Frozen at Hollywood Studios- “All good things” on a 110-degree day

20140728_135909 20140728_132255 20140728_132355We traveled a lot this Summer, and the highlight for the kiddos was probably the limited engagement Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida.  This limited engagement is going on until September 28, 2014, and it’s super  cool to visit on a typical Florida Summer day.

We had one day left on our MILITARY SALUTE 4-day hopper, so we chose to go see this extravaganza since the kids can’t get enough of Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and the gang. It was different, and I think since we just visited Hollywood Studios in January, this was a real treat to see some different things, and experience Disney in a different way.  The park was not very crowded when we went, probably because the heat index was 110, and the rides were not crowded either.  Parking is the same at Disney no matter what you do – über 20140728_122408pricey.  Take the tram to the front, and the kick off parade at Hollywood Studios for Anna, and Elsa, and their whole crew is 1045 am.  You do not want to miss this.  It ends at the Sorcerer’s Hat for a dance spectacular.  After this, you can go visit a few special exhibits, but before you do so, get your Fast Passes for the rides/shows you want, and then go get tickets at Stage One for the FROZEN Sing-A-Long – this is fun for younger audiences, and it is a sing a long with Anna, and Elsa, and Kristoff.   Here is a list of all the special things as part of FROZEN Summer Fun LIVE!

The kids favorite part was the Sing-A-Long but they loved playing in the snow in Florida in the blazing heat of Summer- granted, we live in Colorado, and get the real stuff, but there was something magical about it.  All the cast memb20140728_122011ers had the Oaken’s outpost accent too which transformed us to Norway for a bit.  There is an ice rink inside this exhibit and you can rent ice skates too!  But since we live in Colorado and can skate at Keystone or Vail, we skipped it.  The parade was magical in the morning, and kicked off the day nicely, 20140728_111034and we did not stay for the fireworks they are only for certain days, so check the website or listings before planning for this.  All in all, it was nice to cool 20140728_122737off indoors and with Anna, Elsa, and the gang on an extremely hot day in Central Florida.

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Kidecals – A Review

KidecalsI reviewed kidecals’ labels.  I have already been a fan of good, solid labels for all the kids’ items.  These are a bit cheaper than the Mabel’s Labels I reviewed, but they all come in one shape/size, and they come on one flat sheet or two, so they are tougher to store than Mabel’s Labels, but functionally, they serve their purpose.  For back to school, they are perfect and do the job!  They are waterproof, washer/dryer safe, and you can stick them on backpacks, canvas, plastic, containers, and inside of shoes too.  For these labels, you can get a sheet with different shapes, or all the same shape in different sizes.

If you are looking for a solid product and some cute designs and shapes, kidecals may be a good alternative for you to more expensive back to school label packs on the market.  I designed my child’s with first/last name and my phone number.  Since she is starting Kindergarten, things can get lost, so hopefully with the cell phone number, it can also be found.  Happy Back to School to you all!

*Disclaimer: I tried free Kidecals pack (mega combo) to review.  The opinions expressed here are my own. 

 

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Milestones & Memories — They are both in School!

20140818_07323720140818_073234Well, it is another milestone year!  Our little one started Kindergarten, and now they are both in full-day school.  For us it is not a schedule change, and nor were tears shed because we both work outside the home.  The kids are used to going to some sort of school, daycare, etc., year-round. But, it is still a milestone.

Part of me is sad because this signifies the beginning of letting go.  And yet, part of me is relieved to drop off and pick up at the same location.  It’s the little things, really.  We are excited for this year to get going since the first week is a little slow.  We are at a great school and the kids have great teachers so we are stoked.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t share these important milestones.  And low and behold, we are now planning for winter camps, spring break camps, and yes, summer 2015 camps.

Is it really that time already? I think we will blink, and it will be Christmas.  Have a great school year everyone and enjoy your milestone moment, whatever that may be.

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Back to School Review of Mabel’s Labels

It’s Back to School time, and that doesn’t just mean shopping for a new wardrobe, a new backpack, lunch bags, and supplies (oh, those dreaded supplies), it also means labeling all that stuff and labeling it so your child’s pink Carter’s jacket doesn’t get confused with the identical one in her classroom. So, this summer, as you are shopping for supplies and all that new gear, don’t forget to get some cool labels for your child’s back to school. For us, our second (youngest) daughter started Kindergarten! But, alas, that means labeling and re-labeling it all including jackets, shoes, lunch box, containers inside the lunch box, and of course, her backpack and supplies.

Mabel’s Labels has a great Ultimate Back to School Combo TM.  Check out all their cool products here and act now to get the amazing discount – it is a great deal. I got to try out their Ultimate Back to School Combo to write about today and let me tell you, we are set.  For just one of my daughters, we received these dishwasher safe, microwave safe, UV resistant stickers that include fun colors and designs, 40 skinny-minis as pictured on their site, and 50 tag mates, 16 shoe labels, and 2 teeny tags. Talk about being set for the new school year.

I have used many of their products for 2 years now, since my eldest started kindergarten and their products are well made, and last – whether you need to label lunch bags, back packs, shoes, books, containers, or anything else, these labels take a beating, a washing, and keep on going!  Give them a try.

Happy Back to School to you!

* Disclaimer:  I received one ultimate combo back for one of my kids in exchange for a review.  The opinions expressed here are my own.  I was offered no additional compensation.  Please read my general disclaimer as well.

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From Philly to Washington, D.C. – Independence Day in our Nation’s Capitol

20140629_143544Get Clued In and family went on an adventure this summer to Philadelphia and then D.C.  What a great trip, but we are back and exhausted.  Not too exhausted to share some tips from our trip though.

Hotel Monaco Philadelpia right across from Independence Hall

Hotel Monaco

Philadelphi20140629_172124a- we stayed at the Hotel Monaco, Philadelphia for a night after a family wedding.  It was right across Independence Hall – you know where signed a couple of important documents in our nation’s history, and the liberty bell.  All of the sites are free, and operated by National Park Service.  Get your tickets at the Visitor’s Center which is at the end of the Independence Historic Park.  The visitor’s center is quite amazing in and of itself and not to be missed.  The best thing for kids in this area if you are walking around is Franklin Square- rides, refreshments, a giant fountain and a playground.  It makes for a IMG_4512fun trip and everything is shaded here.  We never made it to the Please Touch museum, but that is on the top 10 things to with kids in Philly.  Another one is the Art Museum, and if you have time in the morning like hubby did, do a jog from Independence Hall to the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  These steps are the historic ones filmed in the movie ROCKY where Rocky Balboa ran up the stairs and did his big victory arms in the air shot (pictured to the left).  What a fun time!  A great place to eat breakfast, lunch and/or

Franklin Square Park

Franklin Square Park

dinner and reasonably priced is Reading Terminal Market which is also in downtown.  What a great market, and the Amish are there to sell their goods Wednesday through Saturday.

Our view of the Delaware River from the 10th floor of Hotel Monaco

Our view of the Delaware River from the 10th floor of Hotel Monaco

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Historic ice cream at Reading Terminal Market

No matter where we ate in Philly except at the NPS concessions, it was pricey so be aware of that.  The Reading Terminal Market at least offers you some wider selections at competitive prices.  But, this was a hike for us from our hotel especially with little ones.  We also visited the Mint here – the largest in the nation, and the original was burned down, so this is the 2nd one.  The Federal Reserve boasts a money in motion exhibit too.  With lots to do and see in Philly, if you can eke out 2 days, that would be perfect.

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Beaches in Delaware- We stopped at the beaches on the Delaware coast because we were heading south this trip to D.C.  We stopped at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  While we thought we were escaping the Jersey shore, it may have followed us here, and it was crowded.  It was apparently the first week of summer break in NJ/PA when we went because schools let out so late this year (due to a billion snow and rain days), so, everyone and their mother, literally were on this beach.  But it is a nice beach.  It was a windy cooler day which is good for us but the waves were high.  The best restaurant on this beach is Nicola’s Pizzeria.  It’s a small, family-owned operation but extremely popular and filled up quickly.  The kids get these super cool crayon looking cups, and the pizza is amaze-a-balls!  I kid you not.  Check it out, and they treat you like family.

IMG_4580Washington, D.C.- If you haven’t been to D.C. for the 4th of July, you should try it sometime.  It is busy and packed but the city comes alive.  And if you are lucky enough to get the weather on the 4th like we did, wow!  Due to Hurricane Arthur, we had amazing weather.  Independence Day in D.C. includes a parade in the morning and a concert with fireworks in the evening, and all the Smithsonian museums and the zoo are open late. Government buildings are closed so make sure to get those tours done earlier in the week- like Treasury, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, etc.  Since all the monuments are open air, you can visit those on holidays too.  But, the crowds are overwhelming.  IMG_4558The best time to see everything was when everyone was at the parade or eating lunch.  The same goes for the National Zoo.  It’s a unique zoo.  There are so many trees and shaded areas, and it literally has hiking paths because of its winding uphill and downhill design near Rock Creek Parkway.  I really loved seeing pandas at the national zoo and so did the girls.  We do not get to see pandas at the Denver zoo or very many zoos.  And, how many zoos do you just walk or hike onto for free?  Right- none.  Your tax dollars subsidize all of the Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo, so it’s all free!  Now, if you want a map, brochure, or some food,

cooling off at National zoo

cooling off at National zoo

 

you will pay for it, but admission is free to all the Smithsonian exhibits.  This website is awesome for all the Smithsonian museums and the zoo and is informative.  The summer hours are longer and often not posted at this website though.  The best time to hit the zoo may be early morning or late in the evening (after 6pm) since the zoo is open late in the summer months. The heat is overwhelming in D.C. for July 4th.  Bring along your coolers and food and drink because there are plenty of picnic areas to sit and eat.  For cooling off, there are misters throughout the zoo and most people treat these like swimming pools but hey, whatever helps!

20140701_092337Other than visiting the National Zoo which is a must in my book, my recommendations for the museums are: Air & Space Museum knocks it out of the park!  You will need a full day here so plan accordingly.  Best and cheapest place to eat is the McDonalds inside this museum unless you can get to the L’Enfant plaza metro stop – wow!  Food trucks galore.  You have to see and smell to believe the various food trucks that 20140702_105520await you.  It is less pricey than inside the museums to.   Do not plan on eating at the Natural History Museum – it is disorganized and pricey!  But a visit to the Natural History is a must!  I loved their temporary Beyond Bollywood exhibit too, and the diamonds too- wow!  The dinosaurs are cool too, but the kids enjoyed the interactive parts the most.  We also did the American History museum and that was extensive and quite well done.  I have heard the Postal Museum is great for kids but we never made it out there – it is not in the same location as all the other Smithsonian Museums on the Mall area.  We ate one day at the national mall on P street near the White House and the selection was fabulous – it is right off the Metro Center stop – get off and walk through Macy’s.  We visited the White House gift shop and i would recommend skipping this tourist trap – while they have neat gifts, it was a rip off.  If you do go in, definitely skip taking 20140704_140209the random picture at an imitation Oval Office because the people are just weird about the number of photos, and then finally when you get to the front, the lady takes a blurry shot of you and your family.  Lost time: 30 minutes.

We were fortunate enough to get an insider’s tour of the Pentagon this visit.  One of my friends at DoD personally gave us a tour of the giant building and it was incredible.  How many food courts, banks, chocolate shops, and fun things can one building contain?  We had a good time, and if you haven’t been to the Pentagon in a few years, you can also just walk the memorial outside – the 9/11 Memorial outside the Pentagon is incredible and moving.  20140701_13362820140701_112611There is a 9/11 indoor memorial for the victims too and it is near the chapel.  We drove by Arlington Cemetery and Iwo Jima but it was a super hot day and humid in D.C., considering all that we had packed in.

 

20140704_211048The fireworks were fabulous and we got to see them from a rooftop where my relatives live, and that rocked.  The girls loved seeing the skyline lit up with various fireworks happening from the District, Va, to Maryland – gorgeous 4th of July in our Nation’s20140702_123125 Capitol.  We had a great time and feel lucky we got to experience so much in such a short period of time and especially on Independence Day week.  So much history, and so much more yet to learn.  Hope you had a 4th of July this year, and enjoy the rest of summer!

 

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