Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stationery card

Crayon Christmas Wishes Christmas Card
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

WDW Food--part 1 of several...Non-reservation meals

  • Boulangerie Patisserie
  •  in France – Do not come home and tell me you missed this--this is an epic right of passage to go eat dessert at France (EPCOT)  My personal favorite has always been the chocolate mousse.
  • Frozen Lemonade
  •  (in all parks) – really good
  • Churros
  •  at sorcerer's hat kiosk (HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS)
  • Main Street Bakery
  •  –great breakfast spot or our favorite is to buy some stuff there on the way out at night at closing to have to eat in the room later or the next morning (MAGIC KINGDOM)
  • Sleep Hollow--
  • nutella waffles…need I say more?!? (MAGIC KINGDOM)
Counter Service:
  • Pecos Bill
  •  in Frontierland near Splash Mountain - BBQ sandwiches, wraps, burgers, salad bar – large portions & LOTS of indoor seating! (MAGIC KINGDOM)  burgers are really good.
  • Pinocchio Village
  •  in Fantasyland near It’s a Small World – personal pizzas with salad side – large portions (MAGIC KINGDOM) our favorite CS in all of MK
  • Backlot by Star Tours
  •  burgers, turkey sandwich, salad - FREE drink refills (HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS) air conditioned seating--this one ties with ABC Commissary but we usually end up at Backlot
  • Toy Story Pizza Planet
  •  – Pizza & salad– large portions (HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS)  IMHO the BEST CS in Hollywood Studios--we ate here twice at the kids' insistence last time--including our last meal at Disney before we left for airport--they love it--the Chocolate Cappuccino Cupcake is fantastic and huge which makes it a great value as your dessert on the dining plan AND (biggest plus in my book) upstairs at Pizza Planet is my favorite cell phone charging spot in all of WDW–get a table along the brick wall side and you will find ample outlets to charge your phone while you eat.
  • Cosmic Rays
  •  –  1/2 chicken, BBQ, wraps, or burgers in Tomorrowland – large portions & LOTS of seating! (MAGIC KINGDOM)--if it's a busy time or park is crowded, head to cosmic rays--tons of INDOOR seating and lots of food options
  • Flame Tree BBQ
  •  – BBQ (ANIMAL KINGDOM)  DO NOT MISS--best CS in all of WDW--the food is EXCELLENT
  • Epcot--any of the worlds have decent CS options and Seasons at the Land is really good too--don't eat Electric Umbrella--I thought in the 10 years since I had last been to Disney that the food would have gotten better there…it hadn't.  Don't be coerced by its convenience.  It's not good.

Most Magical Place on Earth--Tips part 1 Animal Kingdom

Synopsis: AK is an easy park if you're short on time--there's really only 5 or 6 must-do attractions.  The rest you could miss and you wouldn't regret not seeing/doing any of them especially if your kids have been to a major zoo before (St. Louis, New Orleans, Memphis, etc,)

ANIMAL KINGDOM…If you only have a few hours…
·      Kilimanjaro Safaris® Expedition: FIRST-- DO 1ST --ASAP IN MORNING
·      DINOSAUR: Super fun ride!  Line rarely is longer than 20mins plus the interactive queue is very entertaining while you wait.
·      It's Tough to be a Bug!®:  DO NOT MISS (8min movie inside of Tree of Life)  Some say it's scary.  I thought it was awesome.  Full of surprises!
·      Festival of the Lion King: DO NOT MISS—CHECK SCHEDULE OF SHOWS—30mins long—AMAZING--BEAUTIFUL--I can't think of enough good things to say about this show--not a bad seat in the theater so don’t worry about being the first ones into the theater.  BUT try to get out of the theater FAST so you can get in line to see the characters who are located directly outside of the exit of the theater.  Have your child decide before FOLK which character is her #1 priority to see so you can rush to that line as soon as the show is over.
·      Kali River Rapids®: You will get drenched.  I recommend saving it for last so you don’t walk around park wet all day.  Take a poncho so you don't look like a wet tshirt contestant.  Also, Hubby can attest that khaki shorts become see-through when wet.
FLAME TREE BBQ: I'm adding a restaurant here because it's probably the best quick service meal in all of WDW as far as quality of food.  I'm not saying it's better than Memphis bar-b-que but the meat is extremely good.  Plus I just love the irony of eating meat at the Animal Kingdom which is all about conservation of animals.  
·      Pangani Forest Exploration Trail®: If you have time.  It’s a walk through zoo part.  We liked it much better than Maharajah if you have to choose between the two.  It can be as long or as fast as you want it to be depending on how fast you walk through it.  The reason I put it a little higher is because it’s in a very convenient location at the exit to the Safari.  So it’s convenient as soon as you get off the safari to make a hard left into the Pangani Trail.  I guess technically then I’m recommending you do this 2nd after the safari.  This one has the gorillas & monkeys (and other African animals) who are a lot of fun to watch. 
·      Wildlife Express Train: This is a huge time-eater but our girls enjoyed going out to Conservation Station® and Affection Section—afffection section is just a petting zoo with goats, sheep, and an occasional donkey.  Rafiki does a meet & greet at Conservation Station. And it's neat seeing the vets working on the animals.
·      Finding Nemo – The Musical: Supposedly good but distant 2nd best to FOLK.  We skipped this because we’ve seen Nemo on Ice 3 times now and everyone said it’s almost exactly the same.  It’s 30 mins.
·      Maharajah Jungle Trek®: If you have time.  It’s a walk through zoo part with tigers (this is Asian animals.)
·      Expedition Everest®:  SKIP--ok don't skip if your kids are tall enough & brave enough...but my my kids would not do it.  Disclosure: my brother-in-law says this is his second fav ride in all of WDW (behind Rock n Roller Coaster.)
·      Flights of Wonder: SKIP—it’s a bird show.  Sorry birds don't do it for me.
·      Primeval Whirl®:  SKIP—it strangely has a high height requirement.  This is the same “roller coaster” as is at our state fair each year so I felt no need to stand in line to do it.
·      The Boneyard®: SKIP—it’s a big sandbox.  Could be fun if you have hours to just hang out and let the kids play & get dirty—otherwise it’s a huge time-waster with no rewarding value.  They can play in the sand box digging for bones at our local zoo or even in the backyard when the dogs bury their bones in the kids' sandbox.  It has a playground with some slides attached.   We skip this section all together. 
·      Fossil Fun Games: SKIP—walk very fast through this section—stupid carny fair games which you have to PAY extra for. 
·      TriceraTop Spin: SKIP—dumbo but with dinosaurs instead

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas card

Joy Wreath Holiday 5x7 folded card
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Here's the fantastic card I made on Shutterfly.  Of course it took me forever to make.  Not because the site is hard to use at all--in fact it's super easy--but because it was so difficult to narrow down which card design was my favorite.  I could have spent hours looking through all the card options.  There are literally hundreds of cards to choose from and then you can customize them a dozen different ways to further personalize them.  I am thrilled with the card I made and hope it looks as great in person as it does on the computer.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Have you borrowed money lately

We last bought a house in 2008.  Due to being relocated we are once again buying a house just a little over 2 years later.  This time is NOTHING like any of the times we've bought a house before.  The new lending and banking guidelines are un-freakin-believeable.  They are nearly impossible to satisfy.  The government has freaked out and gone the extreme opposite direction from where they were 2 years ago when they were encouraging anyone and everyone to borrow money to the exact opposite where now it's amazingly hard to borrow money.  Just to get mortgage rates run you have to fill out a 19 page loan application, submit to credit check, and give the lender permission to pull your last 2 years tax returns--all of that JUST to get rates run!  Once you get past that then you have to keep detailed paper trails of everything, be able to explain every last dollar in your bank account, can't spend any large amounts of money prior to closing, and on and on and on.  I keep thinking they are going to ask us to submit to DNA tests next.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A house is not a home without love (and paint, carpet, new AC units...)

Ok don’t fall over from shock but after 5 months we finally put an offer on a house.  We found out we were being relocated back to MS the last week of July right before school was to start.  By that time, all the houses in our prefered area had been snatched up by people just wanting mailboxes to get their kids into our great school system so we were left with little or no inventory from which to choose.  We knew all along we really wanted to be back in our old neighborhood.  In the mean time we've been bunking at my parents house (which is also in our old neighborhood.) 
So this week it finally happened--well, rather hubby convinced me/ talked me into putting an offer on a house.  No, I’m not jumping up and down because frankly it's not my favorite—it’s a real fixer-upper—as in major fixin’ to be done.  It definitely needs serious work in areas--it's VERY outdated and has been vacant for over a year, but it’s a heck of a deal and hubby's trying to convince me that we could go in and redo everything the way we want it done. We'll see what comes of it but we did go ahead and make an offer and now are just waiting to hear back from the sellers. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shuttering at the diminishing days til Christmas

On your mark,
Get set,
The Christmas countdown is on! 

At the time that I am starting this post there are 58 days 2 hours and 56 minutes until Christmas....But who's counting?
              That means if you are going to get Christmas cards made, addressed, and actually mailed so that friends and family get them PRIOR to Christmas day then it's time to start planning.

I'm a bit of a Christmas card freak and not only do (make, address, and mail) our cards but my parents' cards as well and keep extensive mailing label databases for each.  This year I am already planning on using Shutterfly for our cards.  We always send out photo cards because let's be honest that Christmas cards are a competition to see who has the cutest kids.  A competition which we dominate with our two beautiful girls of course!

We have used Shutterfly 2 or 3 times for our Christmas cards, but I'm going to admit that we did not use Shutterfly last year.  I thought I had found a good deal on photo cards on another site and, sure, they were cheap....but price ended up not being the only way in which they were cheap.  They looked ok.  Nothing spectacular.  They looked like I had printed them out using my home printer.  The quality was as poor as the price was cheap.  I was disappointed but it was too late to get new cards made. 

So after a lackluster year, I'm going for major pizazz this year with our cards.  Right now, the front runner choice for our card is the Classic Red Square Christmas Card 5x5 Flat Stationery Card by Stacy Claire Boyd.  You can put 8 photos on it and customize the message in the red square.  I love being able to personalize the greeting.  Our family has a signature quote from Gladys in the Best Christmas Pagent Ever that we always put on our Christmas cards and I think it will look awesome in the middle red square in this card. 

While browsing Shutterfly's site I also found two new obsessions: personalized Christmas gift tags and personalized Christmas address labels.  Shutterfly has really branched out to be a one-stop-shop for all your Christmas needs.  I especially love the Retro Wheel Bright gift tag because it's very vintage looking but also while it is festive and perfect for Christmas, it could also be used year-round for all your gift giving occasions.  It also has corresponding address labels which are super cute and again could be used year-round but especially at Christmas. 

Hurry to order your Christmas cards while Shutterfly is offering 20% off all holiday cards!  Time is ticking......after writing this post there are only 58 days 2 hours and 25 minutes left!