Our Christmas newsletter 2016

Every year I write out a family newsletter to include with our holiday cards, and every year I go back and forth about sending it out. Is it really worth the time, effort, printer ink, and paper? Is it too braggy? Too swaggy? Does anyone really read it?  This year I decided to write the newsletter but only share it with immediate family. I'm truly the worst at calling and emailing my siblings and parents, so this newsletter really does keep them updated. Unfortunately, I've been extraordinarily absent-minded this holiday season (for the first time ever I found myself scrambling to buy presents for the kids on December 24!), so I forgot to send out the newsletter. Fortunately, I still have this blog, so my work isn't going to waste. 

Celebrate the holidays with Disney's Viva Navidad street party

 Disney's California Adventure Viva Navidad street party

Parades are one of the most popular attractions at the Disneyland Resort. Every day, people line the sidewalks of Disneyland Park's Main Street USA to stake out good viewing spots. It's not unheard of for people to get settled 60-90 minutes before the parade begins, taking turns with family members to get food or go to the restroom. We've done this many times, but now that the kids are older, they prefer to take advantage of decreased attraction wait times during parades. Besides, they've seen all the current parades anyway... or so we thought. At our most recent Disneyland visit, we discovered one of the resort's best-kept secrets: Disney California Adventure's Viva Navidad Street Party. It's festive and fun, and you can arrive with just five minutes to spare and still get a great viewing spot!

Saying goodbye to the Hollywood Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has always been my favorite ride at the Disneyland Hotel. No matter how many times I ride it, I always come out with my hands shaking and my throat raw from screaming. So I had mixed feelings when Disney Parks announced that the ride would be getting a Guardians of the Galaxy makeover in 2017. They'll be keeping the elevator-drop mechanism, but completely redoing the exterior as well as the ride visuals and sound effects. I've been through enough ride closures and openings to know that whatever they come up with will be nothing short of Marvel-ous, but I do feel a twinge of sadness at the loss of my favorite ride.

Date Night at Bowlero

Now that the kids are older, date night with Alfie is easier than ever. And yet, somehow, date night is still a rarity. I know all the magazines and relationship experts tell you to schedule regular date nights to keep the romance alive, but honestly, we're happy just vegging out on the couch together when The Pea is at dance and the boys are at soccer practice. It's a lot cheaper and takes up far less energy!

Make your own Mickey Mouse t-shirt with fabric transfers

Who doesn't love a Mickey Mouse t-shirt?  I'm a big Disney fan, so I'll wear a Mickey tee any day of the year, even when I'm not at a Disney Park! Disney tees at the Disney Store or Disney Park tend to be expensive ($25 and up), but fortunately you can find Disney tees for as little as $10-$15 at stores like Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Old Navy, and UNIQLO.

Many people like to make their own Disney shirts, not just to save money but to have something that's truly one-of-a-kind. Mickey is notoriously difficult to draw properly, so most DIY Mickey shirts involve printing a design on iron-on transfer paper. In my opinion, unless you have a really good laser printer, your iron-on design tshirt is still going to look homemade. I would far rather hand paint or screen paint a shirt -- check out my post with instructions for painting a tshirt with freezer paper stencils!

Another great alternative to ironing on a Mickey printout is to iron on a fabric Mickey applique. It's so easy to do, and the result looks great. Watch the video I made to find out how: