Disney Cruise checklist & tips 🧚🏻‍♀️

LAMFAM TIPS for Cruising with Disney! 

This is a little snap shot of our recent, epic cruise on the Disney Wonder ship:

Here’s our 30 min podcast offering tips, tricks and details of our experience:

Checklist:

-Mickey ears

-Lanyard & Disney pins (get them on Amazon!)

-Disney apparel

-Pirate outfit for pirate night

-Magnets for cabin door (name of family and other fun stuff)

-Waterproof camera

-Ear plugs (the ship can be noisy especially if there is a storm)

-Portable batteries

-Plastic bags for soiled clothes and such

-Cash for shopping at ports of call and tips

-Large water bottles to refill and carry

-Pack layers as temps can change quickly

-Windbreakers

-Ponchos (disposable)

-Vitamins and electrolytes

-Small bag/ backpack for going into ports

-Sunblock

-Nausea bracelets for kids under 12 (the ship offers free nausea pills for adults)

 

Tips:

-Download the kids’ favorite shows & music.  It will come in handy in stressful moments with no service and in the long boarding and deboarding process.  Bring games and snacks too!

-Pack as light as possible.  You are stuck with your luggage for a little while.  You’ll appreciate this.

-Confirm your dining schedule before you arrive.

-Clean the house and be as organized as possible prior to leaving for a stress free return home.  It’s very hard to return to reality after the Disney Cruise!

-Don’t mention nausea or discuss in front of kids if they are not showing signs or concerns of being sick (suggestion is powerful and contagious).  We were on the boat for 5 days and it didn’t bother our 5 year-old a bit!

-Keep a full stomach on ship to avoid nausea.  Empty stomach are leading cause to sea sickness.

-Try to organize, pack and prep night before departure morning.  The ship is chaotic when it’s time to deboard.

-Try to catch the sunrise from the deck.  They are amazing and there is usually no one around early in the morning.

-If you plan an adult dinner try to do it towards middle of trip.  We did it on our last night and felt more like we wanted to share the last night with our son so we didn’t spend as much time at dinner as we might have had it been earlier in the week.

-Wi-fi packages are pricey.  Free Wi-fi is nonexistent on the boat.

-There is lots of storage in the stateroom under the bed, in the closet and there are several drawers available.

-Check weather of all destinations and ports of call 1 day before departure and be sure to pack accordingly.

-Update your phone before you leave home and download the Disney Navigator app.

Enjoy your trip!!  It truly was the best vacation that we have been on as a family to date.  It was so great that we scheduled another cruise next year!

Love,

The #LamFam

 

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10 Fun Kid Friendly Summer Break Ideas for Arizona!

10 Fun Summer Break Ideas in Arizona!
by: Jen Duncan

Splash Pads
Mansel Carter Oasis Park is a huge favorite with the kids. They have a neat pirate ship with a slide that the kids can go on over and over again. There are also some great big buckets that splash down to keep the kids cool and wet. For the nicer weather, there is a playground up on the hill with a super tall slide and lots of cool little equipment to play on. Dad can also go fishing at the lake if he gets bored!
https://www.queencreek.org/departments/parks-recreation/parks-and-recreation-master-plan-update/mansel-carter-oasis-park

Eastmark has a great Splash pad that is toddler friendly because it is fenced in. The Handlebar diner next door is great to grab a quick bite to eat or Milkshake to take to the Splash Pad.
https://www.eastmark.com/whats-here/eastmark-great-park/ http://handlebardiner.com

One of our previous MOMnationAZ blog posts has a full list of Splash Pads and links to information!

https://momnationaz.com/2017/05/pools-and-splash-pads-an-az-summertime-must-🏊🏻/


POGO Pass!
Use the code MOMNATION to get your POGO pass for ONLY $39.98! https://www.pogopass.com/phoenix

Uptown Jungle Fun Park – POGO Pass Eligible

Uptown Jungle has multiple locations across the valley with a new one just opened in Chandler. They have a great toddler area for kids under 5 and then the main play area is great for 5 and up. There are so many cool things to do and as a bonus, there is a parent lounge! It’s a great place to go to let your kids run and play to tire themselves out while you relax or get some work done.
https://uptownjungle.com/#locations

i.d.e.a. Museum – POGO Pass Eligible

The i.d.e.a. Museum is a great place to spend a few hours. They change out the exhibits every few months so there is always something new. They have activities for all ages. The toddler play area was a huge hit when my daughter was 3-4 years old! Prices are very affordable, but you can also use your POGO Pass at the museum. POGO Pass and it includes 2 visits to the i.d.e.a. Museum.
https://www.ideamuseum.org

A few other attractions you can visit with your POGO pass include Uptown Jungle, Fat Cats, The Phoenix Zoo, KTR, Golfland SunSplash and so much more!


The Crayola Experience
The Crayola Experience is brand new and located in the Chandler Mall. You can create a new crayon, do some sweet drip art, stomp and play on the interactive floor, or just sit and color. This is sure to be a huge hit with the kids to beat the heat.
https://www.crayolaexperience.com/chandler/things-to-do/attractions


Movies!
Harkins Theatres does a great 10 week series where you get 10 movies for $7. This is great for the kids to get out and watch a movie for a great price. You can attend weekly or attend whichever weeks you’d like. You buy tickets and choose a day that you would attend. You must buy the tickets at the location you plan to go to.
https://www.harkins.com/movies/summer-movie-fun


Hurricane Harbor
Six Flags just re-opened Wet N’ Wild as a Hurricane Harbor in Glendale. Growing up near Six Flags Great Adventure/Hurricane Harbor in Jackson, NJ was SO much fun! Enjoy great Water Slides and the wave pool!
https://www.wetnwildphoenix.com


Children’s Museum of Phoenix
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is a HUGE hit amongst kids. There are many exhibits like an Art Studio, Blockmania, a Noodle Forest, and so much more!
https://childrensmuseumofphoenix.org


Open Gym
One of my daughters FAVORITE things to do when it’s hot is visit an open gym location. We go to USA Youth Fitness Center. It’s a perfect 90 minutes to let the kids get out all the wiggles and they can enjoy the trampolines, balance beams, foam pits and more!
https://usagymaz.com/events-parties/open-gym/
http://www.goldmedalgym.com/join-the-fun
http://www.northvalleygymnastics.com/project/open-gym/
http://www.impactgymaz.com/open-gym


Play Places
Chik-Fil-A and McDonalds have great play places where you can grab some lunch and let the kids burn off some energy! Be sure to check their websites to see if they have a play place and if it’s geared toward toddlers or school age kids. If it doesn’t say, give them a quick call before you pack up the kids and make the trip.
www.McDonalds.com
https://www.chick-fil-a.com


Staycation!
If you’re like me, you don’t like packing, flying, or traveling far. Resorts like the Arizona Grand Resort are great for family staycations. What’s better than staying at a local beautiful hotel where you have your own car, and know where all the restaurants are. The Oasis Water park is a HUGE hit with families looking for a great time locally.
https://www.arizonagrandresort.com
https://www.arizonagrandresort.com/#oasis-water-park

 

Ready to move?  Here’s a list of all the foreclosures, price reductions and under market value homes in the greater Phoenix area.

 

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Handling Tough Topics and the big Sleepover Question🌛

It seems like once your kiddo reaches a certain age, sleepover birthday parties and invites just start appearing in school folders.  This is a topic that is an absolute “no” for some families and a common event for others.  Navigating this can be really difficult – especially among close kid-or-mom-friends.

How do you tactfully handle tough topics with your kids’ friends or their parents?  There is no guarantee feelings won’t be hurt or offense won’t be taken but I am a big fan of honesty and having really clear expectations within your house before you communicate to others so everyone in the family is on the same page and knows expectations.  This avoids upset kids when the answer is no.

In our house we generally don’t do sleepovers and our kids know that and are ok with it.  They know why and they respect that decision.  There are a (very) few exceptions: cousins, grandparents, and friends whose families we are very familiar and have spent a lot of time with.  Statistics say that most kids that face abuse or unfathomable acts… they happen with people they know, so that is a really scary fact to overcome when considering how/when/if to allow your child to stay at another family’s house.

We have been in the situation where our kid was the only one not to participate in a sleepover.  Kiddo was ok with that because we had communicated it early on and long before the party that we just don’t do them with families we don’t know.  Our compromise was to let them stay for the movie and pick them up late, but we stuck with our rule.  There were absolutely no hurt feelings from our kiddo because the expectations were set before.  The child’s parent was a little upset that we were the only ones to not participate, but I was very upfront that it was our family rule and she respected that.  I didn’t try to make excuses for why she couldn’t stay so there wouldn’t be hurt feelings if she did do a sleepover with a cousin or something and it was discussed at school later.

There are lots of tough issues that families all handle differently – tech access, alcohol, curfews, guns in the home, supervision, where kids can go alone, etc.  The absolute only way to address any of these is to be upfront and get to know your kids’ friends’ parents.  It is worth making the effort and taking the time.  You don’t have to be best friends with them, but knowing them well enough to ask questions or share your concerns is important.  And in the reverse, do not be offended if someone asks you about these things in your home when their child comes over.  Every family is different, and asking “Are there guns in the home?” is not a statement but a completely reasonable and responsible question if you are going to be allowing your kid to go to a stranger’s house or someone else’s kid in your home.

I used to get so bent out of shape when parents brought up uncomfortable issues, but now that I have two kiddos, I truly appreciate when someone is brave enough to raise tough topics in an honest and respectful way.  Just like dealing with kids’ allergies – it would be irresponsible for the parent NOT to let you know or ask what you are having for dinner, and you wouldn’t be offended if they do.  We all need to extend grace, as we are all figuring this parenting thing out as we go and navigating some really tough issues in the process and a world that is more connected and immediate by the second.

Far more important than talking to friends’ parents… Katey McPherson in her talks always encourages parents to go with the rule of 5. Five years before your child is faced with a tough topic/issue (sex, drugs, guns, porn) you should be talking to them in an age appropriate way about your family’s values and empowering them with responses and ways to address if ever in an uncomfortable situation.  The absolute BEST protection against any bad influences or things happening to your child is their own self-confidence, their trust that you will NOT freak out if they ask for help in a tough situation, and that they are empowered to handle and stick up for themselves when they feel uncomfortable – and know how to seek help when they need it.

Many of our worst fears as parents are unfounded.  We spend weeks or years fretting over all the wrong things, while the opportunity to empower our kids with all the tools they need to extract themselves from the “worst” or make safe decisions, or get help in a crisis, is readily available EVERY day.  It is the BEST thing we can do.  We have the opportunity seeing things at school, on TV, in the news to raise tough topics and issues.  It is tough because the issues are serious, but it is necessary.  Don’t wait for someone else to teach your child about these things, do it long before they are ever faced with having to think, answer, respond about them.

And when faced with a tough issue you don’t know how to approach, ask for help.  I make a point to seek counsel from my spouse, closest girlfriends, and sometimes even other parents (who don’t know the family involved) when I am unsure of how to handle a tough situation.  Sometimes it’s good to get wise counsel before approaching another parent about an issue, because the emotions involved often cloud our better judgement, or we might be missing a perspective we haven’t thought about before.  I learn from my mom friends every day, and they are often the greatest source of counsel when dealing with a tough school or kid issue.  Lean on your village!

In summary – in approaching tough topics with your kids or other parents:

  1. Do it sooner rather than later.
  2. Be honest, don’t hide things or lie about the reasons – be up front with your kids and other mom friends when there is a concern or boundary you have.
  3. Respect mom friends who are brave enough to ask tough questions.
  4. Seek counsel from other moms or friends, while honoring relationships/privacy of those involved.
  5. Have clear expectations with your kids on tough topics: sit down and agree on these together, make sure they know your WHY. Do not spring a rule on your kids when they are invited to a party or have to respond publicly to something.
  6. Empower kids early and often with responses to tough questions, make sure they know they own their voice, their body, and the right to say no and exit ANY uncomfortable situation.
  7. Make sure your kid knows they can call you anytime for help or intervention. This doesn’t mean they need to have a phone but they do need to know how to call you and have a # memorized.
  8. If a parent is not respectful of your family’s boundaries/rules/wishes after you have been up front, or worse – singles out your kid because of it – it’s time to consider if that is a friend you want to nurture or you want your child to nurture. Often it is worth discussing and navigating even if awkward.
  9. Extend grace, every family is different and that is what makes friendships wonderful – we learn a lot from each other in the best relationships and in the different perspectives we bring to the table.

MOMnation is such an incredible resource on all these fronts, bringing a diverse group of women together to ask the tough questions, seek counsel, vent, navigate parenting, life, work, relationships alongside an incredible village!  Lean on your friends here, too!

BY: LIZ D, TEMPE MOM

 

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Right around the time when Arizona adopted our state flag and just before the spanish flu hit, this exquisite craftsman bungalow, The John and Eva Cummard House in Mesa, was built for the family that kept it in some fashion for the next 100 years.

 

 

 

 

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Raising Confidence and Dealing with Rejection – Why Modeling is not what it Seems! 📸

The saying goes ‘things aren’t always what they seem’ and the same can be said about modeling and the modeling industry. Primarily the perception is that modeling is glamorous, easy, very well paid, and that’s not even mentioning the fact that models are not exactly known for their grey matter! However, none of that is necessarily the truth. In actual fact modeling, and being in the modeling industry, can teach a ton of great life skills many overlook.

Do you want your kids to understand good hygiene, posture, manners and etiquette? Do you want your kids to learn social and communication skills? How about geography, persistence, delaying gratification or learning how to cope with rejection? And do not forget having a healthy self image, good listening skills, know how to be safe online, consequences of actions, and probably your favorite, the importance of sleep so the kids go to bed early!  Yes… More Than Modeling camps, and the modeling industry, really can teach all of the aforementioned!

Let’s take the emotionally painful issue of rejection. Nobody likes to be rejected or rebuffed, however, rejection is something all children, and adults, need to face numerous times in life. Models deal with rejection (usually of their personal appearance) on an almost daily basis. For every 100 or so jobs they may cast/audition for they may only get booked once or twice. Thus models become adept at dealing with rejection more so than the average person. The principles on how you deal with that rejection are the same for models, and in fact anyone. Children, tweens and teens can sometimes suffer the most with rejection as they are in developmental stages, so the better equipped children become at dealing with rejection, the better their position will be for moving successfully through life.

To help, here are 3 tips on how you can help your child deal with rejection:

  1. Listen to your child when they have encountered a situation where they have been rejected. Give them your full attention and validate their feelings so they feel safe and understood.

  2. Always encourage your child to put more emphasis on their character and the way they handle situations, rather than an actual achievement or result itself. Example: “You worked so very hard for this! Well done!” rather than “I am glad you got straight A’s!”

  3. Encourage them to focus on the future rather than looking back and dwelling on a rejection. A rejection needs to be acknowledged, then put aside, and focus needs to be shifted to the road ahead. Once your child is in this frame of mind have them try again, or trying something else. This will help your child get into a better frame of mind and will also encourage drive, ambition, motivation and concentration.

More Than Modeling is a new business in the Phoenix area teaching modeling classes, but their primary mission is raising confidence in kids. More Than Modelings’ holidays camps teach a variety of essential life lessons transferable to any job and walk of life – merely utilizing modeling and fashion with which to engage the kids.

Erika is the owner, founder and teacher of More Than Modeling. Originally from England Erika left a high school Science teaching position after completing her Master’s degree in Education, to pursue modeling, travelled the world doing so, and upon gaining her USA green card settled in Scottsdale to open her business. Years of international experience as a model, and seeing that industry through an educators eyes, resulted in the formation of camps, workshops and classes where kids think they are learning about modeling but parents know they are learning so much more than that! Erika’s heart and passion lie in equipping children with skills they can use no matter where life may take them and uses the subjects of modeling and fashion to transfer and communicate these skills.  Call 480-442-9833 

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