Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Summer Cruise? Maybe!

It  might be Spring but I'm thinking about summer vacation! Not sure yet what, where, or when we will vacation but I do know we have taken some pretty awesome family vacations in the past. One of my favorites is cruising, and yes, with the kids! You would be surprised what a great deal a cruise vacation can be and oh such luxury for Mom and Dad!

If you haven't cruised before with children you might want to research the web for reputable cruise lines that offer programs for children. Disney Cruise Line, for example, offers fabulous onboard experiences such as the Frozen Deck Party and the Star Wars Day At Sea.  Disney Cruises aren't just for the kids! Adults can enjoy Broadway style live shows and top off the evening with a nightcap in one of the ship's nightclubs or lounges. And in the morning, before onshore sightseeing trips or an afternoon at the pool, Mom and Dad can work out at the ship's fitness center or have a relaxing massage at the spa. Disney's onboard clubs provide an array of fun activities for kids and teens of every age. Child care is also available at an additional charge on Disney ships for children 3 years of age and under. The It's A Small World Nursery is open from 9 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., and is the perfect solution if Mom and Dad want to enjoy an onshore excursion or private dinner and show.

Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

Royal Caribbean International is another kid-friendly cruise line. In fact, in 2013 readers of Travel + Leisure magazine recognized Royal Caribbean as one of the world's best vacation options for families. Some ships in their fleet offer family suites that can sleep up to six people. Age appropriate programs are also available for kids of all ages at no additional charge. On a Royal Caribbean sailing your little ones can visit with their favorite characters from Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda during character dining events, shows, and surprise appearances. Your older kids can participate in sporting contests such as miniature golf and table top tennis tournaments. They can also enjoy poolside games planned by the staff of the Adventure Ocean® Youth Program. In addition, select ships offer daytime and evening drop off care for children ages 6 months to 36 months at an additional cost.

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Norwegian Cruise Line offers several sailings where the 3rd and 4th guests (presumably your kiddos!) sail at either half off or even free! Now that's a deal! Children traveling aboard ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line enjoy a multitude of activities and programs that are optimized for the specific age groups including infants, kids, and teens. For an additional fee Group Sitting Services can be booked for children 3 -12 year of age every night from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and on port days while the ship is docked. A variety of Youth Programs are hosted by NCL and include such fun activities as arts and crafts, treasure hunts, and even Circus School with stilts and ball juggling! Teens can also enjoy the complimentary and fully supervised dance club in the teen center.

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Cruise lines also offer a variety of dining options including everything from laid back casual to formal dinners with the ship's Captain. 

Dining in one of the many restaurants on a Disney Cruise Line ship is pure pleasure! Options include exclusive adult dining, main dining, casual dining, and quick service available 24 hours per day. Complimentary room service for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks is also included in the price of your cruise. My all-time favorite Disney movie is "Beauty and the Beast" so dining at Lumiere's aboard the Disney Magic ship is a must! There are a plethora of opportunities to meet your favorite Disney characters while sailing with the Disney Cruise Line. It's an absolute unforgettable experience and the photo ops are amazing!

There are so many dining options on Royal Caribbean ships that it's difficult to choose because you'll want to experience all of them! Just about any food delight you could ever desire is available ranging from finger foods to a five course gourmet meal. And since there are no required formal dining hours or seating assignments it makes meal time so convenient when accommodating eating schedules for both children and adults. RCL also offers several beverage packages at reduced cost for your favorite drinks including bottled water, fruit juices, Coke products, beer, wine and even cocktails!

Norwegian Cruise Line offers Freestyle Dining which, in my opinion, is perfect when sailing with the kiddos. There are no fixed meal times or pre-assigned seats so you can eat whenever it's best for your family and at any restaurant, grill or cafe on the ship! Breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets and 24-hour room service round out the dining options provided by NCL.

Cruising with the kiddos!

Be sure to check out Cruises.com for current cruise deals and specials! They also have tons of information on several respected cruise lines, destinations, and top shore excursions. Whatever your summer plans.... Happy vacationing!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Easter Shipping Schedule

Easter Gifts
Hippity, hoppity Easter is on it's way! It's April 5th to be exact and you want to be sure to have your Easter outfit and gifts ready for the big day! The good news is there is still plenty of time to order and have delivery of your custom Easter shirts and sweet Easter gifts for everyone on your list. And even better, if you order by March 29th you will only need to add BASIC shipping for processing and delivery before Easter Sunday. This applies for U.S. shipping only as the international shipping deadline has already passed... so sorry! After March 29th our U.S. customers will need to upgrade the shipping method at checkout to USPS Priority Mail or USPS Express Mail to ensure the Easter bunny can deliver your shirts and gifts in time for Easter. Be sure to check back after March 29th for current deadlines for Priority and Express Mail shipping. And as always, thank you ever so much for shopping with Zoey's Attic!

Easter Shirts and Gifts from Zoey's Attic

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It's Almost Spring!

The March Equinox marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator, the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth' s equator that runs from south to north. This year it will occur on March 20th and marks the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The 2014/2015 winter wasn't nearly as awful in our Midwest location as the previous winter season, but I am still ever thankful it's almost over (even if we did have sleet today!). I'm so looking forward to packing away my many layers of winter shirts, sweaters, jackets, and coats. I love sorting through my Spring clothing and filling my drawers and closet with light colored and lightweight Spring apparel. I'm wanting some new tops too, and I'll bet you might also like to refresh your Spring wardrobe. The good news is Zoey's Attic can help! I'm particularly interested in the "Keep Calm And Drink A Margarita" custom women's t-shirt. It's a fun tee for Spring and perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

Custom Women's T-shirts
from Zoey's Attic

And if your hubby or boyfriend or even dad is a biker, Zoey has a funny "keep Calm and Ride On" motorcycle shirt for him. There's nothing better than a long bike ride on a beautiful Spring day!

Custom Men's T-shirts
from Zoey's Attic

And it's not too early to start exploring some options for Father's Day gifts for Dad and Grandpa. New and old dads alike love receiving Dad/Kiddo shirt sets and Zoey has so many awesome designs! The "I Make Awesome Kids" matching set in navy is a customer favorite. It can be purchased with shirts for one, two or however many kid shirts you may need.

Dad/Kid Matching Shirt Sets
from Zoey's Attic

Zoey's Attic Spring Shirts and Gifts Shop also has sweet big sister and big brother shirts and siblings sets that make perfect gifts for celebrating a new baby's arrival. And if you want to make a special announcement this Spring, why not let Zoey help? Can you imagine all the fun when big brother or big sister spills the beans wearing our popular and very sporty personalized swoosh design tee? 

Big Brother and Big Sister Tees
from Zoey's Attic

And what about those Spring birthday parties? Whether it's a farm animal party theme or a princess party, we've got you covered. Zoey can even create a custom design birthday shirt to match just about any party theme and colors you have chosen for the big day. 

Birthday Shirts
from Zoey's Attic

So take a look around our shop. I'm sure you'll find lots you like, and if you should have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us!

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Hunt Is Near!

I love hosting the Easter Egg Hunt! It's one of my favorite events of the year! I like to switch it up occasionally to add some variety to the annual egg roll. Some years it's the basic hunt with eggs hidden inside and outside. Other times it becomes a treasure hunt with maps. And sometimes the eggs have been personalized with the participant's name and you can only collect the eggs that were made especially for you.

First you need to prepare your eggs. I prefer the hard boil egg recipe from BettyCrocker.com and have used it successfully for many, many years. The cold water method with the eggs layered along the bottom of the saucepan is so easy!

Hard Boiled Eggs
Courtesy of BettyCrocker.com

After the eggs have cooled you then need to think about ways to decorate them. At least a dozen or so eggs (depending on how many kiddos and adults will be participating in the hunt) are dyed in basic colors from a simple dye kit found at the local Target, Family Dollar, or Kmart. Then have the kiddos use their imagination (with some guidance of course) and let them decorate the remaining eggs. The little ones love to cover the eggs with stickers, and glitter is also very popular! It sure makes a mess, but the eggs are so pretty! Parentmap.com has an excellent article featuring 20 ideas for dyeing and decorating Easter eggs.

In addition to the hard boiled eggs our hunt also has plastic eggs filled with a surprise.  Your local Dollar Store has many small toys to choose from including tiny Easter figurines, rings, and bouncy balls. Candy, coins, and even dollar bills can also be hidden in the eggs. Another idea is to include a piece of paper with a number on it that corresponds to a larger prize such as a book or stuffed bunny rabbit or Easter chick.

Fillable Plastic Easter Eggs
Courtesy of DollarTree.com

Now it's time to plan the hunt! Options include a basic hunt with every kid for himself or herself! Or, you can make a predetermined number of eggs and personalize with a name. The expert egg hunter can only take an egg with his or her name on it.  Color coding eggs is a super way to ensure all the kiddos get an equal number of eggs. Each child is given a color and this is the only color that can be added to their basket. If an egg is found in another color the hunter can choose to leave it hidden or give it to the kiddo collecting that color. If you have older children a nighttime hunt is a lot of fun. You can purchase glow-in-the-dark plastic Easter eggs online from a variety of stores including OrientalTrading.com. A plastic egg will also glow in the dark if a glow stick is snapped and placed inside the egg. Also be sure to have flashlights available for the egg hunters.

Glow In The Dark Plastic Eggs
Courtesy of OrientalTrading.com

One of my all-time favorite hunts is the reverse hunt. The kiddos hide the Easter eggs and then the adults find them! The little ones have so much fun cheering on mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles (of course, this hunt is in addition to the children's egg hunt!).

Will you host an Easter Egg Hunt this year? If so, will it be a traditional hunt or will you do something different?

Monday, March 09, 2015

Staycation Spring Break

So a million years ago when I was in school we didn't have a Spring Break. Instead, school was closed on Good Friday and the Monday after Easter. Those were our only days off between President's Day and the end of the school year. Now days, just about every private school and all the public school districts in our region have an entire week away from class during the Spring session. I remember how excited I was when I finally made it to college and had a Spring Break and now it seems everyone including preschoolers have a Spring Break! So working parents everywhere are using their vacation time or scrambling to make day care arrangements for the kiddos during the break. Some families use this time to make a fun getaway to a favorite destination such as Grandma and Grandpa's home in another city or state, and some families, especially those just thawing out from a long cold snowy winter season may choose to vacation at a warmer location such as a sandy beach or better yet, Disney World in sunny Orlando, Florida. However, if you're planning a "staycation" during Spring Break here are 5 activities you might consider:

1.) Start a children's garden. Let the kids research books and magazines for ideas for flower and/or vegetable gardens. Many cities also have a botanical garden and it's a fun visit for everyone in the family. The Missouri Botanical Garden, for example, has several demonstration gardens where the young gardeners can see and learn about a variety of flowers, plants, and vegetables. Then make a trip to a nearby nursery or the garden center at the local Home Depot or Lowe's department store and let them choose the seeds or plants for their very own piece of the garden.  Now it's time to start planting! Then let the little ones take responsibility for watering, weeding, and tending the plants. The kiddos really love telling everyone about the changes they find each and everyday in their very own garden.

Missouri Botanical Garden

2.) Let your children remodel their rooms. Discuss possible themes for the room such as princesses for the younger girls or dinosaurs for the boys.  Of course, currently "Frozen" seems to be what every young girl wants for her room. And, Superman, Batman, Spiderman, or any superhero is perfect for your little man's room. The older boys might like a sports themed room , and the tweenaged girls might tend to go for a room theme that headlines a favorite musical group. Then search the internet and local shops and department stores for just the perfect paint color, posters or wall decals, and bedding for the soon to be newly decorated room. Stores such as Target and Walmart have a wide variety of bed sets to match almost any theme and room color.

Soccer Room
Courtesy of Masterpiece Design Group

3.) Get a hotel room for a few days in your town. Make sure it is kid friendly with an indoor pool and lots of fun amenities and activities for the kids. A spa and fitness center are super nice for mom and dad too! Many hotels offer free breakfast and also have a welcoming package for the kids. For example, the Omni Majestic Hotel in downtown St. Louis give children a backpack filled with games and goodies that promote healthy eating. In addition, chocolate chip cookies with milk are delivered to the room for the kids on the first night of the stay.

Courtesy of Omnihotels.com

4.) If your school aged children are sports fanatics then it's always fun to attend sporting events during Spring Break. Professional hockey, basketball, and soccer are all in season during March and April. And the 2015 opening day for major league baseball is scheduled for Sunday, April 5th. And if your favorite sports team doesn't have any home dates during your Spring Break, touring the hometown arena or ballpark is lots of fun. Some cities also have a Sports Hall of Fame. For example, the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame is located at The Scottrade Center, home of the St. Louis Blues Hockey Club. In addition, the St. Louis Cardinals have a fantastic Hall of Fame located in Ballpark Village. It's filled with lots of Cardinal history and memorabilia. It's location is fantastic too with availability of several family friendly restaurants such as The Brewhouse and Cardinals Nation.

Busch Stadium
Home of the St. Louis Cardinals

5.) Spend a few days exploring new and old haunts around town. Old favorites such as a zoological park or science museum are enjoyable visits for all ages. Several cities also have museums geared just for children. For example, if you happen to live in or near Indianapolis you must visit the The Children's Museum! It's the world's largest children's museum and has many educational interactive exhibits. Makes for a very fun day! Here in St. Louis, the City Museum and the Magic House Children's Museum are both adventures worth taking! My personal favorite outing during Spring Break is a trip to the Saint Louis Zoo. I've made countless trips to this St. Louis gem over the years and have never once been disappointed.

Saint Louis Zoo

Whatever you do this Spring Break, the good news is you will make happy memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

St. Patrick and His Day

Rock of Cashel/St. Patrick's Rock
County Tipperary, Ireland
Who is this St. Patrick guy and why all the fuss with his day? St. Patrick was a Christian missionary and is known as the Patron Saint of Ireland.  He was originally from Scotland, born in 367 A.D.  When Patrick was sixteen years old he was captured and enslaved by Irish pirates. After six years Patrick was able to escape his captors and eventually made his way back to his family. He then studied for the priesthood and later returned to Ireland as a missionary. Patrick established many churches throughout Ireland and is also credited with several miracles. For example, legend has it that Patrick is responsible for driving the snakes out of Ireland. He has even been credited with resurrecting men from the dead. In addition, St. Patrick is believed to have taught the Irish about the Holy Trinity by using a three leaf shamrock. The leaves of the shamrock represented the Christian teaching of three persons in one God. Interestingly, Patrick has never been formally canonized a Saint by a Pope of the Catholic church. During the first millennium of the Catholic Church, there was no formal canonization process. However, Patrick's name is found in the list of Saints. March 17th commemorates the date of St. Patrick's death. The day is not only a religious holy day, but also celebrated as a cultural holiday by people all around the world. On March 17th the world goes green from Dublin to Tokyo! It goes without saying that just about everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day!
Activities include races and marathons, parades, and family gatherings complete with a traditional Irish meal of corned beef, cabbage, and green beer! How fun it would be to have personalized tees for your clan on this special day of celebration. Whether you're Irish or just a wannabe Irishman, Zoey's Attic has the perfect Irish shenanigan shirt for you! Outfit brothers and sisters in our luckiest big brother and luckiest big sister tees or adorable pot of gold sibling set. And, we've got you covered if you need a fun way to announce a lucky little lad or lass will be joining the clan! Mom to be will love wearing a comfortable "lucky charm" or "Irish Blessing" maternity top. There's even a bodysuit with leg warmer set for baby's first St. Patrick's Day and also a papa shirt for the patriarch of the family! Be sure to check out all our S. Patrick's Day shirts and gifts at Zoey's Attic! Then place your order by March 10th with basic shipping for delivery in time for all the St. Patrick's Day festivities! Top of the morning to you... and the rest of the day too!

St. Patrick's Day Shirts and Gifts from Zoey's Attic

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Let's Go Fly A Kite...NOT!

More wintery weather is on the way...so we won't be flying a kite anytime soon! The good news is we are expecting snow this time rather than ice, so that means we'll be able to go outside and play in the fluffy white snow. We've previously discussed fun indoor activities for those icy days and now here are 5 suggestions for outside fun on those cold snowy days:

1.) The #1 snow day activity on any wintertime list of course would be building a snowman. In fact, our family likes to build a snowman (or snowlady) for each member of the family. The kiddos then get to accessorize their very own snowkid with their own scarves, hats, mittens, sweaters, or whatever they choose. We like to be creative when adding the snowperson's eyes, nose, and mouth. Some ideas include using buttons, rocks, or pinecones for the eyes. Of course a carrot is the traditional snowman nose, but we've also used a charcoal briquette, a cookie, and even a sugar ice cream cone for a nose. A stick of licorice (red or black, whatever you have available) works nicely for the snowman's mouth. Also a line of raisins or gummy bears curved in a smiling arc make a super sweet mouth too. You can even choose to add sunglasses or a pipe for a different look for the snowman's face. Twigs or small limbs from a nearby tree or a broom stick are used for the snowman's arms. Be sure to take a selfie of the snowman you've created of yourself! What are some of the items you would use to decorate your snowman?

2.) Sleigh riding on a favorite hill is a must! We have a steep hill in our neighborhood where just about everyone meets for a day of sledding or tubing, and it's so much fun. However, the St. Louis tradition since I was a little girl is for families to meet at Art Hill. The Palace of Fine Arts was built for the 1904 World's Fair Exposition in St. Louis' Forest Park and is the current home of the Saint Louis Art Museum. Art Hill is the large hill located in front of the Art Museum. Warm bonfires glow and provide warmth for the cold hands and feet of the sledders. At the bottom of the hill is the Grand Basin with its elegantly flowing water fountains. Art Hill is beautiful any season of the year and a site filled with fond memories for many St. Louis families. The experience of sleigh riding on Art Hill is definitely a highlight for any youngster or adult alike. Do you have a special location for sledding near you?

St. Louis Art Hill
Courtesy of Explorestlouis.com

3.) In our neighborhood the kiddos play tag all summer long! And in the winter it's a special treat to make tracks in the snow and play snow tag. On a bed of freshly fallen snow you create a special inner circle which is the "free" zone in the game of tag. From the central zone tracks are made in a spoke like fashion creating a circular wheel pattern. Once the tracks have been made the person who is "it" stands in the "free" zone and counts to 10. The other players then disburse along the tracks and after the counting has reached 10, the "it"person then begins pursuing the other players in the hopes of tagging someone whom will then become "it." And then the game starts again with the new "it" counting in the central "free" zone.  If a player runs out of the tracks he or she automatically becomes "it." It's a fun game played until everyone is exhausted, and then it's time for hot chocolate!

Snow Tag
Courtesy of activekidsclub.com

4.) Almost every child has at one time or another created a snow angel. It's the easiest (and may be the coldest!) snow activity ever! Just lay on the ground and swing your arms up and down and your legs from side to side in a jumping jack motion. Be careful getting up so as not to disturb the freshly made snow angel design.

Snow Angel
Courtesy of Wikihow.com

5.) Lastly, another fun activity on those snowy days is to make snow ice cream. Be sure to put out a clean bowl or pot on the patio or in the yard at the beginning of the snowfall to catch a clean batch of freshly fallen snow. There is an easy recipe from Allrecipes.com which adds milk, vanilla extract, and white sugar to the fresh and clean snow to make a yummy snow ice cream. Variations include using chocolate milk or sprinkling in dry koolaid mix to create other flavors such as lime or orange snow ice cream. It really is a lot of fun to make with the kids!

Snow Ice Cream
Courtesy of Allrecipes.com

Lots of schools will be called off in the days ahead so please take some time to make special memories playing in the snow with the kiddos! You won't regret it!