Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Go-To Hydration Drink - Cocogo! A Giveaway

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  I wouldn't be an ambassador of a product, though, unless I stood behind it and would use it myself.  All opinions are 100% my own!

I'm linking up with April, Patty and Erika today for Tuesdays on the Run!  Visit one of their blogs to link up or find some great reads!

Something horrible happened the other week.  I ran out of Cocogo and a 8 mile run was looming.

I used a sample I had been given of another huge name in sports hydration.

GAH.  The sweetness - I wanted to stop halfway through my run at a drug store and buy a toothbrush and toothpaste.  It was just that bad.

Cocogo is real fruit sports hydration.  Here are some numbers to show you what they mean by that.

Where sugar comes from and the kind of sugar are important.  When I drink Cocogo, I don't feel like my teeth are about to fall out of my mouth.  My stomach doesn't get upset.

And I'm asking you to put aside any prejudice you may have for coconut water.  I have not yet tried a brand of ready-made coconut water that I like.  Cocogo, however, tastes great to me!  The flavors are raspberry passion fruit, lemon-lime and grape.  Grape is da bomb!

It comes in powdered form which is great for portability.  I can stick a packet or two in my pocket and refill my water bottle mid run while adding more Cocogo.  Super easy to throw in a suitcase for a destination race as well!

During the months of September and October you can use the code MOMSMAGICMILES for 20% off your order!  That's a 10% increase over my usual discount.  Head over to their online store now!

My friends at Cocogo have graciously offered a 3 pack of Cocogo for one winner!  Try all three flavors and experience how much better Cocogo's real fruit hydration is!

US residents only.  Closes October 6th, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Top Tips For Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

I wrote a post about what I was most looking forward to at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party - hereafter known as MNSSHP!

In the post, I talked about alllllll the things we were going to do in our 8 hours at the Magic Kingdom.


Yeah, no.  There was no way I could get to everything we wanted to do - and I was with my most laid-back, go-with-the-flow child.  You know what?  That was okay.  It was still a completely magical night and proved the Disney Parks new campaign - #UnforgettableHappensHere.  My kid was happier than happy.  He was the epitome of The Lego Movie - everything he saw and did was "awesome"!
  • Don't wait to get your tickets!  I was so glad I bought our party tickets well in advance.  When we arrived at the Magic Kingdom this sign was the first thing we saw:
  • Costumes are good.  Not passing out is better.  When we got to the party at 5:00pm, it was 90 degrees.  If you are traveling from not so warm climates, you may forget that it's hot well into October in Orlando.  My son's costume was padded and polyester - he was gonna swelter and be cranky before the party even started at 7:00pm.  I threw our costumes into a bag and just brought them with us.  I also stressed that costumes were NOT required to get candy.  His comfort and safety are first.  By 7pm the sun was going down and it was much more comfortable.
  • Not all rides are open during the party.  I made sure we rode the Jungle Cruise before the party started!  If you've got littles, don't worry - all of Fantasyland was up and running!  
  • Hit the candy lines later!  Trust me - Disney is NOT running out of candy.  It was out allll night long and the barrels were refilled regularly.  You are handed bags when you enter the park.  The lines are longer at the beginning of the evening.  Don't miss the Treat Trail that starts by Goofy's Barnstormer and has candy stops all along the trail to Tomorrowland.  By the way - this candy was indeed the "good stuff" - Milky Way, M&M's, Kit Kat, Sour Patch Kids... lots of good name brands.  If your child has allergy issues, take your candy to Guest Relations to trade it in for things your child CAN have.  
  • Skip the first parade.  If your people don't care about the parade or if they can hold out until the 2nd parade, use the first parade time to ride Peter Pan, Haunted Mansion or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train rides.  Those lines traditionally stay pretty high during the party but wait times are reduced greatly during parades.  Ditto for fireworks.  
  • Scout out a fireworks spot.  My guy wanted to see the fireworks.  Instead of fighting to find space in front of the castle, we found a great space on the bridge to Fantasyland to the right of the castle.  See, the fireworks actually go off from behind the castle, so sitting to the right side still offers you a great view.  We were up and ready to head straight to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride as soon as the fireworks were over - no castle crowds to fight.
  • Get the My Disney Experience App.  For real.  You can check current wait times for any attraction in the park.  We got in line for the Haunted Mansion when the sign said 15 minutes.  Just a few minutes in, the wait time jumped to 40 minutes per the app.  Oh, no.  We got out of line and used that time to hit something else.  
  • Ice Cream works miracles.  Spirits and blood sugar flagging?  My man was pooping out after the fireworks.  After a ride on the Mine Train I got him a promised Mickey Bar - chocolate-covered ice cream on a stick.  We did some shopping and, miraculously, the boy rebounded and wanted to stay for the late parade!  
  • Speaking of the parade....  We were by the front of the park.  The parade starts at 11:15.  However, it starts in Frontierland.  If you decide to park yourself on Main Street to watch the parade, be patient.
Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks
  • Consider the special event merchandise.  My oldest son is a pin collector, so I knew I had to get him the 2015 Halloween party pin.  It was $14.99 and was held behind the counter in the shops.  A friend asked me to pick up some of the party shirts for her kids.  The short sleeve were $24.95.  If someone in your family collects the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game cards, a special card is produced just for the party!  Be sure to grab one for them - they were handing them out in front of the Fire Station!
Finally, just enjoy!  Go into the party with just a handful of "must-do's".  Go with the flow and be flexible so that you can truly enjoy the party atmosphere - and your family.

Have you been to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween party?  What are your best tips?

Spooktacular Chase 5K & 10K - Giveaway!

I love October.  I've always said that you can't throw a rock and not hit a 5K in the month of October.  It's the best race month in Georgia!

October is also full of fun Halloween-themed races!  You know what's better?  When that race benefits a charity!

The Spooktacular Chase is October 17th at Cobb Park in Smyrna!  The race benefits Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia, serving the blind and low-vision community in 31 North Georgia counties.

Photo Courtesy of TrueSpeedPhoto.com
This truly is a family-focused event - there is a 1K, a 5K and a new 10K!  Costumes, children and leashed dogs are welcome!  The 5K and 10K courses are certified and chip-timed.  Be sure to register by September 30th in order to be guaranteed a t-shirt!

Photo Courtesy of TrueSpeedPhoto.com
Teams of 10 or more are offered $20 race registration.  Don't have a team?  Join our local ATLrunsDisney team!  Just select that name from the drop-down box during online registration.  There is also a discounted military registration option with a special shirt and a post race service appreciation brunch!

Packet pick up is Friday, October 16 from noon - 6pm at West Stride Running Store.

I'm excited to have been given an entry to give away!

Short turn around time on this one, y'all - if you don't win the entry, I want you to be able to register by Wednesday night and be guaranteed the t-shirt!  Entries open to US residents and winner will be selected by noon on Wednesday, September 30th!

Congrats to Shannon Z - you won the free entry!!!  

Monday, September 21, 2015

Hotel Transylvania 2: Drac's Back!

Disclosure:  I was invited to a screening of this movie and was given complimentary admission for my family.  No other compensation was given; all opinions are my own.

Kid movies.  You've sat through your share, right?  They can be hit or miss.  Some are clearly just put out there to pander to kids with fart jokes and gross stuff while the adult in the room just cringes and wishes they had sharp objects to poke themselves with.

Hotel Transylvania 2 is NOT that kind of movie.

I enjoyed the first one with my kids, and the A-list voice actors made it fun.  Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, Kevin James, CeeLo Green, Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez all did a great job so I had high hopes for the sequel.

Y'all, this was a hit!  I'm kind of  a harsh judge of non-Disney kid's movies but this one absolutely got thumbs up from ALL of us!

It totally helped that the story line was something parents can relate to - having a baby, leaving him or her for the first time and always being worried about doing what's best for them.

The kids loved it because it was just flat-out FUNNY.  When I saw the credits roll, it made sense; it was written by Adam Sandler and Robert Smigel of Saturday Night Live fame!  As an adult, I appreciate how well the actors gave these characters personality.  My favorite was Steve Buscemi's worn down werewolf dad, Wayne!

The only thing I think this movie was lacking was the stellar music of the first movie.  The original had some great dance tunes and a lot of funky, fun music.  The sequel didn't offer nearly as many opportunities for that.  This, however, was the only thing I think this movie was missing.

As far as being "family friendly" goes, I will say that there are a few "potty-humor" type jokes but as a mom with 3 boys I found myself actually laughing right along with them.  They were appropriate to the situation and were not over the top gross.  Only one line stands out to me as borderline:  one of the characters notes that someone's hairstyle looks like "my grandmother's boobies".  I looked at the boys, they looked at me and giggled, and then we moved on.  Everything else is completely fine.

I am definitely recommending this one for your family!   It's the perfect way to kick off  Halloween festivities!

Follow the fun on social media:
Twitter:  @HotelT https://twitter.com/HotelT
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HotelT
Visit the Hotel Transylvania 2 official website: http://www.hoteltransylvania2.com/

Saturday, September 19, 2015

US Family Guide to Fall Festivals and Halloween Fun!

US Family Guide Halloween

Ready for some Fall Festival Deals?  Here's a great list of Corn Maze Coupons and Fall Festival savings nationwide.  Download valuable coupons for Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches and Fall Family Activities!

Tolmachoff Farms - Glendale
Mortimer Farms - Dewey
Rocker 7 Farm Patch - Buckeye

Pirates Dinner Adventure - Vampirates - Buena vista
Gilroy Gardens - Gilroy
California's Great America - Santa Clara
Big Horse Corn Maze Festival - Temecula

ColoradoKids.com Annual Halloween Guide

Anderson Farms - Erie
Fritzler Maze - La Salle
Mile High Farms - Bennett
Wishing Star Farm - Calhan
Harvest Farm - Wellington
Cottonwood Farms - Boulder
Rocky Mountain Pumpkin Ranch - Longmont
Elitch Gardens Theme Park - Fright Fest - Denver
Denver Zoo - Boo at The Zoo - Denver
Children's Museum of Denver - Trick or Treat Street - Denver

Scott's Yankee Farmer - East Lyme

The Little Farm - Goulds
Lowry Park Zoo - ZOOBOO Kids! - Tampa

Siegel's Cottonwood Farm - Lockport

Amazing Fall Fun - Waterloo
Shipshewana Corn Maze - Shipshewana

Great Country Farms - Bluemont

Ripley's Believe It or Not! - Batimore

Bavarian Inn Lodge - Frankenmuth

Beggs Family Farm - Sikeston
Carolyn's Country Cousins - Liberty Corn Maze
Legoland Discovery Center - Brick or Treat - Kansas City

Applestem, Inc. - Vaughn

New Jersey
iPlay America - Freehold

New Mexico
La Union Maze - La Union

OhioBlooms and Berries - Loveland
Beriswill Farms - Valley City

Rhode Island
Confreda Greenhouses & Farms - Hope (Western Cranston)

South Carolina
Hollywild Animal Park - Wellford

Oakes Farm - Corryton
Shuckle's Corn Maze - Hendersonville

Devine Acres Farm - Devine 
Fiesta Farm - San Antonio
Barton Hill Farms - Bastrop
Lone Star Family Farm - Stephenville
LEGOLAND Discovery Center - Brick or Treat - Grapevine

Hee Haw Farms - Pleasant Grove
This Is The Place Heritage Park - Salt Lake City

Gaines Farm - Guilford

Great Country Farms - Bluemont

For daily updates on these coupons and coupons for other family attractions please visit and bookmark:http://www.usfamilycoupons.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What's In Store At Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party?

Next week is a very well-timed fall break!  We started school the first week of August so, yeah, I'm ready for a break.  While Orlando is not our main destination, I've got special plans for me and my baby!

I'm taking my 7 year old to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom!  This is a first for both of us - we've never been to this special event.

My evening at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2 years ago was SO much fun - I have high hopes for the Halloween party!

This one will be a special time with just me and my youngest.  Seven is such a perfect age to experience everything the Magic Kingdom has to offer.  He's also my child most likely to totally get into dressing up with me!

What you NEED to know:

This is what is called a "hard ticket" event - you need a ticket that is separate from a regular admission ticket.  The great news is that you can get into just the party with the party ticket, no regular admission ticket required.  The party "officially" begins at 7pm, but you can get into the park as early as 4pm with just your party ticket.  The party lasts until midnight, so that's a good 8 hours of fun!

If you are in the park when the party begins and you do not have a party wristband (which you will receive when you enter with your party ticket) then you will be asked to leave the park.  For party guests, this means much shorter lines for your favorite rides during the party!

What is so special about Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party?

Courtesy of Kristen at The Smith Summary

It's not, well, scary.  My youngest gets freaked out by zombies and other lovely creatures his older brothers watch on TV and read about in books.  I can take my little man knowing it will be all fun, no freak.

Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks 

Trick of treating!  Costumes are encouraged and trick-or-treating is available all over the park!  I am told by people in the know that not only do they not skimp on the candy, but that it's the GOOD STUFF.  We're talking 40 different kinds of name-brand candies.

Photo courtesy of  Kristen at The Smith Summary

Special Treats!  Aside from the candy handed out, that is.  Stuff they only make for the Halloween party.  It would be irresponsible of me not to try these out and report back to you.  I've got several kinds of cupcakes to try and the Candy Corn Softserve ice cream.  I'll take these for the team.

Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks

Photo Courtesy of Suzanne at Suzanne Ran

Characters!  If you have a Jack Skellington fan, this is the place to be.  He and Sally make a rare appearance.  There are 13 (natch) characters that are exclusive to the Halloween party. Other traditional characters are dressed up in costumes!  It takes your repeat character photo ops and gives them a fresh twist!

Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks

Boo To You Parade - I'm told to make sure I hit the start of this parade - the Headless Horseman leads the way!  This parade is shown twice nightly.  If you think your kids can hold out later, skip the early show and use that time to ride attractions with even less lines.  When the 2nd parade comes along, you'll get less crowds and better viewing spots!

Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks

HallowWishes - This is a special version of the every day Wishes fireworks show at night.The narrator is, of course, the Ghost Host from the Haunted Mansion!

I've heard so many great things about this party that I just can't wait!

If you would like to read more about the party, be sure to read the following:

3 Tips For Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party from My Mommy Reads

This year's guide map has been released!  View it on DisneyDining.com.  

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is held on select evenings starting tonight and runs until November 1, 2015.  Find more information and purchase tickets here.

If you've been to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, let me hear from you!  What was your favorite part?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Disney Parks Moms Panel Search 2016 - Not My First Rodeo

Do you know how many people have sent me the link to the Disney Parks Moms Panel website this week? 

Eleventy billion.  #TrueStory

My Disney people will know what this is about.  For everyone else, the DPMP is a great site that allows you to submit Disney vacation planning questions to be answered by moms (and dads) who have loads of knowledge in various specialties.

How do you get on the panel?  This search right here:

This is round one. Generally there are four rounds, the number of applicants advancing to each round whittling down each time.

Last year, I made it all the way to Round 4, but sadly was not selected for the panel.  Honestly?  I was thrilled to be in the final rounds.  There were not many spots open and waaaayyyyyyyy too many applicants to fill them.

There is also a perk to being able to get that far - I got an automatic pass to round 2 for this year's search!  I still filled out all the Round 1 questions but when I hit submit, this happy little screen popped up:

Normally, the people who advance to round 2 won't be notified until late September or early October.  This lets me breathe a little!

I honestly cannot even remember how many times I've applied - I think this is number 4 or 5?  And I get a little bit closer each year, so that's exciting.  It's a really fun process and you get to know a lot of other people on social media who are sharing the journey.

If Disney Parks, Cruises or the Vacation Club destinations are your thing, then give it a shot! Round one closes September 15th, so jump on it! My number one tip is to let YOUR unique personality shine through in all the questions you answer.  Release your #DisneySide!

If you've decided not to apply, then by all means feel free to chEAR me on - I'd love the encouragement!