Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene has come and gone.  We are extremely fortunate and did not get hit as hard as others.  Our neighboring town (and by that I mean the town that is on the other side of our backyard) got hit pretty hard.

We did what we could to prepare--had non-perishable foods, bottled water for drinking, bathtub full of water for flushing toilets, and secured everything that was outside.  All we could do was sit here and wait.  We had rain that was pretty heavy, but clearly nothing compared to other areas.  The wind was crazy at times, particularly during the night when it woke us up--several hours after we thought it was all over.  But, all things considered, it was not that bad for us.

We lost power around 12:30pm on Sunday and it was back on at 4:30 Monday afternoon.  So, 28 hours with no power or running water.  We will certainly be investing in a generator soon.  The worst "damage" from the storm was to our refrigerator, since we lost a fair amount of food.  But, even that wasn't a huge deal.

Here are the few obligatory fallen tree pics from our yard:

One tree down, but note the one leaning in the upper left corner 
That tree that was leaning in the previous picture?  Yup, it fell down too.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I love when I catch them in these little moments when they are just enjoying life together.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Well, I'm sure I *could* be talking about about Hurricane Irene which is on track to hit us over the weekend.  Most of the projected tracks are showing it going directly over us.  Thankfully, flooding shouldn't be an issues since we're far enough inland, and at the top of a hill.  However, wind and power outages are pretty much a given, I think.  So, who would have thunk it...we're preparing for a hurricane.

But, I digress.  This post wasn't meant to be about a hurricane in the meteorological sense.

I overheard my 4 year old singing in the playroom the other day:
"pour me a hurricane before I go insane.  It's only half past twelve, but I don't care.  It's 5 o'clock somewhere."  --Pause  "MOMMMMY?  What's a hurricane?"

Do I tell her about the weather phenomenon type or this kind?

Clearly, I explain that it's a drink for adults.

What?!  She'll have plenty of time to learn about hurricanes this weekend while we're sitting in the dark in the middle of one.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ooohhhhh, shiny.

That's what I've been feeling like lately.

I have an idea.  I get all excited about it.  About 5 minutes into executing it, a newer, shinier thought pops into my head and I drop what I'm doing to chase the newer, shinier idea for about 5 minutes until an even newer, shinier thought pops into my head and I drop what I'm doing to chase the newist shiniest idea for 5 minutes until....  You get the idea.

As much as I'm not ready for my little girl to start school...I can't wait to have a routine again.  To have some structure to our days.  Without it....  I just bounce around like a day-glo green orb in a pin ball machine.

Monday, August 22, 2011


That is the definition of a 4 year old.

Mini Me loves using the computer and is quite proficient at navigating websites.  On occasion when something happens and the computer freezes up, she'll ask for help:

"My computer stopped working.  I think it's cold again."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fun with a hot glue gun

Please excuse my absence for the past few days.  I've been distracted by a hot glue gun:

I'm making these treat bags for Sweet Pea's birthday.  But... I must have been absent on the day they taught how to cut circles.  :-/

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The long awaited day finally arrived!  Yesterday was our 180 day mark for our Disney trip.  That means, we got to make our dining reservations!

We got everything we wanted:

  • Dinner with Cinderella & Prince Charming the night we arrive (1900 Park Fare)
  • Breakfast with Cinderella and other princesses in the Castle our first day at Magic Kingdom (CRT)
  • Late breakfast with the princesses on Valentine's Day in Epcot (Akershus)
  • Breakfast with the Disney Jr. gang at DHS (Hollywood & Vine)
  • Breakfast with Mickey & Pals at Animal Kingdom (Tusker House)
I've always been the one really "into" Disney and hubby has lovingly tolerated my obsession recently.  However, yesterday, when we got all the reservations, he was grinning like a kid in a candy store.  I think he's more excited to take his princesses to Disney than he wants to let on.  That's OK.  We'll let him be our stoic knight in shining armor.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's 10pm...

do you know where your baby's diaper is?

If it was last night in my house:  Next to the crib.  Sweet Pea decided she was not wearing it to bed.

Before I went to bed last night, I remembered that I had left Sweet Pea's window open a little bit and it was getting cool.  So, I grabbed a blanket and quietly slipped into her room.  Just as I was about to put the blanket over her (it is August, right?) I noticed something didn't look quite right.  Then I saw the perfectly dry diaper sitting on the floor and realized that Sweet Pea had taken off her bottoms and her diaper before falling asleep.


I tried to get the diaper back on her without waking her up too much, but I knew I hadn't gotten it on perfectly.  Needless to say, I've still got laundry to do this morning.

Monday, August 15, 2011

101 Things

Woo Hoo!

Getting my 101 Things up and running.  Hope to have it fully updated by the end of the week.  But, go check it out.  Please and Thanks.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Goldilocks and the 3 backpacks

Mini Me is going to be starting preschool in a few weeks.  We have started shopping for clothes and getting things in order.

One of the most important items is, of course, a backpack.  (Not really sure what a preschooler needs to lug around....?)

We currently have 3:

  • A green frog knapsack
  • A toddler size Dora backpack
  • A full size Minnie Mouse backpack

Mini Me decided that the full size one is too big.

The frog one is too small.

The Dora one is just right, except...

It's Dora.  After telling me that the Dora backpack fit the best, she paused and said, "But, I hope the other kids don't laugh at me.  Big girls don't like Dora, only babies like Dora."

Well now.  Haven't we just taken another huge leap forward through the realm of social awareness?!?  

F*ck! F*ck!

That's what my daughter screamed at the top of her lungs as we were walking into the toy store this morning because there was a TRuck parked outside.  Good times.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Disney Dining

How's this for Magic?

We arrive at The World on a Sunday.  Monday will be our first day at the parks.  Of course, we're heading to the Magic Kingdom.  I will be trying to get a reservation at Cinderella's Royal Table for close to 8am.  That means, we'll get to be in the park...before it opens.  Mini Me and Sweet Pea will get to see the castle in person for the first time, with almost no one else around!

Our other reservations will be:

breakfast at Tusker House with Donald and friends at Animal Kingdom.
either breakfast or lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall with the princesses in Epcot
either breakfast or lunch at Hollywood & Vine with Special Agent Oso and Disney Jr. friends

Using the dining plan credits for breakfast is not the most cost effective use.  However, since it's "free" I'm not as concerned about getting every penny out of it.  We feel like it's the best plan for us:  we get to eat, the kids get to see the characters (without waiting in lots of lines), we won't be using up valuable park time at the restaurants because we'll be eating before the park opens and don't really need to plan around it or hope the kids don't crash before our dinner reservations.

Hubby and I are also planning a night out and are thinking of dinner and getting tickets to see Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba.

Less than 2 weeks to go until we can make our reservations!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Feed the Fridays

As I mentioned last week, I feel like we're in a bit of a rut with lunches.  So, I've been on a search for some awesome new ideas.  I turned to the blogosphere and have not been disappointed.  With an abundance of food-related content and a plethora of mommy bloggers, there are more than enough resources combining the two interests.

Some of the awesome new blogs I have come across are:

In the Kitchen with Audrey
The Menu Mom

I can't wait to check out some of these recipes and ideas!

In the meantime, we made Energy Balls.  There are a million variations for these.  I followed this recipe loosely.  This time, I simply made them with granola & oats.  I'm planning to do a batch with granola, oats and raisins and a batch with granola, oats and chocolate chips.

Even the plain jane version of these were so good that at least one of us *may* have eaten them instead of a meal today.  Just sayin'.  And, if you make them-- do yourself a favor.  Serve well chilled (or even frozen).  Much more satisfying.

I also baked a batch of corn dog muffins.

Mini Me will be starting Preschool for the first time in a couple of wee-----------------  (sorry, my heart stopped there for a minute...)  weeks.  ::deep breath::   We've started talking to her what kind of healthy snacks she'd like, and she got to pick out her "lunchbox".  So, any suggestions for healthy snacks?  What fun but filling stuff do you send with your kids?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Free Dining!!!!!

This week has been all about Disney Dining Math!

Several years ago, when hubby and I went to Disney, the dining plan was an AMAZING deal.  There was no way possible you wouldn't save money...it even included tip!  Seriously amazing.  And, it was SO.MUCH.FOOD!

Since then, several changes have been made to the plans, and they are not always the best deal.  It's convenient because all you have to do is swipe your room key to use your dining credits.  And, its "prepaid" so no worrying about how much you are spending.  However, if you look at the cost of the meals you would typically eat on a trip, it doesn't always turn out to be a good savings.

Also, it depends on how you eat.  For some, sitting down at a full service restaurant every day at a predetermined time is no big deal.  Some people hate it. We're in the middle.  We want to do some character meals for the girls, but don't want to have too many scheduled meal times.  Who knows what time the kids will want to eat, what the kids will want to do instead of heading over to the restaurant, when they will need to nap?

We went back and forth on the merits of the dining plans.  If there was not a promotion, we decided that we would not sign up for the dining plan.

However, this week Disney message boards lit up with rumors that the Free Dining promotion would be announced for the fall.  Then, on Tuesday, the rumors came about Free Dining in 2012!!!  I started to get a little excited.  Could it be?

Wednesday morning, the message boards were abuzz with crazy Disney fans like myself, obsessively hitting the refresh button on the Disney site waiting for the 7am announcement and with their finger on the dial button.  At 7am, despite nothing being posted on the website, hundreds of people began calling in for this deal.  So many people that the servers on the Disney board crashed, and the reservation lines at Disney were jam packed.

I started running the numbers.  We were scheduled to arrive 2 days before the dining promotion started.  After running different vacation packages, internal debate, reading reviews, flipping some coins and consulting a Ouija board (OK, not really.  But, if we had one, I may have.  It was just that hard!) I decided to change our dates (yet again) and drop our stay at Animal Kingdom.  :-(  I really want to stay there, and I think we will.  Just not this trip.

What's the end result of all this playing around?  I decided to make some changes and picked up the phone expecting be on hold for hours.  Reports of wait times and drop calls had me nervous.  I called twice.  Once to add the package to the second part of our stay, and then to add the additional nights to the end of our stay, instead of the beginning.  Both times I called, I was speaking to a Cast Member within 15 minutes.  Considering some people had been on hold well over an hour, I felt very lucky.

Our original costs broke down to be:

$1200 resort
$700 for park tickets
$1200 for food (projected budget)
$3100  Total  (Keep in mind this doesn't include travel, spending money, planned special experiences & birthday surprises, etc)

New Plan:

$1750 Resort, Dining, & Park Tickets  Woo Hoo!!!!!!!

A savings of $1350.  Granted, the change in hotels accounted for about $500 difference.  So, taking that out, we still saved $850.  Not too bad!  More money for all the "extra" stuff!!!!

Next up:  Planning out the Advance Dining Reservations!