Maryland Mommy Blogger | Mommy 2K

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Disney Kids Preschool Playdate Brings the Magic of @DisneyWorld to Your Home #spon #DisneyKids

Disclosure: I received free products in order to host the Disney Kids Preschool Playdate. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Pixie dust is probably the only thing that can be sprinkled around the house that does not require a vacuum to clean up the mess. In fact, it is a welcomed guest. It brings the most magical experiences whenever it lands in your life. Somehow, smiles are sizable, moods are merrier and laughs are louder in its presence. And the magic of pixie dust is noticeably present on any occasion that involves children. Our Disney Kids Preschool Playdate was graced with the magic of Disney World and helped carve out a moment in the day to celebrate the beauty of play.
As the mother of a toddler, I know that my son requires a lot to hold his attention. He is easily distracted by the tiniest of moments and needs to be entertained to a certain degree to maintain a level of happiness. What this all means is – he needs to have fun with a lot of stuff!

When Disney sent us over a generous package of their goods, I was thrilled to dig in and explore the magic. It felt like Christmas in March as I unboxed all of the goodies and laid them out on the floor to get a better look. Disney sure does know how to cover all the details and make hosting a playdate a breeze, especially for busy families with tight schedules.
March was extremely "mad" and finding the perfect moment to host this event was difficult. So, I made sure to get it in before all the Easter fun so that the children would not be overwhelmed. I made our playdate as simple as possible – food and fun. I've learned that toddlers are never really concerned with details; they like to see the bigger picture. A lot of the stress of party-planning is self-imposed. Do what you can and have fun. I managed to incorporate a few Disney-themed inspirations to help the playdate feel special to the children. At the end of the day, your guests (even the tiniest of ones) will appreciate your efforts.
Finger foods are perfect for the little ones. I thought of the classics that most preschoolers enjoy. Using a Mickey Mouse waffle iron (a birthday gift from my cousin), I made the perfect grilled cheese sandwiches. They were quick to prepare, easy to hold in tiny hands and darn cute.
To add a more nutritional element to their meal, I mimicked Minnie Mouse's hair bow (or Mickey Mouse's bowtie) by placing two strawberries with a blueberry center on a popsicle stick.

I also made miniature "pig in a blanket" bites using crescent rolls to wrap around cocktail wieners. It was inspired by the hot dog song that is played during Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I caught myself humming the tune a few times while preparing them.
Special goodies always make any playdate more exciting. The Mickey Mouse Oreos were so simple to make. I just pressed the mini Oreos into the double stuffed Oreos to create the shape. I also filled the provided Disney "Frozen" GLAD bags  with popcorn as a snack for later. There were also CARS fruit snacks available to the preschoolers.
Since there were only a few playdate-goers, I was able to use some of the materials provided to embellish a few items. I used the ring from the Walt Disney World Resort Preschool maps to wrap around the bottles of water. This is a trick that I like to use to get the toddlers to notice and desire water more than usual.

Also, if you take a look under their plates, you can see a colorful placemat. I used a square sheet of construction paper and chose different pictures out of a poster book. Then, I each picture onto a square and the children chose which character they wanted.
I don't think I had any complaints. The food was enough to keep this active crew in their seats for a few minutes. It was just enough time to capture pictures of them at the table.
It's easy to entertain preschoolers (a cardboard box can hold their attention for quite some time). In keeping with the whole simple theme, we played one of the games supplied in the package that was sent by Disney. An over-sized cutout of Mickey's head with a missing smile used similar rules as the classic game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Instead of a tail, I cut a red smile out of construction paper to be pinned onto Mickey's face. The preschooler who came the closest to placing the smile in the correct place became the winner. They were all a little reluctant of the blindfold, but still played along.
The Mickey Mouse cutout was so cute, I thought, "why not turn it into a backdrop for pictures?!" So, I did. I used wrapping paper that was lying around the house to add a pop of color.
Those handy drawstring bags worked perfectly as decor for the back of the chairs at the table. At the end of the playdate, I stuffed all the items from the party (snacks mainly) into the bag to be sent home with the children. Worked like a charm.
The preschoolers attempted to make puppets out of lunch bags. It didn't go so well. It may  have been too close to nap time to hold their attention. They did manage to scribble a few designs onto their bags. But, that's as far as it went.
The funny part about entertaining preschoolers is the fact that you can say something as simple as, "Mickey", and they will go nuts over it.
The children wanted so badly to play with bubbles. It was the perfect way to end the playdate just before they all got ready for a nap. A little outdoor air on a pleasantly warm Spring day was most inviting to the tots in the backyard.
Our Disney Kids Preschool Playdate was awesome. I did not go over-the-top with games, decor and food. Instead, I kept it simple and made adjustments that catered to the preschoolers. It's quite similar to planning a vacation at Walt Disney World Resort – you are equipped with the proper tools to help facilitate in the planning of a memorable vacation that works best for your family. This is what makes the Disney brand so personal; there is always an opportunity to individualize your experience. And somehow, the magic always finds a way to appear, creates a ton of memories and never leaves your heart.
Thank you, Disney! Let's hope I can look back on this playdate and say, "remember when we imagined that we were at Disney World?" we're on a plane flying to make our dreams come true in sunny Florida. Fingers crossed.

Play on, preschoolers. Play on!

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Disclosure Information
I received free products in order to host the Disney Kids Preschool Playdate. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Chick-fil-A Cow Flash Mob Rocks Baltimore to Encourage Families to "Get Mooo-ving" together + {Giveaway} #showusyourmoooves

My bucket list includes, "Participate in a Flash Mob Dance". I have yet to cross it off of said list. I should probably step my game up if I am considering competing with all the cool, fitness fun that took place recently in Baltimore, MD. The Chick-fil-A cows filled Pratt Street, along with 120 dancers, to encourage families to “Get Mooo-ving” together.
Baltimore bystanders were surprised & delighted this weekend when a herd of 23 Chick-fil-A cows marched down Pratt Street in Baltimore. Crossing the street and waving to amazed drivers, the bovine were joined at the Trans America Plaza by 120 parents and children for a dance through the decades to songs like Rockin Robin, the Twist, Staying Alive, Footloose and You Can’t Touch This. The final song, the well known Cupid Shuffle allowed everyone to join in on the fun. The fitness flash mob was part of the debut of the Baltimore Chick-fil-A dancing cows. Their message is to encourage families to “Get Mooo-ving” together.


The flash mob was sponsored by the 36 Baltimore Area Chick-fil-A restaurants. Lisa Scott, Baltimore Area Marketing Director said “Chick-fil-A cares about a healthy lifestyle and is dedicated to providing a balanced menu with lighter options and healthier choices. The new kale & broccolini Superfood Side is a great example. Exercise is also an important part of healthy living and the “Get Mooo-ving” message is a fun way to encourage families to spend time together being active. What is more fun than dancing and who can resist a group of big dancing Chick-fil-A cows? ”
Look for the Chick-fil-A Baltimore Dancing Cows at events throughout Maryland this spring and fall. Check your local Chick-fil-A Facebook page for updates where you can also #showusyourmoooves.
Who: (4) lucky Mommy 2K readers
What: (1) Chick-fil-A Meal Digital Offer Card {Chick-fil-A Sandwich Meal or Nuggets Meal)
When: Starts >April 7, 2016 and Ends > April 13, 2016 (12:00 AM EST)
Where: HERE
How: Rafflecopter form below

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Disclosure Information
I am apart of the Chick-fil-A blogger group. I was provided complimentary digital offer cards for my time. Opinions and views are my own. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Hey, Dirty Girls! This Run's for YOU. Dirty Girl Mud Run comes to Baltimore on May 14th. {Discount Code}

I feel like I've been running a marathon since becoming a mother. I've been running errands, running around looking for my keys, running after my toddler, running up and down the road to sports practice and doctor office visits, running away from my responsibilities and on some days, I've felt like running away. If you add up the total amount of miles that I've accumulated over the last decade, well, I should be on the couch asleep right now. But, these examples aren't the type of running that challenges me in the way that I want. I want (need) something that is not necessarily required of me to complete, but presents the opportunity for me to follow through on the commitment.
For the last few years, I have been saying that I am going to complete a 5K run. For those of you who are not familiar as to what a 5K run is, the simple answer is: a run that is a little over 3 miles in distance. This is shortest run that one can participate in, out of all the many runs and races that are offered. It's a good place to start if you aren't an advanced runner or want to get your feet wet (and sweaty...ha) into the racing world (check out a few races over on Pursuit of it All to get an idea). A 5K is also a great way to spend time with friends and family to create memories. I also hear there is a great amount of support from strangers in this whole running/racing world. I'm here for it all!
I'm happy to announce that I will be participating in my first (gasp) 5K run – Dirty Girl Mud Run. I know for some of you this is hilarious because you have a shelf full of medals and trophies from the gazillion races that you've participated in. But for me, this is an accomplishment. I have to start somewhere. And for someone who despises running – I mean I HATE running– I am already proud that I have even entertained the thought of registering for this event. I've already won in a way.
I think that I am most excited to complete this run with friends. Since sharing online, I've had a few of them say that they would like to join in on the fun. I think it would be great to have an entire team of the people that I love working together towards one common goal. This is what Dirty Girl Mud run is all about – inspiration and empowerment. I also know that there will be a few laughs along the way. My cousin even reminded me that the mud will serve as a great conditioner for our hair. You know us black women don't play when it comes to messing up our hair (or so they say). So, this is serious business here, people.
Here's what you need to know if you want to get all down and dirty:

  • This is for WOMEN only. Sorry fellas, but girls just wanna have fun.
  • There are obstacles with hopes of promoting you to run, jump, climb, walk, whatever!

  • There is A LOT of mud. You will get dirty. Okay?! 
  • This is the World's Largest Women's Only Mud Run.
  • DGMR is partnered with breast cancer prevention & education organization, Bright Pink.
  • The run will take place in 19 cities. 
  • If all of this sounds good to you, register NOW! Use promo code: MOMMY2K for a 10% off discount at checkout. For my Baltimore friends, go here.

  • I know this is going to be an awesome event. I hope that this run inspires me to take on more healthier lifestyle choices and enter more runs in the future. I do know that starting my run in the mud is a pretty sweet start.

    Good luck, you dirty girls!
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    As a thank you for sharing this information, I am receiving complimentary registration to participate in the Dirty Girl Mud Race. The opinions and views are my own. 

    Friday, March 18, 2016

    Disney's Animated Series "The Lion Guard" Premieres "Follow That Hippo!" Episode on Friday, March 18th + My Interview with Dusan Brown

    Most days, I feel like my life is one, big animation. It's filled with colorful characters (my children), various levels of liveliness (toddler tantrums & a teen talking back), endless adventures (on the road...again) and a few exaggerated moments (drama for your mama). If you were to throw in a well-written script, my family and I could provide you a bit of must-see television.

    But for now, we'll just stick to watching all of the other wonderful programming that takes over our TV screen for several hours each day (don't go all judgmental on me). And we all know that having a toddler in the house most likely means that most of what we view is animation. I don't mind though; animated series make me feel a little lighter during the day. Thank goodness for shows like, "The Lion Guard", on Disney Junior (and Disney Channel) that bring a bit of nostalgia from my adolescence and teach valuable lessons to Liam about teamwork, community and diversity.

    "The Lion Guard" continues the epic storytelling of Disney's "The Lion King" and follows the adventures of Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala, and his diverse group of friends as they unite to protect the Pride Lands. They are: Bunga, a fearless honey badger; Fuli, a confident cheetah; Beshte, a friendly and good-spirited hippo; and Ono, an intellectual regret. Together, Kion and his friends make up the Pride Lands' fiercest, bravest, fastest, strongest and keenest of sight."
    When I discovered that "The Lion Guard" would become an animated series I was thrilled. I have so many pleasant memories of the original movie dating back to 1994. I was excited for the opportunity to relive this classic with my toddler and watch his reaction to the characters, colors and music. What really solidified my elation for this series was the discovery that one of our favorite actors from another animated series, Dusan Brown, was going to be the voice of Beshte the hippo.
    I had the pleasure of interviewing Dusan a few weeks ago. His energy was off the charts and his passion for the art of acting came through in his words. Here is what went down when we spoke:

    Me: What does your name mean?

    Dusan: My name, Dusan, means 'God is my judge' and my middle name is Khalil, which means 'friend'. It's Swahili.

    **I should note the significance of this. Each episode of "The Lion Guard" includes Swahili words and phrases. What an awesome connection to have as an actor working on a show that shares the same meaningfulness of words as your birth name. 

    Me: So, your character on "The Lion Guard", Beshte, he's known to be friendly and good natured and friends with everyone, that's how it was describe. Does that compare to your personality in real life?

    Dusan: Oh yes! It really does because Beshte in the Pride Lands he's saying 'hello' to everybody, everybody's saying 'hello' to him. And when I go to school, I'm saying 'hello' to everybody and everybody's saying 'hello' to me. So, it's like I'm really Beshte in a way. And I was also class president, so it just shows that I'm with everybody and everybody's with me.   

    Me: So, I was curious. The original "The Lion King" movie came out in '94 and I know that you're nowhere near that age, so I was wondering, how were you introduced to the original "The Lion King"? Was it just something that you just watched?

    Dusan: Well, the original "The Lion King" was shown to me by my parents when I was much younger. After that, they went to go and take me to the play and after I saw the play I had asked my parents. I said, "hey guys, I actually want to play young Simba." So, a few months later, I actually ended up auditioning for "The Lion King" and I ended up being young Simba. So, for me, booking this job and being Beshte is like another part of my life all connected together. And it's all connected to my family.
    Me: That's awesome that you saw the movie, said that you wanted to be Simba and then right after that, you became apart of what you wanted to be, what your dream was. So, that's awesome! So, I'll finish with, what is your dream role and who would you love to work with?

    Dusan: Okay, my dream role would be like a very, very expensive movie because I would want to work with Denzel Washington. I would want to work with Kevin Hart. I would want to work with Jamie Foxx. I would want to work with Samuel L. And this is all in like one, huge movie. But, it's like an action movie with superheros and it's going to be like Marvel.

    Me: Okay, I feel like that could probably happen with your enthusiasm.

    And that's where we ended it (for the sake of time). I'm sure that Dusan would have been ready for any question that I presented him with. I was blown away by how quickly he tackled the questions and dove right in. He speaks with conviction. I can only imagine how much energy fills the room when he goes on an audition. If I were a casting director, I would easily remember him once he left the room. His presence is huge and I felt that just from being on the phone with him.
    Interviewing Dusan gave me a new appreciation for his character when I watch "The Lion Guard" with Liam. We make certain to tune in whenever there is an episode on the television. In fact, Liam insists that I watch past episodes on the nights where he is having trouble sleeping. He sings along to all the catchy songs. I even find myself getting into the groove.

    I am also drawn to this character because I feel as though my children can relate and/or aspire to follow their dreams as black boys. It warms my heart to know that the voice behind some of Liam's favorite animated characters belongs to a young man that looks like him. This is major for us and helps retain us as fans of the show.

    This Friday, March 18th, "The Lion Guard" will premiere a brand new episode titled, "Follow that Hippo!" In this episode, "Beshte rescues a young elephant that idolizes him after he wanders into danger". Here is a clip from this episode and a little bit of singing from Dusan Brown for your pleasure:

    Won't you join us in celebrating great television programming for our children. Tune in. I know we will be watching.

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