batteries at disney

The importance of having back up batteries at Disney.

The importance of having back up batteries at Disney | chocolateandcarrots.com

As you’re planning your trip to Disney, one thing to remember is that your fan, children’s toys and cell phones will all need batteries or to charge their batteries throughout your stay. We ran our son’s fan all day, everyday to keep him cool. This required lots of spare batteries and unfortunately batteries in the parks are expensive…a pack for $12! Oye! Anything to make our baby comfortable, though. Note for next time: bring lots of batteries (rechargeable batteries are even better!).

Also, the cell phone service at Disney is not great. My phone had a terrible time trying to find reception (I have AT&T). This used up my cell phone’s battery more so than I would normally see at home, requiring at least one extra charge throughout the day. However, no one wants to stop for that long to recharge with a wall charger. That’s the beauty of an external battery source!

The importance of having back up batteries at Disney | chocolateandcarrots.com

I would highly suggest purchasing a PORTABLE CHARGER before your trip. Mine can charge my phone up to 4 times and it’s just a little bigger than my phone. Just slip it into your diaper bag and you’re good to go. You can charge your phones and electronics as necessary.

If I had one request of Disney World, it would be to add more cell towers or to have free wifi throughout the parks. Lesson learned: if you need your phone for the Disney app, camera, communication or children’s entertainment, invest in a portable charger.

The importance of having back up batteries at Disney | chocolateandcarrots.com

 

Disney with a baby | chocolateandcarrots.com

This post contains an affiliate link where a small percentage of purchases goes toward supporting my site. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.
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baby care center at disney

Baby Care Center at Disney

Inside Disney's Baby Care Center | chocolateandcarrots.com

There is one Baby Care Center in each of Disney’s four theme parks. Most of them are located towards the front of the park, but just ask a cast member or make a note where they are located prior to arrival.

To see what they were like, we visited Epcot’s Baby Center. It’s a great place to relax in the air conditioning and regroup. They have a kitchen with microwave, oven and sink and is stocked with everything you’d need to purchase for your baby, like formula, baby food, sunscreen, diapers and wipes. There are restrooms for men/women as well as multiple diaper changing stations. There’s a staff person there to wipe down after baby’s and parents and replenish paper linings for the changing pads.

Inside Disney's Baby Care Center | chocolateandcarrots.com

Inside Disney's Baby Care Center | chocolateandcarrots.com

Also located in the Baby Center, is a room with high chairs with trays. Throughout the park the only highchairs available are the ones without trays, making feeding a finger-food feed baby challenging. The reassurance of a clean try in an air conditioned room, makes for relaxing feeding times. It’s a perfectly quiet place for you to nurse your child in private rooms, as well.

Disney also thought of the toddler. There’s a room in the Baby Center stocked with toys and a television playing kid-friendly Disney cartoons.

Inside Disney's Baby Care Center | chocolateandcarrots.com

Baby Care Center Locations

  • Magic Kingdom – Located to the left of The Crystal Palace restaurant in Main Street, USA
  • Epcot – Located within the Odyssey Center between Fast Track and Mexico on the water.
  • Animal Kingdom – Located to the left of Discovery Island across from the Tamarins exhibit.
  • Hollywood Studios – Located just within the entrance on the left.

I highly recommend noting where the Baby Centers are located prior to your visit and utilize them while you’re there! Such a great resource!

Inside Disney's Baby Care Center | chocolateandcarrots.com

Inside Disney's Baby Care Center | chocolateandcarrots.com

Disney with a baby | chocolateandcarrots.com

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tips for keeping baby cool at disney

Tips for keeping baby cool at Disney.

Tips for Keeping Baby Cool #disney | chocolateandcarrots.com

We all know how hot Orlando, Florida can get. And when you’re outside for 12+ hours in a day, keeping your children (especially babies) cool is important. We took our son to Disney World when he was 11 months old and it was mid May where the average high is 88°F. Sure enough, the weekend we were there it was quite warm. From our experience, here are some tips for keeping your baby or toddler cool at Disney:

  • AIR – Prior to making your trip to Disney World during the warm months, invest in a flexible blade foam fan. I purchased mine at CVS for $9, but you can also purchase them at some baby stores as well as Amazon. The foam fan is perfect for a baby as it doesn’t hurt them if they try and touch it and it keeps the air flowing in the stroller. Plus it clips anywhere and bends to set the proper adjustments.I can’t tell you how many mothers came up to us during our stay in Disney and asked us where we purchased it. Disney would make bank if they started selling those!
    Tips for Keeping Baby Cool #disney | chocolateandcarrots.com
  • WATER – You want to also make sure to keep your baby hydrated throughout the park. Have a sippy cup or bottle full of water in your stroller. If your baby can hold his/her own cup, tether it with ONE OF THESE to the stroller so they can keep it with them without getting dirty or lost. Even if they’re in charge of their water, be sure to remind them to drink every so often. When you are thirsty, you are dehydrated. Make sure your baby doesn’t get to that point.
    Tips for Keeping Baby Cool #disney | chocolateandcarrots.com
  • CLOTHING – Dress your baby in lightly colored and breathable clothing. Also, let them get out of the stroller and stretch, especially if you’re in a shaded area. Their backs can get sweaty sitting in the stroller from ride-to-ride.
  • SUNSCREEN – Don’t forget to cover your child with sunscreen and re-apply! I started the day off with sunscreen on Liam from head to toe (with the exception of where his diaper is) since I wasn’t dressing him in SPF clothing. Then, I reapplied throughout the day to the exposed areas of skin.
    Tips for Keeping Baby Cool #disney | chocolateandcarrots.com

With your child staying as cool and comfortable as possible, you’re guaranteed to have the maximum fun at Disney! What do you do to keep you and your children cool at Disney?

Tips for Keeping Baby Cool #disney | chocolateandcarrots.com

Disney with a baby | chocolateandcarrots.com

This post contains an affiliate link where a small percentage of purchases goes toward supporting my site. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.
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tips for a successful backyard picnic #giveaway

I’m honored to be a Stonyfield Ambassador again this year, bringing you fun and creative ideas for you and your family. Come see what I’m sharing today!

Tips for a successful backyard picnic #giveaway #stonyfieldblogger | crackersandcarrots.com

Since having Hayden, I’ve made a rather large effort to continue going ‘out’ with the two kids, doing things that I used to do with just Liam. We’ll travel to the local parks and playgrounds, the South Carolina aquarium, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, Charles Towne Landing, the beach and more! We’re blessed to live in Charleston where we can be tourists in our own city and the weather is pretty splendid.

No matter where you live, though, going out for a fun excursion with two kids is EXHAUSTING. You have to plan at least a day ahead and be sure to pack all of the essentials, like snacks, bottles, clothes, wipes…the list goes on and on. Then, it takes hours just to get out of the house. However, I’ve learned that you can have a fun day planned at home that is MUCH easier for you, while still being exciting for your children: a backyard picnic.

Tips for a successful backyard picnic #giveaway #stonyfieldblogger | crackersandcarrots.com

All you need is a comfy big blanket, yummy food, some fun serving gear and maybe bubbles (because who doesn’t love bubbles)!

Steps to a successful backyard picnic:

  1. Collect your supplies and pack your lunches.
  2. Set up the blanket and food while your children are distracted inside.
  3. Get them pumped for the picnic!
  4. Reveal the picnic spread outside.
  5. Enjoy playing and eating in your own backyard.

Some fun picnic lunch foods:

  • Small squares of cheddar cheese and crackers
  • Fresh fruit assortment
  • Stonyfield yogurt – we’re big on the pouches, but you can just as easily bring along the cups and put them in bowls with lids or plastic containers to save leftovers for later.
  • Hummus and small sliced veggies to dip (carrots, celery, grape tomatoes, bell peppers, radishes, etc.)
  • Sippy cup – water, or juice/milk (if it’s insulated)
  • Dessert: small piece of chocolate…just be sure to keep this in a cooler or out of the sun. Trust me, you don’t want melted chocolate all over your toddler.

Tips for a successful backyard picnic #giveaway #stonyfieldblogger | crackersandcarrots.com

I had the pleasure of trying out some products from Tommee Tippee when exploring our backyard picnic and now you have the chance to win some of your own!

Tommee Tippee Giveaway #stonyfieldblogger | crackersandcarrots.com

So, that’s that! Have a wonderful backyard picnic!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield and Tommee Tippee. All opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

Posted in toddler | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Hayden is 3 months

Hayden is 3 months | crackersandcarrots.com

Hayden rarely gives out smiles (he’s a very serious baby), but I FINALLY caught one on camera!

Hayden is 3 months | crackersandcarrots.com

  • Date: May 5th, 2015
  • Height: 25 inches
  • Weight: 14 pounds 6 ounces
  • Sleeping Pattern: Hayden’s sleep pattern is a little scatter brained this month. Some nights he’ll sleep for 5-7 hours straight, waking only once for a feeding during the night, but then other nights he’ll be awake every 2 hours. Thankfully, after feeding him any time he awakes during the night, he falls right back to sleep. Hayden’s longest stretch of sleep so far has been 8 hours…and that’s because I had to wake him on account of me NEEDING to feed him or I’d explode.
  • Eating Habits: He is fed breastmilk with 1-3 supplementary bottles of formula during the day, every 2 hours during the day and whenever he wakes during the night.
  • Development: He has started to smile more this month. While he’s still stingy with his smiles, he will give them most often to me during the morning hours and no matter what, whenever he sees his daddy, especially in the evenings! He is progressively getting stronger. Not only does he like spending his waking hours sitting or standing with assistance on my lap, but he also enjoys spending time in the bumbo, walker and exersaucer. Hayden has also become pretty predictable when it comes to a bed time. Between 8-9 pm, he has his last feeding and goes straight to bed.
  • Mischief: He has gotten quite lazy when it comes to breastfeeding now that he’s started drinking supplementary bottles. If it doesn’t come out fast enough or if he has to remotely work for the breastmilk, he gets terribly fussy and doesn’t even want to try sucking, even if there’s plenty of milk in there. Other than that, I can’t say that he is very mischievous. I guess, if anything, the most mischief he gets into is having an opposite nap schedule from Liam in the afternoons. Mama doesn’t get a break! I don’t mind, though, it’s great one-on-one time with Hayden while Liam is napping.
  • Cuteness: Hayden has the cutest little smile and when he’s puckering his lips, the dimples on his cheeks shine for all to see. So precious!
  • Talking: Not quite, but he has started to try and imitate our moving lips and sticking our tongue out. Occasionally, he’ll let out a coo and sometimes it’s quite loud and he’ll startle himself.
  • Favorites: The side-to-side swing is still his favorite. He also has to have his pacifier to get to sleep during the day. He also enjoys his floor mat while laying on his back, looking at the toys above, the bumbo and exersaucer (for short amounts of time) and the ergo baby carrier. He’s also become quite in love with the bottle.
  • Firsts: Hayden went on his first plane and train ride this month on our first family vacation of 4 to Washington, D.C. (April 25-28th). During our trip he had his first ‘shower’ (not a fan) and after we returned he took his first bath in the big tub while mommy held him (loved it!).
  • Concerns: I’m concerned he won’t breastfeed as long as Liam did. It’s very hard to keep up with him, especially since he gets so lazy on the breast during the day when he knows he can drink much faster from a bottle.
  • A Day in the Life: The day begins around 7am when Hayden feeds and decides it’s time to play. He’ll stay awake for about 1 hour and then sleep for 1-2 hours (depending on if we have errands to run). Then, he’ll be awake for 2 hours and sleep for 1-2 hours for the rest of the day. There will be at least one 4 ounce supplementary formula bottle in the late afternoon, if not two. Depending on how the day has progressed, he’ll usually continue a pattern of sleeping for 30 minutes and being awake for 30-60 minutes. Once he feeds for the last time around 8-9pm, he goes down for the night, falling asleep while feeding. During the night, he’ll sleep for 3-4 hours and repeat this twice until we wake up for another day! On good nights, he’ll sleep for 7+ hours, waking just once during the night or on bad nights he’ll wake every 2 hours to feed.

Hayden is 3 months | crackersandcarrots.com

Posted in baby, month by month | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

myheartcreative sling #review

I’m excited to share my first experience using a sling as a baby carrier! This is the review of the myheartcreative Baby Ring Sling Classic.

myheartcreative sling | crackersandcarrots.com

I knew before I had Hayden that I would depend on baby carriers a lot more than I did with my first baby. Thankfully, Hayden has been a great sport at always being on the go and riding in the many baby carriers that we have. With my children, I have tried the following baby carriers:

myheartcreative sling | crackersandcarrots.com

The popular sling that I had heard of before was the Sakura Bloom. My friend Audra uses hers all the time and makes it look so comfortable. I never even considered owning a sling until myheartcreative came to me and offered for me to try one. I was quite excited to give it a try!

myheartcreative sling | crackersandcarrots.com

The myheartcreative sling is a standard linen sling with an aluminum ring, made in many different colors (color shown here is the Ginger Cream). It comes in a gathered or pleated shoulder. I have the gathered version. I love that it’s easily washable and folds down to be quite compact. I can keep it in my diaper bag to carry Hayden wherever we go!

Hayden seems to like riding in it, too!

myheartcreative sling | crackersandcarrots.com

Since I had never tried any other sling, I reached out to myheartcreative to ask the differences between their sling and the Sakura Bloom. Here’s how they differ:

  • The myheartcreative sling comes with a tail shaped end that allows it to be easily threaded through the rings whereas the Sakura Bloom has a square end.
  • The myheartcreative has a large pocket on every sling and Sakura doesn’t. I’ve found keeping a spare pacifier in the pocket is very handy (as long as it’s in the case…the linen sheds some).
  • In regards with price point, the myheartcreative runs for $80 whereas the Sakura can be purchased for $88-$240.

myheartcreative sling | crackersandcarrots.com

Now, here’s what I think of it after trying it for a few weeks:

I tend to lean more towards structured carriers like the Bjorne and the Ergo, but I do like the cuddliness of the myheartcreative sling. I think I enjoy the structured carriers more because it is simple to get them on and off. The sling is just like the structured carriers in that way. However, unlike the structured carries, I feel like I have to have one hand on the baby in the sling at all times (this might be because Hayden is still so little).

The fabric is very breathable, easily washable, compact when folded and I love the pocket.

myheartcreative sling | crackersandcarrots.com

The two things I don’t like about the sling (and I guess slings, in general) is that your non-dominant hand (the one that has the shoulder covered) is pretty much useless, except to hold the baby, book or phone. Also, it’s hard to keep my shoulders back and have good posture. The way the sling lays on your shoulder makes you want to slouch.

myheartcreative sling | crackersandcarrots.com

Like all baby carriers, it takes practice for you to get the hang of using it. I’m still trying to get a fast rhythm down when securing Hayden in the sling, making sure he is secure with his feet out of the sling, the sling ring at my heart or higher and making sure he is ‘kissable’. I feel like I don’t trust it or him to stay in the sling without wiggling out. I know TONS of people of wearing slings…I guess I just need some more practice.

myheartcreative sling | crackersandcarrots.com

I’ll continue to use the sling for that close cuddly time with Hayden. I’ll also make sure it’s not necessarily while needing to be accessible to my toddler, i.e., not while we’re grocery shopping…it’s near impossible to lift the toddler in/out of the cart while wearing the baby in the sling.

Can you believe you can use the sling for babies 8-35 pounds or up to 48 months old? I have yet to try to wear my almost 3 year old. I don’t think Mr. Independent (i.e. Liam) would like that very much.

myheartcreative sling | crackersandcarrots.com

You can find myheartcreative on facebook, twitter and instagram.

So what do you think? What’s your favorite baby carrier? Do you have a sling that you like?

myheartcreative sling | crackersandcarrots.com

This post was created in partnership with myheartcreative. I received no compensation, but was sent the carrier to try. All opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

Posted in baby | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

before & after pregnancy gif

Before and After Pregnancy | crackersandcarrots.com

I attempted doing a before and after photo with my first child, Liam, but didn’t get the before shot positioned correctly to accommodate the baby in the after shot. However, with Hayden this time around, I learned that the before shot needed to have my hands out, not even touching my stomach but giving the impression that they were. They also needed to be out far enough to safely hold the baby in the after shot.

I think it turned out pretty good! What do you think?

Posted in baby, mama, pregnancy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

earth day activity

I’m honored to be a Stonyfield Ambassador again this year, bringing you fun and creative ideas for you and your family. This fun activity is in celebration of Earth Day 2015!

Planting Seeds | crackersandcarrots.com #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

I’d like to call myself a closet (eating) hippie. I’m always on a mission to raise a happy and healthy family, feeding them foods I feel are as unprocessed and natural as possible. I’m all for trying new foods (chia seeds, coconut flour, kale chips, cashew milk, etc.), especially if it’s grown in the ground.

I love living in the south and within 5 minutes of our local farm. We pass by it most days and stop frequently to get produce and flowers. Seeing the evolution of crops is such a wonderful educational tool to getting your children to eat healthier. What’s more, is creating a little backyard garden of your own!

We lived in rental houses and with family for 2 years before purchasing our current home, causing us to be unable to create a garden that we longed for (plus Liam was a little too young at the time to understand gardening). However, now that Liam is almost 3 years old and we have a house (yippeeee!), it was prime time to grow our garden!

We’ve already got all sorts of goodies growing in our garden, like cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries and herbs. But, I usually take the short cut route and buy the little sprouted plants ready to be planted in a garden. However, this time I’m excited to show my kids the entire process of growing something from a seed.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this process, you have to start out slow, planting your seeds in small containers indoors, allowing them the best environment to begin growing before transplanting them outdoors to mature.

To start, I took Stonyfield Oh My Yog! yogurt containers (they’re clear so we can watch the roots!) and filled them with a mixture of dirt and compost.

Planting Seeds | crackersandcarrots.com #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

Then, Liam did the honor of poking a few holes in the dirt for the seeds.

Planting Seeds | crackersandcarrots.com #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

Then, he sprinkled seeds in the holes.

Planting Seeds | crackersandcarrots.com #earthday #stonyfieldblogger Planting Seeds | crackersandcarrots.com #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

I helped him cover the holes up with more dirt and we watered our little seeds!

Planting Seeds | crackersandcarrots.com #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

He was so excited! We placed them at the shaded window by his table, so we can watch them grow every day!

Planting Seeds | crackersandcarrots.com #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

Once the seedlings have sprouted and matured for your cups (3-6 weeks from planting), transplant outside in your garden and watch them grow to maturity!

This is a wonderful activity for toddlers to participate in, especially while learning about Earth Day (April 22, 2015)!

Planting Seeds | crackersandcarrots.com #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield and High Mowing Organic Seeds. All opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

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Hayden is 2 months

Hayden is 2 months | crackersandcarrots.com

Hayden is 2 months | crackersandcarrots.com

  • Date: April 5th, 2015
  • Height: 23.25 inches
  • Weight: 11 pounds 13 ounces
  • Sleeping Pattern: Hayden is more alert this month. He will go to sleep for the night at 10pm and sleep in 3-4 hour stretches until 7am. He’ll be awake for an hour and sleep for 1-2 hours, repeating this all day. So far, the longest length of time he’s slept has been 6 hours…and that was a one time occasion.
  • Eating Habits: He is fed breastmilk with 1-3 supplementary bottles of formula during the day, every 2-4 hours all day and night long.
  • Development: His strength has grown by leaps and bounds this month. He spends most of his waking hours standing and sitting up with assistance. Even his pediatrician was shocked over his wonderful head control.
  • Mischief: Hayden has been on his best behavior this month! He down has less frequent poopy diapers, but when they happen, they happen BIG. He is not a fan of the car seat, but if we can simultaneously get him sucking on his pacifier (his life line!) and moving, then we’re good.
  • Cuteness: He’s started to smile every once and a while!
  • Talking: Nope, just cries and a few coos. So cute!
  • Favorites: The side-to-side swing is our lifesaver. He sleeps in that all day long. He also loves his floor mat while laying on his back, looking at the toys above. He also loves the pacifier and the bottle.
  • Firsts: Hayden got the flu for the first time at 6 weeks old. He smiled for the first time at 8 weeks and 1 day old. Hayden also took his first road trip at 7 weeks old to see his great grandparents (his maternal father’s parents) on Hilton Head Island. We made the trip in one day, so it was a total of 6 hours in the car. Phew!
  • Concerns: Nothing except I think since he’s started to supplement with formula, he’s gotten lazy at breastfeeding. He starts crying when he has to work for it. Silly boy!
  • A Day in the Life: The day begins around 6:30am when Hayden feeds and decides it’s time to play. He’ll stay awake for about 1 hour and then sleep for 1-2 hours (depending on if we have errands to run). Then, he’ll be awake for 2 hours and sleep for 1-2 hours for the rest of the day. There will be at least one 4 ounce supplementary formula bottle in the late afternoon, if not two. Once it’s around 6pm, he’ll stay awake until 9:30 or so when he has his final feeding before bed. During the night, he’ll sleep for 3-4 hours and repeat this twice until we wake up for another day!
Posted in month by month | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

treat yourself

I’m honored to be a Stonyfield Ambassador again this year, sharing deliciousness including one of Stonyfield’s newest products, Oh My Yog!. A special treat for you, mama.

Oh My Yog! | crackersandcarrots.com

It’s a rare moment that a mother gets alone time. It usually comes in the form of a small moment of quiet. Whether it’s because the children are sleeping, playing quietly or watching a movie, the moments of silence should be rewarded. It’s a way to escape for a few moments and regroup. What better way than with a sweet treat.

I eat much slower when I don’t have a baby crying or a toddler playing race cars on my lap. The quiet time does wonders for my brain and my indigestion! Haha! It’s a bad habit to gulp down the food, but when you have the smallest window of time to get a few calories in, you do what you have to do. So, when I get a chance to have some quiet time, I’m usually taking that time to finally eat something.

With my sweet tooth, that food is usually sweet. And this sweet treat, here, is Stonyfield’s new Oh My Yog!. It’s a trilayer yogurt with whole milk cream top, yogurt and fruit on the bottom. I love to savor it spoon full, by spoon full, getting each layer in each bite. Delicious.

Here are the flavors of awesome:

  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Gingered Pear
  • Madagascar Vanilla Bean
  • Orange Cranberry
  • Pacific Coast Strawberry
  • Wild Quebec Blueberry

Oh My Yog! | crackersandcarrots.com

And shhh….sometimes I throw a few chocolate chips into the vanilla and strawberry varieties. So good!

My other favorite guilty pleasures to mellow out are watching a few minutes of a favorite show (currently: Mad Men), running on my treadmill or just taking a hot shower. It’s the little things, you know?

It’s these small moments of time get me rejuvenated and ready to put on my happy mommy face again.

…back to motherhood!

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

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