Disney + Travel Tips || Part One - Flights

You guys! I'm so excited to share some of my travel tips with you all. We don't travel internationally... yet! But we do love our family getaways to Disneyland and Hawaii. Over the next couple posts I'm going to share all my tips for Disney travel with kids & how we make it work budget-wise! I'll get into Hawaii a little later! This post is in no way sponsored by any company! I may be using affiliate links to my favorite travel friendly products though :)

So to start, I want to talk about flights. Josh and I live in Utah (about a 10 hour drive to California). We've driven to California two times when we were first married and one time with our boys. After we drove with the boys this past time, we will never be doing that again! It was so long and we even stopped over night half way. The kids just didn't do well. Finley especially. He's our little needy child and long car rides are not his jam. It ended up making him constipated while in California and his sleep schedule was sort of thrown off the whole trip.

We fly whenever possible. The reason why we chose to drive this last time was because we didn't have enough points to fly (we used most of them for Hawaii in December) and the remaining points we decided to save to use later on this year. Anyway. Flying is a must for us so we use our Visa Southwest card. We've had this card for a few years now and LOVE it! It does have an annual fee ($99) but for us it's worth it! In the past 4 years we have only had to pay for 1 flight (for Copeland because we didn't have enough points) but only 1 flight that was around $100 round trip! Copeland has flown I think about 6-7 times round trip in the past 4 1/2 years. That means we've gotten nearly 18 flights for FREE! We usually take at least one trip where we have to fly per year, sometimes two if we can budget enough throughout the year.

Alright so let me break down why I LOVE our Visa Southwest card.

  • No paying for luggage. Yep! You get two free bags per person. That's a total of 8 bags for our family! For Free!!
  • Put big purchases on the card. We put all our big purchases on our card. When we were building our house, every trip to home depot, our garage door, electrical, etc., were all put on the card! We use it when we have any big bill. We also use this for our groceries every month and get about 600-700 points alone just for that! You can also put your utilities, car payment, etc on it and get points all month long! We need to start doing this because we would be getting over 1,000 points every month! 
  • You get 40,000 points when you spend X amount in the first 3 months for opening. This is what made us sign up for the card! When we first got our card we were poor college students with a new baby and a mortgage who desperately wanted a vacation. We signed up, used some of our points and have never looked back! 
  • 1 point per $1 spent. Pretty self explanatory.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions. This is great because you can travel whenever you want! We always find amazing prices from Salt Lake to California and we only use the Wanna Get Away pricing because it is the cheapest. Sometimes we can find roundtrip flights for around $100 but most of the time they're about $150 or typically somewhere around the 4,000 points mark. 
  • No change fees. You're points get put right back into your account if you need to change or cancel a flight. We sometimes will book a flight with our points and change it if there is a price drop! It's awesome! Or we will book flights when prices are amazing and then see if we can plan a vacation around those flights (ie., find a cheap hotel, car, etc). 
  • Family boarding. I believe most flights do family boarding. But for those of you who don't fly southwest, it's first come first serve seating. So the earlier you check in (24 hours in advance) the more priority you get when it comes to boarding or you can pay extra per ticket and get early bird check in, however, if you have kids you get family boarding. We almost never check in super early and when we get to the gate we get to pick our seats right after business class. So we always get to sit together. 
Okay and this has nothing to do with our card but take advantage of flying with kids under two years of age! They are free if you have them sit on your lap. We took as many vacations as possible when Copeland and Finn were both under two because of this! 

How to find cheap flights. I'm just always checking flights. Always as in once or twice a month-ish. I like to see what flights are doing price wise and sometimes Southwest will have their sales so I just like to check every now and then to see if they're at a decent price. 

You can also use Hopper. I've heard great things about this app but it does not include Southwest flights because Southwest doesn't share data with automated algorithms who chart flight prices. And honestly they don't need too. Southwest flights are usually the cheapest I've found. I really just love Southwest! And Delta, those are my two favorite but Delta is typically way way more in price! Just to compare, I checked flights for September (4 months out!). Same time of day, Southwest $156 RT with free luggage, Delta $180 RT + $25 for first bag each way ($50 total) = $230 RT. Total savings of $74 using Southwest.

And for the record, I've never had a bad experience with Southwest. The staff has always been incredible and friendly! The flight attendants have always been so helpful with the boys, we just love them! Again, not sponsored by Southwest or Visa.

If you guys want to sign up for this card I'd love if you guys would use my referral code/link! Again this is not sponsored by Chase or Southwest, but they have a great refer a friend program that even YOU can take advantage of once you get your own card and refer your friends! You can sign up using my referral code by clicking HERE!

To learn more about the refer a friend program, CLICK HERE!

The Happiest Birthday on Earth!

We celebrated Finn turning 2 a few weeks ago and it was so much fun!! By now a lot of you know we are a bit Disney obsessed. I've been wanting to throw some kind of Disney birthday party since Copeland was a baby but I just never really knew how I could pull it off. After all, most things Disney related for birthdays are more aimed towards the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme. Lots of black, red and yellow and that wasn't what I wanted. I wanted Disneyland, not just Mickey Mouse. The feeling you get when you're walking down Main Street, USA. The fun music, the yummy spells from the ice creamery, and the magic that is Disneyland.

Music makes or breaks a party in my opinion so the playlist is what really gave me inspiration to the whole party! I've included a link to my Disneyland playlist that we used throughout the party. It's composed of Disneyland rides and the Esplanade and it's truly magical! There's even the music to Soarin' on there. One of our favorite rides! And of course the teacups because that ride music is just SO Disneyland. 

When I think about Disneyland I think of the Little Red Wagon corn dogs, snacking on popcorn while walking from ride to ride, and of course the yummy mickey shaped treats from the Candy Palace. So that was all my inspo for the menu. Hand dipped honey corn dogs, Mickey Mouse chocolate dipped rice krispies and bags of popcorn. And you can't leave out the magical Disneyland Mickey Mouse balloons! We sent each of the guests home with their very own Mickey balloon with a yummy Disneyland chocolate coin and rock candy. 

I decided to use clear cups with themed paper straws for guests to sip out of. I think it totally added to the Disney magic! 

For the games we had a Guess How Many where guests would guess how many suckers or gummy bears were in the jars and the winner got to take home their candy winnings! 

The second game was based off of Disneyland's Hidden Mickey book. Have you ever gotten it? There are hidden Mickeys all over the parks that you have to find. For this game I made a little print out for each guest and they had to cross off each color mickey as they found it. Can you spot some of the hidden mickeys in the pictures below?! I'll add a print out for the Hidden Mickey Game below! Just click on the photo and save and print it out! I just used colored scrapbook paper to cut out the hidden mickeys :) 

Everything is linked below each photo but I will add a master linked list at the end of this post. 

Invitations Made by Myself. I am currently taking limited orders so please e-mail me at AMAMAINLOVE@YAHOO.COM subject line INVITATIONS
Candy Palace Holder DIY and Hand Painted by Myself - Mickey Mouse Cookie Cutter 
Tissue Garland - Mickey Balloon - Clear Balloons  (You'll want to go to somepne experienced with blowing up balloons inside of balloons. The lady I went to popped two of mine and I was only left with this one blue one.)
Favors: Mickey Balloon, White Balloon Stick ( I buy lots of stuff from Ali, but allow at least 3 weeks for delivery) - Rock Candy, local party store - Disneyland Chocolate Coin, Disney parks - Cellophane Bag, WalMart
Popcorn Bags - Corn Dog Holders - Mickey Pretzel and Churro Magnet Disney Parks (but found on eBay) - Napkins 
2 Candle - Mickey Train Topper Disney Parks

Disney Parks Playlist - Copy & Paste 

Invitations: Made by Myself. I am currently taking limited orders so please e-mail me at AMAMAINLOVE@YAHOO.COM subject line INVITATIONS

Candy Palace Holder: DIY and Hand Painted by Myself

Mickey Mouse Cookie Cutter for rice krispie treats. I dipped mine in melting chocolate and sprinkled white jimmy sprinkles on them.

Clear Balloons  You'll want to go to somepne experienced with blowing up balloons inside of balloons. The lady I went to popped two of mine and I was only left with this one blue one.

Favors: Mickey Balloon

White Balloon Sticks I buy lots of stuff from Ali, esepcially party supplies, but allow at least 3 weeks for delivery

Rock Candy from a local party store

Disneyland Chocolate Coin  Disney parks

Cellophane Bag  Wal-Mart

Popcorn Bags - Movie theater popcorn was purchased at the grocery store (HUGE bags for $5!)

Mickey Pretzel and Churro Magnet Disney Parks but possibly can be found on eBay

Mickey Train Topper Disney Parks However you can find some of the cutest little Disney toys on eBay

Hidden Mickey Game Printout. 
Click on image, save image and print!

Home Progress: The Exterior

The two questions I get asked about the most are 
1. What is your exterior door color 
2. Where did you get your lights?

So for our exterior door I wanted a blue/grey color but could not find one that I loved. I ended up taking two colors and mixing them. I used Benjamin Moore ICEBERG and Sherwin Williams SILVERMIST. It definitely changes with the light through out the day but I really love the cool color with all the white and wood. 

As for our exterior gooseneck copper lights we went with Barn Light USA. We chose the Chestnut Gooseneck Light in Raw Copper. I LOVE these lights! It totally brings the whole exterior together. When you go to the Barn Light website and choose a light, when you click on Finish Chart/Features it will show you photos of all the finishes their lights come in which was so helpful! They have every color of the rainbow to choose from which is so fun! I highly recommend them. They also have interior lighting! 

We are obviously still working on getting our lawn put in and trees planted. We're thinking of planting some Yoshino Cherry Trees just right out front of the house in the planters near the sidewalk. They are my favorite trees! And maybe some clusters of Quaking Aspens? Doing the lawn is pretty overwhelming and so expensive! But we can't wait to have some grass in for the boys. I'll be updating more and sharing some house tour photos of the inside over the next couple months!

*The house numbers have been changed for privacy* 

Valentine's Day + Keeping That Spark

Well hello, hello and happy love month! Wow, it's been a while hasn't it? We've been enjoying our new home and our kids and each other over here so taking time away from social anything has been the best ever! Guys, we are coming up on nine years married. I still feel like I'm that 21 year old only a lot more experienced and lot more boring if that makes any sense at all, haha. Through the past nine years there are so many things I've learned, almost everything being recently though. Life is full of ups and downs right? So many! I don't care if you married your freaking soul mate! Things are bound to get hard from time to time. 

So let's just get right into it. This post is all about intimacy. There most definitely will be some TMI moments but guys I'm gonna share everything that has worked for keeping the spark between Josh and I, or I guess I should say, rekindling it :) Because let's be honest there were some dry spells in our marriage because hello newborn phase that felt like it lasted an eternity

So, before Josh and I had kids or before we were even married, I was a pretty sexual person. Like that's even weird to say out loud considering how dang boring I've become since becoming a mom. However, I was confident in myself. I would wear tighter clothes than I do now or initiate things more Josh than I do now because I was confident and really a lot of it came down to I was just a naturally sexual person. After I had Copeland I brought out my mom jeans and those became my jam. I lived in my nursing bras for far longer than I should have and loved my maternity tank tops and sweatpants and really just anything comfortable. Nothing wrong with a little comfort right? It wasn't until after Finn was born when things really started to fizzle. I mean, we had this insanely needy newborn. He was up all dang night, cried all dang day, etc, etc, etc. It was exhausting. And I've said it before but when you're sleep deprived you're literally in survival mode and sex just was not on my list of How To Survive A Newborn 101. So by this time we were going on 7 years! That good ol' 7 year itch :) We were comfortable with each other. I mean Josh is my BFF but it almost felt like we were becoming co-parenting roommates more than lovers, but again for what I believe is a good reason. We were building a house, parenting two little boys, Josh was working full time and we just had a lot on our plates. The last thing  We  I wanted to do was muster up the energy to get intimate. 

I remember one night getting into these deep discussions with Josh after we kind of went through this just spill-your-guts-about-everything talk. I asked "what can I do for you that is something you miss from me?". He told me he used to love my free spirit and my optimistic attitude towards everything. I kinda got upset and said well I'm not 21 anymore. I'm a mom, I have responsibility, it's not just us. I snapped and got defensive instead of listening to what he wanted. Looking back on it I realized I actually really missed that about myself as well. I almost was feeling trapped in this motherhood gig, not that I don't LOVE my kids to the moon and back but it's okay to love them, be a mom and still be optimistic, let go of the anxiety, look for the silver linings and enjoy your marriage. You guys it took me nearly 9 freaking years to realize this. #facepalm.  

So here's where I started praying. I prayed every night, you guys, for answers. I asked for help getting over my stuck-upness that has taken over my optimistic self. Do I go back to the old me even though I was extremely comfortable with the new motherly version of myself? Should I be giving less of myself to my kids and give more of myself to my husband? Is there a balance, can I find that balance, please God, help me find that balance. Help my marriage, bless my marriage. Help me to understand my husband more intimately and emotionally. I prayed for several months for help to figure out this whole situation that we had ourselves in and I got my answer one night very clearly I won't go into details as it was a very personal and intimate experience with Josh. But ask and you shall receive :)

The past six months have been some of the best of mine and Josh's entire marriage. It honestly feels like we are dating all over again. I feel so confident in myself. I feel confident in my marriage. I am just so happy when he's home. Life has been good. So how did we get here? 

1. Communication. Communication. COMMUNICATION. You guys, it sounds cliche but you have to communicate! Get to the nitty gritty stuff. The stuff you've been pushing down and bottling up. Bring it out and discuss it. I promise it will help way more than bottling that stuff up will. Find out what the other one wants and really listen. Don't get resentful or hurt but just openly listen to your partners needs and desires. Whether it's daily tasks, things you use to do that they use to love that you no longer do, sexual intimate things, get it all out. Share everything. This was hard for me for sure! I've become a very shy and quiet person so it's hard for me to open up and let someone know of my wants, needs and desires. I'm a giver to a fault so asking for something can be hard for me but I promise it's worth asking and talking about. There are things Josh and I found out about one another that was totally surprising! And honestly I though we had gotten to the point of knowing one another inside out. Sometimes all it takes is somebody getting off that high horse and giving into your spouses needs and wants. Even if you think it's ridiculous just put in the little bit of effort for them and your marriage. 

2. Pray + Bible Study. I can't tell you enough that praying has given me every answer to our marriage that I've ever wanted. Along with reading the bible. There are so many incredible verses about love and sex. Like really deep intimate things about sex guys. I grew up super sheltered which could have something to do with how I went a bit crazy when Josh and I first got together and started dating. It was sort of a rebellion thing I think but once I got comfortable in my marriage, these deep embedded and ingrained teachings that sex is wrong came back up in our marriage and it mentally was hard to get over that. Sex is not wrong. It's amazing and enjoyable and lovely :) I would agree that you should wait for marriage but sex is definitely not wrong and I hate how they teach this. I honestly felt awful that I wasn't a virgin when I got married. Anyway, search them out, read them and pray about them. The bible has literally changed my marriage and sex life... never thought I'd say that!

3. Get those kids to bed! Seriously like put them down before 8 pm so you're not zonked out after the hassle that is bed time. Enjoy a couple hours just you and you're man. Make popcorn, put on a movie and CUDDLE. With no intentions of anything else (okay, maybe some intentions) but just enjoy your husband. Really embrace and feel his arms around you, watch his laugh, play with his hair, caress his body. You married this guy and he's got some pretty incredible traits, right? I mean even though sometimes you want to smother him with a pillow when you're up nursing at 4 am and he's sound asleep snoring, but dang, he's pretty alright ;) Enjoy him! Promise, he will be okay with it. 

4. Wear that little outfit he likes and get the dang lingerie! Can I just be the first to say that what I find cute and trendy and fun is completely different to what my husband finds cute and sexy on me ha!! I mean Josh can't be the only guy who isn't a huge fan of the billowy, matronly tops and dresses, right? It's okay to show a little skin for your hubby. I'm not saying go out to target in you skin tight tops and hip hugging pants, but dang mama, show off that figure. I can't even explain how confident I've become in myself lately and let me tell you what! I am not working out, nor dieting. I'm literally in the worst shape of my life with lifeless sad boobs but guess what, you better believe that I am feeling myself when I put on that lingerie for my husband and see the way his eyes light up. 

Seriously, lingerie can do wonders for your self esteem! I started buying lingerie this year. I've never bought lingerie before, like ever. I was WAY too self conscious to even think about wearing that stuff (post kids, that is). And when I say self conscious I don't just mean self conscious of just my body but my whole self. I felt awkward and strange and just wanted to cover up asap! I think I had one lingerie outfit from when I was first married that was a gift at my bridal shower. But that's it. This year I finally decided to invest in a few pieces and you guys... take it from someone who use to only do it with the lights off (I know TMI and super boring and insecure guys!) lingerie can do wonders for your self esteem! And for the record, men are attracted to confidence over anything else, just saying, learned this hands on from experience, so own it mama :)

5. Sexting. I know. I felt like 18 when I typed that out haha. But ladies, send the naughty text to your guy. Just do it and roll with it. It's fun and don't stress about sounding dumb. You cannot sound dumb when you're telling your guy what you want to do to him or what you want him to do to you, okay? Okay. Just go with what you feel and let him know you're thinking of him while he's at work. It builds some fun anticipation for when he gets home.

6. Physical Touch. This is a hard one for me guys. I'm soooo not a touchy feely person. I actively have to remind myself to hold hands, tickle his arm, rub his back, etc. But the reward is amazing! You're letting him know you love him and just a simple touch can literally do so much! (is this a song lyric? sounds like a song lyric) The more of a touchy person I become the more I want to be touched, have my feet rubbed, my back rubbed/kissed etc when before I'd literally cringe at the thought of being touched haha. I know, I'm a total weirdo... maybe it had something to do with nursing a baby all day/night, who knows? But let yourself enjoy the touch of simply holding hands. It's the little things that just create that intimacy that sometimes you can let fall to the wayside when you've been married for a while and life gets busy. So mamas, enjoy those sweet innocent kisses and touches. 

7. Tell Him You Love Him. It sounds so simple right? But honestly for me, it was just something that I said at the end of our phone calls or whenever, But really let him know why you love him. During one of our talks Josh opened up about how I never tell him I appreciate him. This was such a shock for me because Josh is a very strong and independent man. Hearing him say he wanted those words of affirmation was just really surprising to hear. So I've become very mindful to text him and just let him know that I appreciate him. For working hard, building this house, helping me put the kids to bed last night, helping bring the groceries in or for running to the store on his way home for me. Just whatever big or small, let him know that it meant a lot you and you are grateful for him.

Let your man know that you are freaking proud of them and in love with them because I made the mistake almost my whole marriage of not doing that for Josh. I just kind of felt like, you know, he is a strong and independent guy. He's very confident, he doesn't need to hear that I love him or am proud of him all the dang time, he already knows this.

I've never really needed to be told that I am loved or appreciated, is that weird? Ha, I mean yeah it's nice when he says it but it's not something I crave from him you know? So this is also something I've had to be mindful of but I'm so glad Josh brought it up and let me know, even though I know it was hard for him because he is so prideful and confident. I think now that we are getting into these depths of intimacy that we were missing from our marriage, I think that these things are becoming more appreciated on both ends. 

8. Think about Sex! Holy cow I had to come re-edit to this because I can't believe I left out the most important thing, in my opinion. Think about sex during the day. Yep, I said it and I'm not apologizing for it. Think about you and your man. Just do it. Don't go watch porn... I hate porn. I've witnessed marriages ruined by porn first hand, but girl, you better believe you can think about your husband going down on you all day if you choose to. Nothing wrong it. Lets face it, us women take some time to warm up and you know, get into it. By thinking about sex during the day you're basically warming yourself up for your husband. The more I think about my husband and sex and foreplay, the more I want him and the more eager I am to text him, or I mean sext him and let him know what he's in for  ;) Seriously mamas, it's okay to fantasize about your hubby. 

So there you go ladies, my personal list of things we do in our marriage to keep the spark alive. I really should get Josh to write a post about what he does because he truly is amazing and one of a kind. 

And let me just remind you, this took months of work. We didn't just wake up and do all these things and all the sudden had a fantastic sex life and amazing marriage. It took lots of prayer, lots of investing in my husband and myself and just lots of learning and work.  

So, question, how do you keep the spark alive in your marriage?