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Disney Travel: Save Sanity-and also Money with Pixie Vacations!

October 23, 2013 by  
Filed under J.Bright

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Jennifer Bright

Here at the Mommy MD Guides, our mission is to help moms raise healthier, happier families. We talk a whole lot about the “healthier” part. I’m really excited today to talk about the “happier.”

What makes you happy is as individual as, well as you! But I think most people would agree that taking a family vacation is at least close to the list. And what vacation destination could boost happiness more than the one of the “happiest places on earth”–Walt Disney World.

I’ve traveled to Disney World 10 times, and the past three have been with my kids. Sure, we had some stressful moments, even some Mommy Meltdowns, but I made it home with my sanity intact. You can too! And below you’ll find some great specials from my friends at Pixie Vacations!

  • Work with your family’s schedule. I’ve read dozens of times about families that go back to their hotels in the middle of the day for naps. I’m sure that works well, for some. But I knew from other trips and day trips that my kids did better with a concentrated block of time out and about, naps in their stroller when they were younger, and an earlier return to the hotel to relax, swim, and sleep. Also, we try to keep our mealtimes as close to what we do at home as possible, eating around 7 am, 11 am, and 4 pm. Eating early like this also helps us avoid the nutty meal-time crowds!
  • Don’t pressure kids to ride. On our first trip with my kids, who were 4 and 2 years old at the time, I encouraged them to go on “It’s Tough to Be a Bug.” It’s a show in the dark, about bugs. Didn’t scare me a bit, but my younger son was terrified, and he was reluctant to go one anything else indoors for the rest of the trip. After that, before getting into a line, we told him as much as we could about a ride, and if he didn’t want to try a ride, we skipped it. Now before trips I show my kids (prescreened!) youtube videos of rides that they might want to go on.
  • Plan ahead. Disney is the master at crowd pleasing, and crowd control. Their FastPass system and the new FastPass+ allow you to cut your time standing in line. Yet, sadly  not all park guests know about them.  Don’t be one of them! They are FREE and easy to use! Basically, with a FastPass, you get a “ticket” that gives you a window of time when you can return and bypass the regular line for a much shorter FastPass return line. My strategy is to get a FastPass for one of the popular rides, such as Space Mountain, then check out nearby, less popular rides such as the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, until our FastPass window opens.  Then we ride the popular ride, go get another FastPass, and repeat the process.
  • Hydrate often–with free water! Just walk up to any counter service or snack station that serves soda and ask for a cup of ice water. I bring along packets of drink mix and iced tea mix to flavor the water because the water at Disney World often has a bad taste.
  • Share meals and snacks. This might sound like a no-brainer, but it took me a few meals with kids to realize that the portions at Disney World are generally huge. And who wants to carry a doggie bag around the park–and risk food poisoning by eating it later? We often split snacks and meals to save money, and waste.
  • Combat motion sickness! Try Queasy Kid Pops or Sea-Bands. I’m not admitting that I’m old, but rides that never used to bother me make me downright queasy now. I have great success with two Mommy MD Guides-Recommended Products: Sea-Band acupressure wrist bands and Queasy Kid Pops. I put on my wristbands before going on spinning rides like the Mad Tea Party. My older son also has a pair he wears on long car trips. Those Queasy Kids Pops saved our Magic Kingdom day on my kids’ first trip. My younger son had a very upset stomach, and I gave him a pop. He felt better right away! I always keep some of them in my purse.

Now that you know my secrets to traveling to Walt Disney World with kids, I want to share three terrific offers!

Play, Stay & Dine at Disney World & Save Up To $600

Booking Dates:
October 8 – December 31, 2013

Travel Dates:
For Stays most nights January 5 – March 5, 2014

Walt Disney World vacation packages are here for 2014 travel.  You can save $600* on your family vacation by booking this offer.  Here are the details:

Purchase this Walt Disney World Vacation now through Dec. 31, 2013 for stays most nights Jan. 5 – March 5, 2014 at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Save $600* (based on a family of four) on a 5-night, 6-day Plus Dining Disney Vacation Package at select Disney Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts. Or, save $400* (based on a family of four) on a 5-night, 6-day Disney World Vacation Package Plus Quick Service Dining at select Disney Value Resorts.

Booking Window:
Oct. 8 – Dec. 31, 2013

Travel Window:
For stays most nights Jan. 5 – March 5, 2014

Don’t delay! With savings this huge, rooms will fill up fast! If you are interested in this offer contact Pixie Vacations today.

Save Up To 35% – Select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

You can save up to 35%* at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels with this offer.

Booking Window:
Book Oct. 8 – Dec. 31, 2013

Travel Window:
For stays most nights Jan. 5 – March 5, 2014 and March 14 – April, 12, 2014:

Save up to 35% at
Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts,
Disney’s Beach Club Resort Villas,
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas,
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard/pool view rooms),
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa,
Disney’s Polynesian Resort,
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa,
Disney’s Old Key West Resort,
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (standard/woods view)

Save up to 25% at
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort,
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort,
Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Cabins

Save up to 20% at
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort,
Disney’s All-Star Music
Disney’s Pop Century Resort

How to Book:

Contact Pixie Vacations
Call 678-815-1584
Email: Info@PixieVacaitons.com
Get a Quick Disney World Quote

Disney World Christmas 2013 vacation packages from $118 per person

Spend the Holidays at Walt Disney World with this special vacation package offer from our friends at Pixie Vacations.

Booking Window:   10/10 – 11/18/2013
Travel Window: 12/18 – 12/25/2013
You must stay the night of the 18th, you can extend past the 25th based on availability.

Package for 5 nights / 6 days at select Disney Value, Moderate, or Deluxe Resorts
and get a FREE Disney Water Park or DisneyQuest Ticket for each person in your party.

This Exclusive Holiday Season Disney World Vacation Package Includes:


  • Accommodations
  • Magic Your Way Base Ticket
  • Disney’s Plus Dining**
  • A Free DisneyQuest or Disney Water Park Ticket

Spend Christmas at Walt Disney World.
Available Disney Resorts for this Disney Holiday Special Vacation Package are:



To Book:

Click this link to get an online quote: Christmas at Disney World Vacation Quote
Ask about packages available in other resort categories and for other lengths of stay.

Phone: 678-815-1584
Email: Info@PixieVacations.com

Get a Disney Vacation Quote Now For Your Travel Dates.


This Exclusive offer is ONLY available to guests that book with Pixie Vacations.

Note: I was compensated by Pixie Vacations with a Mickey Mouse Santa Hat and Minnie Holiday headband. However, I love talking about and planning Disney World vacations and feel passionate about helping families make magical memories and I would gladly have written it anyway!

Bio: Jennifer Bright is a mom of two sons and coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Losing Weight and Feeling Great. Next to her home in Allentown, PA, Walt Disney World is her favorite place on earth!

Catching Up with Melina Jampolis, MD

October 3, 2013 by  
Filed under J.Bright

by Mommy MD Guides cofounder Jennifer Bright

I have one of the best jobs in the world. I get to meet and talk with fascinating people and share their tips and experience with other moms to help them lead healthier, happier lives. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Melina Jampolis, MD. Dr. Jampolis is one of those people who does it all—so well. She’s a mother, physician, author, and entrepreneur. Here’s our recent chat.

How did you decide to specialize in physician nutrition?

When I finished my residency, I became very disillusioned with the practice of medicine. I felt that I spent 90 percent of my time putting patients on medications. I was making pharmaceutical companies money, but not doing a whole lot to impact patients’ health.

I took a position doing physicals at a weight-loss clinic, and I suddenly discovered that by helping people learn more about nutrition and better  manage their weight, I could profoundly change people’s health—and their lives. It was a “light bulb” moment for me.

Your book, The Calendar Diet, looks terrific! How did you come up with the idea for it?
I took some time to think about what I do that’s most successful in helping people to lose weight. I realized that it’s my month-by-month coaching, where I talk with people about the challenges they face at different times of the year and we brainstorm ways to meet those challenges.

Plus, I look at ways that you can work with the seasons to make weight loss easier, such as eating fruits and vegetables that are in season and combating winter cravings in a satisfying way.

I combined these healthy eating tips with cutting-edge exercise ideas, such as high-intensity interval training. The Calendar Diet isn’t a fad diet; it’s a lifestyle.

Your Dr. Melina Bars look great; I love that they have no trans fats or HFCS. Can you tell me more about them?

As a busy doctor, I find myself constantly suggesting that busy people eat protein bars as between-meal alternatives. But I couldn’t find the perfect bar on the market to recommend!

So I went to a food science lab and explained the bar I wanted to create. After months of trying different formulations, we came up with a great snack that keeps hunger at bay and blood sugar levels stable. The bars contain no trans fats or artificial sweeteners. My son loves to eat them too!

My coauthor and I are big believers in the importance of omega-3 fatty acids. I see you recommend Omax-3. What makes it unique and recommended?
While it is not always true with supplements, with omega-3s, you get what you pay for. Omax-3 has both purity and potency. For purity, it’s a pharmaceutical-grade, easy-to-swallow soft gel dietary supplement that delivers the highest omega-3 purity levels available

For potency, Omax-3 delivers 91 percent pure omega-3 content, as compared to many over-the-counter omega-3 capsules, which deliver only 30 to 50 percent purity—and mostly fillers.

Omax-3 also has a unique ratio of EPA to DHA, which has great health benefits. For example, it’s been shown to help reduce inflammation, an important contributor to diseases including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, skin aging and heart disease, as well as maintain healthy triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

It’s ironic that I’ve spent much of my career taking people off of the medications and supplements that they were taking, but omega-3s—in the right purity and potency—can really make a difference in people’s health.

What are you looking forward to in the future?

I’m very excited about the concept of food as medicine. I look forward to learning more about how foods work on a cellular and molecular level. I’m also interested in the idea of nutrigenomics, which is learning more about gene-food interactions. We are moving toward people being able to have more personalized nutrition recommendations. This will help people to learn the optimal diet for them. That is really going to take “food as medicine” to the next level.

Should Salt Shakers Be Removed from the Table?

October 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Mommy MD Guide Ayala Laufer-Cahana, MD

Setting the table was my first contribution to the family food making effort as a little girl, and the first task my kids participated in in my own home (I hate calling it a chore – makes a job that can be delightful and creative sound so boring.) A basic set table to me has plates, glasses, cutlery, napkins, salt and pepper.

But now, many restaurants are omitting the salt shaker. The New York Times brought in chefs, health experts and others to debate this trend.

I suppose that most restaurants that do away with the salt shaker do so because they feel the food’s already properly seasoned, and that the chef is responsible for the final taste and deserves full control over the finished product. I don’t think hypertension is on their mind.

Chef Kevin Sbraga does not put salt on the table in his Philadelphia Sbraga. He thinks that the guests should expect to get the food properly salted, and he says, “Ultimately, it might be a control thing. I want to have as much say in our guest experience as possible, even when it comes down to the salt.”

Mary Sue Milliken of the Border Grill restaurants offers the same reasoning and doesn’t automatically provide salt at the table.

On the other hand, Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem thinks it’s not for him to force his salt preferences on his diners.

None of the chefs in this piece took the salt shaker off the table for health reasons. Indeed, Thomas Farley, New York City’s Health commissioner – who has waged a war on the salt excess in our diet and is a big proponent of salt reduction – is on good terms with the salt shaker: “The salt shaker is not the culprit. Only about 10 percent of the sodium in our diet comes from salt we add to food while cooking or eating. Most of the salt we consume is already in food when we buy it. In fact, foods that don’t even taste salty, like bread, are among the top sources of sodium in our diets.”

Salt to taste

Too much salt can have detrimental effects on blood pressure, especially in vulnerable populations, and there is no doubt that the American diet contains excess salt – added for a multitude of reasons some unrelated to taste – and salt clearly belongs on the ‘foods to reduce’ list.

Salt, on the other hand, is an amazing ingredient. It is an essential nutrient we can’t do without; it not only flavors food, it is also a taste enhancer and taste modifier, and a natural preservative that keeps foods from spoilage.

But how much salt is just enough salt for perfect flavor? To that — I beg to differ from the salt-controlling chefs — there is no right answer.

Salt sensitivity and preference varies from person to person, and depends on the foods we regularly eat. Evidence shows that we develop a preference to a certain level of saltiness through repeated exposure. Raise a kid on very little added salt, and his taste buds will sense just a few flakes; raise him on fast food and food will taste bland unless it’s generously salted. Evidence shows we are born liking some saltiness, but salt level preference depends on exposure.

So chef isn’t necessarily an authority on the perfect salt level. No one is.

I rarely add salt at the restaurant table, but when I want another grain of salt I hate having to ask – and wait – for it, and for me, a table is not set without it. Salt just belongs at the table, and has been part of how we welcome guests for a very long time. Please, do stop this saltless trend. And if I can, one more pet peeve: please don’t clear plates when other diners are still eating; it is rude, and interrupts the mood and the conversation.

Do you miss the salt shaker when it isn’t there?

Dr. Ayala is a pediatrician, mother, artist, serious home cook, and founder of Herbal Water Inc., in Wynnewood, PA. Dr. Ayala is known for her extensive knowledge of nutrition and food, as well as her practical approach to improving health and preventing obesity and disease.

Say Cheese

January 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Demi Moore, Cindy Crawford, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilara. Celebrities are just like us, right? Okay, they’re all women. And they’ve all had babies. And they all posed nude while pregnant. So much for the list of similarities.

No one asked me to pose nude when I was pregnant. I’m not pregnant now, but sadly, I have a belly. So where’s the sexy? Who took the sexy? Now take a look at a semi-naked pregnant woman. I mean if the occasion presents itself. There’s something striking and sexy about it. Okay, maybe it’s just the fact that she isn’t wearing any clothes. Or maybe it’s because it’s not the kind of naked like on a naughty website kind of naked.

It could be the attitude that makes it easier to be photographed without clothes on. I don’t know where it comes from, but it seems like you have a boost in confidence when you get pregnant. It starts out like Ahhh yes, I’m going to be somebody’s mom. By the eighth month, it feels a bit more like, Yeah, I’m gonna be a mom, and you’re not the boss of me!

Of course it’s entirely possible that women bare their bods when they’re expecting because it’s virtually the only time you can get away with it. It’s no big secret that pregnant women get a pass on things. From opening doors to giving up good seats, people tend to dote on women who are obviously pregnant. So perhaps the thinking is She’s carrying a baby—give her what she wants.

There’s also the possibility that hormones make you do it. Oh please, we blame everything from PMS to poor diet to menopause on them, so why not bare belly shots too? It would be totally acceptable to credit your hormones for keeping you in a perpetual state of euphoria. Those little buggers might very well be in there telling you that you can and should do anything.

I bet if you ask anyone who’s had kids if they struck a nudie preggers pose in front of their mirror fresh after a shower, they’d say yes. We’re women. We turn our feet almost full circle in the mirror when we try on shoes! It’s part of our routine to look at our boobs, butts, and bellies. Being pregnant gives us that much more of them to look at.

And really, no worries if People magazine doesn’t ask you to pose for them. There’re lots of people who’ll see you naked during delivery.

Mommy MD Guides-Recommended Product Review/Giveaway: Bumkins Prize Pack

December 1, 2012 by  
Filed under J.Bright

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Jennifer Bright Reich

Do you hate to do laundry?

Me too. Nobody can generate loads and loads of laundry like babies and toddlers. Never in my life did I wash so much laundry as when my sons were little. And to make matters worse, few things stain clothes like baby food.

I’m delighted to tell you that there’s a simple solution: Bumkins Bibs. These waterproof bibs resist most stains. They’re machine washable; PVC-, BPA-, phthalates-, and lead-free; comfortable to wear; and made of colorful fabrics and designs.

“My son could be a very messy eater,” says Eva Mayer, MD, a mom of an eight-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son and a pediatrician with St. Luke’s Pediatrics Associates, in Bethlehem, PA.

“I bought a Bumkins Super Bib. The bib had a pocket at the bottom, so any food that missed my son’s mouth fell into the pocket. It was so funny, after my son finished his meal, he’d eat a second meal out of that pocket.”

Another challenge that I had when my sons were babies was keeping them warm when we went on walks. We had a fabulous jogging stroller, and we went for walks almost every night. To keep my sons warm, I’d cover them with a blanket. Just about every night that pesky blanket fell off, and I ran over it with the stroller! Yep, this created even more laundry.

Bumkins has a solution for that too: Bumkins Waterproof Stroller Blanket. This clever blanket attaches easily to the stroller with four Velcro straps, and it stays put. The best part is it has elastic at the bottom, so you can gather it around your baby’s feet. The blanket is generously sized at 30 X 40 inches. The exterior is waterproof (unlike regular blankets!) and the inside is a soft, microplush.  For moms who carry their babies in hands-free carriers, the Stroller Blanket also doubles as a blanket for your carrier, with the Velcro attaching easily to the carriers’ straps

For more information on Bumkins products, visit Bumkins.com. You can buy Bumkins products in stores such as Target and Walmart an at online retailers such as Amazon.com.

Enter here through the end of December for a chance to win a Bumkins Prize Pack filled with a Bumkins Junior Bib, Bumkins Super Bib, Bumkins Sleeved Big, Bumkins Tote Bag, and Bumkins Waterproof Stroller Blanket: That’s a $75 value.

Check our blog page in early January for our next Mommy MD Guides-Recommended (and Kid-Tested) Product review: FeverAll Acetaminophen

The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.