Best Friends Pet Care At Walt Disney World – My Thoughts

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Best Friends Pet Care At Walt Disney World
My Thoughts

Most of you know that our family got a new Akita puppy back at the beginning of last month. He was 8-weeks old when we got him and weighed about 18 pounds! Once he had his 3rd round of shots, our Veterinarian gave us the okay to let him stay in a kennel, so it was off to Walt Disney World for us!

When I called Best Friends Pet Care to make a “Resort Reservation” for Kenji, the staff were so caring and understanding of the concerns I had about “Doggie Daycare.” See, my husband has wanted an Akita puppy for the entire 22 years that I’ve known him and now that we’ve got one, I’m acting like we have a brand new baby in the house. I mean, look at this precious face! What can I say? He’s such a sweet baby ball of fur!

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We walked into Best Friends Pet Care at the Walt Disney World Resort and everyone was so friendly. The staff was excited to see Kenji and they were full of smiles. I loved that the person I spoke with on the phone was actually there to greet our family. There were other dogs waiting with their humans to be checked in too. It felt like we were checking in at a Resort!

I was really impressed because we were able to have Kenji stay on his feeding schedule that he’s used to and we had the option of bringing his food or he was welcome to use the food they provided. We chose to bring our own simply because we’d gotten him used to it and didn’t want to make any changes in case he had a reaction. We were also able to bring 2 of his toys from home plus a chew toy. I really loved being able to do that because I think it’s important for our fur babies to have some of the comforts of home when they’re away from home.

There was lots of fun merchandise to look at while we waited. They had cute costumes and all sorts of leashes and collars that were Disney themed. There was a Nightmare Before Christmas one that we absolutely LOVED but we decided to wait to buy it since we really don’t know how big Kenji will get.

Best Friends Pet Care Collage

Someone was VERY anxious to go check out the dog park that was right out back. There were sprinklers!! I had to stop and take a quick pic of Kenji with Pluto but neither of these two were terribly interested in a photo shoot, as you can tell. Not even looking at the camera. That’s OK though. Pluto always enjoys having his picture taken!

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Let’s talk about sprinklers and swimming pools for a moment. These two adorable little pools were filled with fresh, clean water each time we stopped by and Kenji took a dive, or a face-plant rather, right into either one of them as soon as we got through the gate. My little girl was a little afraid of him hurting himself so she was holding onto him for dear life. He was so funny because he’d stand in the water and drink it at the same time. It was completely adorable! He tried running around in the sprinklers too but he kept on slipping on the pavement while he was running toward them. He’s so cute and clumsy still!

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One of my favorite things about Best Friends was that while we were outside hanging out with Kenji in the dog park, the staff was out playing and walking other dogs around the walking path right there. It was so fun to listen to them interact with the dogs and really have a great time while doing their jobs.

BF Pet Care Collage

I know I’ve told you about a lot of my favorite things about Kenji’s visit here, but this next one is my VERY favorite! When we went to pick Kenji up, we were given a report card on how his visit went overall!! How fun is this? I’ve got scrapbook pages calling my name over here!!

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Another great thing was that we didn’t need to bring Kenji’s bed as they provided beds for the dogs. This was really nice not to have to schlep that down with us. Not to mention, they keep everything nice and clean and they even dry the dogs off and make sure they’re cleaned up when they come in wet from outside. Love that!

One more thing I want to make sure and share with you, and it’s a BIG one for me. The place did not smell when we walked in. Dogs are sweet and everything, but I’ve been inside of a kennel or two and no matter how they’ve looked, they’ve smelled B-A-D, you know what I mean? Best Friends Pet Care at the Walt Disney World Resort did not knock me over as soon as I walked in and that was awesome! They get two thumbs up from our family!

Be sure to “like” Best Friends Pet Care at the Walt Disney World Resort on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!

Have you experienced the service there? What did you think?

Deep Blue — The First Book in Disney’s New WaterFire Saga

DeepBlue

Deep Blue — The First Book in
Disney’s New WaterFire Saga

 

I am so excited!! Guess what I just finished reading?! A new book that Disney Hyperion is about to release next week on May 6, 2014 called Deep Blue. It is book one of four in a new series called the WaterFire Saga. I am going to be really honest here, I am not the kind of person that reads books absolutely all the time…I wish I was! But when push comes to shove, I really am not. So that being said, when I tell you that I could barely put this book down to do things like, give my toddler a bath… it really means something!

First off, this book is written by Jennifer Donnelly, who is a New York Times Best-Selling Author. She has written other award-winning books for both adults and youth in the past including A Northern Light and Revolution. Her other best selling books were The Tea Rose The Winter Rose, and The Wild Rose.

 

Deep Blue is the story of a magical mermaid princess, Serafina, or Sera, for short. Her mother is the regina, or queen, of the waters off the coast of Italy called Miromara. Serafina is coming of age and preparing for her special Dokimí ceremony where she shows her kingdom and important royal visitors that she is in fact the rightful princess and successor of her mother. But a surprise attack on the kingdom changes the world as she knows it. As the story unfolds, we see Sera learn who she is, how to put others first, and become the leader she was born to be.

I think this is a great saga. I love the way in which the protagonist is written. Her character practically jumps off the page and into your room. Though she is a mermaid, Serafina is a character that teenagers can relate to. She has obligations and rules that she is required to follow that she doesn’t understand. She doesn’t understand why her mother sets such a high standard for her. She has some best friends and some not-so best friends. And I love that she is really just trying to make the best decisions she can for herself, her friends, and her kingdom. There is hardly a dull moment and an adventure at every turn. Serafina is a wonderful heroine to rally for as you read about her new and dangerous journey.

To get a sneak-peak read of the first few chapters or to pre-order Deep Blue, go to WaterFireSaga.com

The bad news? Book two, Rogue Wave, doesn’t grace us until 2015!

Follow @DisneyHyperion on Twitter to keep up with any updates.

Also, if you haven’t heard about Disney Junior’s new Give-A-Book Get-A-Book program, check out my post about it!

[Disclosure: I was provided an advanced copy of this book at DisneySMMoms for review.]

“it’s a small world” by Basq ~ Review and Giveaway!

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“it’s a small world” by Basq ~ Review and Giveaway!

One of my favorite attractions at the Disneyland Resort is “it’s a small world.” My mom actually attended the 1964 New York World’s Fair as a small child and remembers seeing the ride there! It’s been one of her favorites ever since! The entire facade of the ride is so whimsical and magical, I just LOVE it.

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Anywhoo, when I first heard about the “it’s a small world” line of mom and child skin care products by Basq, I was pretty intrigued. I saw the packaging for the first time at this year’s DisneySMMoms Celebration at the Walt Disney World Resort when there was a surprise in my room one evening of their TOUCH Lavender Body Butter. I almost flipped my lid when I saw it because it was so beautiful!

Well, even though it said it was for mother and baby, I thought “hmmm…I’m a mom and my babies are 10 and 14, so I qualify, right?” I think so! I opened up that jar and put it on my arms immediately…my skin gets so dry in that Central Florida climate and I don’t normally take the time down there to do anything about it, but we were at the Yacht Club and it was all about relaxing. The fragrance was simply wonderful and it felt so luxurious! Not too strong at all, just very mild and soothing. I really dislike skin care products with too much fragrance, but I don’t like the plain stuff either. I know…I’m difficult. Anyway, this was perfect and I was really wishing it had been around when my kiddos were babies!

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So, here’s the thing. I really wanted a mom and baby to try the products too and it just so happened that my nephew was just a few months old so I asked my sister-in-law to be my loyal subject and try out the rest of the products I was given to sample. She also has a friend with a baby who was just a little older than my nephew and here’s what they both had to say about the products:

She had this to say about the SHARE Lavender Calming Oil: “Baby loves this on his feet as the directions on the box suggest. He can be fussy, and I put it on his feet and he stops being fussy because he likes his little toes being massaged! I like it because it makes him smell wonderful without using scented lotions on his dry skin.”

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And this to say about the LOVE Nourishing Cleansing Bar: “This soap is nice to use for me. It lathers up nicely and feels luxurious on ~ I am guessing that is due to the coconut base in the ingredient list. However, even though it says it is for mom and baby, I would not use it on baby for two reasons. One, I typically use a liquid soap to make a bubble bath for baby and two, the box says to keep the product out of baby’s eyes. I prefer to use a tear-free soap on baby.”

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They both said the DREAM Sleep Mist “bottle is beautiful and sprays smoothly, smells wonderful when sprayed in the room”. I have to agree because I sprayed some in my bedroom before I handed it over and it was really light and lovely. I know that a beautifully smelling room always makes me feel more relaxed, imagine what it can do for your cranky little one?

I’m hoping that I’ve gotten you excited about these luxurious mom and baby products inspired by It’s A Small World! They’re really fabulous and I hope you’ll give them a try. I’ve also got some FANTASTIC news for all of you! I am hosting a giveaway for a SKIN ESSENTIALS KIT that includes the TOUCH Body Butter, DREAM Sleep Mist, and LOVE Cleansing Bar!! So, you could win these products and give them a try for free!! All you have to do to enter is follow the super fast rafflecopter entry below!

I’m also happy to tell you that all the products in the “it’s a small world” Line are hypoallergenic, sensitivity tested, and parabin free. One more thing…just in case you aren’t the lucky winner of my giveaway, I’ve got a 20% discount code for you to use on your next purchase from basqitsasmallworld.com or basqnyc.com! Just put in JMM20 during checkout and you’ll receive your discount! Please hurry, this code is only valid through 9/7/2012!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find more information about these fabulous products by becoming a fan of Basq Skin Care on Facebook and following @BasqNYC on twitter too!

Disclosure: This post carries a Level One Compensation.

My Global Resort Homes Experience in Kissimmee…

Before my Princess Party Crew adventure, I had never stayed in a Vacation Home near Walt Disney World property and this time I was going with some of my dear blogging buddies! We were all so excited to be sharing this fabulous home and had been looking forward to the trip for months! I was participating in my first runDisney Event too…I’ll tell you about that in my next post.

Our accommodations were at a Global Resort Homes vacation home in the Windsor Palms Resort neighborhood located just 2.5 miles from the gates of Walt Disney World! Exciting, right? I was so glad when we pulled up to see that it was a gated community where an attendant verified who we were before allowing entrance 24 hours a day. We pulled up into the driveway of our home for the week and I couldn’t believe how huge and beautiful it was! We were staying in an awesome 5-bedroom, 3.5 bath, 2800+ square foot home!!!

When we walked in, it was so refreshing to see how open and airy this house was! It was so beautifully decorated too! I could definitely live there, in fact, I told the ladies I wasn’t leaving!

See that red chair in the corner of the living room? That was everyone’s favorite during the entire 5 days! I seriously didn’t want to leave that chair! And what do you think about the giant frames on the wall? That wall went up as high as the ceilings of the 2nd story of the house and I thought it was such a creative way to make the wall look awesome without it being too busy.

So, I told you there were 5 bedrooms, right? Well, each one of them was so beautiful! This home sleeps 12 people and there were only 5 of us, so we each had our very own room! This was my mine…love green and brown together!

My room was actually the 2nd master bedroom with a full bath. The rooms were really spread out nicely in this house and I’m pretty sure that my family and my extended family could stay here quite comfortably without tripping over each other at all!

The kitchen in our house was awesome because they not only had a regular coffee pot, but they also had a Keurig!! I didn’t even think to ask about this before we came down or I would’ve brought some k-cups! Fortunately, one of my roommates brought some awesome coffee and had it ready in the morning before I even crawled out of bed…totally fabulous! I got spoiled. The kitchen was fully stocked with all the dishes (including lots of coffee mugs!!), utensils, and cookware we ever could have needed if we were cooking this time. There was even a grill outside by the pool, so you could really do some grilling if you were so inclined. We just had too many things going on to take advantage of that particular amenity this time.

One of my very favorite things about the stay here was the pool and hot tub right in our own back yard. It was heated and fabulous. It was great to just go right out the sliding glass door in the living room and soak our feet in the hot tub after a day of walking around the Parks. That was gold in my book! We even had a game room right in the garage of the house. The kids would have thoroughly enjoyed that!

Global Resort Homes has nine different communities in the area to choose from with nearly 200 vacation homes. I’m quite certain that there is something for every budget with options from 2-bedroom upscale condos to luxurious 7-bedroom vacation homes. The Windsor Palms Resort neighborhood that we stayed in had a 7,500 square foot clubhouse with a huge community pool, sundeck, and hot tub. There was a variety of recreation and activities for everyone, including a playground, state-of-the-art fitness center, sand volleyball, basketball and tennis courts, video arcade and billiards. They even have a 58-seat movie theater!

Check out this video we made for Global Resort Homes while we were vacationing!

All in all, we had a fantastic stay. The house was very relaxing and it was nice to have complete peace and quiet without having little feet running down the hall outside our door before we were ready. It was also a great “at home” feeling to come in and drop our stuff and have the living room (and private hot tub) to debrief at the end of each day. I’m so glad that we were able to experience vacationing this way. I think this will be a great option for our extended family vacations!

Disclosure: This post carries a Level 1 compensation. My stay at Global Resort Homes was complimentary as part of their Global Blogger Program. I received no monetary compensation for my stay or for this review. All pictures in this post are courtesy of Global Resorts. All opinions are my own.

*Updated 4.5.2012 to add video!

Weight Watchers Smart Ones Review

As some of you may know, I started a work-at-home job about a month ago. It’s been pretty awesome because I don’t have to wear dress-up clothes or even put make-up on! I love using my home office “officially” now. I’m actually enjoying it more than I ever thought I would and there is lots of room for advancement too, which is really exciting for me!

One little issue I stumbled upon in the first week was what to do for lunch everyday. You know how it is when you work at an office, someone is going out and so you end up eating out a lot, right? Well, I have a scheduled (30-minute) lunch time now, so it’s not just a “run to the fridge whenever I’m in the mood and grab something” kind of day for me like I’ve been used to for the past two years.

When SocialMoms asked if I’d be interested in doing a review for Weight Watchers new SmartOnes, I was really excited! I’ve been looking for some creative things for lunch that are healthy too and I’m happy to say, these easy, delicious meals fit the bill!

First of all, they are super easy to cook in your microwave. You don’t even have to open the bag. You just throw it in your microwave for 4 minutes and 30 seconds and voila! Lunch or dinner is ready! We decided to try the Ziti with Meatballs and cheese and also the Sesame Chicken.

I tried the Ziti with Meatballs and Cheese first. I was shocked when I poured it into my bowl and there was so much cheese and so many meatballs! It was so delicious and very satisfying. I love that this only counts as 10 Weight Watchers points, if you follow their program, that’s a pretty nice amount of points for a great meal. It only has 390 calories and 9 grams of fat for all that deliciousness!

Next, I tried the Sesame Chicken. I am a sucker for Asian food and I thought this was delicious. There were snow peas and chunky carrot slices along with red peppers throughout. I absolutely loved the noodles too! There was an ample amount of chicken in this entree also, which sometimes is hard to find in healthy frozen entrees. This Sesame Chicken was only 9 points, contained 360 calories and 7 grams of fat.

Both of these entrees were so delicious and so filling! I’ve often eaten other brands of frozen entrees and felt like I could still eat some more afterwards, but I was completely satisfied after this meal and did not need anything else. You could definitely throw a garden salad on the side for an added extra if you needed to.

Priced at just $3.99 each, I’ll be picking up a few of these for a quick and easy lunch! There are lots of different varieties to choose from and I’m looking forward to trying them all! Have you tried these before? What’s your favorite?

Disclosure: This post is part of a SocialMoms product evaluation, for which I’ve been selected. I’ve been compensated for my time with 6,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. The opinions expressed in this post are mine and don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of SocialMoms or Heinz.

Disney Princess Ribbon Hair Clippies!

Tink, Cinderella, Snow White, and Ariel

Aurora, Belle, Rapunzel, and Tiana

Disney Princess Ribbon Hair Clippies!

 

Do you like to dress your little girl in fun boutique-style clothing when you go on a Disney Vacation? Well, you’re not the only one! Brenda from Beyond Adorable has a talent like no one

I’ve ever seen! She has some of the cutest, personalized, hand-made Disneyesque clothing that is simply to die for!

This morning while I was poking around Facebook to see what was new with my friends and family, I came across her new Disney Princess Clippies. If my 9 year-old daughter was still in to wearing this kind of thing, I would have every single one of these babies!

I’ve got some great news for you too! These clips are normally priced at a reasonable $6.50 each but today only, she is selling them 2 for $10.00!! If you’re interested in today’s sale, just send an email to brenda AT beyondadorable DOT com. Get ’em while they’re hot!

Brenda was featured on the Disney Driven Life as Neurotic Disney Person-of-the-Month a few months back and I highly recommend that you read her story! Don’t forget to go look at her photo albums to see all of her amazing creations!

All opinions expressed on this website come straight from me unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 8. Please visit my Full Disclosure page for more information.

American Girl Tiny Treats Cookbook

American Girl Tiny Treats Cookbook

We’ve had this great little cookbook kicking around for a while now. There’s a real cute story on how we got it too. My son saw it at the end-of-the-year book fair at school last year. He asked if he could buy it and bring it home for my daughter because he knew she would flip for it. How could I say no to that cuteness? Well, it was packed in one of those boxes I just got around to digging through and with my husband being out of town for the weekend, we thought we’d try a few recipes out of it.

The first one we tried were these tiny strawberry shakes…

The kids started drinking theirs before I could get a picture and the whipped cream can dispenser broke before mine got any whipped cream on it, so no pics of the real ones. They were adorable and instead of using the cap of the whipped cream can, we used espresso shot glasses! They were perfect, cut a straw into 3 pieces and it was all good. Yummy!

The next recipe we decided to try was for mini “Bunny Slippers”! Talk about adorable!

Okay, and just look at this recipe. They were so easy to make and my daughter had so much fun doing it because she didn’t need any help…she didn’t want any either! She was so excited to make these by herself.

She stayed out in the kitchen while my son and I were in the living room watching tv last night because she wanted to surprise us with dessert. Again, we didn’t get a pic of the ones she made last night because we ate them too quickly…BUT…here’s a pic of the 3 pairs we made today!

If you have a little one that has peaked an interest in “cooking”, I would highly recommend this adorable little American Girl Tiny Treats Cookbook.

All opinions expressed on this website come straight from me unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 8. Please visit my Full Disclosure page for more information.

Walt Disney World Adventure – A Field Guide & Activity Book For Explorers

Walt Disney World Adventure
A Field Guide & Activity Book For Explorers

 

If you are looking for a really fun and educational tool to use while you explore Walt Disney World with your children, “Walt Disney World Adventure” by Tracie Cook is the guide for you and your family!

This book has four sections, one for Magic Kingdom Park, one for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, one for EPCOT, and one for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In each of those sections you’ll find Explorer Challenges, all sorts of trivia, fun things to look for while you’re on your vacation, and tips from other children just like yours! There are even Explorer Challenges, pages to get autographs from characters and much, much more!

Now that we are semi-local, we drive down to Walt Disney World on a pretty regular basis. We brought the field guide with us on our last trip and our kids actually sat next to each other and worked on answering some of the trivia questions during our car trip! It was awesome! They are 9 and 13, and usually they are arguing about something instead of doing any of the fun things they have in the car to keep them occupied. They were also pretty excited to get into the parks to figure out some of the things they weren’t sure of.

Last time we were down, we visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park one day and Magic Kingdom Park the other. The kids have just barely touched on the in-park activities and are so excited for our next trip down so they can work on it some more! Fortunately, our next trip is in just a couple of days!

If you have “Explorers” in your family, you will want to have this book before your next trip down to Walt Disney World! Be sure to check out Tracie’s website too for more great information about exploring the parks with your children!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review. Thoughts are 100% my own.

Mouse of Zen…Disney Inspired Mouse-Sized Poetry

Cover design © J.B. Conway and Knell Studio Works

 

Mouse of Zen…Disney Inspired Mouse-Sized Poetry

 

Brad Conway has been a police officer since 1998. He is passionate about anything Disney. Like many of us, Brad’s passion for Disney started when he brought his children to Walt Disney World for the first time. Something magical happens when you walk through those gates and see the faces of your children light up!

I learned about haiku in my modern literature class when I was in high school and we were required to write our own. I had a very difficult time with it but I managed to write one as it was part of our grade. I have not revisited them until about a year ago when I saw this posted on The Disney Driven Life Community Blog:

dreams inside stockings / above a roaring fire / tickets to main street

When I look at this picture and read this haiku, I imagine VERY excited children opening up their stockings and receiving a magical vacation for the holidays! What could be more wonderful for a child?

I was completely enamored by this wonderful poetry for a couple of reasons. First of all, Brad’s poetry was all about my very favorite topic, Disney! Secondly, I knew how difficult it was for me to write just one haiku and this man had lots of them! Wow, what a talent! Here is one of my favorites:

graffiti daydreams

a boy lost his balloon

into mouse shaped clouds

And another one I absolutely love:

setting of the sun

taking its proper place

behind a castle

Can you tell that my favorite place on earth is Main Street USA?

Brad has taken 351 of his haiku and published a book of them for us all to enjoy. The book is both intriguing and inspiring in so many ways. When you read these haiku, you can close your eyes and imagine the exact place he has in mind when he wrote the haiku. It really is amazing. Some of them take a while to figure out, and that, I have to say, is half the fun! His book is a must-own for any true Disney fan. It will be on my coffee table in the near future! He’s already well underway toward publishing his second book. Click here to order your very own copy of Mouse of Zen for your coffee table!

All photos & poetry in this post are © J.B. Conway

Disclosure: I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book in exchange for my review. Thoughts are 100% my own.