Photo Booth Strips

When You're Going Out Dancing...

But you're a 35 year old Mom...

Nailed It DIY First Day of School Board

Using Family-Safe Paints and Stains *PLUS Coupon Code!*

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Disney Hacks - Strollers


When you #DisneySoHard, your stroller is your royal carriage. After you've pushed the kids for seven miles in the Florida heat it can feel more like you're schlepping around a pumpkin on wheels if you haven't used my #DisneyHacks for selecting and loading your stroller like a #DisneyBoss. Check out my Disney Hacks series here to learn how to make your life easier and how to #HackYourDisneyVacation. 

"Lareina, how many more double strollers do you really think we need to try?" questioned my Prince Charming as I scoured the stroller section during our third trip to the baby store, "They're all going to be the same."

"Ha! All the same?!" I retorted "There are double wides, double tandems, sit and stands and even a double tandem that looks like a bunk bed! Our kids need to be able to eat, recline and be comfy - all with good sun coverage. I need to have storage and the ability to hang food bags on it like it's heading up the Alps. I want it to be easy to maneuver through the crowds on a dime. I need to be able to add a third kid if our oldest gets too tired at the end of the night. I need to find the SUPERFECTA of double strollers for our year of Disney visits!"

Prince Charming gave me his somewhat amused "Riiiiight..." look. 

Then, I saw it. It was Epic. Magical. Tears of happiness streamed down my cheek as we loaded all three kids into the BOB Revolution Pro Duallie jogging stroller and maneuvered past the diaper section and around the the high chairs like WHAT - effortlessly! 

I had to pay for the BOB stroller, so this is NOT a paid ad. Nope, it's much more organic than that. I'm seriously #MomCrushing on this stroller, even at home walking through the neighborhood and at the mall. Through the vacation my Prince Charming, sister and my mom fell in love with it too. Especially when my sister was straining to maneuver her double stroller and I gave her that "I told you should have rented/borrowed/bought the BOB Revolution Pro Duallie" look and she shot me back her "Shut your face, ugh, I hate it when you're right" look. #HiveMind

Here is our Daddy sherpa pushing all three kids through Epcot after a long day in the park. 

Loading your stroller is equally as important to a successful day at Disney. You can check out my post about how to pack a #DisneyGrabBag here, and see which essentials I recommend toting to the park. Below I'll show how to load it on your stroller so it's easy to push and not top heavy and tipping. 

What I used on the stroller:
  • 2 mommy hooks
  • 2 16-can Igloo cooler totes
  • Back pack (see how to pack a #DisneyGrabBag blog here)
  • Flashing LED hanger (to help you find your stroller at night or stay together with a group)
  • Blanket (if there are any mornings or evenings that will be chilly)
  • Wipes holder
  • Hanging hand sanitizer
  • Extra carabiners attached with zip ties
  • Velcro mesh stroller bag

I attached the two mommy hooks on the frame of the stroller (not on the handle) under the fabric and pushed them toward the middle to evenly balance the weight on the stroller. 

I looped the cooler tote handles around the mommy hooks twice so they wouldn't hit the wheels. I also attached the velcro mesh stroller bag on the frame too. 

I filled the cooler bag with frozen water and the other with snacks. We either carried the back pack, rested it on the top of the stroller or put it in the triangle area near the front wheel. 

Underneath I used the stroller storage space to put our LED glow items for after dark, our stroller rain cover, our water fan/misters and our ponchos. 

One last thing, strollers can be stolen in Disney. I've yet to meet someone where this has happened, but I had spent a pretty penny on my BOB. I borrowed a Tile, which I attached in a non-viewable location on the stroller frame. This allowed me to GPS locate it from an app on my phone if it was taken (or if it got re-located by the stroller gods of Disney) and it gave me peace of mind. 

Have Disney questions? Want more info? Comment on the blog and I'll get back to you! Happy Disney planning! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

DIY Oversized Photo Booth Strip

As a kid growing up in upstate New York one of our favorite things was to go to the local midway during the summer and add to our collection of photo booth strips. I still have many of them spanning several years in a scrap book and get all sorts of nostalgic when I look at them.

I'd wanted to bring this retro part of my childhood into my house and decided to accomplish that by
making oversized photo booth strips as part of my wall decor. I wanted something low-cost, light to hang and easily changeable. To make my photo strips to the scale of the area at the top of my stairs I thought four 11"x14" black and white photos would work best. You could use smaller or larger photos depending on the size of the area you plan to place them.

I started by going to Lowes and buying a 4' x 8' 1/4" birch plywood. I had the folks at Lowes do my cuts for me. See the outline below. I was able to make three photo strips from one piece of the plywood.
Once I had my three 60"x13" cuts I sanded the edges to make sure they were nice and smooth. Then I painted the outer edges black. I used some left over chalk board paint I had, but any cheap black paint (even spray paint) would work. You only have to paint the edges because the photos will cover up the middle. You can paint the whole thing if you want, but I like short cuts.. 

Next I got my kids ready with their funniest smiles and favorite toys and props and took their pictures in front of a curtain. I made sure I took the picture from the same distance each time so that there would be continuity just like in a real photo booth. 

I used this template in Photoshop to create a small black border around each photo created in gray scale. You can use the template I used here for Photoshop, or you can also add the border in most photo ordering software. I purchased my photos from NationsPhotoLab, and right now (2/3/17) their 11"x14" are on sale for $2.10 each. That's the best price I've been able to find for these photos. Free shipping when you spend over $50. 

I mounted the photos on the board using painter's tape and started about 2 inches down from the top. Once I had the photos exactly where I wanted them I noted my measurement so I could re-create it on my other two boards. 

Last I used large picture Command mounting strips (holds up to 16lbs) at the top and bottom of my photo strips. 

{Giveaway} Ringling Bros Barnum and Bailey Circus - Out of This World!

Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus - Out of This World blasts into the Spectrum Center (formerly Time Warner Cable Arena) from Wednesday, Feb 1st to Sunday, Feb 5th in Charlotte. This is a new spin on the circus, they are incorporating new age performances in the air, on bikes and on ice.

Grab your tickets now through this link! Tickets start at $20 per person.

Want to win 4 tickets for Thursday, February 2nd at 7PM? Share a 5-10 second video of your kids pretending to be clowns, astronauts or their favorite circus acts on our Facebook page. Hashtag it #OutOfThisWorld and #MomAboutCharlotte to be entered to win. We draw a winner from all the entries on Tuesday January 31st at 11am.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Monster Jam Charlotte Tickets - The Perfect Last Minute Holiday Gift! Plus GIVEAWAY!

We're ticking down to three exciting events in Charlotte over the next few weeks. First Christmas and Hanukkah, then New Years Eve, and finally MONSTER JAM on January 6th & 7th at the Spectrum Center (formerly Time Warner Cable Arena). Bring on the favorite machines like Monster Mutt, Grave Digger and El Toro Loco (my husband's favorite).

As a 30-something woman, I didn't expect Monster Jam to become such an anticipated annual event in my life,  but my son asks every time he recognizes the Monster Jam logo how much longer it'll be until it's time to don his ear-protection and hoot and holler as the monster machines pummel the dirt and fly in the air.

I've been, and it is an awesome event to experience live! Monster Jam hits the Charlotte area every year just after the holidays, so it makes for a perfect last minute gift idea for kids of all ages. Follow my link here to purchase tickets.

We will be giving away 4 tickets to Monster Jam for Friday, January 6th at 7PM. To enter to win please...

1. Fill out this form to sign up for our newsletter.
2. Tag yourself in the comments on this Facebook post.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Northlake Mall: Adventure to Santa

'Tis the season to round up the kids for their annual picture with Santa. We were invited for an interactive, exciting new take on Christmas pictures with Santa at the the Northlake Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina. They're hosting Dreamworks 'Adventure to Santa', which is an innovative digital holiday experience for kids of all ages.

It's recommended that you make reservations for your adventure online here to help reduce your wait, and avoid any long Santa-lines.

You'll join Po from Kung Fu Panda and venture with him and his cast of friends on a journey to the North Pole to deliver cookies to Santa. The 'Adventure to Santa' is located near the food court, but on the first floor - the digital village that houses the adventure is quite breath-taking. All sides feature digital screens that show silly holiday scenes with Po and his friends. 

After we made reservations online in advance, we signed in at the front desk and received our passport to the North Pole. We waited outside of the large red doors, the kids bouncing in anticipation of seeing Santa.

The first room introduced Po, who explained our mission. The kids got to play on digital screens and help Po collect points before we moved into the next room for the sleigh portion of the adventure.

Next, we all loaded into a sleigh in front of an IMAX-like screen. Then we were off, there was some rumbling of the sleigh as we sky-rocketed to the North Pole. The older two were grinning from ear to ear, but little bits at 20 months wasn't as keen. My husband was able to stand up with her and then she was fine until we arrived at the North Pole.

The third room allowed our kids to create a printable holiday card by donning Po with custom faces, clothes, accessories and their names. My kids handed each of theirs out to their cousins at a family gathering, and felt very big and important doing so.

The final room was where the man, the myth, the legend - Santa- sat in his North Pole study ready to listen toy hopes and desires. We all sat and took pictures - perhaps little bit's face gives away how she felt about Santa this year - but the older ones just adored this experience.

We had booked the Top Flight Package, and with this package they included one of the coolest things I've seen - a high resolution video of the kid's interactions with Santa that they gave us on a jump drive, as well as the digital images and printed photos.

You can check out the price points and what's included for each package below. I've looked around, and at first glance the prices look a little steep, but if you compare the prices for Adventure to Santa to any other mall Santa package in the Charlotte area, you'll quickly see that you get a much more immersive experience. 

At the end of the visit Santa gifted each of the kids these adorable plates they can set out with cookies for him on Christmas Eve. 

*Mom About Charlotte Disclosure: We were given the Top-Flight Package to facilitate the review, but as always all opinions are my own. I tell all venues/events etc. that I review, that  I only share what I love with my readers. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Small Business Saturday: {WIN} Custom Monogram Tumbler - The Perfect Holiday Gift for Teachers

If you're like me, then your turkey haze has lifted and you're coming to the frightening realization that we're already smack in the middle of the holiday blur. It's like the twilight zone, where days feel like minutes - and last minute becomes my only point of reference. Love those holidaze! Let the making of the gift buying list commence!

Image from:
Every year I begin racking my brain to come up with a teacher gift that is practical yet personal. I've opted for gift cards the majority of the time, but I always feel like they are impersonal. We've been so lucky to have top notch, caring, inspiring educators for our kids - I want them to know how much their energy, talents and kindness are appreciated.

This year I think I've discovered the perfect personal, yet practical gift for our beloved teachers. My good friend and vinyl-cutting goddess Jenifer from Crafty Vinyl Mom Design showed me the cutest teacher gift.

It's a custom monogrammed holiday 20oz stainless steel double walled vacuum sealed tumbler, the back reads "Teachers change the world one child at a time" in an apple shape.  I'm already crushing on this tumbler. I have one I use every day because it keeps my coffee hot and enjoyable even when I've gotten busy and ignored it for an hour or two - or five.

I'll pair this personalized gift with a Starbucks gift card, a heart-felt Hallmark card - and whammo! It's a holiday trifecta. You can 'trifecta' too and order you tumbler from Crafty Vinyl Mom Design. The 20oz is $18 and the 30oz is $20.

Support local vendors on Small Business Saturday and check out Crafty Vinyl Mom Design and her other adorable gifts for all the people on your shopping list.

I love these count down to Santa chalk boards! What kids doesn't love counting down to the best day of the year?

Do you have a shirt you've been dreaming up? Bring your ideas and she can create it in easily washable vinyl, like this reindeer glitter shirt. 

This reversible Fall/Joy art is perfect to carry you through the holiday festivities.  

I personally love vinyl wall art - this is a cute addition for the laundry room that moms spend way too much time in! 

In honor of Small Business Saturday, Jen and Crafty Vinyl Mom Design is giving one away to a Mom About Charlotte reader! Yeay! I'll draw the winner on December 15th. This is how you can enter to win.

Winner must do all three!
1. Like Crafty Vinyl Mom Design on Facebook
2. Tag yourself in the comments on our Facebook giveaway post here.
3. Share our giveaway post here PUBLICLY (otherwise I won't be able to see your entry!)
**BONUS ENTRIES** Tag a person who would love to win this in the Facebook giveaway comments here, and each person you tag is an extra entry for you and an entry for them!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

FREE Personalized Video Message from Santa with the Portable North Pole - plus coupon code for upgrade!

We've been getting FREE personalized videos from Portable North Pole for years. The kids eyes light up when I tell them I've received a video from Santa - and they bounce up and down waiting to find out if they've made the "nice list".

Last year we purchased the unlimited package which included personalized phone calls throughout the holiday season. It was fun to set the calls up on my phone or computer and upload images of the items my kids had mentioned and see their wonderment when Santa revealed that he knew exactly what they wanted for Christmas.

They're only little once, and I enjoyed sprinkling a little extra magic on during the holidays.

I found the service to be functional as well, in fact, I used Santa as a co-conspiritor for some behavior modification at least once. My son refused to go potty, like straight up he's going to wet himself, but would not relent to my pleadings to potty because it was MY idea not his.

I took a deep breath, went in the other room and ordered up a phone call from Santa reminding him to listen to his mommy, and low and behold - moments later he was willingly using the bathroom. No, I'm not too proud to use Santa's red-suited authority to my benefit.

Right now you can make Christmas Magic with the Portable North Pole. Mom About Charlotte readers can save 20% to unlock their upgraded packages with the promo code: PNP6BLG20! Click on this link to make your own free personalized video message from Santa