Spring Break in Sun Valley

Spring Break in Sun Valley

Sun Valley is one of our favorite places to visit, so we decided it would be a blast to spend part of the kids’ spring break there skiing and swimming! We arrived up there fairly early on Sunday (St. Patrick’s Day) and grabbed a quick lunch and did a bit of shopping. There is a toy store there that the kids absolutely love that we always visit, and I always love making a stop at Gold Mine Thrift Shop to check for treasures (they famously frequently have amazing designer donations!).

Coat // Sunglasses// Necklace // Bag // Bootsimg_2312

We spent the afternoon swimming in the heated outdoor pool!

Sunglasses

Headed out to dinner! We stayed at the Limelight hotel and decided to just eat dinner there that first night as they have really good food and they also have live music. It was really festive for St. Patrick’s day, and we enjoyed just relaxing in the lobby listening to music while the kids played in the kids play area. We splurged on their truffle fries (which are amazing), and I also had a delicious arugula salad.

img_2334Sweater // Jeans // Shoes // Coat (Zara – similar) // Necklace // Bagimg_2307

Monday morning we let the kids play in the kids play room at the hotel for a bit before we headed off for a day of skiing. After skiing we swam again, and took an evening stroll around town.

Coat (Zara – similar) // Sweater // Jeans // Boots

On Tuesday we had yet another full day of skiing! The hubs and I ended up trading off watching Evan on the beginner hill, so we were each able to get some one on one time with Cole taking some more challenging runs.

My Jacket // Pants // Boots // Skis img_2443

On our last night we went to eat at our favorite restaurant in town – Pioneer Saloon! It just has the coolest ambience (make sure to look for Ernest Hemmingway’s gun!), and the food is so good. I had salmon and a “Jim Spud.”

We had so much fun on our little getaway, and I always really appreciate vacations with my family. Life can get so busy, chaotic, and stressful – so getting away and just focusing on one another & having fun is just so important! Many of my favorite memories are our family adventures, and even small trips like this are such a treat for us.

Since getting back home from our trip, I’ve been trying to keep the kids occupied for the remainder of their spring break and come up with some “staycation” activities and fun for them. I’m planning on writing a post about the second half of our spring break with some staycation activities we’ve done in the next few days if you are looking for some ideas!Signature

Spring Break on the Slopes

Spring Break on the Slopes

Living in Idaho, we are really fortunate to have so many great options for skiing nearby. Bogus Basin is just 18 miles from Boise so it is super easy for us to pop up there anytime…but my absolute favorite place to ski (and one of my favorite places in the whole world!) is Sun Valley. It is only a 2 hour drive from Boise, and I always feel that I’ve been transported into this magical mountain village whenever we go. I love how it balances giving you a feeling of escape, yet they have so many amazing amenities like incredible restaurants, upscale shopping, and luxury resorts. And I’m so excited that we have decided to head up to Sun Valley little spring break getaway this year! I feel like a spring break ski trip is such a fun option for a family friendly and active vacation – and spring skiing (warm pleasant weather!) is a lot easier and more fun with small kids. Today I wanted to share a few tips and a packing list if you are thinking of hitting the slopes this spring break!

Look online for package deals: Many ski resorts will offer package deals including discounted or even free lift tickets which can help save you quite a bit of money. Also if you have ski resorts locally or in your state, check with the resort to see if they offer in-state residents discounts!

Sign up early for ski school/childcare: Ski school and childcare spots are typically very popular and fill up quickly, so I would book as early as possible. Although my husband and I have both been skiing for a number of years, I definitely prefer to leave the ski instruction to the professionals, and giving my kids lessons has taught them so much that I wouldn’t have been able to.

If renting equipment arrive early and fill forms out in advance: Renting equipment can be really time consuming, especially if there is a line. Get there early, and if you can have your forms done before you get there it will help make the process go a bit more smoothly. And if you do ski at least a few times a year, it’s absolutely worth the investment to purchase your own gear! Spring is a great time to buy as most ski shops are starting to clear out their inventory for the season. Also, many resorts replace their ski gear every year or two and have sales to clear out their rentals! We actually purchased both of our boys barely used, perfect condition Volkl skis from Sun Valley this past year for a great price!

Prepare for the sticker shock of lodge food prices (or pack a lunch!): The food at the ski lodges at Sun Valley is insanely priced. As in a hot dog is somewhere around $10 and a plain black coffee is around $4. A very simple lunch for our family is easily in the $60-$70 price range. Yes the ambiance of the lodge is nice, but I like to keep some extra snacks in the car should the kids want to eat…and eat…and eat all day.

Check out the other resort amenities: Even though we love to ski, there are also a lot of other amenities at the resort we like to take advantage of as well. Most resorts have pools, and we absolutely love spending an afternoon in the outdoor, heated pool. Some resorts may also offer ice skating, sledding, a sleigh ride, or other fun winter activities. And of course enjoying après ski appetizers by a fire at the resort is a must, especially if they are having live music!

Packing List:

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Poncho // Leggings // Toiletry Bag // Suitcase // Sunscreen // MoisturizerSpringBreakSlopes2019.2Ski Jacket // Ski Pants // Skis // Goggles // Mittens // Fleece // Vest // BaseSpringBreakSlopes2019.3Hat // Boots // Vest // Sunglasses // Sweater // Jeans // Swimsuit // Poncho // Fur Headband // BootsSpringBreakSlopes2019.4Ski Pants // Ski Jacket // Ski Trainer Harness // Edgie Wedgie // Gloves // Helmet // Boots // Sweater // Swim Trunks

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What To Wear To Disney World In January

What To Wear To Disney World In January

One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six // Seven // Eight // Nine // Ten // Eleven // Twelve // Thirteen // Fourteen // Fifteen // Sixteen // Seventeen // Eighteen // Nineteen

When you plan a trip south during the winter months, I know there is always the assumption that the weather is going to be warm. However after living in Southern California for eight years, I am well aware this isn’t always the case. When we planned our trip to Disney World for January, I expected the weather to be cooler and unpredictable and packed accordingly…and am so thankful I did because we had a few days there where the temps were nearly the same as it was back home in Idaho! I met a few gals at our hotel who were visiting from South America and had only brought shorts, and were pretty much freezing and miserable. We had pretty wild temperature swings while we were there, and it could be anywhere from 40 degrees to 70 degrees, even on the same day! We dressed in layers, and carried backpacks to carry extra layers or shed them during the warmest parts of the day. I packed a mix of short & long sleeve tees, sweatshirts, and warm coats for morning & evening. We also made sure to wear comfortable shoes, because we averaged 7-10 miles a day walking through the parks! Our hotel had laundromats located throughout the property, so we washed & re-wore things several times to cut down on the amount of stuff we brought, and it also allowed us to dry wet coats & shoes. I also packed things all in the same color scheme, so I could easily mix & match – and it all coordinated with my red & black sequin Minnie ears! The day we took off from going to the parks was actually quite warm, and we were able to go swimming – so I would recommend bringing a swimsuit even during the winter months! I also packed gloves for the kids for the evenings when it was coldest. Even though the weather certainly wasn’t hot, we enjoyed the mild temperatures since we were so active, as well as the overall smaller crowds in January – and we would definitely go visit in January again!

img_1101img_0164My shirt // My jacket (I’m obsessed with this I.AM.GIA dupe and want more colors! Size up 1-2 sizes) // My jeans // My shoes (also love these, these, and these)  —  Evan’s sweatshirt // Evan’s jeans // Evan’s shoes (sold out, similar)  —  Cole’s shirt // Cole’s jeans // Cole’s shoes

facetune_27-01-2019-20-08-40img_1038Ponchos are an absolute must to have on hand! I packed some disposable emergency ponchos so we could just toss them & not have to worry about bringing them back home. Also this stroller is amazing – I even got stopped by a few fellow parents who asked about it! It’s super affordable and is very sturdy, plus it has great storage, a reclining seat, and a sunshade.

My coat // My hoodie is old but similar here & here // My tee // My leggings (these were great for a rainy day since they dried quickly!) // My shoes // My backpack  —  Evan’s sweatshirt // Evan’s jeans // Evan’s shoes (similar)  —  Cole’s coat (similar) // Cole’s shirt //  Cole’s jeans // Cole’s shoes

snapseedFor our day off from the parks I felt like dressing up a bit! This dress is a few months old from H&M, but this is similar. My belt is here, and my shoes are J Crew & a few seasons old but these are similar.

Cole’s tee // Cole’s jeans  —  Evan’s tee // Evan’s jeans

img_0446My shirt (and I layered this tee underneath) // My jeans // My shoes // My bag  —  Evan’s sweatshirt // Evan’s jeans // Evan’s shoes (similar)  —  Cole’s tee // Cole’s jeans // Cole’s shoes

facetune_30-01-2019-23-42-36-1My tee // Not pictured but for evening I layered this cute Mickey sweatshirt on top (it runs small & cropped so size up!) // My jacket // My jeans // My shoes  —  Evan’s tee (not available online but similar) // Evan’s jeans // Evan’s shoes (similar)  —  Cole’s coat (similar) // Cole’s jeans // Cole’s shoes

img_1103facetune_31-01-2019-22-46-24My shirt is last summer J Crew but similar options here, here & here // My jeans // My shoes // My bag  —  Cole’s tee // Cole’s jeans // Cole’s shoes  —  Evan’s tee // Evan’s jeans // Evan’s shoes (similar)

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Our Walt Disney World Vacation

Our Walt Disney World Vacation

Happy Monday! We are all still a bit jet-lagged and tired today as we just got back from our first family vacation to Disney World! When we lived in Southern California we didn’t live far from Disneyland, so we did take Cole a number of times, but we had been hearing from friends for ages that Disney World is a completely different experience & we really needed to go! Before I share a bit about specifics of our trip, I wanted to share a few tips and recommendations should you be considering a Disney World vacation.

The My Disney Experience App is really key in booking all of your restaurant reservations and Fast Passes so if you are planning a visit, as soon as you book your hotel, downloading the app should be your next step! We booked our trip about 4 months in advance, and we were able to get dining reservations for everything we wanted but I’m pretty sure we were only able to do so because January is the off season – and we still ended up with meals at off times (like 4pm & 7pm). I would highly recommend booking at minimum 6 months in advance, and making all of your dining reservations at that six month point! Extremely popular restaurants like Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Table are very difficult to get reservations for, so book as early as you possibly can! Fast Passes can be booked for guests staying on site 2 months in advance (only 1 month if you are staying off site), and popular rides get booked solid very quickly. We elected to stay on-site and it is definitely the way to go as they really do make things so simple for you. Disney sends you tags to place on your bags, and once you drop them off at the airport, Disney does the rest and delivers them right to your room! When you leave, they also check your bags into the airport right from the property & you can go straight to the gate without dealing with luggage! (Not dealing with bags was amazing and I’m now wondering why don’t all hotels do this?!) They also provide shuttle service to & from the airport, as well as to the parks from the hotels. You are given a magic band prior to your trip, which links to the app & you use it to scan in at rides for fast passes, link photos, make purchases with a linked card, and it also acts as your room key.

We chose to stay at Coronado Springs – which is a moderate resort at Disney. It is a convention hotel – which appealed to us since they have fewer park guests so the bus lines were very short and the pool wasn’t crowded. They also have a full service spa unlike most moderate resorts. Overall we were happy with our stay! The staff was super nice & friendly, the food was good, the beds were very comfortable, and the pool with water slide was a lot of fun for the kids. Housekeeping surprised us & spoiled the kids with balloons, birthday pins, and a stuffed Pluto & Goofy as we were celebrating Evan’s birthday while we were there! That said – if we go back I think we would choose a deluxe resort for a few reasons. One reason would be that several of the deluxe resorts have monorail access, which makes transportation to the parks even quicker & easier. The deluxe resorts also have bus stops closer to the park entrances, and more frequent busses for pickup so the wait is a bit shorter. Also the deluxe resorts have character experiences on site – which would be nice to enjoy a character meal right at your hotel & make for a bit more “Disney” experience without having to leave the resort every day. Also with two kids, a slightly larger room would be an added bonus as well. That said, there is a lot of value to be had at the moderate resorts with a pretty large savings, and you still do get the majority of the amenities found at the deluxe resorts.

We also opted for the Disney dining plan, which I highly recommend! We went to a number of character meals, and they are very pricey. A character meal for a family of four is in the $200 range, so having those included in your dining plan is fantastic. Also all of the cute snacks & drinks around the parks are included in the plan, so it really allowed us to feel free to indulge in the overpriced themed snacks as much as we wanted! With your dining plan you also get refillable mugs which you can fill with soda, coffee, juice, tea, and cocoa as many times as you want for free at any Disney resort throughout your stay. We also purchased Memory Maker, and with this, all of your photos taken by Disney photographers & on the rides are uploaded to your app for downloads. It is something I would absolutely recommend purchasing!

We spent our first day at Magic Kingdom, which in hindsight may have been a mistake. Our first day was a Saturday, and even though it was January, Magic Kingdom is always very crowded on weekends. We weren’t able to make it on as many rides as we wanted, and restaurants were pretty crowded. But we were able to snag breakfast reservations at Be Our Guest (which is a great value on the dining plan!) and this was our favorite restaurant from our entire visit! The Beast doesn’t appear at breakfast or lunch, but it’s such a neat place to dine with the whole Beauty and the Beast theme, and just the ambience alone makes it so enjoyable.

Magic photos are so fun and included with Memory Maker! And it’s always a fun surprise seeing what they added to the photo! This ride is an absolute blast, and also extremely popular! Early fast passes for this one is a must! The wait was consistently 2+ hours. The Mickey Ice cream bars are delicious!We ate dinner at Crystal Palace which is a character meal featuring the characters from Winnie the Pooh! The buffet was quite good, and the special friendship celebration parade with all the kids was just so cute! The characters at all of the character meals are just fantastic and make it so special for the kids.You can’t go to Disney and not take a ride on the Tea Cups! We also watched the evening firework show which was fantastic.

Our second day we went to Hollywood Studios…and we were not blessed with good weather. It absolutely poured. All day. I had been watching the weather, so I was prepared with ponchos for all of us. But it was pretty hard to completely avoid getting wet. Luckily many of the rides & experiences are indoors at this park, so we were able to dry off at each experience, before bundling up & heading to the next one! And the one big perk of toughing out the day was that there were virtually no lines at any of the rides and the park was pretty empty.

Our highlight of the day was meeting all of the Star Wars characters! The kids are still talking about this & saying it was one of their favorite things from the whole trip. The storm troopers were walking around questioning people, Kylo Ren was pretty scary, & Chewie was like a big teddy bear – and it just made for a super fun experience! We also stayed dry watching the Indiana Jones show which was a neat behind the scenes peek at how movies are made & they did some really neat stunts. My boys weren’t interested in seeing it, but if you have girls I heard the Frozen show was really neat! We also went on the Tower of Terror ride (it’s absolutely terrifying & I’m questioning my parenting that I took my kids on it), as well as Slinky Dog Dash which was an absolute blast! The Star Wars 3D ride was really neat & they change the graphics constantly so no two rides will be the same! We ate dinner at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant & this was one of our favorite meals. You sit in a car and they show old sci-fi movies on a big screen. Unfortunately we missed the evening Fantasmic show which we had really wanted to see, because once the sun went down we were too wet and cold to stick it out at the park any longer. That’s something we definitely want to catch next time.

The next day we headed to Animal Kingdom! This park has a much different feel than the other parks and is more of a zoo than an amusement park. You definitely need to make sure to go on the Kilimanjaro Safari – it really is like going on a mini-safari and you get to see all of the animals in a more natural habitat.

The dinosaur ride was one of the kids favorites!

A few highlights of the day in addition to the safari were; Its Tough to Be a Bug (which is a super cute 3D show inside the Tree of Life), The Boneyard playground where they could dig up dinosaur bones, Dole Whips (it’s like a pineapple soft serve), and the evening water show was absolutely incredible. We ate dinner at Yak & Yeti, which was one of the more disappointing meals of our trip. We love Asian and Indian food so we were excited to try it – but the food was just very mediocre for the price, so I would try Tusker House next time!

On Tuesday we took a day off from the parks to rest a bit & we also booked brunch at Chef Mickey’s where we celebrated Evan’s recent birthday! The ambience at Chef Mickey’s was really fun. It’s really lively and the characters were absolutely fantastic! Mickey seemed a bit rushed, but all of the other characters were so playful and fun. I had pre-ordered a cake through Disney dining ahead of time so as we were finishing up our meal, they brought the cake out and sang for everyone celebrating birthdays! There was only one other person I saw celebrating, so it was kind of neat and felt really personalized! I had also pre-arranged to have balloons & a plush Mickey delivered to our table to be waiting for us which I purchased through Disney Floral & Gifts. Just a disclaimer on this – there is a $25 delivery charge (ouch!) to have them deliver a gift for you.

Chef Mickeys was really fun and I’m glad we did it. But you are paying for the characters and ambience. It is very pricey for what you get as the food is very mediocre and there weren’t as many options as I would expect from an expensive buffet. It is a part of the Disney dining plan, so it was a good value to use a dining credit towards. However I think if we went back, I would look into trying the dinner buffet instead as I felt that $60 per person for a somewhat limited breakfast menu was a bit steep.

After brunch, we spent the rest of our day swimming, and playing at our hotel playground and hotel arcade. For dinner we headed over to Disney Springs which is the shopping area on property. They have a lot of great shops including some of my favorites like Zara, Uniqlo, and Free People. My kids absolutely loved the LEGO store & they had a neat area where you could build LEGO cars and race them against other kids building them! We also grabbed some Sprinkles cupcakes for dessert!

On Wednesday we headed to Epcot! I am a total foodie, so Epcot was a lot of fun for me. We spent a fair amount of time just walking around World Showcase and sampling foods from around the world! We had breakfast in France at Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie, lunch in Mexico at La Cantina de San Angel, and dinner in Italy at Tutto Italia. Some of our highlights from Epcot; I absolutely loved the Soarin’ Around the World Ride while the kids loved the Test Track ride – in fact so much so that we skipped the evening firework show because they wanted to do that ride over and over! It was also just a lot of fun to walk around in all the countries and browse the shops where they had things from those countries available to buy! I ended up buying some Givenchy lipgloss in France as a little souvenir.

On our last day we went back to Magic Kingdom and after a breakfast of cinnamon rolls and LeFou’s Brew at Gaston’s, we had a marathon day of riding all the rides! Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train were our favorites and we did several of these more than once! We also caught the afternoon parade which was really cute.

For our last night, we went to Be Our Guest for dinner and this was one of our favorite experiences of the whole trip! The food is actually impressively good, and the Beauty and the Beast theming is really fantastic. There’s 3 dining rooms; the Ballroom where we were seated which is huge & grand – and there is always snow falling outside the windows, the West Wing where the enchanted rose is (our table was right near the doorway so we could see the rose from our table), and the Castle Gallery which has a large figurine of Beauty and the Beast dancing as well as a number of large paintings of them. The food is French with a 3 course price fixe menu. I opted for the French Onion Soup, the Seafood Bouillabaisse, and for dessert you get a trio with a raspberry Macaron, a white chocolate “Chip” filled with the gray stuff, and a chocolate truffle. The gray stuff is incredibly rich…but it is in fact delicious! The kids dessert trio came with sugar paint & they got to paint their Chip cups and eat them which was darling! The Beast periodically walks through the dining area & then greets guests in his study where there is a photographer to take your photo with him after dinner.

And there you have it…a summary of our week at Disney! We aren’t huge “Disney people” so we were a little unsure of how fun it would be, but we enjoyed it so much I do think we will go back in a few years. If you are thinking of taking a trip to Disney and have any questions, please leave them in the comments for me! And because the weather was quite temperamental during our stay, I’m planning on writing a follow up post this week about what to pack & wear during a January Disney trip!

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Tips For Traveling With Kids

If you have kids, you know the nightmare that is traveling with them. The first few years are pretty brutal, but thankfully we are finally seeing our way out and it’s becoming a bit easier. Last summer we flew to Hawaii & we took our first red eye. Cole is at an age where he is overall super easy, but I was really dreading it and expecting the worst with Evan. But I prepared as best I could, and the trip really couldn’t have gone much more smoothly! We have a vacation coming up very soon, and as I’m planning and preparing to pack I wanted to share a few of my favorite tips I’ve learned over the years.

Bring a “go bag” I had a mommy friend, when Cole was a baby, who told me this was her name for a bag she would pack for her little one. As we all know, kids are most interested in new toys. So she would go hit up the dollar store, or the dollar bin at target, and fill it with all kinds of new, interesting goodies! The key is – don’t give it to them all at once. Let them pick out a new item from the bag every 30 minutes or so. I love Pottery Barn’s backpacks for kids!

Tablets I am a firm believer in do what it takes to keep your kids happy on the plane. If that means 6 hours of screen time – I’m all for it. I will often let them pick out some new games they want before the trip (don’t let them play them ahead of time!) so they have new games to play on the plane which they are really excited about. Also download a few favorite or new movies they haven’t seen from Netflix. If the airline has in-flight entertainment, make sure you download the airlines app prior to the trip so you will be able to access the service. I also make sure to bring headphones and chargers. And these iPad cases I have (this one and this one) are great for watching movies since they stand!

Get cozy I want the kids to be comfortable so I dress them as close to wearing pajamas as possible (without wearing actual pjs). Think sweatsuits, tee shirts, cozy socks and comfortable sneakers. Bring along a travel blanket, pillows, comfort items like a favorite stuffed animal – anything to help them relax and settle in. Also if their ears have trouble with the pressure, you may want to pack some gum or some candy they can suck on to help alleviate it.

CARES I’ve never brought car seats for my little ones on the planes (I just don’t want to deal with lugging it around!), so I’ve opted for the CARES airplane seat harness instead. If you do prefer to bring a car seat, there is this cart to help you transport it.

Stroller and buggy board This is my most used stroller and it is the perfect stroller for traveling! It is very durable & also very light and small at the same time. It also has a reclining seat, a storage basket, and even a small canopy. It is also an amazing price! A few years back when we went to NYC with the kids – we bought this buggy board for Cole to ride on as we knew he would get tired walking all over the city. This stroller is absolutely durable enough to handle pushing two kids!

Travel car seat As I mentioned above, I don’t like hauling car seats along with us on vacation, so I love this handy little portable booster seat! Evan is still a bit young for it so we still rent him a car seat, but this has been great for Cole.

Medications It’s always a good idea to keep some essentials on hand so you aren’t trying to run around and hunt down Tylenol or Benadryl at the airport or once you get to your destination should you suddenly need it.

A separate change of clothes I always pack a change of clothes in our carry on just in case someone has a spill mid-flight or in case our luggage gets lost! I once had bags get lost for the majority of my vacation (thankfully pre-kids) but I learned my lesson to always keep at least one extra outfit with me.

Snacks and disposable sippy cup I always grab a few snacks prior to our trip to keep in my carry on. Many airlines now charge for snacks, and my kids can occasionally be picky and not like what is available. I like to always have something on hand I know they will eat – and the airports/airline snacks are really overpriced. I also like to have a few treats on hand like fruit snacks and lollipops as rewards (or for emergency distraction should there be a meltdown)! I also always pack a few disposable sippy cups for my little one & I have the flight attendant put his drink in there rather than a regular cup which is way too easy for a little one to spill!

Antibacterial wipes and baby wipes I’m not a germaphobe at all – but airplanes really gross me out. I feel like they are soooo dirty, so I always wipe down our seats, arm rests and tray tables as soon as we board. I also bring a pack of baby wipes to clean up any messes/sticky faces & hands.

I hope you find this helpful! If you have any questions or any tips to share, please leave them in the comments 🙂

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