disney Experience App.  Pick things like Be Our Guest, Chef Mickey or Cinderellas Castle first – they are very popular and book up first. Don’t always pick meals at 5 or 6pm cuz those are the busiest. Remember there are night shows you might want to see so be sure you give yourself enough time to eat.

6. Fast Passes. FP – Now I could do a whole post on these babies, but let’s start basic. If you’re staying at a Disney resort you can pre set three (3) fast passes each day to one park 60 days in advance. If you’re not staying onsite there are kiosks throughout Disney parks for you to pick your FPs.  Some parks have a tier level which means you pick a FP for Soarin at Epcot and you can’t get Test Track cuz those are both Tier 1 rides. Yes it’s a pain, but when you’re at the park once you use a FP you can go onto MDE and get another one!  So you can jump from FP to FP all day! Sadly FPs run put around 2pm for most of the popular rides.  If your ride breaks down before your fastpass time, check with a cast member to see if they’ll honor the FP later on.

Now you need to wait for your trip! In the meantime watch a lot of videos on YouTube to see what’s going on. The Vlogs I like to watch are Tim the Tracker and Disboards.  Each give current views of the parks and excellent tips.

So get started and book your trip! Tell Michelle I sent you! Watch for an upcoming blog on what to do when you’re at the park!

Have a Magical day!

tinalala

College Packing Up Is Hard To Do!

Well we’ve known MD would be staying on campus at least her first year of college for sometime now, but no one said how CRAZY the process actually was!

I know enough about planning to know that pre-planning is the key to success!  Last year, about the same we started looking at colleges I started the dorm planning process!  I read thru ALL of the college packing lists and created my own list.  I then took the list to the Target.com website and created a college registery, not just for people to shop from, but for me to know how much things actually cost.  Let’s just say the total cost to live on campus is as shocking as the cost of college!  Here’s a few ideas I have on college dorm purchases.

1. Make lists with your student as early as you can. Trust me they won’t want anything to do with this planning as a junior in high school and even less as a senior so the sooner you start looking at what they truly need for their dorm the easier it is to start hoarding!

2. A College Registry is perfect wishlist for Christmas and birthday presents!  Send the link to Grandma and family so she can buy the things student will need now instead of another bag of underwear (unless that’s on your list!)

3. Space – designate a spot in the basement or garage (not in the student’s room) to keep all this stuff that’s soon to start piling up somewhere.  I don’t recommend the student’s room cuz you don’t want them to take anything out now and not have it then or misplace anything in their mess of a room.

4. Sickness happens! Most college students get some type of sickness the first month on campus – dormer or not.  Oh you can’t be there to keep sickness away, but you can pack a wellness wagon box that has everything from cold to allergy to cough drops to ice packs to thermometers inside. While you’re at Target or CVS picking up your usual meds grab another box for the kit!  Make sure it has its own box separate from other hygiene items.

5. School supplies – one of the best grad gift MD got was a huge bag of school supplies! As simple as it seems it saved her about $100!  When school supplies go on sale pick up another set and put it in a box! Granted she might not use some of these supplies but at least she has a stapler, pencils, ruler, calculator, sticky notes, glue stick, etc.

6. Save save save – since you’re starting early you have time to utilize coupons and sales! I was able to buy MD a mattress pad during Black Friday usually priced $65 sale $35! Bonus! I use Bed Bath and Beyonds 20% coupon once a month for various things like a new pillow, that expensive table mirror, and Poopurri (oh yes send that, at for the first few months they’ll worry about it).  Plus you can scrounge around clearance shelves in August when college students have already torn thru everything to grab XL sheets at huge discounts. We got our soft 300 thread count ones for $10!

7. Announcements Announcements Announcements!  That’s right tell everyone you’re collecting things for your college student. Someone has a graduated student who left stuff in the basement that they’d be glad to give away!  We got a three drawer with a hard laminate counter top glued on, a frig, kuerig and a foldaway shelving system for free!

8. Pack it up Babe! Ask friends if they have empty boxes so you can start hoarding them.  I also dropped a box into her room and told her to start putting clothes in as the season was over for clothes  she knew she would want to bring with her.  This way she’s not standing in front of her closet thinking about what she’d want to bring, it would already be packed! Granted we’re not bring winter coats now, but grabbing a prelabelled box is easier!

9. Customize – you’re probably not surprised to hear MD is crafty and has been working on decorations for the front of her drawers, she doesn’t want anyone to see what’s inside.  Actually she found a plastic spray paint to use on the plastic three drawer system to customize the color.  She’s using Stamping Up DSP paper for the fronts of the drawers and we’re putting shelf liners inside so stuff won’t slide all over the place.

10. Organize – find a day to organize all the stuff.  We found these categories helpful – hygiene, decoration, school supplies, bedding, HBA.  Hygiene was more like getting the shower catty items unpacked and arranged and HBA was feminine products, shampoo, etc.  Definitely do this organization with your student cuz if they don’t know where you put stuff Mom/Dad they’re going to get angry and look like a dope in front of their roommate!

Here’s what MD’s gear looks like right now packed and ready to go! Organized, unboxed and labelled!

Well that’s where we are at right now – purchasing!  I’ll show you pictures of our piles and what we’ve been doing to creatively pack her up 30 days in advance.  Hope this helps you to release some of the stress the college process brings.  Hang in there!

Have a Magical Day!

tinalala

MD’s Graduation Party

Happy End of July Everyone!

Thought I’d share some pictures from MD’s Graduation party last week.  So many famiky and friends came to celebrate MD and her next steps to success.

Here’s MD with her amazing cake.

It was an amazing design showcasing MD’s love of Belle, Doctor Who and nursing.

Plus did I mention the flavors – vanilla bean, triple chocolate and coffee sponge! Delicious!

This actually says her name in gallifreyan, which is Doctor Who’s native language . So here’s the card box I made to look like Cinderella’s castle. All made from recycled materials!

Here’s my nephew Connor showing his superpowers as a future big brother to this beauty who was born on Monday – Colin!

Such a handsome additon to our family!

I hope you had a wonderful summer. Have a Magical Day!

Tinalala

 

Let the Craziness Begin!

Hey everyone! I’m sure you’re wondering where I’ve been?!  Things were crazy at the end of the year and now we’re knee deep in summer and the crazy has hit the fan!

So tomorrow is MD’s graduation party!  I showed you the picture palette which looks great. The other things we made were center pieces – pretty basic which is what she wanted, but they are glass bowls with beads and an electronic tea light with yearly pictures of her on the top.  Here’s her kindergarten one.

 

I know it doesn’t look amazing, but the party isn’t at night so the tea light will light up the beads so it will look cool.  She really liked the idea of having her school pictures on each table.

In the meantime MD has been prepping our tshirts for our upcoming MD’s Graduation Disney trip next month.  Here’s a sample of the t-shirts she the dyed for us – a different color and the dye style for each park!

I think she’s going to add Mickey character themed heads on each shirt too, but we will see!  Besides that we have a Girl Scout TREC camping trip next weekend, a Girl Scout troop luau camping trip and the exciting process of packing MD for college!  Not much time for crafting but I have a few surprises in store for MD for her dorm!

Hope you are all staying cool and safe!  Have a Magical Day!

tinalala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MD’s Graduation DIY Decorations

This year MD will be graduating high school in the Spring.  I still can’t believe it!  Hubby and I agreed to have a graduation party for her and in Lala fashion I found some great crafty things to do!

The first thing we did was create tissue paper flower balls with curled ribbons.  There’s tons of videos out on YouTube on how to create these balls which create a simple elegance to an advent.  MD wants the colors purple and teal as her accents so here are a few we’ve made.

Btw yes those white chain streamers are still up!  We’ve had them up for years now and have added snowflakes, but everyone loves them so they stay up.  I love the ribbons on the bottom really make them Magical.

the last thing I’ve been working on is a picture palette.  I saw this cute palette on Pinterest and since MD’s location is very rustic I thought it would be perfect.

However I didn’t realize how much work this was going to take.  Finding and printing pictures, finding clothes pins, finding not a palette and keeping the entire thing very low in cost.  So first I started with the pictures making MD scavenge her social media and memory boxes for her favorite pictures.

Then one day we were at Target, walking past the Easter clearance and there in one of the bins was these beauties at $0.10 each! So I worked some magic along with some Tim Holtz mini paper clips I found in my stash and some washi tape came up with these little beauties.

ok to be honest, I don’t love the washi tape ones, but it did break up all the purple and added some texture to the clips.

Next came the palette – you know you never see something until you’re looking for it?  Well that was the case with the pallet. We were in Lowes of all places and I was waiting for some workers to finish moving some appliances to an area and there on the ground was a palette! I leaped at the workers asking them for the palette, which completely confused them and embarrassed Hubby, but palette obtained for free!  So I brought it home, left it out in the rain for a few days to age it and clean it and then sanded it down.  After cutting, reorganizing, fighting over pictures, etc here is the final picture palette.

Final cost – about $25 – cost of the photo paper, clothes pins, banners and twine.  Also since her party is at night I’m going to intertwine white Christmas lights inside so it really pops!  Lots of pictures, but very cool.  BTW – she didn’t want any flowers or other details added to it, but I would have added some cloth flowers, special event tickets as background or other banners.

A great and simple way to make an impact and share memories.  I hope it inspires you!

Have a Magical day!

tinalal

Girl Scouts can Knot wait to camp!

As some of you may know I lead a Girl Scouts Teenage Camping competition team called BOROTREC for teenagers from two cities.

In the month of April we focused on tying Knots, which is a session in the competition.  Our 2 divisions tie 6 different knots, the first division tie knots relevant to camping (bowline, clovehitch, tautline) and the division 2 tie knots related more to climbing and boating (prusik, sheetbend, figure 8 loop).

I have to brag about how awesome the team did.  Considering they learned 6 knots in 2 hours, they were confidence enough to pick one they believe they could do flawlessly and then mock compete.  So we had them do a relay race, similar to what would happen during comeptition.

The first heat they did in 1 min 35 seconds!  The second and third heats they did over 3 mins. Seriously they did great. Can’t wait to see how they do during competition.

So if you’re interested in trying a new skill, look these knots up using http://www.netknots.com.

Have a Magical day!

Tinala

 

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