Monday, February 9, 2015

Our Whirlwind Weekend Disney Trip

So, it seems I only blog when we travel and/or I have a lot of pictures to share with you.  :)  

The girls and I just returned last night from Disney World!  It was our big surprise Christmas present from Matt.  He has to be in Orlando this whole week for work, so we went down as a family this past Thursday.  We spent Friday and Saturday in the Parks, and the girls and I left him and few home last night (Sunday).  The nice part is that we didn't have to pay for his plane ticket because he's there for work.  The girls did miss 2 days of school, but they are both straight-A students, so we aren't too worried about it.  Their teachers were super supportive.

Matt planned quite a bit ahead of time through our Disney travel agent that we used for our Disney Cruise.  (I would love to recommend her, let me know if you'd like her name. It's a totally free service.)  He had reservations booked at the Disney resort, the Contemporary, plus several dining reservations.  After he surprised us on Christmas, I took over and planned our Fast Passes for rides and such.  It is a fun addiction for me.

When we left home, it was a balmy 8 degrees.  Brrr!  But we knew we were headed to Florida, so we didn't want to take coats.  Big, warm sweatshirts, it was.  Here are the girls on the plane:

When we landed in Orlando, it was cloudy and maybe a little misty, but I swear, the second, we passed under the gates for the Magic Kingdom, the sun came out.  I kid you not.  It was so nice to see green and flowers.  Abby had a cold pop up the day before we left and it just mysteriously disappeared after we got down there.  Lily had no asthma problems, and all static-y hair went away!  We needed some sun, and warm air, I think.

Our first snack at the resort had to be Mickey shaped, right?

Friday morning was brisk (50's), but sunny.  
It did our souls good to see flowers and green grass!

The entry of the Magic Kingdom:

The required castle shot
(they were cleaning or painting or something... 
the crane was there most of the day)

Waiting in line for Lily's first coaster... the Barnstormer!  Not so coincidently, this was also Abby's first coaster a few years ago.

Here she goes!
(Verdict:  She loved it.  And requested to ride it again immediately, just like Abby did 2.5 years ago.)

After the Barnstormer, we rode the newest ride at the Magic Kingdom:  The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  It was awesome, and worth the wait.  I think it's the longest wait at the Magic Kingdom if you don't have a Fast Pass.  We wanted to ride it again but when we tried to get another Fast Pass, there weren't any available.

This is the fountain at Gaston's Tavern.  We got the popular drink, LeFou's Brew.  It's "frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped with all natural passion fruit-mango foam."  It was yummy.

We also scored a churro.  It was on our "must do" list.  Lily and I LOVED it.

More castle pics...

Spinning, spinning on the Mad Tea Party.  
(Matt refuses to ride this because he swears he will get sick.  I call him a wimp.)

The girls also checked Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain off their roller coaster list.  They were both tall enough!  We rode Haunted Mansion and they both hated it.  Too scary.

We finally stayed and watched the night show, "Wishes."

Day 2
Sore feet from yesterday.

Mickey Waffles. 
 I swear, they do something to them to make them taste better than ordinary waffles.

The girls insisted they wanted to stand on the monorail.  This got old after about 4 minutes.  Then they sat.


We did Turtle Talk with Crush and Crush actually called on Lily and talked to her!  She did great!

We all rode Soarin' for the first time at Epcot.  It was amazing.  It is a ride that simulates parasailing over the state of California for those of you who don't know.  It was super cool.

The girls' last shot before we left on Sunday:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Apple Nachos- Sharing a recipe

I was just preparing a dish to take in to the girls' school for the teachers' since it's parent-teacher conferences, and realized it's one of our favorite easy treats.  I thought that maybe others might enjoy it, so I'd share it.  We eat it mostly in the fall because it's apple season and we've been to the apple orchard and have apples to use up.  When we make Apple Nachos we go through some apples!  

The first step is, of course, your apples.  I have to admit I'm an apple snob.  I do NOT like red delicious or golden delicious, or anything along those lines (I feel like they're mushy).  We buy a lot of pink lady, but I couldn't find any, these are honeycrisp, which are so expensive but I bought them bagged to save some cash.

I cut them all up and then dip them in pineapple juice to keep them from browning.  This is a huge tip!  Some stores (Meijer) you can find little six pack cans of juice, which is what I buy so you aren't wasting a big can of it.  Once you dip them in pineapple juice, they don't brown for days.  It's really great.  I even save some juice sometimes in a container in the fridge and cut slices up for the girls lunch boxes so they don't brown.

Okay, so after you have all your slices arranged on a plate or tray, you'll need your supplies:  Peanut butter, toffee bits, chocolate chips, maybe some sliced almonds (?).  You can get creative.

You now need to "melt" your peanut butter.  For the amount of apples I had, I used two large heaping spoonfuls of peanut  butter in that empty glass bowl (in the picture).  Then, microwave it on a low power until it gets "drippy."  You want it to drip easily from your spoon so you can drizzle it over the apples.  For mine I microwaved it for 45 seconds at a 50% power.  You don't want to burn it, so better to check a couple times, that go too long.

Then, drizzle away.  And sprinkle your toppers.  I used toffee bits and mini chocolate chips.  You can't really mess it up.  The first time I had it, friends (thank you Lacie and Lauren!) introduced it to me and they put sliced almonds on it. 

Depending on your taste, you'll either prefer the peanut butter pieces or fight over the pieces with the most candy on them.  :)  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


The girls have been in school for five days now.  They are doing great.  I'm getting used to it.  I'm volunteering a couple times this week at lunch to help out as another set of hands in the cafeteria.  Life is starting to feel a little more normal than last week.

On a related note, I turned in paperwork to substitute teach at the girls' school.  For those of you who don't know, I taught elementary school for 8 years before I had Lily and I still have a valid teaching license (actually I just renewed it).  I'm already getting lots of questions about what I'm open to:  would I do maternity leaves, etc?  Whoa.  Lots to think about.

We hit the State Fair on Sunday, which is a favorite thing for us.  I grew up going to the Fair every year, so I have a love for it.  This day the weather was perfect so it was packed.  Unfortunately, I got sunburned.  No one else in our family did, but I got fried.   I went for a week in the Caribbean and didn't come home burned, but a couple hours at the Fair and I come home sunburned.  On the flip side, I'm glad the girls don't have my skin.

From the top of the Ferris Wheel, which is a "must ride" every year.  Can you ride it and NOT take pictures at the top?


The girls, sharing a snow cone/shaved ice (below).  They chose 2 flavors, one of which was Tiger's Blood, which just sounds disgusting but apparently its just strawberry and watermelon flavor mixed- according to Google.  We hit a lot of those necessary foods this visit.  Prior to this trip, for some reason the girls had never had a Fair Elephant Ear!  Check that one off the list.  Lily, pickiest eater ever, didn't want any, but Abby had some.  We also had a Lemon Shakeup, hit the Dairy Barn, bought some Salt Water Taffy, had fresh cut potato chips...

The girls and I have been watching So You Think You Can Dance this season and supporting a local dancer, Valerie Rockey.  She is from around us, and attended the same dance studio that Abby attended from age 3-6.  She has made the Top 10, and is really amazing.  All of our votes go to her and it has been fun to cheer her on.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


It was crickets around here yesterday.  Except for an occasional sniff from me, which wasn't embarrassing because I was alone and no one knew (except now, because I'm outing myself).

I thought I was totally prepared to put my baby on the bus to kindergarten.  Until it was here.  And then?  Not so much.  I felt very sad, and very lonely and very alone.  And no one could really fix that for me.  I just have to deal.  And I am.  But for a day or two.... I'm sad and I miss her when she's at school.  

But Lily?  Sooooo NOT sad!  

This was during breakfast on the first day.

They were very excited!  Which DID make me happy.

I went to the grocery store this morning and was still kind of in a "zone" from my emotional bus stop time.  But, after lunch I zoned out to some TV shows that I can't watch with the girls, so there's a bonus for having them both at school.  I'm still working on how I'm going to fill my days in the future.
I was so excited to pick them up from the bus stop at the end of the day.  Abby was as patient as she could be while Lily shared her first day of school ever.  She was so wound up, we wondered when she would crash!  That girl was running on adrenaline, for sure.  Holy cow.  She had all good things to talk about, and she is going to sleep good tonight.  

Abby also had a good day.  It was so nice to have her talk about playing with lots of friends at recess, and "normal" things, instead of worrying about starting at a new school like last year.  It felt wonderful.  

It feels like it's going to be a really great year.  Really.  I'm excited.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Our Disney Cruise Day 7

For Day 6, click here.

Day 7, Castaway Cay

This was an exciting day!  Today was the day we arrived at Castaway Cay (pronounced "key"), which is Disney's private island in the Bahamas.  That means that most everything on the island is included   (food, beach chairs, etc.) already in the cost of the cruise, and everything is "Disneyfied" and nice.  It is basically a beach day.

The back of the ship... Dumbo!

This was a huge fruit bar at lunch.  Lunch was a barbecue.  Hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs, potato salad, couscous, fruit, chips, etc.  They still had a self serve ice cream machine station, even at Castaway Cay!

Mount Rustmore


Olaf at the Post Office.  I've heard you can actually  mail stuff there, but we didn't try.

This is called Pelican Plunge, but the girls aren't super into water slides and I heard it was super fast. Looks fun, though!

We had tons of fun, and stayed at the beach longer than we thought.  Our friends snorkeled and rented floats to just hang out in the water.  Our girls just wanted to play in the sand and water.  It was a great last day to our cruise.

All we had left was dinner and breakfast before we disembarked and headed home.  

That makes this the last post!  I hope you enjoyed the recap.  The girls are already asking when we are going on our next cruise, though they also just want a regular beach vacation too.

If you're interested in a Disney Cruise, we used a Travel Agent to book our cruise, let me know if you need a referral, or have any questions. :)


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