A funny thing happened when I was browsing Facebook today

As I usually do, I was browsing my Facebook timeline during my lunch break. My friend Carol from Girl Gone Travel is visiting Disneyland on behalf of Expedia ViewFinder. (She’s a travel blogger and this is actually her job! I know…so lucky!) She posted a Facebook Live video straight from Main Street and the cast member she was with had a great Disney trivia question: name ten animated feature films that have one-word titles that were all hand-drawn. That’s right, no computer animation used. Can you guess who knew them all? Yup, this girl! I knew nine of them right away, and had to think about the tenth, but I still got them all. I guess you can say I’ve earned my ears!

mickeyearsRachel and I with our long-coveted Mickey Ears!

Goes to show that my love for Disney can come in handy at any time, even when I’m on my lunch break!

I could tell you what they are, but that would be no fun. So I’m wondering, can you name the ten Disney animated feature films with one-word titles that used no computer animation? Leave your answers in the comments, and I’ll let you know if you’re right!

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How to Pack your Backpack for a Magical Day at Walt Disney World

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MagicalFamilyFirsts #CollectiveBias

As a Florida resident, I’ve been going to Walt Disney World for as long as I can remember. As a child I went often, and Walt Disney World holds a special place in my heart because my husband and I met there during a high school trip. We’ve instilled a love of Walt Disney World in our children from an early age: Brandon, who is now 13, went 11 times in his first three years. Matty, now 9, went on his very first vacation when he was just three months old. We are annual passholders and go as often as we can, sometimes as many as 6 times a year! When the boys were younger, we packed their diaper bag with all the baby essentials, including Huggies diapers and wipes. Now that they are older, our vacations are much easier. We’ve perfected our Walt Disney World travels, from travel time to affordable hotel stays. We even bring a backpack filled with a few essentials that make our visits to the parks easy and convenient.


It’s easy to prepare for a visit to the most Magical Place on Earth, whether your vacation lasts two days or 10!

How to Pack Your Backpack for a Day at the Parks

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Wordless Wednesday: Coolest pregnancy announcement ever!

About two weeks ago, I won a contest where not only would ten contest winners get the highly anticipated latest release by Locos Por Juana, one of our favorite local bands, but the lead singer would personally deliver the CD to our house. The required entry was a message or comment on his Facebook Live video announcing the contest, and I jumped at the chance to win. My sister has followed the band for about eight years, and I for about seven. A couple of years ago we got our mom on the bandwagon as well.

So I was one of the ten winners, and I had the brilliant idea to use my mom’s address so we could all see Itagui. Plus we had a little surprise for him:


My sister and her fiance are expecting a baby! I’m going to be an aunt again!
Baby is due April 2017, and we are all thrilled!


As for Locos Por Juana’s new “baby”, the CD drops on October 7th. I’ve already heard it multiple times, and it’s awesome! It can be pre-ordered on iTunes now. Thank you, Locos Por Juana and Itagui, for giving my sister the coolest pregnancy announcement ever!

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We survived the first two weeks of school!

We have now entered the last year of middle school for Brandon, and the second to last year of elementary school for Matty. While there were a few bumps in the road transportation-wise for Brandon, I’m happy to report that all is well in Back to School land at our house. I’m happy that Brandon has some of the same teachers, so he knows what to expect and what they expect from him. I’m also thankful that Matty’s teachers emailed me the supply list during the summer, so I didn’t have to face the retail madness last week.  I am, however, in denial that in just a few short months I’ll have a high schooler…how is that even possible? Just the other day, I wrote this post, and now they look like this:

First Day of School 2016

In a couple of months, we have to choose a high school for Brandon. Long gone are the days of attending the school within your neighborhood boundaries. Now it’s like picking a university! We got a few weeks to really figure out what path he’ll take, something that in my day (here I am, sounding old!) wasn’t really decided until the last year of high school, as one prepared to enter college. I just hope I steer him in the right direction, and that he thinks about long term career goals versus his interests now. And then we have to do it all over again with Matty next year, when we decided on a middle school for him!

But for now, we’ll focus on making sure they complete assignments on time, comprehend what they are learning in school, and that we make time for fun stuff too.

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Life, Animated: A Review

Disclosure: I was provided press materials for Life, Animated, and was invited to screen the documentary. 

I’ll admit, what first attracted me to the opportunity to screen Life, Animated were the words “Disney films”. If you know anything about me and this blog, you know I’m a huge fan, and I really wanted to know about the role they played in Owen Suskind’s life: which films where his favorites? How did he relate to them? And did Disney “magic” really help Owen? I’m glad to report that Director Roger Ross Williams’ documentary answered these questions and more.

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Get Back To School Ready With Campbell’s Savings: Baked Ziti Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CampbellSavings #CollectiveBias


What was that sound? Was that summer zooming by? Back to School time is just around the corner, and as a busy mom of two, I’m always looking for ways to plan ahead and make our crazy life a little simpler, especially during the school year. If one of those ways saves me time and money, it’s even better! Continue reading

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Life, Animated: A Documentary

Disclosure: I was provided press materials for Life, Animated, and have been invited to screen the documentary. 

Life Animated Art (554x800)

Owen Suskind was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. For years, he couldn’t communicate with his loved ones, until the magic of Disney movies created a means by which he could express his feelings, thoughts and desires. Life, Animated is a documentary inspired by the book Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism, written by Owen’s dad Ron Suskind. The documentary explores Owen’s childhood, from his diagnosis, to his use of Disney films as tools of expression, to his journey into adulthood and independence.

I’ve seen the trailer for Life, Animated several times, and every time it brings tears to my eyes. I know so many children who have been diagnosed with autism, and this film gives hope that they too can communicate in their own way, and grow up to have meaningful lives in unexpected ways. I’m very much looking forward to watching this extraordinary film. Life, Animated is currently screening in New York and California, and will hit theaters across the country during the coming weeks. Click here to find a theater near you.


From Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, LIFE, ANIMATED is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three year old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent – and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires. Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE LION KING, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him. LIFE, ANIMATED evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality. Beautiful, original animations offer rich insights into Owen’s fruitful dialogue with the Disney oeuvre as he imagines himself heroically facing adversity as a member in a tribe of sidekicks. Owen’s story is a moving testament to the many ways in which stories can serve as a means of persevering through the dark times, leading us all toward the light.

Website: http://lifeanimateddoc.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/Lifeanimated
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LifeAnimatedDoc

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A year.

On June 22nd 2015 at 4:30pm, heaven gained an angel. My grandmother, Silvia Aurora Prieto, who was lovingly called Tete by family and friends, was rejoined with my grandfather for eternity.

The last year and a half of her life, since my grandfather’s passing in January of 2014, was not easy. My grandmother’s dementia rapidly progressed, and for the last nine weeks she suffered a miriad of other health problems. She spent the last two weeks of her life at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, where I think she received the best care in her life. Sadly, she never saw the home she loved again.


I am thankful not only for the years and memories that grace our past, but for the strength to be completely honest with both my boys about their passing. I make no apologies for telling them about hospital stays, their declining health, and ultimately their passings. Life is filled with ups and downs, and sharing the good and the bad is fundamental to our bond as a family. I am beyond grateful that both my children got to know and love their Abuelita as I did. Years from now they’ll look back and remember both her and my grandfather, not just because of the stories we’ll tell and the pictures we’ll show them, but because they were old enough to create their own memories.

Posted in Family & Friends, Life Happens, Life with Boys, Parenting | 2 Comments

5 Reasons why you need to go see #FindingDory

Disclosure: We were invited to see a prescreening of Disney-Pixar’s new movie Finding Dory.  All opinions below are our own.


Thirteen years ago, Academy Award-winning Finding Nemo was released in theaters, and everyone fell in love with a forgetful Blue Tang fish named Dory. A decade later, Ellen Degeneres, the voice of Dory, had the pleasure to announce to the world on her talk show that there would finally be a sequel to Finding Nemo (click here to see that announcement).  Three years later and it’s finally here! Finding Dory officially hit theaters today, and it is sequel gold! Matty and I had the pleasure of seeing Finding Dory earlier this week, and we loved it!

Here’s what you need to know about Disney*Pixar’s Finding Dory:

Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” reunites everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang, Dory, with her friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past. What can she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak Whale?

Directed by Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E”) and produced by Lindsey Collins (co-producer “WALL•E”), the film features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton.  “Finding Dory” swims into theaters June 17, 2016.

Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” reunites everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang, Dory, with her friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past.


We’ve got five reasons why we think you can’t miss Finding Dory: Continue reading

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Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Smooshies

The boys and I were recently invited to Smooshies in South Miami to join in their re-opening festivities. Smooshies is not just a candy shop, it also features innovative educational toys and nitrogen ice cream. It’s a great space for families to hang out and spend some time together. We were so excited to visit and check out the store. We were also thrilled to try nitrogen ice cream. We’d never tried it before, and heard it is absolutely delicious!


The Smooshies shop is adorable! With hot air balloons hanging overhead, a vast array of toys and board games line the walls for play and purchase. There are over 150 varieties of retro and modern candies to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. Speaking of sweet tooth, nitrogen ice cream comes in an assortment of flavors, from classics like vanilla and chocolate to fruit flavors like mango and strawberry, and specialty flavors Nutella and Dulce de Leche. They also serve coffee, and it’s not just any coffee: they serve Nespresso! Continue reading

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