Cammo Style Love

Monday, June 5, 2017

How to Survivie Disney (in August) - The Nitty Gritty {Part 2}

Alright, its time to get into the Nitty Gritty of Disney! You've got the basics down. 
So now where do you eat, how to see characters and how to make that all happen while trying to enjoy yourself!




1. Best Places to Eat - Disneyland - if you're looking for ease, lots of seating, good prices and some shade, head on over to The Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country! We ate there for lunch three days in a row. Pack those snacks. Don't be shy! Disney is really good about that. Bring that cooler in as long as its smaller than 24x15x18! Eat one big meal in the park and snack away the day!! It helps pass the time when you need it and the kids don't miss out. Just don't forget to grab yourself some Dole Whip and have a rest in the Tikki Room!!! Another favorite, that was actually a surprise (not that I expected any food to be bad) was Jolly Holiday Bakery and CafĂ©. You guys...the grilled cheese and tomato soup was to die for!!! And the desserts...well, Disney is magic.  Want to have a date night or eat out somewhere nice? They aren't kidding about those reservation dates. Make them!





2. Seeing Characters - Having not been to Disney in over 10 years I wasn't sure what to expect. I had kept hearing about how they just weren't seen the wild as much as they used to be. And while that statement in general might be true we saw SO MANY!! And I want to reiterate that there is just something about Disney. Even in lines for characters, walking by with them, people were so nice!! And depending on the needs of your kids, that might be enough. You can frequently find Minnie and Mickey when you walk into the park on the right side on main street. Right in a little alcove past the first 4 or 5 shops (the ones that are really expensive). The Wicked Queen from Snow White hung out near the bathroom right as you were walking to Fantasy Land. Many princesses can be seen down in Snow White's Grotto (which is one of the most romantic places in the park). Peter Pan, Alice and the Mad Hatter hung out by the tea cups, and Critter Country is a good place to find Winnie the Pooh and his whole gang! If getting guaranteed time with characters is really important Minnie's Breakfast and Ariel's Grotto is the place to be!





3. Souvenirs -  One of the biggest things I did to save money was purchase most of the souvenirs BEFORE we went to Disney. I realize that I could have been taking a gamble, but for the most part you can do a pretty good job of avoiding most of the temptations. Watch out for the shop after the Small World Ride and Pirates of the Caribbean. One of the best purchases we made was at the castle, in the little beauty salon. Believe or not that have amazing swords for boys. They are amazing, really sturdy foam swords! Every prince needs a sword!!

4. Regrets - We didn't do a character meal. I'm totally blaming Mr. Air Force on this one. He convinced me that it wouldn't be very exciting for the kids, and did the cost equal the benefit. I would absolutely say yes!! Other regret - going towards the back of the park for the parade based on a recommendation. The recommendation came to me for the evening parade. Get to the back of the park where the parade was ending that time. Unfortunately meeting anyone at the back of the park is a nightmare. Either all go together, or stay at the front of the park.






5. Random Thoughts - Daytime parade watching was a breeze, and much easier than I expected. We sat outside of the castle, along the wrought iron fence (on the cleanest street in all the land. We arranged seating about an 45 minutes before the parade began, and then one by one I took the kids over to the castle for souvenir shopping. It worked out perfectly!!! Frozen fast pass, waiting in line to see the characters....totally worth it. Waiting at Pixie Hollow, also completely worth it. We survived without a dining plan. Eating our way through Disney wasn't a priority. We made it with a hearty breakfast, snacking through the day and eating one large meal in the park. We left the park for a rest time around 2/3 and then went back into the park for all the fun evening stuff. Take your date night during fireworks time. In the summer this is one of the best times to ride the rides. So many people are watching the fireworks. It was so much fun riding Thunder Mountain over and over again, coming up over the bumps and seeing the fireworks explode above you. So cool!!!


Visiting Disneyland can be a crazy place, but it is most definitely crazy fun!! As long as you go into it knowing that you can't control every experience you have. Going through to see the park through your children's eyes, and that learning to stand in lines is a rite of passage and makes you a good human. What better place to learn all that stuff then in the happiest place on earth! Have fun!!!!!!!!!









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Thursday, June 1, 2017

How to Survive Disney in August - The Basics {Part 1}

Summer is coming fast upon us and with it comes fun family vacations. While traveling to Disneyland or Disneyworld at the height of the tourist season might not be the most ideal of situations, it's when the most people are at the park. So how did we survive it with three small children? A lot of research, that proved helpful, a little grace, a dose or two of chill pills and a whole lot of fun!! Now, my tips are built around our trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, but many of the tips work for other Disney locations.




1. First things first - Get those tickets! For my military readers, you can't beat a military discount! The military ticket prices are absolutely amazing, and you can purchase a significant number of them at one time. All that it requires is you, or your spouse with your IDs, to purchase. I purchased ours over the phone and then picked them up. So easy!! One of my favorite parts about these tickets (aside from the price) is the fact that they are park hopper tickets, which usually tack on quite the extra fee.

2. Now that you have your tickets - TOURING PLAN - Get this right now! It's amazing. Buy the subscription as well. Even if you only go once in the year that you have it, the subscription is worth the price. Honestly I could stop my tips and tricks right here. This website and app lets to schedule your day down to the minute. You can factor in meals (and the meal's locations), nap times and any other events that might come up during the day. Have rides that are important to you? It factors that in, and calculates the order in which you should obtain your fast passes (Disneyland).




3. Where do you stay? This is a little trickier. There are so man options for to choose from. Stay at a resort hotel, a partner hotel, or neither one. If you belong to a discount club save those rewards up and cash in when you go to Disney! We chose to stay off Disney property. There are some great hotels with military discounts, so make sure to check those out. There are so many surrounding hotels to choose from, many with shuttle systems. Uber and Lyft are amazing in and around Disney and I would highly recommend them. Visit MouseSavers for some excellent tips on staying on and around Disney.




4. You've Arrived!! Now what?! Rope drop! Do it! We arrived about 45 minutes before first gate opening. It was just starting to get really busy and the energy was amazing. It's a lot of waiting around but the kid did amazing. If you have children under 10, get that stroller. Do it! Best money we ever spent. I wanted to bring ours, but my husband was convinced we wouldn't need it, or that it would be crazy to bring around. Lets just say I was right. The rope drop was the best experience with my kids. People were happy, the music started perfectly welcoming you into the day. I cried...and skipped people!! It gets you into the park early, before its insanely crowded and before it gets really hot. Where should you go first? If you aren't going to make a beeline for the Materhorn (we never got around to it with the littles), appoint someone your fast pass king or queen and send them off to either the Materhorn or Star Tours. Your first stop in Disneyland should always be Fantasy Land. Those classic rides are where you find the intense lines. Visit Alice in Wonderland, Tea Cups, Peter Pan, Snow White and all that good stuff right out of the gate! This is exactly why you need Touring Plans. Get it and get it now. You can thank me later!



Stay tuned for part two of this Disney series!! This is the Nitty Gritty of it all, more details to follow!!!




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Monday, May 22, 2017

Just like Mommy {Mother/Daughter Fashion from Old Navy}

I love that she still thinking dressing up like Mommy is fun! It's my favorite thing to do - color coordinating, matching with my kids. I'm kind of a succor for it. It won't be long before she won't want to do this, or at least she won't think its fun but will probably (hopefully) just roll her eyes and humor her mother. But for now she thinks its fun so I'm going take advantage of that. 

When I saw that Old Navy had some 'Mommy and Me' outfits in their collection I was thrilled and I high-tailed it over there. Old Navy is the perfect place to get your 'mom-trend style' on. It stays on trend for the most part, it still carries classic work pieces and its within my affordable range of clothing prices. Who wouldn't love to shop at a boutique or Nordstorms? I frequently stroll past Lord and Taylor with longing eyes. Walking by all these adorable boutiques where I live, staring longingly (never mind they almost never carry clothing in my size!) almost always make me sad. But one quick trip over to Old Navy with their bright colors, great sizing, and affordable price tags and all is well with the world. Shop the looks down below!









Old Navy, you missed a great opportunity with this mother/daughter line of clothing! It proved to be kind of a frustrating shopping trip because the girls/baby sections is so far away from the women's section. None of the collection was grouped together and there was no cheat sheet board or poster advertising. I heard later from some friends of mine that they too starting taking clothing off the racks and hauling it back and forth between the sections. I probably would have bought more had it been easier to match the stuff together. So mentally prepare yourself when you go in the store. And no, going online won't save you any stress. It would also have been even more amazing, and would have sucked more of us mom's in, if there had been more identical matches! We mom's love that kinda stuff!! But, I got some adorable clothing and matchy pictures with my daughter...so, it was a win!



Cardigan - similar 
My Pineapple Tank (you can get a shirt version online, which I didn't see in store)
Ami's Pineapple Shirt - sold in store


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Friday, May 19, 2017

Why Is It Important to Share Your National Guard Story

Since 2004, the day I said "I DO" I became a military spouse. Before then I was a military girlfriend, and made the decision with my now husband to enter into this lifestyle. I was excited about it and ready to be all in. However, I didn't enter into a typical active duty lifestyle. What I entered into was the Active Guard Reserve lifestyle of the Air National Guard. Every morning he put on his uniform and went into work. But the work he went into was on a teeny tiny Guard base in the middle of nowhere. We didn't have a host of military support non-profits located near us. We had no commissary, exchange or base housing. It's this feeling of belonging, but being on the very edge of the group you belong to. You feel isolated and alone, especially when it comes to activations and deployments. Many states try very hard to assist those of us that are remotely serving. We had great doctors and hospitals we accessed through Tricare Prime Remote, and the local WalMart had a card we registered for and carried around that gave us tax-free status. But when it came to programs for our children and our families, we were severely lacking.

It was during these early years that I started this blog. I began an endless searching for support organizations that helped families like mine. Gathering resources and housing them here on this blog. I knew that I couldn't be the only one feeling this way and I wasn't. It even came to my attention that there were service members in my husband's unit who didn't even live in the same state, or had to get on a plane to come to drill. It would be about five years and we would become that family. There are obvious flaws in the system, and families fall through the cracks. And you can't always rely on the idea that, "Well, they are a National Guard family, they probably live in their 'hometown' or with their extended families." We definitely did not, and after many years I discovered that that was more common than I realized. What are some of the most important take-aways one should understand about the National Guard (and Reserves) life?

  • We are both Military and Civilian, balancing between these two lives. 
  • There's a significant lack of understanding coming from the civilians AND fellow military  
  • Programing available to National Guard and Reserves can be significantly different
  • Transitions can be quick and drastic! When a active duty service member deploys their transitions are difficult but transitioning quickly from civilian life to military life when there are no standards for support.
  • Fighting an uphill battle because of the change of National Guard life over the years. When talking to leadership, or those involved in the advocacy circle, you may be dealing with folks who served over twenty years ago, when things were very different. I have experienced this before and its a difficult conversation to have.

So what can you do to combat this?!

  1. TELL YOUR STORY!!! Don't stop telling your story!! If you ever want to write about it let me know. Homefront United Network is always looking for guest bloggers and writers to tell their story. Even if you don't think you are a writer, try it!!!!!
  2. TAKE THE SURVEY! The Blue Star Families Military Lifestyle Survey is a survey that tells your story. It gets into the hands of non-profits, advocacy groups and those involved in the political world.

Survey Ends Today!!!!!!!!






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