Can I just start by saying the Alaska Disney Cruise is the Olympics of packing. We indeed needed 4 pieces of full size luggage which was our family’s first. I’m blessed to have a husband that recognizes and appreciates all the work and planning that goes into trips before they even begin... right hunny? 😜

Tips...

1. Pack children’s outfits in labeled Freezer size Ziploc bags. I labeled each one ‘Wednesday Skagway excursion ‘, Tuesday ‘formal night’, etc and included socks, undies, bibs, hair accessories, or whatever was needed for that exact outfit. This way the outfit was completely ready, foolproof for my hubs to locate and a huge time saver. There were actual times when we would board the ship from a port and have only 10 minutes to get our entire family ready for dinner, so this was a huge time saver!

2. You can do laundry on the ship and use your 'Key to the World' card to pay, so I advise doing this for workout clothes or anything you cannot easily pack multiples of. We attempted to do laundry in our bathtub the good old fashioned way, but the items took forever to dry and gained an unfavorable scent.

3. I kept my outfits very simple. During the day I wore black yoga pants, workout tank and then would layer as needed. There were times I was actually hot and just wore the tank, leggings and boots. 

4. I packed two swimsuits for our daughter because she wanted to swim most days, but only one for us. The ship almost always had the hot tubs running (at a reasonable kid temperature), but the pools were not always open and they are not heated.

5. Kiddos are not allowed to swim in the pools unless they are fully potty trained, however there are splash pad areas.

What to pack....

Adults:

1. Winter jacket- preferably water resistant and faux down style that can pack up small

2. Rain jacket

3. Water resistant hiking shoes/boots

4. Two pairs of jeans (or one denim and one black denim pair)

5. button up flannel shirt

6. Sweatshirt to wear while you hang out on your balcony and look for whales

7. Black yoga pants (literally I wore these every single day on the ship)

8. 1 formal evening outfit

9. 1 semi formal evening outfit

10. 1 Frozen party theme outfit

11. Casual outfits for the other 4 dinner nights (attire is defined as 'cruise casual' and denim is allowed)

12. one bathing suit and cover up for hot tub and pool on ship 

Optional: rain boots (we got really lucky with weather and I did not need these, but more often than not it is very rainy) 

13. Sneakers- there is a running track on deck 4 and a fully equipped gym on deck 9

14. Rain boots (Hunter style) or waterproof hiking boots

15. sandals for the pool

16. one pair of shoes that can be warn for formal and semi formal evenings

17. one evening attire pair of shoes (I wore black booties with a 2 inch heel)

18. Gloves

19. Hat - beanie style is great

20. Sunglasses

Babies:

1. Diapers (we used two full packs and our son was 7 months at the time)- you can request a diaper genie for the room

2. Wipes (we went through 3 packs)

3. Disposable changing mat - we changed him on beds or floor in stateroom so was nice to have him lay on these for everyone’s sanitation 

4. Baby wash- adult soap is provided, but not baby soap

5. Diaper rash cream

6. Infant thermometer and infant fever reducer in case

7. Toothbrush if teeth are present or may appear during trip

8. Pouches (I always travel with a few prune pouches in case constipation happens)- our son is eats solids and does baby led weaning so was able to eat kiddo meals we would request without salt, but you can also request pureed meals if needed. Pouches were helpful for excursion trips. 

9. Bibs

10. Pajamas- I packed him 5 pairs for the 9 days we were gone, we also did laundry

11. Socks to keep feet warm for non walkers

12. Winter hat (I brought two in case one got wet from rain)

13. Winter onesie outfit with fold down mittens to cover hands

14. Stroller and/or baby carrier - we used our Ergo 360 most times, but there were times stroller was nice for our oldest kiddo 

15. waterproof winter jacket

16. sweatshirts/sweaters for top layer

17. solid white onesies for bottom layer

18. solid plain cotton pants (I like these from Primary best)

19. optional: bathing suit and swim diaper (only allowed in splash pad area unless potty trained)

20. formal evening attire

21. semi formal evening attire

22. Frozen theme night outfit

23. four casual evening outfits

24. I packed these noise canceling headphones for Max since we had booked a helicopter tour

Kiddos: 

1. Sneakers

2. Waterproof hiking boots

3. Socks - a few pair of whool socks are handy for cold weather days

4. Undies

5. Pajamas - we were gone 9 days and I packed 5 total pajama outfits 

6. Raincoat 

7. Down like water proof winter coat

8. 2 hats- I liked having a spare and it was helpful since one got completely soaked during our outing in Vancouver

9. Gloves

10. one formal evening outfit

11. one semi-formal evening outfit

12. Frozen theme night outfit

13. 4 casual evening outfits

14. daytime comfortable wear for excursions and oceaners club

15. two bathing suits and cover ups

16. sandals or waterproof shoes to wear to the pool

17. I packed one full princess dress ensemble for Olivia to wear. She wore hers the day she went to the Bibbitti Bobbitti Boutique and Princess Tea.

Miscellaneous:

1. Magnets and other flare to decorate stateroom door. This is so fun for the kids and makes locating your room easy for them. 

2. Snacks. This cannot include fruit or nuts due to custom laws. Particularly for the day you board the ship since during muster station drills, custom lines, etc. the kiddos become hangry.

3. Umbrella

4. Ponchos for all family members ...Amazon carries a mixed sizes and colors variety box

5. Lanyards that can hold your key to the world card

6. Refillable water bottle. There are hydration stations on the ship and this avoids extra bottle water fees. 

7. Binoculars 

8. Chargers

9. Standard plug headphones for in flight entertainment 

10. Emergency med pack- bandaids, nuskin, Bonine, motion sickness bracelets, infant and children fever reducer and pain meds, adult fever reducer and pain meds and cold/flu medicine. 

11. Camera- I don’t leave home without mine

12. Fanny pack- I know I’m a nerd, but love my Herschel fanny 

13. Autograph book and Sharpie to capture character autographs

14. Sunscreen- when the sun is out, it is strong

15. Collapsible, waterproof backpack- we used ours every day we left the ship for snacks, passports, diapers, etc.

Take a deep breath. You're about to go on a trip of a lifetime. All the packing stress is well worth it...I promise!

Love and gratitude,

Ashley M.

#vacation #Disney #cruise #Alaska #packingtips

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  • Ashley M.

I was raised in Ohio where we could take day trips and easily get to different states, but once we moved to Texas I quickly realized I could drive hours and hours, yet still be in TEXAS! Thankfully, there are so many towns that make Texas exploration exciting. One town our family has fallen in love with is Boerne, TX (pronounced Bur-nee and considered San Antonio's 'hill country'). From Austin, Boerne is about a two hour drive and depending which route you take could lead to adventurous stops in itself (Dripping Springs or Marble Falls).

We spent just one evening and a portion of the following day in Boerne, but could have easily spent the entire weekend and had plenty to do. We find the small town to be kiddo friendly and very stroller walking friendly, but a romantic getaway to Boerne would be equally enjoyable and probably more relaxing...just saying ;). Here is where we stayed, ate and played...

Stay

The Kendall Inn

We stayed at the most luxurious and accommodating boutique hotel called the Kendall Inn. The property sits just off the main stretch near shops and eateries but is about a block or so away from the core action which is great for relaxation. The hotel also backs up to the Cibolo Creek Trail which I found perfect for my morning run. The Kendall offers 34 unique rooms, suites and cottages in which every detail has been thought of and expertly executed. We stayed the night in the Erastus Reed Grand Suite which is positioned on the second floor of the main building and despite being close to the heart of the hotel was extremely peaceful. The exterior door to the suite opens to a room with one plush king size bed and chic fireplace. The attached room was the bathroom and definitely the most exquisite bathroom I have ever been inside. The bathroom marble floors were adorned with a claw foot tub, spacious walk in shower and a fireplace mantle from 1859. Every inch of the hotel has been restored in a way that screams luxury, yet preserves original elegance.

The Kendall Inn has heated swimming pool with jets next to the cottages that is great for a dip with the kids or an evening dip with a significant other. The grounds also hold lots of indoor and outdoor lounging space. Peggy's On the Green is the restaurant attached to the main building and while we did not dine there, we did poke our heads inside and the bar was jaw dropping gorgeous!

Eat

Cibolo Creek Brewing

For dinner, we brought the stroller for Max (9 month baby boy) and walked about 0.3 mile to Cibolo Creek Brewing. The restaurant is counter style service and very family friendly. We ordered some house beers and grabbed some crayons and coloring books available among a full collection of board games while we waited for our food. The kiddos loved the grilled chicken and hot dog in a tortilla from children's menu fare. My husband and I were enticed by the unique wing sauce flavors and ordered our wings plain with two sauces on the side (Savory IPA and Orange Curry) to dip.

Boerne Taco House

Another walk-able eatery from our hotel was the Boerne Taco House. We walked over for breakfast tacos because, well, Texas. The space is so adorable and we found our tacos to be delish and VERY filling. Hubs ordered the Breakfast Pirata ( beef and melted cheese flattened and grilled almost like a quesadilla) because it was unique to their menu. The rest of our group stuck with traditional breakfast tacos which come standard on flour tortillas unless you request otherwise.

Salty and Sweet

Soft pretzels and ice cream are made fresh daily in house. Ice cream flavors rotate regularly. Olivia ordered the chocolate brownie and it was 1-2-3 gone! The shop is cute and also carries a variety of candies and chocolates. The patio holds a children’s picnic table and plenty of other seating to enjoy your scoops or salty pretzel treat outside. 

Do

Cave Without a Name

About a 15 minute drive from our hotel is one of Texas's most known caves, Cave Without a Name. This was actually our second time touring the cave, and each time our tour guide has been extremely knowledgeable and passionate. The cave offers tours daily, which do not need to be scheduled in advance and also hosts concerts (which you can find on this event calendar) and weddings. Once you see the space you will know why it is such a popular venue (hello gorgeous) and you're actually locking in a consistent temperature and humidity level which in Texas is pretty priceless. The tour takes about an hour and explores all six of rooms within the cave. You can also visit the gift shop, pick a geode to cut and gem pan.

 There's no telling where our next adventure will take us, but we're always ready to explore!

Love and gratitude,

Ashley M.

#hotel #Texas #Boerne #travel #restaurants #tacos #cave #explore #familyfun

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  • Ashley M.

I have a serious obsession with Honest Mary's, but since I cannot drive there weekly (although I would love to), I had to find a way to satisfy my craving at home. Part of my obsession starts with their seriously addicting tofu. Yea, I said it. TOFU! The marinade, the texture, all of it mixed with fresh greens, roasted veggies and avocado. yummmmm. After lots of trial and error, this is what I came up with in my own kitchen.

Ingredients: 1 block of extra firm organic tofu (Trader Joe’s and Sprouts carry my favorite)

1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce (could also use Coconut Aminos) 1 tsp red chilli flakes 1 tsp crushed coriander seed

1/2 cup water

Directions: 1. Carefully remove tofu from the package and place it on a towel. Wrap the towel around the tofu and evenly (and gently) press down onto it to remove any excess liquid. Be very careful while doing this because you don’t want the tofu to break apart.

2. In a large bowl, combine tamari sauce, chili flakes, coriander and water and stir.

3. Place tofu on a cutting board and cut it into strips.

4. Cut these strips into cubes and transfer them into a Freezer gallon size Ziploc and pour the marinade into the bag. Each cube should be submerged in the marinade. You may need to adjust the bag so often to make sure each cube gets some loving.

5. Please Ziploc in the refrigerator to cool for at least six hours. I marinate my tofu for a full

day before baking. The longer the tofu marinates, the better the flavor!

6. Remove the tofu from the marinade and transfer on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

8. Enjoy! Best with salads, bowls and curries.

#vegetarian #tofu #salad

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