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Organization

A Newbie’s Tips to Disney World.

Planning a trip to Disney World is always a great time but can also be a lot of hours in planning!  Lots of questions like: “Where to stay? Where to eat?  How far in advance to start planning? Which parks should we visit?”   Next year, we plan to do the FL resident passes which will also help with the overall cost when weighed with the frequency of visit.

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A Busy Moms Guide to Holiday Shopping in 2015!

Here we are, my favorite time of year!  At any moment you will find my Pandora on Christmas Radio and pine scent filling my home.  (I really do love this time of year.)  I also LOVE to do almost all my shopping online!  I’ve never really been into Black Friday shopping but Cyber Monday is right ‘up my alley.’  So without further ado, I present to you my list of great finds for the whole family! But Shhhh…don’t share with mine!

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10 Habits of Great Leadership

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I have had the privilege to work for some great and not so great leaders in my career.  Yes, you read that correctly, I have been privileged to work for some not so great leaders as well.  I may not have enjoyed it at the time but they taught me valuable lessons.  During these times, you learn what you are made of and the type of leadership you don’t respond to as well.  As a manager for many years now, these are the leadership qualities that have helped me grow as a leader and therefore translate to my successful teams.

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Creating a “Grab n Go” Beach & Pool Bag!

It may be the end of August but in many parts of the country summer is alive and well.  Here in Florida the sun is shining, Hurricane Erika is brewing in the East and my girls still have a warm summer glow. A few months back I decided that getting the family out of the house to go to the beach and pool was becoming a chore!  It was taking us the better part of an hour to find the gear, the sunscreen, all or part of the swimsuits and get out of the house.  Finally, we had the idea to make a ‘Grab n Go’ bag that allowed us to do just that.  Paired with a bathroom swimsuit hanger for the kids bathroom and we finally had a system.  So how did we prepare this mystery bag of greatness?  What did we include?  I’m so glad you asked!  Sit back, grab a Mai Tai and let me take the guessing game out of it for you.

The Basics:
Get a bag!  Not just any bag, a big one!  The bigger your family, the bigger the bag.  I was able to score a Peanuts Branded Utility Tote bag at Target on sale for $20.
You can order great ones through Thirty-one or even here:

Thirty One Scratch & Dent Large UTILITY TOTE bag

Sunscreen:
You need to protect those little loves and yourself.   And while there is much debate over which to use, here are the ones we tend to use:
Badger Balm Lavender Sunscreen Cream- SPF 30 – 2.9 oz
Badger is organic and a completely chemical free formula.
I also really like Coola products. They also have organic inactive ingredients, go on great and smell wonderful!
Coola Sport SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray – Citrus Mimosa 6 ounce

Keep in mind that nothing is better than good clothing, hats and occasional shade!

The small items you will likely forget:

  • Sunglasses, even the cheap-o’s from the Target dollar section! (Love that section)
  • LipBalm with SPF (See Palm Valley Lavender Co. Brand, links coming soon)
  • Swim Diapers (If needed and I recommend reusable)  
  • Water Wings: I like Puddle Jumper water wings for our two year old.  The thing to keep in mind is that nothing will fully keep your little love out of harms way except you.  That being said, these are really great for beginning swimmers!

Stearns Deluxe Puddle Jumper 30-50 lbs. Elephant

  • Individually wrapped snacks: Lets face it, nobody likes wet chips and soggy pretzels.
  • Water bottles
  • Hats
  • Water toys
  • Towels
  • Cover-ups/ Dry Clothes

Specifically for the Beach:

  • Beach cooler
  • Chairs 
  • Umbrella
  • Beach Toys and Buckets

Really the key like anything in life is preparation.  A little preparation goes a long way when wrangling excited little ones for anything involving water.  Going to the pool and/or beach should be fun, easy and hassle free.

Happy Swimming!

PlanetBox: Making Lunch Time Fun Again!

PlanetBox

A couple years ago my daughter started attending preschool so we began the search for a lunchbox.  We picked up a cute little character lunch box, threw in a plastic bag with grapes, carrot sticks and PB & J and called it good.  For the most part all lunch boxes are the same right?  Then I came across the one lunchbox to rule them all. The PlanetBox.  Four “Rover” orders and many happy lunches later and we are never going back.

What is a PlanetBox?
A stainless steel portable lunchbox design in a ‘cafeteria tray’ style.  With portioned sections so food doesn’t touch, it fosters creativity and ‘thinking outside the {lunch} box’.  With three different versatile designs called the Launch, Rover and Shuttle, they serve a variety of purposes. We have even used ours for picnics, camping and the beach!

Photo Credit : PlanetBox®
Photo Credit : PlanetBox®

What makes it unique?
They are Durable
These lunchboxes are “kid-resistant!”  We ordered our first lunchbox system 3 years ago and it is still in great condition today! Anything that can withstand the force of my children has my stamp of approval.  They are totally dishwasher safe as we usually add them to our dinner dishes load the following evening.  They even have a 5 year warranty!  The cloth box exterior cleans up well as does the insulated interior.

Planetbox2
Photo Credit:PlanetBox®

They will put the fun back in lunch time!
Packing a lunch can feel like a chore when we do it daily and for the whole family. But with a little creativity and the right tools in place it can be enjoyable and rewarding .  I promise you will be more inclined to pack your lunch in a variety of different color and designed bags, throw in some fruits and veggies and even add a few creative touches here and there!  There are literally tons of ideas online but come up with your own from time to time.

Check out this Star Wars Themed box from Wendy Copley at Wendolonia

(See link below for more inspirational ideas!)

The Best Part, The Magnets!
The real reason you may love it is the beautiful magnets (Yes, even for adults) There are several options to decorate the boxes as well as colors and styles of the carrying case!  You can mix and match, swip and swap and get creative.
We are super excited to try the BottleRocket thermos and signed up to be emailed when it is available, as it looks to be great for warm or cold liquids!

Photo Credit : PlanetBox®
Photo Credit : PlanetBox®

The Cost Savings
Eating out every day can really add up on the pocket book.  You may be surprised what making an effort to pack a lunch daily will make on the monthly budget.  Buying prepackaged meals are costly, create more waste, and are often packed with GMO’s and chemicals.

The Environmental Footprint Reduction
Day after day use of plastic bags will add up, in a landfill and in your pocketbook. No more plastic ware or missing lids, no more searching for what you are going to pack all the sides in.

Clean Eating
I am still not confident in the ‘balanced’ food pyramid used in a majority of today’s school lunchrooms. It is up to us to instill good eating habits in our children so they continue to make good choices into adulthood.  Good food is not fast and fast food is not good.  Even “healthy” items on fast food menus are usually not made with quality ingredients, so do you really know what you’re consuming and where it came from?  Pack a clean, unprocessed lunch and watch how this one meal can make a difference in how you feel the rest of the day.

planetbox4
Our Lunch time lineup!

I assure you this is a small investment in a great product that will help your whole family as it has ours.  I’d love to hear from you.  Do you have one already or are you thinking of ordering one?  Share in the comments below.  I’d love to see what you come up with so feel free to share your creativity as well

Order one today!
PlanetBox Rover Lunchbox

Check out the PlanetBox inspirations page for tons of categorized ideas!
Happy Planet Happy Lunch!