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Tips for Taking Your Tiny Baby or Toddler to Disneyland

Tips for Taking Your Tiny Baby or Toddler to Disneyland

The most common question/request we get is asking for tips for taking tiny babies or toddlers to Disneyland. Hamm’s first trip to Disneyland was in October 2017 when he was a little less than 2 months old. Although he will never remember it, we took […]

Disneyland Inspired Mickey Pretzel Recipe

Disneyland Inspired Mickey Pretzel Recipe

Everything tastes better in Mickey form, right? Say hello to the yummiest, easiest Mickey pretzel recipe out there. These taste so delicious and they’ll make you feel like you’re at Disneyland sitting on Mainstreet, USA.  Ingredients To Make Mickey Shaped Pretzels 1 ½ c lukewarm […]

Spoiler-Free Review of Pixar’s Onward

Disney and Pixar invited us to an early media screening of their new movie Onward. Onward tells the story of two teenage elf brothers who set out on a quest to discover if there is still magic left in the world. The movie will be released in theaters on March 6, but I wanted to give my spoiler-free review now of Pixar’s Onward to answer a few questions I have received about the film. I have also included a downloadable activity packet here.

Does Onward deserve to be called a Pixar movie?

I think we can all agree that Pixar has an amazing reputation of consistently putting out amazing content. Onward may not top Toy Story in my book, but it definitely still deserves to be a Pixar movie. It is really such an amazing and entertaining story. The new characters and this magical urban world they created are so much fun. I don’t think you will be disappointed in this new addition to Pixar’s collection of great films. 

Will Onward make me cry?

Let’s be honest if you went to a Pixar movie and didn’t cry did you really watch a Pixar movie? I think it’s pretty well known by now that Pixar is very talented at pulling at our heartstrings in the best way possible. Pixar‘s Onward was no different than any Pixar movie in the past and I found myself tearing up on multiple occasions throughout the film especially at the end. I definitely recommend you pack a few tissues and be prepared to shed a few tears of sadness but don’t worry most of your tears will be tears of joy.

Will I laugh during Pixar’s Onward?

I think knowing that Chris Pratt is in this movie is good enough to guarantee that you’re going to have some laughs. I will say that I didn’t think that Onward was as funny as Pixar’s last movie Toy Story 4. However, I did find myself laughing out loud several times throughout the movie. Just the way they animated the characters alone is enough to laugh sometimes. You will know what I am talking about when you see the movie. Tom Holland and Chris Pratt both did an amazing job in their roles as brothers! 

Is Onward a movie for all ages? 

I really found Pixar‘s Onward to be a very compelling and fast-paced adventure film. I don’t think there was a single moment during the film where I thought to myself OK let’s get on with this but instead the movie kept my attention and that of my kids(ages 2 years and 5 months) for the entire 103-minute duration. Pixar’s Onward like all Pixar movies is very family-friendly. There is something for everyone to enjoy in Onward.

Is Onward too scary for younger children? 

There definitely is a lot of action, including several scenes of different characters fighting in this movie. I don’t think there is anything too violent or inappropriate for children. However, I will say that there are several scenes that could be frightening to younger children including different types of various creatures such as scorpions, dragons and other mythical beasts. I do think that Pixar did a good job of animating them to not be too scary but still express the fierceness of the characters.

Is there an additional scene during or after the credits of Onward?

Unfortunately, there is not any additional content during or after the credits. 

How was the music in Onward?

I will say that there was honestly nothing particular about the music that stood out in Onward while watching it the first time. I did enjoy two particular song choices: The first being a song that just makes a scene quite humorous. I won’t say anything else as to not spoil the movie. The second choice was during the closing credits and the lyrics made me tear up even more. That song is “Carried Me With You” performed by Brandi Carlile.

Huge shout out to the entire team at Pixar for once again creating an original compelling story that made us feel all of the best emotions. I think recently a lot of people have been complaining about the lack of original stories from Disney with all of the live-action remakes and sequels of previous movies. I truly think everyone will fall in love with the new characters and story shared in Pixar’s Onward. 

How We Budget For Disneyland Using Personal Capital

How We Budget For Disneyland Using Personal Capital

Note: This post was created as part of a paid sponsorship with PersonalCapital.com. Although this is a paid sponsorship, all opinions are my own and I have been a user of PersonalCapital for years.  If you know our family, you know that we LOVE Disneyland […]

DIY Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Costume, A Complete Step by Step Tutorial

DIY Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Costume, A Complete Step by Step Tutorial

Disclosure: This tutorial was sponsored by Primary.com and they provided clothing to create this costume. This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase anything through these links we receive a small commission that helps support this channel and allows us to continue making content like […]

Team Rocket Pokemon Costume DIY, A Complete Step by Step Tutorial

Team Rocket Pokemon Costume DIY, A Complete Step by Step Tutorial

Disclosure: This tutorial was sponsored by Primary.com and they provided clothing to create this costume. This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase anything through these links I receive a small commission that helps support this channel and allows us to continue making content like this.

In this tutorial, we’re going to be showing you exactly how to make James and Jessie otherwise known as Team Rocket from Pokemon. This costume requires no sewing but you will need hot glue instead.

Materials Needed

James Costume

Let’s start with the James costume. For Jame’s shirt, we will be using the short sleeve black onesie underneath the white long sleeve shirt.

Cut the bottom of the white long sleeve shirt off about 1 inch below your child’s belly button. That extra inch will leave room for the seam.

Cut a triangle up from the bottom front of the shirt. We will then turn the shirt inside out and fold up the bottom edges of the shirt. This will create a nice seam where we cut off the bottom of the shirt. Hot glue along that fold to keep the seam in place.

To complete James’s shirt we just need to add a big red R cut out of felt.

We will cut a strip of purple felt and add a square of light purple felt to create the belt. For Jame’s glove look, we will just cut the foot part off of a pair of socks and it will create the perfect cuffs to go over the wrists of the white onesie. James will wear white pants and long black socks.

Jessie Costume

We will now move on to Jessie’s costume. For Jessie’s shirt, we will be using the long sleeve black onesie underneath the short sleeve white onesie.

We will use do the same thing we did for James’s shirt but we will cut Jessie’s shirt a little higher up. We have the black onesie underneath to keep your child warm. We will also add a big red R cut out of felt.

You can add green circle earrings made out of felt for an extra touch.

To dress your child as Jessie you will begin with the black long sleeve onesie, and place the white shirt over. Pair that with the white skirt, long black socks and the Jessie wig and the costume is complete.

23 Pop Culture Villain Costume Ideas for Toddlers, Babies, or Young Children

23 Pop Culture Villain Costume Ideas for Toddlers, Babies, or Young Children

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Primary.com and they provided the clothing to create all of the awesome costumes. Use code TOYSTORYDAD for 20% off + FREE shipping on your first order at Primary.com. This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase anything through these […]

Slinky Dog Costume DIY, A Complete Step by Step Tutorial

Slinky Dog Costume DIY, A Complete Step by Step Tutorial

Disclosure: This tutorial was sponsored by Primary.com and they provided clothing to create this costume.  This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase anything through these links I receive a small commission that helps support this channel and allows us to continue making content like […]

A Dad’s Review of the Smart Beat Monitor

A Dad’s Review of the Smart Beat Monitor


Note: This blog post is sponsored by Smart Beat. I received a free Smart Beat monitor in exchange for my honest review. 

As a technology and computer nerd, I am always excited to see the latest trends in technology. It has been especially exciting to see the trend of using technology to help track, monitor and improve personal health. The Smart Beat monitor has helped me monitor the health and safety of my little boy Beckham. Anyone who is a parent knows the stress and anxiety that comes from wondering if your baby in the other room is okay. Even with other monitors, I would find myself still going into the room to check that Beckham was breathing. 

Smart Beat is designed to detect and monitor your baby’s breathing and alert you if something changes. Smart Beat is able to identify more than 16 million shades of color and checks 2 million pixels 20 times per second looking for any changes in color. This feature is definitely not a gimmick, and as long as the monitor is set up correctly it works very well. Overall I was very impressed with the monitor and am especially excited to use it with our little baby girl that is on the way. 

Setup/Installation

The Smart Beat Monitor comes with the following in the box:

  • Camera
  • Mounting kit (Screws, Anchors, Command Strips, Wall Clips to manage cords)
  • Base station
  • Power cords
  • Network cable
  • Instructions

Paper instructions are included in the box but I highly recommend downloading the app first and just walking through the instructions in the app. The app walks you through step by step exactly what to do to get your Smart Beat monitor up and running. Installation and setup went very smooth other than a hiccup with connecting the device to my wifi. However, there was an alternate setup button which then had me connect my phone to the camera’s own wifi and it did the rest from there.

Overall I was super impressed with the setup and installation process and just how easy to follow along it was. The Smart Beat mobile application is available on both iOS and Android. 

Daily Use

Once the monitor is set up, using it is just as easy. All you need is your smartphone with the Smart Beat app installed which you will do during the setup process. To get started with monitoring simply tap the “begin monitoring” button in the app and you will instantly be able to see HD video and track breathing. 

Some of the features include:

  • Motion and Breath Detection – The app will alert you not only about breathing (none, too fast, too slow), but also will detect motion to determine if the baby is asleep or awake. This feature works very nicely, however, if you have a toddler like Beckham who moves around a lot in their sleep you may get a false awake alert. 
  • Breathing Rate Chart – This is actually really cool because you can see how your babies breathing rate (BPM, Breaths Per Minute) trends over time. As I am writing this article Beckham’s breathing rate is around 26 which is lower than the suggested healthy rate. I am guessing this is because he is sick but it will be good to continue tracking.  
  • Pan & Tilt/HD-Video – The camera has an excellent range of motion so I can even check in on Beckham when he is just playing in his room. You can control the pan, tilt and digital zoom directly from the mobile app. The camera also has night vision and  two-way audio. 
  • Data Encryption –  As an IT Professional I know just how easy it can be to hack into a standard Wi-FI camera. However, Smart Beat uses data encryption similar to how banks keep your information secure. This gives me the peace of mind to know that the creeps out there can’t hack into my Smart Beat camera. 
  • Remote Viewing – You don’t have to be connected to the same WiFi as the Smart Beat camera to access the camera. This would be a great feature for anyone who leaves their kids with a babysitter. I just love using it to check-in and see my sweet boy during my workday. It is just a nice reminder of my reason why I work so hard.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend the Smart Beat monitor to any parent who wants to rest assured that their baby is breathing. I think it would be very beneficial if your child was born prematurely or has any other high-risk condition. I know that there are several types of breathing, heart and oxygen monitors out there but most of them require wearing some sort of wearable which can be a hassle and not realistic once your child figures out how to use their hands.  

The only negatives I have about this camera are the false alerts and the sometimes glitchy app. The good news though is that like all technology, things will only get better with Smart Beat. Their developers and engineering team are working hard every day to improve the product and software to ensure they provide the best product possible and keep your family safe. It really just is so incredible how it accurately tracks your baby’s breathing. 

Smart Beat is currently available to order from their website for just under $250 and includes Free Shipping. Smart Beat also includes a 90-day money-back guarantee and a 12-month warranty. Smart Beat plans to have the monitors available in retailers starting in 2020.

Easy and Healthy Snacks to Pack for Disneyland

Easy and Healthy Snacks to Pack for Disneyland

This blog post is sponsored by Cuties! I will be honest Disneyland has some of the most delicious snacks. They have churros, ice cream, pretzels, turkey legs, corn dogs, popcorn and so much more. However, the fact that most of these Disneyland snacks start at […]

Five Reasons Why I Loved Disneynature’s Penguins

Five Reasons Why I Loved Disneynature’s Penguins

Disneynature’s Penguins opens in theaters on April 17th (Earth Day) 2019. I had the opportunity of attending an early screening of this movie and I absolutely loved it. Disneynature’s Penguins is a true life story that follows an Adélie Penguin named Steve through his journey […]