Monday, April 30, 2012

Our Vacation Clothing Splurge

I almost titled this post "Our One Vacation Splurge" but then I figured that really the whole vacation is one big splurge, so that didn't make sense.

A while ago I posted about how I had found some great bargains on clothes for our Disney Cruise, found on sale at the Disney Store and at various places post-Halloween. But I decided I would allow myself one clothing splurge, mainly based on all the insanely cute clothes for kids on Etsy,  Ebay and the Disney Store.

And what did I decide on?  Matching Mickey tie-dye clothes for the kids!

I got them from Pixie Crafts on Etsy.  T-shirts for the boys, and a tank dress for the girl.  Planning to wear them on our Magic Kingdom day.

I guess I've always been kind of anti-matching-clothes for the family...but then I see pictures of kids and families wearing cute things and I change my mind.

Now if only I could convince my husband that we should wear these too....

Do you ever wear matching clothes on vacation?  Or do you dress your kids in matching shirts?  Why or why not?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Airplane Entertainment for Kids

I'm a big believer that entertained kids on airplanes = happy kids on airplanes. So I try to carefully and thoughtfully plan out how my kids will be entertained on every airplane trip so as not to be the people with the screaming kids that everyone is glaring at. (Admittedly, even the best of plans can go wrong and I HAVE been the one with the screaming kid(s)--especially while traveling with 2 recently-adopted kiddos on international flights of over 15 hours duration...but luckily I will never see any of those people on those flights again!)

The good thing about booking our Disney cruise almost 2 years in advance is that I've had plenty of time to accumulate things for their airplane travel backpacks.

What I've found works best for us is:

* I pack each kid a variety of toys and entertainment in a backpack that they must use as their carry-on.

* The toys/entertainment are new or new to them and they haven't seen them before.

* I don't let our kids open their backpacks until they are seated on the airplane. While we are waiting in the airport, I run them around a desserted part of the terminal or we go up and down escalators to get some energy out.

* I pack half of the new stuff in our suitcase to refill the backpack with fresh goods for the return trip home.

And of course, my challenge is always to accumulate their entertainment stash without breaking the bank.

I've got the kids' entertainment stash almost done for our upcoming trip. Here's a look:

I've got 3 packs of the Crayola Color Wonder coloring kits. These are great because the markers can only color on their special paper, which means they won't make a big mess. I got all 3 of these for $1 or less at Kohl's over the past year because Kohl's mailed out $10 off $10 coupons and they have these in their toy section.

Some coloring books:

Some small toys purchased at Kohl's (free with $10 off $10 coupons):

A few restaurant prizes that the kids haven't seen: (free)

And, some "new to them" Star Wars and Chuck Norris action figures (these were my husband's from the '80s! taken out of storage):

I've also got some Disney stickers and Disney water bottles (from the Disney Store, on sale). And lollipops for the take-off and landing.

My older two will each have access to an iPod with some games and TV shows.

Hopefully that will keep them happy for about 5 hours of flight time! (We are traveling North for a layover before heading South for the cruise).

What are your tips for traveling with your kids? What keeps them happy?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Buying Kids' Clothes on a Tight Budget

When we were a 2-income family, I didn't give a lot of thought to buying clothes. If we needed them, we went out and bought them. Granted, I never went over the top (when I was working full time we had one child, a boy, and it's hard to go over the top with boys' clothes because to me they all seemed very similar. Jeans. Polos. T-shirts.)

But now that we are a 1-income family, and we are trying to make that 1-income stretch to many things, buying clothes for us and our kids is done very thoughtfully and creatively.

A few days ago I read a great article on 8 Ways to Save Money on Children's Clothes. One of the suggestions in that article is to buy kids' clothes at a resale shop. Which is something that never crossed my mind when we were a 2-income family, but now I'm so glad that we live near a few good resale shops and I've just started shopping them in the past year. Especially with having a girl, because the resale shops have so much good stuff for girls (older boys' clothes are so much harder to come by, I guess because boys are so rough!)

And every so often, there is a Groupon-type deal for half off at a kids resale shop, which makes the deals even sweeter. I recently bought 2 Groupons for $10 for $20 worth of merchandise at Once Upon A Child. Yesterday I took one of my $10 certificates in and bought 5 pieces of clothing for my kids. A dress, a girl's shirt, two pairs of denim shorts/skirts, and a pair of boy's athletic shorts. Not bad for $10!

The dress is denim, from Gymboree with tags still on. And as a bonus, it has little white anchors on it, perfect to take on our cruise!

Do you shop at resale shops or consignment sales? Garage sales? Do you have any tips to share?

Friday, April 6, 2012


So the kids are getting really antsy to go on our cruise. They ask me about it almost every day now. We're about 2 months away from our departure.

In the Oceaneer Lab (one of the kids' clubs) on the ship there is a science experiment activity where they make Flubber. My kids have never seen the movie (the 1997 version nor the 1961 original). So we rented the movie from the public library and now we're getting familiar with Flubber.

The internet is loaded with recipes to make home-made flubber....but I think I'll let the kids wait to do it on the ship.

Has anyone made Flubber? How did it turn out?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Changes to Castaway Cay 5k

Heather from Running with Sass just posted a great update on changes to the Castaway Cay 5k. I can't wait to run it in about 2 months!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Haircuts at home

One of the best money-saving tips I got from the Couponing to Disney website is to save money by cutting my sons' hair myself. I bought a clipper set from for less than $20. My husband was extremely skeptical when I told him about a year ago that I'd like to try this. I was a little nervous, too. But the clipper company actually has videos online to show you how to use the clippers to cut hair.

I don't think I do as good of a job at edging around their neck and ears, so every few haircuts I take them in to the professionals. But today was a home haircut day.


After, with spikey look:


After, with spikey look: