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Alphabet Series - Letter H

Yesterday my four year old and I had some fun with the letter H. We made a paper Hat, and we did a little letter H printing practice.

To make the paper hat:

1)  Let your child pick his/her favorite color of construction paper, and tape four pieces together to create one large rectangle.

2)  Fold the paper in half lengthwise.

3)  Fold the top corners down so that they meet in the middle.

4)  Turn up the bottom flap, flip over, and do the same on the other side.  

5)  Have the child decorate that hat with crayons, markers, or stickers.

That's it! Cute, right?

After our craft, we did a little printing practice. If you want to practice printing the letter H with your little one, you can right-click on the picture below, save it to your computer, and print it.

I made some hot chocolate as a special "h" snack for my little guy to enjoy while he practiced writing the letter H.

Fun, right?  Next up... the letter "I"!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

10 Disney Magic Kingdom Tips {including the NEW fast pass system}

When planning a family vacation, I love to get advice from other moms that have "been there".  So today, I am sharing tips from our recent trip to Disney's Magic Kingdom.

1)  Buy your tickets ahead of time.  Even if you are only buying one day tickets, buying your tickets ahead of time will allow you to register your tickets using the My Disney Experience app.  Then, before you arrive at the park, you can link your account with anyone you are going with and select your fast passes.  If you wait to get your fast passes at one of the kiosks in the park, you may find that many of your choices are no longer available.  (Note:  If you register your fast passes ahead of time, you will still have the opportunity to make changes later in the day at any of the kiosks in the park.)

2)  Buy glow sticks and souvenirs outside the park.  The kids will love having "something that glows" during the night time parades and shows, and they are super-cheap at the dollar store.  Also, souvenirs are cheaper outside the park, and you won't have to carry them around all day.  (Note: There is one souvenir that I recommend buying at Disney parks -- "pressed pennies".  The are a lot of fun, easy to carry, and very inexpensive.  Pack some pennies and quarters, and check them out.)

3)  Bring a backpack, and fill it with everything you'll need for the day.  We always take water bottles (which can be refilled at the fountains throughout the park), sandwiches, snacks, sunscreen, a camera, and a sweater for when it cools down at night.

4)  Dress for the day.  Wear a sunhat, sunglasses and comfortable shoes.  I also like to wear special "Disney" shirts on my boys.  It's fun, it looks cute in pictures, and it lets people know they are part of the same group.

5)  Arrive early.  It is a time consuming process to get from the Magic Kingdom parking lot to the front gate.  Also, at 8:45am there is a train that arrives at the entrance with many of the Disney characters.  They put on a little show, and countdown to the park opening.  It's really worth seeing!  Also, if you arrive early, you can head straight for a popular ride and avoid a big line up.

6)  Rent or bring a stroller.  Magic Kingdom is huge, and children will get tired.  When we were there, we rented a double stroller, and all three of my boys (4, 6, and 8) used it.  (It is also useful for carrying stuff and sitting in to watch parades.)

7)  Have a plan.  You are not going to get everything done in one day, so you should make a plan that incorporates each family member's "must do" ride/activity.  You'll also want to use your fast passes for some of these rides/activities.  (Don't forget to use the "My Disney Experience" app to check wait times for lines.)

8)  Don't just focus on the rides.  Magic Kingdom has many excellent rides, but a lot of the magic comes from the parades, the light show on the castle, and the fireworks.  Arrive at the parades early if you want a good seat.  Cast members will be able to give you advice about where you should stand and how early you should arrive.

9)  Meet some characters.  Meeting (and getting pictures taken with) characters can be magical for kids, but it can take up a lot of time.  It is important to prioritize as to which characters you really want to meet.  Then, you will want to check the schedule for character meeting spots and times, and you may want to consider using fast passes.  Also, if meeting characters is a priority for you, you may want to think about booking a character breakfast, lunch or dinner.  We make it a point to meet Mickey Mouse at Town Hall, and it is always a special moment for us.  (Note:  Don't forget your autograph books!) 

10)  Have Fun!  Don't forget that the whole point of the trip to the park is to have fun.  So... relax, take lots of pictures, and make memories that will last forever. 

What's your best tip for a successful trip to Disney's Magic Kingdom?  I can't wait to start planning our next trip!

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Bunny Tracks

I know Easter is over, but there is one Easter tradition that I have never written about here, and it is one of our favorites, so I thought I would take a minute it share it with you now.  (Maybe you can "Pin" it for next year.)  

Our Easter Bunny always leaves behind bunny tracks.  My boys are always excited to find bunny tracks on Easter morning because it is actual proof that the Easter Bunny has been to our house.

Bunny tracks are soooo simple to make.  Just mix 1/4 cup corn starch and 1/4 cup water, stir to combine completely, and paint the prints using a paint brush.  They go on watery, but when they dry, they turn really white.  They are also easy to clean up.

Don't you just love the excitement of Easter morning?  I hope you give bunny tracks a try next year.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Easy Easter Cake

Happy Easter!  I know everyone is busy hunting for eggs, but I wanted to quickly share the easy Easter cake we are having for dessert today.

Isn't it cute?  I used a cake mix and frosted it with store bought icing.  Then, I added some candy covered chocolate eggs and a little chocolate bunny.

Once the cake was cooled, it took me less than 10 minutes to decorate.  It doesn't get much easier than that.

What are you having for dessert today?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

DIY Easter Wreath

I had big plans for a brand new, fancy Easter wreath, but my busy schedule got in the way of my crafting desires.  So, to keep things simple, I altered my Spring wreath to make one that is perfect for Easter.

You can find the tutorial for my Spring wreath here.  

The only difference between the Spring wreath and the Easter wreath is: instead of adding a "spring" banner, I added a glittery "Happy Easter" sign from the dollar store.  

Pretty cute for $2, don't you think?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Easter Bunny Door

Check out the adorable Easter decorating project I did with my boys yesterday.  I love this easy, inexpensive, and fun Easter Bunny Door.

Isn't it sweet?

I used bristol bristol board for the ears, eyes, nose, whiskers and bow tie.  Then, I used painter's tape to attach all the pieces to the door and the space above the door.

Isn't the bow tie cute?  I used glue to attach pom poms for a 3D effect.  (Little ones will love helping with this part.)

Have you already decorated for Easter this year?  If not, this Easter Bunny Door is the perfect DIY home decor project to do with the kids this year.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Alphabet Series - Letter G

This morning, my four year old and I had some fun with the letter G.  We made a guitar craft, and we did a little letter G printing practice.

My music loving boy loves this adorable craft made from recycled materials.

To make a tissue box guitar:

1)  Gather your supplies.  You'll need an empty tissue box, a strip of cardboard (from an old box), six buttons, six elastics, glue, a marker, and duct tape.

2)  Have the child draw strings on the neck of the guitar/strip of cardboard.  Then, have the child use white glue to decorate the top of the strip with buttons.

3)  Have the child wrap six elastics (of various sizes) around the tissue box.

4)  Attach the neck of the guitar to the tissue box with duct tape.

Cute, right?

After our craft, we did a little printing practice. If you want to practice printing the letter G with your little one, you can right-click on the picture below, save it to your computer, and print it.

We ended our crafting session with a little snack... because "G" is for goldfish, and all that crafting and printing can build up an appetite!

Next up, the letter "H".

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)
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