Potty Training Tips for Parents


So the time has come. Your child is showing potty training readiness signs, so you think you and your child are ready to start. But where do you start? What do you need? And just how difficult is this going to be? These potty training tips below, sponsored by Pull-Ups, will help outline a few things I’ve come to pick up after seeing my two kids learn to use the potty.

They might work for you, they might not! But I can tell you one thing. Potty training varies from child to child and can be a drastically different experience from one to the next.

Potty Training Tips for Parents

1. Wait until your child is ready

There is no magic number for the perfect time to start potty training. Some kids are ready as early as 18 months and others will be closer to 4 years old. Don’t try and force your child to potty train too early or else it can become more difficult than it needs to be.
My son started showing all of the signs of being ready to potty train at around 18-20 months. He told us when he went pee and poo, loved to sit and play on the potty, and had a great attitude about the potty. Since I was pregnant with my daughter I decided to wait until after she was born to start the potty training process with him.

At age 2 we decided to try potty training but quickly realized after my son regressed that this would only be accomplished if we followed his terms. We tried again to re-attempt potty training with him, but it wasn’t until he was ready at 3 1/2 that we actually had success.
We do still have times where he has accidents on occasion while my second daughter has none. But guess what? It’s all normal. We just deal with it in a calm and caring way and move on.

Want to check and see if your child is ready for this potty training journey (because it’s not a race)? Visit Pull-Ups.com to check out the Readiness Check List and see if your little one might be ready.

And that brings me to my next tip…

2. Don’t get frustrated

I know, easier said than done right? But it’s true. Your child will feed off of your energy throughout the journey and they’ll take your frustration as a leveraging tool against you. They know they have control over you when you react negatively.
I let my emotions get the best of me with my son and sometimes I was not happy with the way I reacted to accidents. I just wanted him to go on the potty and be over it, but it’s not that easy.

Potty training is an incredibly important milestone for toddlers, and it’s also an opportunity for parents to work together with their children. It sounds daunting to so many parents, but why not make it fun?

It’s important to partner with your child every step of the way instead of trying to run the show. But it’s also important to listen and watch for their cues. My first daughter surprised us all when she decided she was ready for the potty at 25 months. She simply asked for big girl underwear and in a few short days was having no accidents at all.

I didn’t get upset or frustrated when she would only go on the little potties, refused to potty in public, and held herself until she got home, or made me run from one side of the zoo to the other to use the small potties in the Children’s Zoo. We went along with it and learned not to question her if she said she didn’t have to go.

Now that my second daughter is starting to show signs of readiness (dry when she wakes up, verbally lets us know when she’s gone potty, shows signs of interest in sitting on the potty), we’ve started slowly introducing the potty to her.

And she is OBSESSED with her Pull-Ups. Motivation is key here. Pull-Ups Learning Designs Training Pants have an underwear-like design and all-around day and night protection. And she is motivated to get to wear her Pull-Ups when we go out of the house. By letting us know when she needs to go, or trying to go before we leave the house she’s on her way to potty training success.

3. Be Prepared

Because my first daughter didn’t give us much time to prepare and react to the fact that she was ready to go and wasn’t looking back, I’m happy that we had a few key things on hand to make the transition easy.

The key items I always keep with us are:

  • Little potty – We have a little potty in the kids’ bathroom as well as in the back of the car just in case
  • Extra Pull-Ups – Once your child shows an interest in the potty, grab a few packs of Pull-Ups to keep in the house. Stash some in the car and in your purse just in case. Pull-Ups Training Pants help your child recognize potty training as a significant milestone in their development by providing independence, teaching physical and cognitive skills, and offering a consistent representation to your child of their potty training journey. So, once you buy those first pack of Pull-Ups, never go back to diapers!
  • Sanitizer – your child will miss the potty sometimes (or all the time) and you’ll need to clean it up
  • Extra clothes – just like when they were babies and had a blow out or two, an extra set of clothes is a must in the diaper bag. With Pull-Ups you won’t have many true accidents but it is still helpful to have on hand.

4. If they regress, don’t stress

As I said before, my son regressed after being potty trained for 6 months. He did eventually hop back on the potty training wagon and was successful the second time around. Sometimes our kids might seem ready but they have other plans.

Pull-Ups has simple ways to make potty training easy and fun for parents and children to start together, with guidance on how to tailor the journey based on your little one’s unique personality. In fact, 3 out of 4 moms prefer the Pull-Ups offering* including packaging, in-pack prizes (like stickers) and activities on Pull-Ups.com.

*vs Pampers Easy Ups

Follow your child’s cues and just go with what they’re telling you. If not, you might make it worse for the second (or third) time around.
Good Luck!

Let’s Get Ready to Potty Contest

You could win $1,000 and be featured in an upcoming issue of Parents Magazine by telling Pull-Ups how you got your kids (and yourself!) excited to start potty training and made the journey fun.

Three runners-up will win a 1-month supply of Pull-Ups Training Pants. The contest will run through June 30 so enter now at parents.com/itstimetopotty!

Have any great potty training tips for parents? I’d love to hear them!

Potty Training Tips for Parents

Potty Training Tips for Parents be prepared

Things to Do With Toddlers at Great Wolf Lodge

Is Great Wolf Lodge a good place to stay when you have a toddler? Check out these things to do with toddlers at Great Wolf Lodge! 

The day after the big kids got out of school for the summer we surprised them with a fun staycation to kick off the beginning of summer. Over the 4 day getaway, we spent two days at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California. We’d never stayed at a Great Wolf Lodge and have been dying to try out the closest one to our house. So when I saw the opportunity to purchase a Groupon again (we missed the first opportunity), I jumped on it and booked a night. 

As we did a bit more research on our upcoming stay, one thing was clear: there is a TON to do for all age groups. Including toddlers. And once we got there, we found this to be 100% accurate. Not only were there fun things for the big kids, but for the small kids and adults as well. 

If you’ve planned a night at the Great Wolf Lodge, here’s what you should put on your list to do with your toddler: 

Things to Do With Toddlers at Great Wolf Lodge

1. Grab a puddle jumper or bring your own – 

While there are quite a few places your toddler can go at Great Wolf Lodge, safety is first. Make sure you either bring your own life jacket (or favorite puddle jumper) or use one that’s provided for you at the various life jacket stations. We preferred our own because sometimes they’re out of life jackets at certain times of days or locations and it’s easier to just grab our own. 

2. Park yourself somewhere close to the Cub Paw Pool – 

After enjoying an afternoon at the water park on our first day there (you can enjoy the park starting at 1pm on your check-in day even though check in is at 4pm) and exploring everything for the first time, we knew that as soon as we arrived at the water park on our full day at the park, we needed to snag a spot near our toddler’s favorite area: Cub Paw Pool. 

Now not only does this area have a zero-depth entry that makes it easier for toddlers and infants alike to explore at their own pace, it only goes to 24″ deep in the deepest area. There are age appropriate slides, water funnels, and fun splash areas that are sure to excite any little one. And parents can just relax (as much as one can when they’re in the water with kids) while their littles play around them and have fun. My husband literally sat at the bottom of a small slide as he watched our daughter go up the stairs and down the slide 100s of times as I took the other two to the “big kid” areas of the park. She seriously did not want to leave to go anywhere else once she found Cub Paw Pool. 

3. Enjoy a fun splash area that older siblings can have fun at too at Fort Mackenzie – 

While Cub Paw Pool was perfect for the toddlers and infants, if your toddler is a bit more adventurous, let them splash and explore around Fort Mackenzie. The older kids can enjoy the medium size slides while the younger kids take turns trying to shoot water at passersby or stomp around in the big puddles. But watch out! That bucket on top of Fort Mackenzie does fill with water and tips to empty every few minutes. 

You may be surprised to find that after your toddler tries out the small slides in Cub Paw Pool that they ask to try the medium sized slides over at Fort Mackenzie! Maybe. If they’re daredevil 2-year-olds like mine…

4. With life jackets on, enjoy the waves of Slap Tail Pond’s wave pool.

There are lulls in between the waves (pictured above) but once the wave machine starts going, the littles LOVE trying to jump over the waves closer to the shore as the big kids swim in deeper. This pool also has a zero-depth entry that makes it easy for all to enjoy. And your little one might surprise you by asking to be taken further into the waves. Just make sure to hold on a bit tighter as you go in deeper. 

5. Looking for some sun? Enjoy the rays (with sunscreen lathered on, of course) at Raccoon Lagoon. 

Another zero-depth entry pool that gets to about 4 feet deep, this pool has two entrances on either side that offer fun play areas for toddlers to explore. The big kids will take over the center of the pool where the basketball hoops are but that’s ok, the edge is closer to the restaurant and drinks! 

In between splashing in the water and played with the water funnels, our 2-year-old munched on a delicious corn on the cobb snack from the Grizzly Jack’s Bar and Grill. I couldn’t pull all of the kids out of here but sadly had to as our day was coming to a close. You can stay the full day on the day you check out but we were ready to dry off and head to our next adventure by then. 

6. Staying a second night? Make sure to head down for storytime. 

Some littles may be in bed by the time this starts (I believe it was 8 or 8:15pm) but both of our girls headed down with dad to check out The Forest Friends Show followed by Great Wolf Lodge bedtime stories as told by one of their Ambassadors of Fun. Don’t forget your camera because after Story Time, meeting Wiley, Violet or one of the Great Wolf Kids characters is an unforgettable memory you won’t want to miss – and a pretty cute one too! High paws are always welcome and definitely encouraged.

As you can see, there is plenty to do at Great Wolf Lodge when you have a toddler. And some things we didn’t even get a chance to do! Good thing the whole family was in agreement that we’d have to come back soon! 

A few highlights I didn’t mention above but the toddler loved: Pizza from Hungry Like a Wolf for dinner, Donuts from Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, brownies and fudge at Bear Paw Eats & Sweets, the mini carousel and candy claw at the Northern Lights Arcade, and ending our trip with a souvenir wolf from the Buckhorn Exchange Gift Shop. 

Don’t forget to book a Wolf Den room if you have more than one cub! The bunk beds were a huge hit with our kids. While one night may be great for a lot of families, we’ll be booking two nights next time we head up so we can enjoy more of the amenities offered. 

Have you been to Great Wolf Lodge? What was your favorite part? 

DIY Bird Feeder for Kids inspired by Americano

This DIY Bird Feeder for Kids is a fun and easy craft for kids to make. Once they hang it up they can enjoy the birds who come to eat from it and explore nature up close.

My kids love to be outside. Whether it be taking a walk, playing in the front yard or visiting the local wildlife trails, they are always able to spot the wildlife before me and enjoy pointing out the different birds and animals we have living around us.

For the past few mornings, we’ve been awoken by the wonderful sound of a neighborhood woodpecker. Upon discovering his location my son wakes up and asked if we could track him down. On our adventure to see what phone pole the woodpecker was pecking we started talking about birds. 

After hearing all the fun and wonderful things birds like to do and eat my son asked if we could make a bird feeder. So while I was at the local pet supply store picking up dog food later that day I grabbed a pound of bird feed and we got to work. It ended up being simpler than any of the crafts we’ve attempted so far.

Plus, it was the perfect tie-in to teaching the kids about the wildlife around us. Since all of my children are animal lovers, I knew they’d love the new movie Americanocoming out on DVD and Digital HD on June 13th. We were invited to the San Diego Zoo for a fun outing to meet the filmakers behind the movie and hear a little bit about how the movie came to life on the big screen. The kids got to meet some animals up close and explored the zoo to learn other fun facts.

Americano is an animated film about a Mexican parrot named Cuco (voice of Rico Rodriguez) who gets bored with his family’s bird circus and tries to change things up. But when Cuco’s acrobat father, Gayo, gets hurt, rival bully bird Martin swoops in to take over the show. So, Cuco does what he has to do and heads for Hollywood, hoping to learn daring action stunts from his favorite TV star, El Americano. 

My kids enjoyed the film and connected with Cuco’s story and his quest to meet his hero in person. They were so inspired that they asked to make some bird feeders so they could see their own local birds up close in our back yard. We used the same method we did years ago when the two oldest were little. Such a fun and easy craft! 

DIY Bird Feeder

What you’ll need:

  • bird seed 
  • canister or paper roll 
  • peanut butter 
  • string/twine 
  • sharp pointed tool 

What you do: 

1. Remove paper from canister to expose the cardboard. Remove lid and discard. Using sharp pointed tool, poke a hole in the bottom of the canister.

2. Cut about a yard of twine and string twine through canister. Tie off at the top.

3. Set out the peanut butter and seeds so that it’s easy for your child to assemble the bird feeder. Grab a plastic knife or spreader for the peanut butter and place the bird seed into a container or on a paper plate.

4. Let your child spread the peanut butter all over the canister sides. Be careful not to get covered in peanut butter by holding onto the inside of the canister on the open top.

5. Once the peanut butter is covering all of the canister, roll the canister into the seed. Place your (or your child’s) hand into the container to apply pressure. This will maximize the amount of seed that adheres to the canister.

6. Hang the bird feeder up on a sturdy hook or post and wait for some feathered friends!

Do your kids love to pick out the fun birds they see? 

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This craft was originally published on Apr 3, 2012

Disney’s CARS 3 Road to the Races in San Diego

Are your kids’ huge Cars fans? Well, you’re in luck! The CARS 3 Road to the Races Tour is in San Diego tomorrow June 6th! 

This is an amazing FREE event for San Diego families at Belmont Park in Mission Beach. It’s going to be HUGE- with tons of freebies and photo opps with your favorite CARS 3 characters.

You won’t want to miss this fun event! 

Before the event, check out these activity sheets including a “Race to the Finish” board game, a build your own Race Course activity and a delicious Corn Fritters recipe!

Click below to download activities! 

Piston Cup Race Maze

Memory Race

Spot the Difference

Make Your Own Race Course

Miss Fritter’s Corn Fritters

Not in San Diego? Check here to see if there’s an event in your neighborhood! 

Disney Pixar’s CARS 3 opens everywhere June 16th! 

Mini Dessert Pizzas with Creamy Glaze

In preparation of the fun camping trips we have planned this summer, I made this delicious mini dessert pizza to enjoy with a cup of coffee. This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DunkinCreamers #CollectiveBias

Whether you’re camping in in the wilderness or in your own backyard, there’s nothing like a delicious, slightly sweet treat to begin (or end) your day. And what else tastes better with a sweet treat than a deliciously caffeinated cup of coffee? With a little Dunkin’ Donuts® Extra Extra Creamer stirred in, of course. 

These mini dessert pizzas are so fun to make! Plus, they’re so versatile. And I love that we can make them on the grill when we’re out in the wilderness or at home in the oven. We always bring fruit and creamer with us when camping and occasionally have pie crust for hand pies and other desserts but usually only use one of the two crusts that come in the package. I love that this recipe uses up that other pie crust AND can be made with the creamer we already have on hand. 

Another bonus about this recipe? the fact that the kids can help make it. While they try and sneak my coffee in the morning, I can distract them by asking them to help make these with me. That means I get to enjoy a HOT cup of coffee while they work on finishing up the recipe. And then I can enjoy another cup when we’re eating these up. Yum! 

Since the recipe is so simple, it’s important to layer on the flavor. From the dough to the strawberries to the glaze, we kick up the flavor at every step. Cinnamon is the perfect addition to sprinkle onto the dough, and macerating the strawberries in sugar and vanilla just add a little extra boost. But then when it comes to the final touch… the glaze… we save the best for last! 

Dunkin’ Donuts® Extra Extra Creamer is made with real sugar, milk, and cream for a wonderfully rich and smooth taste. The perfect choice for coffee purists. And it tastes amazing in this simple glaze. You can also sub Dunkin’ Donuts® Vanilla Creamer for another pop of flavor. 

We’re sharing one flavor – strawberries and cream – but there are endless possibilities when it comes to making these. Looking for more flavor options? 

Here are a few of my kids’ favorites: 

  • S’mores – mini baked pie crust round topped with marshmallows and 1 square of chocolate placed under the broiler until golden then drizzled with creamy glaze made with Dunkin’ Donuts® Vanilla Creamer and sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs.
  • Apple Pie – mini baked pie crust round topped with diced granny smith apples that have been cooked up in a skillet with sugar and cinnamon and drizzled with creamy glaze with Dunkin’ Donuts® Caramel Creamer
  • Bananas & Cream – mini baked pie crust round topped with a little banana pudding and sliced bananas and drizzled with a creamy glaze made with Dunkin’ Donuts® Caramel Creamer.

5 from 2 votes
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Mini Dessert Pizzas with Creamy Glaze

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 package pie crust
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dunkin’ Donuts® Extra Extra Creamer

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven or grill to 350 degrees. 

  2. Using a round cutter, cut pie crust into circles and place onto pizza stone or parchment-lined cookie tray. Sprinkle a little cinnamon onto each round. Place in oven or on grill and bake for 15 minutes or until slightly golden.

  3. Dice strawberries and place into a bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and add vanilla. Stir until sugar dissolves. 

  4. Mix together powdered sugar and Dunkin’ Donuts® Extra Extra Creamer until smooth and glaze forms. 

  5. Once pie crust has cooked, let cool 5 minutes then layer mini pizzas. Add 1 tablespoon strawberries to each round then drizzle with glaze. 

What’s your favorite dessert pizza flavor? 

Looking for Dunkin’ Donuts® Extra Extra Creamer to make your morning extra special? Head over to Walmart and pick up one or two containers from the Dairy aisle. 

Love this post? Check out these great recipe ideas you can use creamer in: 

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Ways to Save at the San Diego County Fair

Ways to Save at the San Diego County Fair

The fair opens next week, Friday June 3rd and runs until Monday, July 4th and my family couldn’t be happier to once again attend the fair and make awesome memories. But with so many things going on right now, and so many other activities happening, we have to be frugal when we think of the activities we’re doing over the summer. And that means looking for some great deals and ways to save at the San Diego County Fair.

Luckily I’m a pro at this by now with experiences from past fairs since having kids. And I’ve gotten a little savvy on ways to save and maximize my fair-going experience without shelling out big bucks. Here are a few great ways to save at the San Diego County Fair without skimping out on the fun stuff… or the food!

San Diego County Fair Carousel 2013

Ways to Save at the San Diego County Fair

Buy a Costco Fair Pack

For around $60 we picked up a San Diego County Fair package. It included the following:

  • 4 admission tickets
  • 1 free Passport to Savings book coupon
  • 1 parking pass
  • 4 drink coupons
  • 50 ride tickets

We always purchase one of these so that we can go to the fair on a weekend – crazy busy! – or one of my husband’s off Friday’s and not have to worry about taking the bus in or spending a whole lot on food because we have the coupons. It also gives the kids just enough ride tickets to satiate their need for carnival attractions while distracting them from the carnies who try to lure them into tossing rings or darts in an attempt to get a 25 cent stuffed animal.

Some years we do purchase additional tickets there because 2 kids go through 50 tickets quite quickly! Most rides average between 3-6 tickets each. And that includes adults as well if you have to ride with your child.

Get the Best Pass Ever!

You know you can’t see everything at the Fair in just one day, so here’s your opportunity for big savings with the Best Pass Ever! Just $26 buys one person admission to all 26 days of the Fair; regularly $16 each day (adult admission). On sale online, now through July 3 (one day before the Fair ends). You also can buy the Best Pass Ever at San Diego County Albertsons and Vons stores, now through June 3. For more info see the Best Pass Ever page.

Kids Free Tuesdays at the San Diego County Fair - Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair
Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair selfie sticks

Take Advantage of Kids Free Tuesdays

Children 5 and younger are admitted free every day and do not require tickets. However, if you have kids older than 5, Tuesday, June 27 is Kids’ Day; children 12 and younger are admitted free. (Admission for ages 6-12 other days is $11.)

Free Kids Tickets for Reading Logs
Children 12 and younger who read 10 or more books, verified by a teacher or librarian, get free admission any day of the Fair. (Regular child’s admission is $11.) Download your Reading Certificate [PDF] before school gets out!

Discount tickets at Albertsons and Vons

Albertsons | Vons $5 Fair Days — Come to the Fair for just $5.00 on Friday, June 2; Saturday, June 3; and Wednesday, June 7, 2016. These tickets are available only at San Diego County Albertsons and Vons stores with a $10 minimum purchase. They are not sold at the Fairgrounds.

Save on 20% adult admission tickets: Discount adult admission tickets for $15 (save $3.00 off the regular adult admission price) are available at Albertsons and Vons stores. Albertsons and Vons also will have regular-price senior ($11.00; 62 and older) and children’s ($11.00, ages 6-12) tickets.

The nearest stores to the Fairgrounds are Vons at 2606 Del Mar Heights Road (one exit south of the Fairgrounds) and Vons at 931 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach (one exit north).  And remember – there is a $10.00 minimum purchase required.

Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair - save money on food at the fair with Taste of the Fair Tuesdays
Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair - kids meal deals

Save Money On Food

Taste of The Fair Thursdays

On Thursdays, from 12noon until 5:00PM, you can buy $3.00 taste-sized portions of some of your favorite Fair foods, such as corn dogs, fudge, fish tacos and cinnamon rolls, on Taste of the Fair Thursdays. So many choices! You guys… it’s the PERFECT way to sample everything you love in little bites. Especially if you’re like me and your husband won’t share 5 different dishes at one time and suggests you choose only 1-2 treats.

Kids Meal Deals
Look for the Kids’ Meal Deal signs throughout the Fair at participating food booths. The meal includes an entrée, side dish and drink, plus a free child’s admission, with paid adult admission, to 10 local attractions, for only $5.99.

Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair - ride tickets packages and other discounts

Get Bussed In or Take Mass Transit!

Save On Parking And Transportation

You can find free parking at the off-site lots and then get bussed into the fair to save money on parking. Find out more information in the Transportation section of the website.

Get a discount on Fair admission if you’re a regular transit rider. Find out more information in the Transportation section of the website.

Ride the train, take the bus, save money!: During the Fair, shuttles transport bus and train passengers from the Solana Beach train station to the Fair’s West Gate (you must present a train or bus ticket to board the shuttle). You can buy the Fair Tripper, a Fair admission-and-public-transportation-fare package; or present a same-day transit ticket or monthly pass at the West Gate window for an admission discount on adult, senior or child admission.

Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair - teachers and educators discount

Are you a Teacher/Educator?

School Staff Appreciation Days presented by Mission Federal Credit Union
Everyone who helps to educate the next generation are all VIPs in our book, so we want to reward your dedication with a discount day at the San Diego County Fair.

Head to any San Diego County Mission Federal Credit Union branch (starting June 1), present your school employment ID, teaching credentials or pay stub, and receive four $5.00 admission vouchers to the Fair. These vouchers enable you to buy admission tickets on School Staff Appreciation Days, valid for any age, for $5.00.

School Staff Appreciation Days

Friday, June 16
Friday, June 23
Friday, June 30

Tickets are available ONLY at the 27 Mission Federal branches, while supplies last. These tickets will not be available at the Fairgrounds. Find the Mission Federal branch closest to you

Plan to attend Teacher Appreciation Receptions. Teachers and Educators: Please join in for an evening of networking and idea-sharing in the student exhibits, where you can meet the exhibit coordinators and learn how to highlight your students and their work at the San Diego County Fair.

  • K-6 teachers: 4:00-7:00PM in the Best of K-6 Schools Exhibit, Creative Youth Tent, Family Funville
  • 7th grade to community college teachers: 4:00-6:00PM in the Student Showcase Exhibit, 1st Floor, West Grandstand

Saving on Multiple Trips

Free Return Ticket 
Every year we’ve been able to receive a free return ticket back to the Fair just by completing a survey while there. You also get a free return ticket in your Passport to Savings book. So here’s what we do! I go for the Albertson’s $5 day with the kids. Then I turn in my coupon from the Costco pack for the Passport to Savings when I’m there and I take the survey.

That means I have a return ticket for me and the coupon for a return ticket in the Passport to Savings. Then I have my kids’ teachers sign off on his Reading Log to get free admission so everyone in the family can go again before we even use our Costco passes! That’s 3 trips to the fair in one season. Pretty awesome deal!

There are also a few other ways to save that you can find on the Fair’s website here

Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair - enjoying the fair skyline

Are you going to the fair this year?

Pirates of the Caribbean Activity Sheets

We’ve ben waiting with anticipation for the release of the latest Pirates of the Carribean movie and the time has come! I was invited to attend the screening and was able to treat my dad to a sneak peek at  Johnny Depp’s return to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” Basically, I gave him his Father’s Day present early because he is a HUGE fan of Pirates. 

This latest rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack (what’s new!) feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil’s Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea—notably Jack.

Jack’s only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth, a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry, a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.

The story that unfolds not only sucked us in but kept us at the edge of our seat the whole time! I may or may not have literally jumped in my seat (with arms raised up) at least 2 times. While this movie was fantastic for adults, I wouldn’t suggest taking your kids if they’re under 12. Maybe 10 if they’re mature. 

The best part about this movie is how wonderfully it weaved into the previous films. If you loved the first Pirates movie, then you will absolutely love this one. And please remember to stay seated until after the credits are done! You won’t be disappointed. Cannot wait for the next one! 

Download the Pirates of the Caribbean activity sheet here! 

 

Visit the official Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales website here. And follow along on social! 

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES opens in theaters everywhere today, May 26th!

DIY Cereal Gift Box

This DIY cereal gift box idea sponsored by Cheerios is a great way to wrap up any gift AND upcycle those cereal boxes you have laying around!

Father’s Day is right around the corner and the kids are happily making fun gifts for my husband at school. But since I know my husband, and know he needs more than just the cute gifts, I decided to pick up a few other necessities for him as well. Including his favorite Cheerios cereal and a polo shirt (his signature look). 

Since my husband does so much for us at home, I thought that we could shower him with a little more love all wrapped in a DIY cereal gift box we upcycled from our cereal boxes. Plus, in addition to making gift boxes out of our empty cereal boxes, we can also give back even more with the help of Cheerios

 

Making these gift boxes are easy! And with a few simple supplies found around the house, you can make a few up yourself in no time. Plus, you won’t have to worry about pulling down the big storage bin of wrapping supplies to gift wrap. Easy peasy! Here’s how! 

DIY Cereal Gift Box

What you’ll need: 

  • empty Cheerios cereal box
  • sharpie or pen
  • box cutter
  • scissors
  • colorful duct tape
  • twine

What you do: 

1. Using the straight edge of one box, line where your gift box opening will be on the top of the box. We measured around 1-2 inches from the shorter side of the box in. Then make a line at a 90 degree angle on the long side of the box from the top edge to the bottom edge inwards. Repeat on the other side. (see video below for details)

2. Using the lines you just drew as guides, carefully use a box cutter to score the lines. Then go over them again once more to cut all of the way through. Open up the lid to make sure it works properly. 

3. Using tape, seal the top of the box where you open to remove the cereal. 

4. Continue to tape box until outer shell of box is covered. 

5. Line box with tissue paper and place present inside. Cover with more tissue paper and tie lid down with twine. Add a card and give your gift! 

Right now you can give the gift of Cheerios by participating in the buy a box, give a box promotion. Simply purchase a specially marked package of your favorite variety of Cheerios, enter the code found inside here, and send a coupon for a free box of Cheerios to someone you love! 

Now, not only can Dad get a delicious box of Cheerios with his gift, he can also choose to gift Cheerios to someone else. Spreading the love, one box at a time. 

Who would you share a box of Cheerio’s with?

Love this idea? Check out these other great gift ideas: 

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How to Teach Kids To Be SMART Savers + an easy DIY Save Spend Give Piggy Bank

We’re sharing how to teach kids to be SMART savers plus an easy DIY Save Spend Give Piggy Bank for them to make for their earnings.

Do your kids always want to spend everything they get? Or are they more cautious with how they use the money they receive? Whether it’s a weekly allowance, money from birthdays, or money they earn selling lemonade on the corner, kids are never too young to start learning about how to be smart savers. 

With three kids at home, we knew we needed to come up with a simple plan that each of them could understand. From our 2-year-old to our 8-year-old, we use the same system. And it’s broken down into the simplest form for them to grasp. We’ve come up with 3 categories for them and it all has to deal with three simple words: save, spend, give. 

3 Categories of a Budget

Step 1: Save money of your own, 

Step 2: Spend your money wisely by determining what you need versus what you want, 

Step 3: Give your money, time, or things with people who need it.

How to be a SMART Saver

Once you have that broken down, it’s time to start thinking of what or why you want to save. There are 5 steps to putting together a smart savings goal:

1.     Specific: What exactly do you want to accomplish?

2.     Measurable: How will you know you met your goal?

3.     Attainable: Can you really achieve your goal?

4.     Relevant: Why is this goal important to you?

5.     Timely: How much time do you need to accomplish the goal?

Try to talk with your kids about these goals and see if they can come up with their own! 

Get Started! 

Let the kids construct their own Save Spend Give Piggy Banks by gathering 3 containers, decorating them as you prefer, and labeling each one of the following – “Save, Spend, Give.” Put your money in the appropriate bank as you receive it and watch it add up.

We simply grabbed some containers and labels from the dollar store and kept it simple! But you can get as creative as you’d like. To see how we made ours, watch the video below: 

video here

Are your kids learning to manage the money they’re receiving? 

Love this project? Read more! 

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6 Ways to Enjoy Butterbeer at Universal Orlando

As I’m sure you saw on my Instagram account recently, I had the chance to head to Orlando, Florida sans kids for a few days to attend a conference. While I was in the great state of Florida for the first time, there was one thing I knew I had to do… visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and try all of the butterbeer varieties I could! So when Universal Orlando was kind enough to offer me 2 guest passes, I kindly took them up on their offer. 

Did you know there are 6 ways to enjoy Butterbeer in the park? Yup! 6 ways to enjoy the delicious sweet treat that is famous amongst Potter fans. To be able to taste the deliciousness we once only read about and watched on the big screen goes hand in hand with the awe I felt as I walked up to Hogwarts and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time in Universal Orlando. 

So without further ado, here are the 6 ways to enjoy Butterbeer at Universal Orlando. Try all 6 and let me know which you would rate as #1 on your list! 

6 Ways to Enjoy Butterbeer at Universal Orlando

1. Cold Butterbeer – 

At the top of my butterbeer list is the classic cold Butterbeer. Closest in recreation to what the characters enjoyed in the series, it’s smooth, creamy, and super sweet. Plus, since it was in the mid-90s when we visited, it was the perfect treat to enjoy while trying to stay cool as we waited in line to visit Ollivander’s Wand Shop and pick out our wands. 

The best part was the butterscotch-flavored cream on top that we enjoyed with every sip as we made our way down to the bottom of the cup. Such deliciousness. If you’re a cream soda fan, you will fall head over heels for it! 

2. Butterbeer Potted Cream – 

Runner-up has to go to the amazingly smooth butterscotch-esque Butterbeer potted cream found in Diagon Alley at The Leaky Cauldron. It’s the essence of perfection when it comes to butterscotch pudding and paired well with my fish and chips as a not too sweet treat. It would also be perfect paired with one of their beers on tap as a fun afternoon snack if you aren’t too hungry for a full meal. 

3. Butterbeer Soft Serve Ice Cream – 

We headed over to the end of Diagon Alley for this next sweet treat. When you’re there, make sure to head into the Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour right across from Gringotts Bank. They have quite a few varieties of ice cream but only one soft serve… this delicious Butterbeer. But be careful! In the Florida heat, the soft serve melts fast! 

4. Frozen Butterbeer – 

If you don’t like your drinks super sweet but still want to get the great flavor of butterbeer, definitely grab a pint of frozen butterbeer. Because of its slushy state, it is a slightly milder version of the cold butterbeer and is absolutely perfect to help cool oneself down on a super hot summer day at the park. I suggest using a straw to enjoy this delicious variety. But make sure to lift up the straw to get the cream with each sip. 

5. Butterbeer Fudge – 

At the bottom of our butterbeer obsessed list is the butterbeer fudge found at Honeydukes sweet shop. While in theory it sounded lovely, it was just too sweet for this sweet tooth. If you have friends to share with, just one square will go a long way! While you’re at Honeydukes, pick up a few quill suckers (that actually write!) and some chocolate frogs as well (if it’s not too hot out). 

6. Hot Butterbeer – 

And last but not least is the hot butterbeer variety. Sadly, due to the heat, we were not able to try this variation so we have no way to rate it against the other options. However, if you’ve had the pleasure of enjoying this version, please let us know your thoughts!! 

Now that we’ve made our way through this amazing list of all things butterbeer, I do want to dispell a myth that a few individuals (not to be named) mentioned to me before going. Sadly, there is no alcoholic version of butterbeer in Universal Orlando. 

After visiting every butterbeer dealer … er… dispenser, we received the same answer to our question. Nowhere in the park can you order the alcoholic version of this bubbly delicious drink. However, you CAN enjoy some great alcoholic drinks like Wizard’s Brew or Dragon Scale in Diagon Alley at The Leaky Cauldron or The Hopping Pot

What’s your favorite variety of Butterbeer? 

Thank you to Universal Orlando for inviting me to enjoy your parks and experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 



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