Snapshots // magic kingdom and animal kingdom, 2019

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Magic Kingdom outfits:

my top: thrifted Madewell

my pants: handmade Named Clothing Ninni Culottes in a light chambray

my ears: Target party section

Penny’s overalls: Pepper Kids

Penny’s tee and sneakers: June and January

Penny’s fanny pack: Target (girls, not toddler. I had to alter the waist strap. And I cut off the glittery bunny ears)

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Long, photo heavy post alert!

Disney, year 2! It was so fun this year, with Penny being a year older. While there were still plenty of rides she couldn’t ride, she was more aware of what we wee doing and how much fun it was. She kept yelling “that was so much fun!” or “I like that!” after the rides. Especially the Barnstormer rollercoaster and teacups. It appears we a little thrill seeker on our hands. And dare I say, I may have finally started a liking in her for a Disney Princess! She lists the Little Mermaid ride as one of her other favorites, and she even got a Little Mermaid toy as a prize. You have no idea how happy this makes me! I love that she loves Cars and Mickey, but I was such a Little Mermaid fan when I was little.

At Magic Kingdom, we literally spent all day there. Got there right at rope drop at 9am, and stayed for the fireworks spectacular at 9pm. And surprisingly, we still didn’t hit all the rides that we could’ve, ha. Granted, we did ride some of Penny’s favorites multiple times, and we also stopped and sat down for her to take a 45 minute nap. But we spent most of our time in Fantasyland, hitting up every ride we could there. Also got a good spot for the parade, spent a bit of time on Main street picking out some prizes, managed to squeeze in a few rides in Tomorrowland, and then very quickly ran through Adventureland at the end. We love Magic Kingdom so much! If we only ever went to one theme park ever again, we would have no problem picking this one. Now if only it wasn’t so freakin expensive so we could do it all the time haha.

Scroll down for Animal Kingdom!

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Animal Kingdom outfits -

Mickey tees: Target

my skirt: handmade Megan Nielsen Wattle skirt (see original post)

Penny’s shorts: handmade by shortening a Hello Dear Kids pants pattern

Penny’s ears: DIY here

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This was Penny’s first time at Animal Kingdom, since we didn’t do it last year. Even though it doesn’t have nearly as many rides for her to ride, I still think she had fun! We discovered she reaaaaaally loves flamingos (had no idea!). She stood there and stared at them forever, and this girl never stands still. But she she just watched them and watched them, and cried every time we tried to leave them.

She also saw lots of animals on the safari (including a giraffe that walked right next to the jeep!), danced like crazy at the lion king show, helped played the drums with the street performers, met Mickey and Minnie (!!!), and had a blast in the dino dig yard. We did also spend a little bit of time in Pandora, which was pretty cool! I realize now I never took any pictures in that area.

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Snapshots // a Happy Place adventure

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When I saw that a Happy Place pop-up was coming to Boston, I jumped online and bought tickets ASAP. I knew P would love it, and lets face it - me too. I mean… just look at all this Instagram-perfect content haha. There were so many rooms, including a yellow ball pit ‘pot of gold’ at the end of a rainbow, an upside down room, mirrored walls, ducky bathroom, confetti dome, and so much more. We had soooo much fun and P is still talking about the ball pit. She jumped in all by herself, and it was a big jump for a little girl! (theres a blurry photo below of her jumping)

If you’re in Boston and want to go yourself, the pop-up is around until June 2. My advice: Try to get the earliest time slot of the day and get there early, too. It gets craaaaazy crowded and overwhelming with so many people trying to get pictures. We were the very first ones in line for our group/the first time slot of the day, so we were able to stay a bit ahead of the crowd and even had a couple rooms to ourselves at some points. But that never would’ve happened if we weren’t the first ones in.

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snapshots // ice castles 2019

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Another year, another ice castles trip in the books! It’s so much fun to see P enjoy it more and more with each year. When we left, I asked her what her favorite part of the ice castles was. Her reply? “the ice castles!”. Haha. She loved all of it. Playing in the snow, feeling the smooth ice, going through tunnels, having hot chocolate, and meeting the princesses. Ok fine, maybe she didn’t looooove the princesses (not a princess girl). But she did love the prizes they were giving out so she reluctently took a photo with them. Whatev, at least I got the photo ;)

Last year I wrote a post with tips for visiting yourself, and you can find that here. And you can see all of our past ice castle visits here!

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snapshots // Portland, ME

I feel like I don’t share enough here photos from our day trips around New England, and I’m going to try and do that more! That’s one of the best thing about living in Boston - such easy access to so many other fun states nearby! We’ve visited Providence and Newport RI, Stowe VT, many areas in NH, and Acadia in ME. Before the new year, we decided to take a quick day trip up to Portland, ME for the first time to do a little exploring.

Some highlights from the trip:

  • visiting the LL Bean flagship store in Freeport- Penny loved the giant boot, the fish tank, all the animals, and the big chalkboard in the kids area!

  • Coffee (and hot chocolate for P) at Tandem Coffee and Bakery - really fun and photogenic wall, too!

  • Walking near the water and around Old Port a bit

  • Lunch at Duckfat (get the thai chili mayo with the fries - yum! and the apple cider and rosemary spirtzer was delicious)

  • Stopping in for a prize for P (log cabin building set) at Treehouse Toys

  • Donuts at Holy Donut

  • a quick stop at Fort Williams Park to see the Portland Head Light

It was kinda of a quick trip - it was cold, and the days are so so short this time of year. It’s dark so soon! But we really want to go back again in the summer when it’s warmer and the day is longer and we have more time to explore! Anyone have any recommendations for other things to do or see that are also toddler friendly? AKA will not bore a 3 year old lol.

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Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA

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Our heads and hearts are already gearing up fro spring, but mother nature has had other ideas. With one nor'easter after another pummeling us with snow, we've had to find ways to keep busy indoors still. Zach's coworker told him about the fun interactive exhibits at the Peabody Essex Museum, and it was such a perfect snowy saturday trip!

Penny could probably live in that balloon room, and I don't blame her. 

P.S - locals, the fun XYZT exhibit runs through April 22nd, and the Play exhibit (with the balloon room) runs through May 6th!

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Ice Castles 2018 (and tips for visiting yourself)

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We made our annual trip up to NH to see the Ice Castle this past weekend. I get so excited for this trip every year! P was really little when we went last year, but she was able to understand and enjoy it more this year which was so ridiculously cute. She loves snow, and the little mini ice slides were a hit!

Every year when I post our pictures (see 2015-2017 here), I get a few questions about it. So I thought I'd share a few tips if anyone else decides to visit for themselves! I think there may only be a couple weeks left in the season for NH, but you could always plan ahead for next year, too!

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The ice castle we visit is in Lincoln NH, but there are other locations in Utah, Minnesota, Colorado, and Canada (visit there website for info). Our experience is only at the NH location, but I'm sure a lot of my tips apply to the others, as well. 

The biggest thing, that is pretty deceiving from all of my photos, is that it actually gets VERY busy and crowded. SO...

  • Buy your tickets online ahead of time. Standby tickets aren't always available. 
  • Try to get your tickets for the earliest timeslot of the day (this year on a Saturday it was 11am). AND get there early. We were 20 min early and lucked out because they opened the gate early. This is how I get most of the good pictures. We try to be some of the first people in there and get most of the picture taking out of the way before the wave of people start pouring in.
  • UNLESS you want to see it lit up at night, which is a whole other experience. We never do this so I don't really have any tips. #sorryguys
  • If you're a stickler like me about not wanting a million people in your photos, you just got to have a lot of patience. It takes a lot of strategic framing and cropping, waiting your turn for the most photogenic spots, and a little photoshop to remove the random strangers ;) 
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  • Wear good boots. The ground is all snow and can be a little difficult to walk on without proper footwear.
  • Dress the kids in full snowsuits/snowpants. And warm gloves. They'll want to crawl through the tunnels and go down the ice slides and sit on the ice throwns!
  • Speaking of kids, don't bring a stroller. You'll never make it on the snowy ground. Bring a sled with a string to pull them around. And wear small babies in carriers. 
  • I think they may list appearances on the website, or you may just get lucky and be there when Elsa and Anna and Olaf make a visit!
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  • This isn't about the ice castle itself, but every year we head to lunch at Gypsy Cafe after we're done there. It's our favorite spot! Try the grilled cheese fondue and cranberry mac and cheese. 

P.S - this is not sponsored at all. I just love this place and thought I'd share what I've learned over the years! Now scroll and enjoy some more photos. I think this year's photos may rival 2015 as my favorite set.

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Penny's first camping trip // Acadia National Park

Zach and I have been making a couple of trips each summer to Acadia to camp (see previous years), but this is the first time taking Penny. I was a little nervous about it, you know, tent camping with a 14 month old. But it wasn't quite as bad as I thought! Girl looooooves being outside. And could just play with and collect rocks all day long. And she did great hiking. 

Sleep was.... ok. She didn't take naps. Only quick cat naps in the car and carrier. And man, I know why we don't co-sleep (props to those that do!). P moved around so much, and would wake up and just want to play with us in the middle of the night. I mean, at least there was no screaming and crying. So it definitely could've been A LOT worse. But when we go back next month, we will be trading in our tiny little tent for a larger one that fits a pack and play.

But really, it was an awesome quick little trip. Take your baby on adventures! Even if it seems impossible or like too much work. Do it. I promise it will be worth it. 

If anyone has any questions about what we used for her or how we did things, let me know!

SNAPSHOTS : ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

Sorry for the photo overload, but we got so many awesome pictures on our camping trip last weekend and it was super hard to narrow them down. Sure, it was a ridiculously cold at night and we froze our butts off in that little tent, but Acadia and Bar Harbor more than made up for it with it's beauty and sunshine during the day. 

P.S - you can see a few night shots form our camping trip last year here (I restrained myself that time).