.five ways to save at disney.

It’s my most asked question–my most popular DM–the thing people want to know more than anything: how can I save money at Walt Disney World?

Regardless of the tips below, Disney World will always be an investment. We tend to think of it and any other travels as memory banking–we’re making investments in our family experience. That helps soothe the sting a bit when we press “checkout.” In spite of the price tag, there are several things you can do to save some cash and still have a special experience.

  1. Take your own snacks. Dolewhips, Mickey’s Premium Bars, popcorn, pretzels…Walt Disney World has some of the best snacking options available, but they are pricey. We love snacking and each have our favorites, but we also pack snacks to have each day. Disney’s current policy is that coolers must be soft-sided, no glass allowed, and no alcohol allowed–everything else goes! We love packing Chomps, gummies, Larabars, and we each have our own Corkcicle water bottle we refill throughout the day.
  2. Pack your own rain jacket or poncho. In Florida, it will rain. Like, I’m always shocked if we go a full day without a shower while we’re at Disney World. Walt Disney World has ponchos available for purchase and they are always at a premium…save a ton by packing your own! We also swear by a rain cover for our stroller!
  3. Grab discounted gift cards to use. When we book a trip, we love to snag discounted Disney gift cards at Sam’s Club to pay for our trip. They come in all sorts of denominations and you end up saving quite a bit! An example would be: a $500 gift card is $484 at Sam’s Club. If you buy four $500 gift cards to pay for a trip, we wound up saving $64. We would also use our Disney Visa to pay for these gift cards and would get cashback for our trip. These gift cards are also great to grab before heading to Walt Disney World to use for snacks, drinks, souvenirs, etc. Speaking of a Disney Visa…
  4. Consider getting a Disney Visa. We don’t believe in credit card debt. Period. We often jokingly call Josh “Dave Ramsey, Jr.” But he definitely is more of a Clark Howard guy when it comes to debit cards versus credit cards. We love our Disney Visa because we can earn cashback to spend at Walt Disney World. On our most recent trip, we had well over $300 reward dollars we spent on food, drinks, and prizes. In normal times (aka pre-Covid) they also had in-park perks like private character meet and greets that were fabulous, too!
  5. Book with a trusted travel agent. Okay–this is a little self-serving, but booking with a trusted agent who specializes in Disney destinations is the very best thing you can do. When clients book with me, I handle everything from booking, park pass reservations, dining reservations, booking special events, and more. My goal for all clients is to come in under budget, always, and I do my best to find the best deals that fit the unique needs of each family. And the best part? My services are 100% free! At a price like that, why not? If I can help you, just shoot me an email at courtneyc@mousecounselors.com

Have you ever done a Disney trip? Sometimes we go bad and bougie and other times we do Disney on a dime!

XOXO,

Court

PS: If you need to maximize your time, Genie+ is totally worth it!

.clean home 2021.

Yesterday I shared about how I cleaned up our hygiene routines in our home–I thought it might be helpful to share the cleaning products we use, too. I know what you’re thinking–Mr. Clean and Lysol smell so good. And they do–they make us feel like things are clean and sanitized…but is a sanitized existence best for us? No. And are those clean smells that are actually chemicals good for us? Definitely not.

Most conventional cleaning products contain lots of chemicals–they infiltrate the air we breathe and we absorb them through our skin. I try to keep it as natural as possible when cleaning–here’s what we use:

  • Baking Soda: we buy it in bulk and I use it for everything. I use it to scrub grout, toilets, sinks, and freshen up our towels. I use it to deodorize as needed. I’m not sure I go even one day without using it in some shape, form, or fashion!
  • Swiffer Duster: it’s great for light dusting! Things like Lemon Pledge have lots of harmful chemicals and aren’t great for the environment. Everyone once in a while I use this to brighten up dull wood.
  • White Vinegar: we buy this in bulk, too and use it for everything. Disinfecting, in the laundry, wiping down the showers, etc.
  • Cloth & Bristle: this is just a good all-around cleaner and it contains just five ingredients. It also helps that it’s a female-owned small business and it’s mighty pretty in the cleaning bin!
  • Molly Suds Detergent & Delicate Detergent: clean ingredients that clean well–that’s all I ask for!
  • Thieves Cleaner: this is a concentrate that I mix with water in a glass spray bottle and I use it everywhere and all the time. It smells fabulous (like Christmas) and it cleans really well. Counters, showers, and surfaces get wiped down with this.
  • Diffusers: I have these all over the house and load them up with Young Living essential oils versus more traditional Wallflowers or candles. My favorite oils (currently) are Stress Away, Thieves, Christmas Spirit, lavender/lemon/peppermint, and Purification.
  • Cedar-O Mop: because we have hardwood floors, I don’t mop often. When I do, I use this Cedar-O Mop with a cap full of the Thieves cleaner and call it a day. This mop really gets your floors clean and there is a gross satisfaction in emptying out the mop bucket when you’re finished.

The biggest thing about nixing chemicals from our cleaning routine was making sure that things are really clean without “natural” fragrance, artificial fragrance, and harsh ingredients that aren’t great for us or our belongings. These are things that have worked for us and I hope they work for you!

XOXO,

Court

.clean hygiene 2021.

I am often asked about how we cleaned up our act–no truly! It made such a profound impact on my life and the lives of Josh and Annabeth that I love to share. I am not a doctor–not even close. I’m just a wife and mother who wanted more for myself and my body and my family, so I started doing some digging.

Before we proceed, please know that I’m fully supportive of western medicine. I’m fully vaccinated as is Josh and Annabeth will be vaccinated as soon as she turns 5. All that being said, the FDA has some explaining to do concerning what they allow in consumer products. In my opinion, they are for the almighty dollar from corporations like Proctor & Gamble

I’ve shared before that in 2019, I had a very real bodily breakdown. Fluctuating hormones, issues with my weight, insane stress–it all compacted into a very scary and unhealthy period of my life. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I think I’ll outline other changes we made (cleaning products, mainly) in another post, but for now I’d like to share some of the hygiene products that made a big difference:

Bath & Body:

Most soap, shampoo, and conditioner is absolute garbage. When I first started digging and researching, I was shocked at what our government allows in our products that are known to cause harm to consumers. When you consider the restricted products in Europe versus America, it’s staggering. Here are a few things I use and love:

Fragrance is the biggest culprit for causing major issues in soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. And the label “natural fragrance” can literally mean anything. I’ve found for myself, it’s best to steer clear of anything that contains “natural” fragrances and I always check the EWG label on items before purchasing. Let me say this loud and clear: BATH AND BODY WORKS PRODUCTS ARE POISON. I used it for years (soaps, lotions, body sprays, candles, Wallflowers) and I felt like a totally different person both physically and emotionally when I ditched them.

For information on dry brushing, click here.

Hygiene:

I won’t lie–it took me a long time to find a decent clean deodorant. Most standard deodorants contain tons of cancer causing and endocrine disrupting chemicals that maybe keep you from stinking but can also make you very sick. I went through a lot of trial and error and finally found a few hygiene products that I like:

You can use this link for $10 off Primally Pure products. I have our products set up on auto-ship every few months. This is the only natural deodorant I’ve found that works and doesn’t break out our armpits. I can workout, teach PE, go for a walk, etc. and not stink and Josh feels the same after a day of coaching and workouts, too.

Beauty:

This is definitely the most expensive part of updating my hygiene routine, but it has been worth it. I subscribe to the one out, one in mentality, so as I ran out of more conventional products, I replaced them with cleaner ones. Beautycounter isn’t the only clean skincare and beauty line out there, but it is the best and it follows the European standards–I’m not a Beautycounter rep but I can recommend some if you shoot me a message!

Feminine Hygiene Products:

Cotton is a dirty, dirty crop. The pesticides used in cotton production count for 16% of all pesticides used annually. We know this, but we still use conventional feminine hygiene products and act surprised when we have terrible cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, and more. In high school, my periods were sometimes incapacitating and so, so heavy. The cramping was almost unbearable–once I even fainted! I’m sure if you’ve ever had a period, you can relate.

Guess what?

Your periods shouldn’t incapacitate your ability to live. They’re not meant to be that way. When I started making changes like those listed above + I swapped to organic cotton tampons and panty liners, my traditional period symptoms vanished. I’m not even kidding! If you don’t believe me, ask Josh…he can personally attest to the fact that I’m much easier to live with now.

Think about it…we use cotton tampons that are inserted into our bodies…if the cotton is loaded with chemicals, we absorb those chemicals straight into our bodies.

Nowadays, I know exactly when my period is coming. It’s like clockwork. And yet, it still surprises me when it finally comes because I don’t cramp, I don’t have hormonal breakouts, I don’t have “period poo,” no more making a mess of my sheets, and I don’t feel absolutely miserable. There’s a better way and it absolutely includes organic cotton feminine products. I personally like this brand:

I remind myself often that the poison is in the dose, but so many of us in the US poison ourselves every single day with conventional items available on store shelves. I’m thankful that I was able to make these changes and ultimately change my life–when I look back now, I truly didn’t know how sick I was until I started feeling better.

Again–not a doctor, not even close–but feel free to DM with questions if you have them!

XOXO,

Court

.fall with foxcroft.

Do you swap out your closets?  I do.  It simplifies my getting ready process and at 5:30 in the morning, I will take all the simplification I can get!

Last weekend it was time for the annual swapping of the closets.  It’s a day my husband hates, but for me, it feels like a reunion.  All my flannels and leggings and sweaters that have been hidden away in storage are on display and that means that maybe the weather in Georgia has finally decided to cooperate.  

I’ve talked often about Foxcroft and how their pieces never need an iron.  So I was both shocked and not shocked that every single Foxcroft piece I pulled out of my storage bin looked pristine.  It’s another one of those morning simplifiers that makes life smoother–when your clothes don’t need an iron, it’s one less thing to worry about!  Just wash, wear, and go.

Foxcroft has a Friends & Family sale going live October 23 that concludes on October 27, and features 25% off almost everything on their site (excluding select non-iron essentials).  It’s a great time to pick up fall staples that will not only look cute, but make life easier.  Use code FRIENDOFCOURT for 25% off!

XOXO,

Court

.gift guide: children ages 1-3.

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Repeat after me: your kids don’t need tons of crap for Christmas. Your kids don’t need a ton of crap for Christmas. YOUR KIDS DON’T NEED A TON OF CRAP FOR CHRISTMAS. They just don’t. If your kids are anything like Annabeth, she has more than she can play with/wear/read and that’s with toy rotating, cleaning out often, and reminding doting grandparents that we don’t want/need anything.

In fact, Annabeth only gifts four gifts for Christmas. Something she wants, something she needs, something to wear, and something to read. Period. That’s one more gift than the Baby Jesus himself got so that’s pretty fair in my opinion.

In our family, we steer clear of technology as gifts. That is what works for us and we pass zero judgement on whatever works for your family. At this age, their imaginations are growing by leaps and bounds and these toys totally foster imaginative play. These are sweet little gifts that could serve a kiddo long-term versus just a season or two.

Are you shopping for any toddlers this holiday season? If so, may the odds be ever in your favor.

XOXO,

Court

.gift guide: for your man.

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Let’s be clear, nobody embodies the TREAT YO SELF spirit quite like Coach Callicutt. If he wants something, he maneuvers the budget like a full blown Dave Ramsey clone to make it happen. All that to say, he never needs a gift, but he loves one. And these are all things that he would love.

XOXO,

Court

PS: You can buy the 5 pound bag of coffee here. We order one every 2-3 months or so and the Just Black blend is our favorite.

.gift guide: for your mama.

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Nothing made me want to heap gifts on my Mama quite like becoming a mother myself. In my opinion, she only deserves the very best! My Mama likes pretty things just like I do, so shopping for her is a breeze. Last Christmas I gifted her a Dudley because 2020 was tough and cozy was a necessity. And for her birthday this year, I gave her those gorgeous Sarah Flint booties because everyone needs a luxe pair of shoes (code SARAHFLINT-BACOURTNEYC) gets you $50 off your first pair!)

If you’re considering the cache pot (which would be the sweetest with little grandbaby faces and her grandmother title), I’d order sooner rather than later since it’s personalized. The same goes for that pretty bangle…wouldn’t that be something with the monograms or initials of all of her children and grandchildren? And it’s so nicely priced!

If your mother truly has everything, order the Chanel mirror & rouge. I know it seems like such a trivial gift, but for $80 total it comes so gorgeously wrapped and is one of those items she’ll always remember finding under the tree…and the memories matter as much as the gifts…or maybe even more, right?

XOXO,

Court

.gift guide: for your daddy.

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My Daddy is such a mystery to me. And to be perfectly frank, if I didn’t buy him a Christmas gift, he most likely wouldn’t even notice. He’s not one for things unless it’s a new tube of mustache wax or maybe something to add to his hunting closet or gun safe. When shopping for my Daddy, I try to think of consumables like food or activities he can do with Annabeth.

Daddy is an avid pickleball player (and I bet your Daddy would love it, too!) and he pops a mean pot of popcorn, so the kernel set would be fun! The grilling spices would be fun if your Daddy loves to grill and the bocce ball and croquet sets would get a ton of playing time, especially in the spring, summer, and fall.

And of course, when all else fails, golf accessories will do nicely.

XOXO,

Court

.gift guide: for your in-laws.

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Nothing makes you look like you’ve got your life together more than personalized gifts. Like, obviously your son is in good hands because look at this marvelous gift I’ve curated for you…

Seriously though, in-laws can be tricky, especially if the dynamics are a little iffy. Even in the most hospitable of situations, you just don’t know your in-laws like you know you’re own parents and gift giving is such a personal thing.

A gorgeous charcuterie board, a Chappy Wrap, or framed photos of the grandkids are always winners in my book!

XOXO,

Court