I clicked on an ad while perusing the web that shows a video of gorgeous artichokes being prepared with a lemon Dijon drizzle and fresh Parmesan…O wait!! What? This is a Kraft commercial/recipe/ad showcasing their “100% grated Parmesan cheese” packaged in a plastic tube and does not need refrigerated!! What????
Time to research!
As Larry Olmsted tells us in his Forbes magazine article “Most Parmesan Cheeses in America are Fake, Here is Why,” real Parmigiano Reggiano from Parma, Italy , has 3 ingredients- milk, salt and rennet.
Moms, take the kids! You can all make your own cheese at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Science Center in the Kitchen Works exhibit called “Say Cheese”!! We have made mozzarella many times!
Unrefrigerated, fugazi cheese also contains three other ingredients, cellulose powder, potassium sorbate, and cheese cultures, which are not found in real Parmigiano-Reggiano!! Fake cheese is illegal in Europe! Is that why the food is worlds more amazing in Europe? Real cheese!!
Did you know they have a Parmigiano Reggiano museum in Parma, Italy, where there is an entire room dedicated to the infiltration of fake cheeses!!
Parmigiano -Reggiano is known for its purity. It tastes amazing and is full of healthy vitamins because of this purity! It is the cheese of choice for astronauts in space! So why buy it with chemicals that will do who knows what to our bodies?
Yes, it SHOULD be illegal in America, too.
Last week, my family experienced our very first Disney Cruise on the Disney Wonder. In fact, it was our very first cruise ever and our first Disney experience. When you wish upon a star…Makes no difference who you are…You will love it!
I do want to mention that this post was in no way sponsored by Disney Cruise Line or any other Disney affiliate.
Because I have so much to share, I will be publishing multiple posts- planning and days at sea, ports, what to wear what to bring, fashion trends on the cruise…and more!
Let’s talk planning…
When I began researching our usual Feb/March week in Paradise Island, Bahamas, I had sticker shock! The prices were nearly double what they were the previous three years. I googled- family vacations, vacations great for kids- and stumbled upon Disney Cruise information. I immediately thought of a high school friend of mine who I knew, through our Facebook connection, has a wonderful reputation as a Disney travel planning expert! After contacting her, I found out that her services are 100% free of charge and she will plan everything from transportation, to specific activities and adventures!
Because we have never cruised, I had no idea about stateroom location, stateroom type, dinner seatings, boarding time etc. After reading some reviews, I knew we wanted to go to Disney’s private island in the Bahamas Castaway Cay. Heather quizzed me about our preferences and took care of all of the details! Being our first cruise, and being worried about nausea, we decided on a 5-night Caribbean cruise which included one day in Cozumel, Mexico and one day in Castaway Cay.
I am happy to report that none of us experienced even the slightest bit of motion sickness! I have a terrible time with motion sickness when riding as a passenger in a car or airplane and I was terrified! Heather booked us a room mid-ship and we had no issues!
Although Disney will take care of everything , we took care of our own flights to Miami and took a taxi to the port! It was waaaaaay cheaper!
Days at Sea
The ship’s Daily Navigator gave us all of the options! We just had to pick what we wanted to do-kids club activities, appearances, shows, movies, party times!
Disney Cruise Lines provides 2 OnBoard Phones to use between guests! Most importantly, the kids club would text us and let us know if the kids were moving on to the next activity, wanted picked up, or we could call them to check in! Our kids enjoyed both the Oceaneers Club and the Oceaneers Lab’s various activities. Story time with Belle and the Luau with Stitch were a huge hit!
Be prepared to disconnect! The OnBoard ship cellphone rates and wifi rates were astronomical!! Unless you take baths with $100 bills, turn off roaming and wifi and just use your camera.
You never know who you might run into on the ship!!
Ok last thing for today’s post…Can we discuss the food? Order room service 24 hours/day. Sit down for breakfast and lunch, do a quick run through a buffet, or grab pizza, hot dogs, chicken fingers, wraps, fruit and other snacks at outdoor fast food spots! Dine at one of 4 different 5 star restaurants every night for dinner with special surprises for the kids around every corner! Everything was delicious!!!
Here were my favorites!
We will be trying these at home!!
Up next….ports of call! Where we stopped on our cruise and what we did!!
Our most recent trip to Miami was a total breeze! What?? Traveling with 2 and 4 -year- old monkeys can be easy??? Follow my top 10 steps for a tantrum-less, tear free, and totally fun trip the kiddos will never forget!
Let’s jump right in:
#1 We each only have 2 hands!!! Take a shuttle service near the Airport for a seamless luggage transition from car to airport and back! Here in Pittsburgh, we use the PIT Stop! They are awesome!! Traveling in the winter? Your car is waiting for you, clear of snow and ice, with seat warmers ON!!
#2 What to wear? Be happy with your choices!
When we look our best, we feel our best, and our attitude is best! No pajamas! Scary! Be comfortable but stylish and most importantly…layer!! Traveling cold to warm?? Wear your emergency layering jacket as your heaviest piece then go backwards!
What we wore:
Miss Priss striped Capri pants, BabyNay sleeveless top, Circo jean jacket and silver sparkle TOMS.
Relaxed fit Gap jeans, Gymboree polo, Gap windbreaker and Adidas tennis shoes.
Jeans, breathable Under Armour T-shirt, Adidas 3/4 zip-up and tennis shoes. (If anyone has to break a sweat, it is dad- Maybe loading the car or carrying a monkey!)
INC Skinny jeans, Kensie racerback black tank, Kensie oatmeal anywhere jacket and Lucky strapped island wedges. Wear silver jewelry that does not need removed in security!
#3 Always wear the largest heaviest shoes and clothing. (Notice we wore our jeans and biggest shoes! )
#4 Traveling cold to warm? Never lug winter coats through an Airport! Layer and bring a pashmina or scarf in case you need to wrap up a child!
#5 DO NOT bring car seats! If your plane is going down, the car seats you brought for the plane will not save them! If your destination requires a rental car, you can rent car seats!
#6 DO bring a small, umbrella stroller! Inevitably, one child gets tired walking or needs a nap. You can check this stroller at the gate- which means use in the airport- and pick up as soon as you exit.
#7 Pre-plan and Pack Essentials in your Mommy Bag!
This trip I took my Tory Burch black Ella tote! (Yes, I am obsessed with TB right now!!!)
It is the ultimate travel bag because it is nylon and can handle spills, sand and water! Always bring our pashmina in your carry on- it serves a dual purpose it can also be a blanket if necessary on the plane!
What else is in my bag:
Activity books with TONS of stickers!
Valuables- my jewelry zip-up!
One set of pool gear for all- swimwear and flip flops! Which brings me to #8…
#8 Bring swimsuits and flip flops in your mommy bag! Going somewhere warm? Arriving early afternoon? Check-in times are usually late afternoon. Wow them with your planning and enjoy your first hours poolside with a cold beverage!!
#9 Be cheerful, easy- going, and upbeat. I know! Way, way easier said than done! Those of you who know me well already, know that I work on this every single day of my life!! As a perfectionist, I want anything and everything to be perfect! By breathing, putting on a smile, and relaxing, you will keep your husband and kids in good spirits no matter what the circumstances!
#10 Last, but not least! Lollipop, lollipop, o lolli lollipop…lollipops go a long way !!! They give you time! It takes a child approx 4 minutes to get bored with or finish chewing a lollipop. Because of the sugars lollipops contain, they can easily settle an upset stomach (adults and kids), be the extra few minutes you need, or hold the kids over to the next meal! Never leave home without lollipops!
I hope these tips help you and/or give you the confidence you need to plan a trip with your little ones!! Do it!! We have been fortunate enough to travel to San Diego, Orlando, the Bahamas…and many other exciting destinations with our kids!
Don’t listen to other people, the kids will remember, it is fantastic bonding time with the family, and they get to see there is a world outside of your hometown! All great things for their learning and growing!