Put the Spotlight on Family with Netflix

Prior to Aubrey being born, I would envision her and Trent playing, if they would get along, and all the fun things we would do as a family.

Now that she’s here, I get to actually see those things happening and I couldn’t be more happy with how they interact with each other. He is an amazing big brother and helper and she looks up to him and thinks he is the most fascinatingly funny person ever.

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As a family of Disney fans, it should be no surprise that I would often think about going to Disney World as a family. Can you believe Aubrey has been 3 times already?! It makes my heart happy spending time there as a family.

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I know it won’t last forever and that sibling rivalry and fighting will be inevitable (and – GASP! – they may stop wanting to go to WDW). When the time comes, movies that put the spotlight on families could be a good promotional entertainment selection. Here are some current selections available on Netflix that highlight families!

Family Is What You Make It

For your little kids:

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For your big kids:

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1. Crash & Bernstein
2. Life with Boys
3. Spy Kids
4. Russell Madness (Available 5/10)
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And for teens and adults:

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New on Netflix for Kids and Families

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1. All Hail King Julien (new episodes 4/3)
2. Littlest Pet Shop: Season 3 (4/21)
3. Lalaloopsy: Festival of Sugary Sweets (5/2)
4. Puss in Boots (new episodes 5/8)
5. H20 Mermaid Adventures (5/22)
6. Richie Rich: Season 2 (5/22)
7. Mako Mermaids: Season 3 (5/29)

 

 

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This post was written by me as part of my membership in the Netflix Stream Team. Thanks for reading!

 

Seattle Adventures: Mountain Adventures (Mount St. Helens Lava Tubes & Snoqualmie Falls)

Welcome to the next installment of our Seattle Adventures series! To see the main page with links to all of the installments, go here!

Even from the plane, we were excited to be in a different terrain than what we’re used to in Florida.

Mountains!

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Growing up, I visited my aunt who lived in New York around what I always thought were mountains, but I think they are just considered hills, so I was excited to see some real mountains. Me and snow aren’t friends, but luckily, the areas we were going to explore weren’t covered in snow.

Every day in Seattle, we could see the faint outline of Mount Rainier in the distance, some days more than others depending on the weather. We thought we would get the best view from the top of the Space Needle, but since the sky was much better another day, we got the best view when going from Seattle to Alki on the ferry.

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So far, but seems so close…the map below shows the places featured in this post.

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Our main mountain adventure was traveling over 3 hours to Mt St Helens to climb through the lava tube.

Mount St. Helens Ape Cave Lava Tube is a popular attraction in the Mount St. Helens National Monument and the longest lava tube in the continental United States at over two miles in length. The Ape Caves are located on the south side of Mount St. Helens.

How the Ape Caves were formed:  About 2,000 years ago lava poured down the southern flank of Mount St. Helens in streams.  As the lava flowed the outer edges of the lava stream cooled forming a hardened crust which insulated the molten lava beneath.  This allowed the lava to remain hot and fluid encased in this “lava tube” and continued flowing months during the eruption.  The end result was the creation of this spectacular 13,042 long lava tube.  This formation is especially unusual at Mount St. Helens as this type of volcano usually erupts lava of a much thicker consistency which tends to block flow and build up pressure resulting in explosive eruptions like the blast of 1980.

There is one main entrance with a stairwell. You can then choose to go the Easy/lower route, or the Upper/Difficult route. We chose the Upper route…go big or go home, right?

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Here is Tate claiming “King of the mountain” status.

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From the second you climb down, you’re in for some fun…watch your step!

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You can borrow lamps to walk with, and since Dana was the lucky person to hold our lamp, we had to make sure she didn’t wander off – haha.

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There were lots of large rocks to climb up and over and down, and you had to constantly test each rock before putting your full weight on to make sure it was secure. Or you could let someone go in front of you to do the testing and then you step on all the same rocks they did ;)

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This was at the “Lava Fall” – an 8 ft drop. There was one teeny tiny spot to place your foot to help you get down, but you basically had to jump or carefully slide down. Dana was a pro..she did it while holding the lamp.

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On a side note, as we were hiking along, a family passed us and the father had a baby strapped to his back in a carrier! We all felt a little inadequate after seeing that, as we were amazed that he wasn’t bumping the baby into anything and we all probably hit our heads on the wall or wobbled on a rock along the way.

Pretty creepy photos…

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I think this was the “Big Room” or at least near to it.

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The hike was pretty fun and challenging, and so rewarding to reach the end. It was also kind of scary to think that we were actually in an “active” volcano, with the most recent activity in 2008…a year before we were there. I also don’t recommend watching any scary cave movies before going in.

The views around this area are spectacular…

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But there are also plenty of reminders of the destruction from volcanic activity.

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There were several areas with signs that people are not allowed into, some with destruction clearly visible..all plant life gone and a gray shade covering the land.

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After the hike, we continued to drive around the area, stopping at certain photo-worthy spots. Although, pretty much everywhere you looked was photo-worthy.

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I started out the trip in the backseat of the car, but had to have them pull over so I could sit in the front because I started getting motion sickness from all the twisting and turning along the steep, winding roads.

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Brett says this next photo reminds him of Lord of the Rings and is one of his favorites from the trip.

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In fact, most of his favorite photos from the trip were taken this day.

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This next one is even in a frame in our hallway (and the sunflowers from Pike Place Market is on a large canvas about our mantle/fireplace).

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This adventure took an entire day, since the car ride itself was about 3 hours. On the ride home, we were introduced to the most magnificent place ever…RED ROBIN! Haha! We had never been before, but our local TV station plays commercials for them all the time (Red Robin…YUMMMM!) even though the closest one is 2 hours away, so it’s funny that our first time wasn’t anywhere near home. Since our Seattle trip, we have made that 2 hour trip a few times…it’s the perfect stop after a day at the beach (or mountains in this case).

 

On another day, we took a slightly less time consuming trip to Snoqualmie Falls (about 40 minutes East of Seattle).

After parking, there is a short hike along the river to get to the Falls and you pass the Powerhouse that still produces energy.

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We hiked to the bottom of the falls first, and you can see the Salish Lodge at the top. Wouldn’t that be a nice place to stay?!

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We then hiked up to the top.

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Everything was so pretty, and having a 268 foot waterfall behind makes for some great photos. :)

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This was probably about a half day adventure, so you can squeeze in more fun stuff the rest of the day!

As with any adventure, be sure to check their website prior to going just to make sure everything is open and available for you.

 

I hope you enjoyed this segment of our Seattle Adventures! The main page with links to all of the segments as they are shared can be found here.

To see more travel posts, check out our travel section of the blog!

 

Weekend Wrap-Up

Life in our house has definitely been interesting this past week. When you have a baby that sleeps 10 uninterrupted hours in her crib every night and goes to sleep without being rocked or anything, you tend to dread anything that might mess that up…especially when your other child is a party animal that never wants to sleep.

So thinking back to how Aubrey did our past two vacations to WDW, I wasn’t necesarily looking forward to how she would be both at WDW and at home after we returned. The past two trips, we just had her in the bed with us and it took her so long to fall asleep; it just wasn’t what she was used to. So this trip, we decided to try a crib provided by the hotel, which was just a pack n play.

She hated it. When she first would go to sleep, if she was tired enough, she wouldn’t notice or care. But when she would wake up in the middle of the night and notice where she was (or wasn’t = her crib) she freaked out and would only fall back asleep in the bed with me. So weird.

After we got back, she was ok the first couple of nights, but maybe something clicked and she remembered that horrible place she was last week because she has only gone in there after falling asleep being rocked, even after waking up in the middle of the night. Man, so tiring….but luckily, she did better last night just like how she used to, so fingers crossed that she is over that little “post-vacation” phase.

I’ll do more of an update when I share her monthly photos (we’re behind!), but she is already such an adventurous eater, and because she is all over the place now, we have watch that she doesn’t get Trent’s food. And we also have to watch so that Trent doesn’t give her anything, because he likes to share.

This next photo is called “Trent, the bad influence” – sliding her over a french fry. We had just looked over and caught her noming on one, and when we took it away, Trent tried to give her another one. Those two…we’re in trouble.

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Since we were out of town on Mother’s Day, we celebrated on Saturday with dinner at Brett’s mom’s house. One of her cats was pregnant when she rescued her and the babies were there and ready to play (they were too little the last time we were there)…Trent was in paradise.

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Yesterday, Brett was consumed with this…

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We have been wanting to put something like a playset in the yard for some time now. We live about a 10 minute walk from park, but that park has no shade and sometimes we show up to a million kids there (t-ball, birthday parties with bouncy houses he wants to go on but can’t, etc.) so we got this for them to enjoy until they grow out of it.

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I got that image from Google – Brett still has a ways to go before he gets there lol.

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I look forward to them playing while I relax…so maybe this is a present for me too!

The only issue we have is that our yard isn’t flat, so we are trying to determine the best spot for it and then a practical and not too expensive way to flatten the area. Any suggestions would be welcome!

We have a busy few weeks coming up and I have some travel I can’t wait to share with you…stay tuned! :)

Hope you have a wonderful week!

 

Seattle Adventures: Sea Plane and Whale Watching

Welcome to the next installment of our Seattle Adventures series! To see the main page with links to all of the installments, go here!

When we finally made the decision to take a trip out to Seattle, going whale-watching was one of the very first things we knew we had to fit into our tight schedule. After all, it wasn’t something that can be done everywhere.

We also had to make the decision on how to get to the starting location of the tour, which was a decent amount of time away from Seattle. We could either drive and then take a ferry, or get there much, much faster by sea plane.

Well, you know us by now…

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Sea plane = no brainer.

We booked a Sea Plane/Whale-watching package from San Juan Safaris. It was convenient to have it all be grouped together and have everything coordinated for us.

After we woke up late (I seem to have a problem with cell phone alarm clocks), we zoomed over to the sea plane terminal at Lake Union. Luckily, there was a little delay, so we got to relax for a bit after rushing out of the hotel.

The plane was small, but not overwhelmingly small. There were two rows with a center aisle. Tate was the lucky chosen one to ride in the front with the pilot on the way there, while us cool kids sat in the back with our maps.

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It was really fun taking off in the water and we were immediately greeted with a magnificent view of the city (minus the dreary clouds – luckily no rain, just clouds).

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Our pilot even circled around the Space Needle, allowing us to get a few photos.

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We also got a nice view of the cruise terminal…(Is it time for our next cruise yet?)

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…as well as some surrounding landmarks, like the Gas Works Park.

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It really was amazing seeing all these remote beautiful houses separated from the hustle and bustle of the city.

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The sea plane took us to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. You can see from the map below that we were almost in Canada, but not quite.

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This was the cutest little town ever.

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We had a little time to kill before the boat departed for the tour, so we ate breakfast (all of the places were packed!) and walked around looking at the little shops and the beautiful view of the harbor.

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Why move to a new house when you can just move the house to the new location, amiright?

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The tour was on a small 55 foot boat with about 20 or so people on it. There was a heated indoor area with cushioned benches, and the outside had a walking area and railings all around the perimeter. Here are some photos of the boat, courtesy of the San Juan Safaris website.

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Camera in hand, Brett was ready.

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The tour is labeled as approximately 3.5 hours and started out with us traveling to the areas that are known to be popular spots for whales. There is no guarantee that you will see a whale, or anything, since it’s wildlife-dependent, but they keep in constant communication with other tours to give each other information in order to maximize the potential for whale-spotting. San Juan Safaris does have a 90+% whale-sighting record, though, so there is a pretty good chance you will see them!

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The ride itself was incredibly enjoyable…we saw more beautiful, remote houses, other wildlife like Bald Eagles, and overall splendid scenery.

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But, what we came for was whales…would we get to see any?

YES!

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We were able to track down a small family of Orcas.

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What I loved about our tour was that they maintained the safety of the Orcas and followed the regulations regarding allowed proximity to them. We never purposefully got too close, and if one got close to us (sneaky whales!) we would head in the other direction until it was a safe distance. There was another tour that showed up a bit later while we were watching and they obviously didn’t follow regulation, and that was saddening.

But back to the whales!

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It was so funny being out on the deck with everyone. The whales would go under water, and you would have to scan around waiting for one to pop up out of the water, and when it did, you heard the overwhelming “CLICK, click, CLICK, clickclickclick” of everyone’s cameras.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t get any super-extreme jumps out of the water…the whales were pretty much just floating around and popping in and out a little, but I am so happy we saw a decent amount of them.

I think they told us we had ventured into Canada, so of course we took a photo with Canada behind us. At least we think that’s Canada, who knows. And I’ve been to Canada before, so I don’t know why that was fascinating, but I tend to get overexcited about most things. :)

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More animals on the way back!

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When we got back to Friday Harbor, we were waiting by the sea plane dock and one of the pilots asked Brett if he could help position the plane up to the dock. The winds had picked up and they could use the help to slide the plane into the dock and hold it there while they tied it down.

Brett thought he was the coolest.

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He even helped another plane out too.

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Directing planes like a boss. Or a robot, I really can’t tell what he’s doing here…

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Continuing with the “Brett is special” theme, he got to ride in the front with the pilot on the way back to Seattle. I bet he wishes he could do it again with his newest camera equipment, hahaha the life of the photographer. ;)

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So beautiful.

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Oh, hello there cruise ship.

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This was certainly well worth the price in my opinion. Sure, I would have not felt the same had we not seen any whales, but that’s a risk you take when booking wildlife tours. Plus, the rest of the experience was amazing, too. Definitely block out an entire day for this adventure!

 

I hope you enjoyed whale-watching with us today! Stay tuned for more installments of our Seattle Adventures, and don’t forget you can go to the main page to see all the posts. :)

 

DIY Jumbo Photo Paper Clips

Here is a uniquely fun and personal craft that can also be a great gift (Mother’s Day is coming!). :)

Jumbo Photo Clips

Although I prefer to read my books on a tablet and do many things on my phone, I still love my paper planner. I just prefer to actually write things down and decorate it and I feel so accomplished being able to actually cross through to-do lists on it. I also keep notebooks for different projects I’m working on and track what page I’m on with a clip of some sort. Large paper clips with designs have become increasingly popular as a pretty way to mark your spot. You can make your own clips out of personal photos (or clip art you purchase online). This would also be a wonderful Mother’s Day gift! Let’s get started, shall we?

 

Supplies needed:

  • Photo Paper + Printer
  • Jumbo Paper clips
  • Hot Glue and Glue Gun
  • Scissors

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After you have your photos picked out, use Photoshop or another photo editing software to cut out the background, leaving you with just your child/spouse/friend/etc. in the photo. Or you can print the entire photo and cut out the background later. I’ll show you both ways.

Print on glossy photo paper using your HP Printer (I have the Envy 5660 – love it!).

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Cut out the photo, making sure to only cut out the part that you want attached to your clip.

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Heat up the hot glue. Place a small amount of hot glue directly onto the side of the paper clip towards the top. Let cool for a few seconds so the glue is not super hot when you attach it to your photo, or else the hot glue could distort the photo.

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Press the backside of the photo onto the clip where the glue is, then set aside to let dry for a few moments.

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That’s it!

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Now you can use your clip to mark pages in your planner, calendar, journal or notebook and always have a smiling loved one looking back at you!

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If you’re giving this as a gift, simply tie them together with pretty ribbon or string, then place in a small gift box or bag and decorate accordingly.

Here is a video of the process ;)

Visit MyPrintly.com for more fun craft ideas and printing solutions.

Bonus! MyPrintly.com is currently hosting a giveaway! Simply follow @MyPrintly on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, and then complete this brief entry form in order to be entered for a chance to win one of three (3) HP Envy Printershttp://bit.ly/MyPrintlyGiveaway.  The contest will end on Friday, May 15th and winners will be randomly selected and notified the following week.  Please note, only residents of the U.S.A. are eligible to enter.

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Thank you to HP, Mom Select and MyPrintly for sponsoring this post. Thank you all for reading! :)