#Disneyside Christmas Card

I did it I am officially a Disney Nerd.

Rather than put myself through the excruciating do-it-yourself photo shoot I used one of the Magic Kingdom shots from our trip to Disney World this summer.

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There are a few upsides to my Disney Nerd Christmas Photo Card:

1) NO SCEAMING AND YELLING

I was saved from the horrific photo shoot where I am yelling and the kids are crying because:

  1. they are not professional models and
  2. I am not a professional photographer

 2.) IT’S A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPH

It’s a great professional photo that I already owned. Thanks to Disney Memory Maker I was able to download all our great vacation photos.

 3.) TIME SAVER                                                                                                                            I avoided the arduous and time consuming task of trying to find photos of my kids where everyone looks good. Honestly I am not even that picky, I never expect everyone to look good I would settle for looking and not blinking which is still difficult to find.

 4.) WE ARE HAPPY

The whole family is happy! This might be the happiest Christmas card I have ever sent. Of course because Disney World is the most magical place on Earth. Hands down the happiest place for my family.

 

However, there are some downsides

1.) DISNEYSIDE THEME

I am a theme person and if I was going all in Disneyside I needed to find a card that said Magical. I mean come on, it had to said magical it is from the Magic Kingdom. This proved to be a little difficult but luckily I found one on Shutterfly.

2.) IAM A DISNEY NERD!

People pretty much believe that about me already, but honestly they have no idea. I am just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Disney craziness. But I suppose if I have to start explaining Disney fanatics in degrees I am really already there.

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Posted in Disney, Family, Holidays, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Christmas Tree Wreaths

imagesHeaded to a cookie exchange?

Need a new recipes for the Holidays?

This is my absolute favorite cookie recipe. They are very sticky but relatively easy to prepare. This is a great recipe for cookie exchanges because they look so impressive.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups Kelloggs cornflakes
  • 1 package marshmallows large or mini (10oz)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring
  • 1 bag mini red M&M’s (The original recipe called for Red Hots or cinnamon candies but I substituted with the M&M’s. I think the chocolate goes better with the cookie than the cinnamon. However you do need to pick through the bag and take out the red ones since they don’t sell bags of M&M red minis- of course that leaves you with leftover colors, but in my house there is no such thing as a leftover M&M)

Directions:

  • Put six cups of cornflakes in a bowl. Set aside. Lay out sheets of wax paper on the counter.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat. You can also melt it in the microwave but I find it easier to use the pot on the stove.
  • Add the marshmallows to the melted butter. Here is where you have to be careful because you don’t want to burn the butter. Keep stirring the marshmallows until it is a smooth liquid consistency.
  • Add food coloring and stir.
  • Then pour the green marshmallow butter mixture over the cornflakes. Stir with a wooden spoon until all of the cornflakes are covered. It seems impossible at first but it takes time and you have to keep folding over from the bottom. Eventually all the cornflakes will be green and sticky.
  • Butter your fingers and quickly take balls of cornflakes out of the bowl and place them on the wax paper. I lay them all out first and then I use my fingers to make a whole in the center and even out the wreaths.
  • Dot each wreath with one or two red mini M&Ms. The M&M writing should face down.

Yields: How many wreaths you make really depends on how big you make your wreaths. One batch can make anywhere from 12-24 depending on your preference.

Tip: When I am making several batches I usually put the butter in the saucepan while I forming the wreaths on the wax paper. That way the butter is ready for the marshmallows by the time I am done.

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He’s Baaaaack!

We knew he was coming.

He told us he would.

He’s Baaack!!images-3

 No not him

someone far worse…20141204-132326-48206523.jpg

The Elf on the Shelf

 You can check him out daily on your facebook, twiiter and instagram feeds. The Elf on the Shelf is back to delight the hearts’ of little ones everywhere and aggravate parents to no end.

It’s December and he is back and in full force at everyone else’s house. He hadn’t returned to our house and this left my littlest one wondering…

“Why hasn’t he come back from the North Pole?”

“Were we bad?”

“My friend Emily has a girl Elf on the shelf too, can I get one?”

Problem 1: Where the heck is? What ingenious place is that d#**m Elf hiding?

Problem 2: Why is there a girl Elf on the Shelf??!! And do I now need one?

This Elf was starting to make me mad. He better show up and show up quickly. How many of us spent the first few days of December tearing the house apart to find his magical hiding place.

Maybe he goes to Florida in his off-season?

Apparently my Elf has an alcohol problem because I found him hiding in the liquor cabinet. I guess he has a little Captain in him.20141204-132900-48540371.jpg

Of course he was only found after I had completely given up all hopes of finding him. In my desperation I had gone ahead contacted the North Pole and put in an order for a Girl Elf on the Shelf. Figures!

20141204-132327-48207870.jpgNow that he has reappeared I am faced with the daily issue of making sure the Elf remembers to use his magic to move everyday. Like my Tooth Fairy my Elf on the Shelf sometimes is a slacker.

And in case you don’t feel bad enough about yourself for sometimes falling asleep on the imagesjob, be sure to check out Pinterest. A place where moms can go to feel completely unworthy and unimaginative. You can check out all of the fabulous and super creative ways Elves have appeared at other people’s houses.

Of course in the end the joy my daughter has every morning when she jumps out of bed to find her elf is totally priceless. I know, I know, so cliché but completely true.

And now, lucky for our Elf on the Shelf, he has a girlfriend. We are all happy… at least until tonight when the madness starts all over again.20141204-132325-48205121.jpg

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What’s For Dinner? #Recipe 1-Chimichurri Steak

What’s for dinner?

Like a fly buzzing in your ear the question, “What’s for dinner?’ is both annoying and persistent.

Between busy schedules, lack of time, and picky eaters, coming up with exciting meal ideas can often feel like an insurmountable task. Meal planning is not my forte and it’s often left to the last minute so my family, like many others, ends up eating out or ordering in. It’s not that I don’t want to cook or have a nice home cooked meal with my family, quite the contrary.

 

I always imagined my family sitting around the table having dinner images-2every night, just like the Keatons or the Cunninghams. However, I just don’t have the time or cooking know-how to get it done on a daily basis. Marion Cunningham was a stay at home mom in the 60’s so I get she had the time, but come on Elyse Keaton? She was an architect with four kids, where the heck did she get the time? Probably my first problem is images-1modeling my life after TV sitcoms.

 

Since I can’t be a character in a sitcom and I am forced to live in reality I must come up with dinner nightly. Luckily I am friends with some pretty brilliant people. My friend, Corin a Pampered Chef consultant hosted a Freezer Meal workshop last weekend and it was ingenious.

This wasn’t a Pampered Chef party where the goal is to buy their products, but rather a great workshop where I learned 10 new recipes. It was really simple. She sent us the grocery list and we brought all the ingredients to her house.

At her house she set each of us up with a work station with measuring cups, knives and all the little Pampered Chef gadgets that make prep so easy. Each of the recipes called for Pampered Chef seasonings, oil or vinegar and those we pre-purchased and they were ready and waiting for us at our workstation as well.

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After roughly 2 hours I had 10 meals in freezer bags ready to go. It’s such a great idea because it was both fun and practical. Even better Corin cleaned up and washed all the measuring cups bowls etc. Ten meals made and no mess in my own kitchen this was an ingenious idea.

An afternoon with friends and wine and you leave with 10 ready made meals. All that is left to do is to throw the frozen contents in the crock-pot in the morning and like magic several hours later a delicious home cooked meal.20141109-002105-1265156.jpg

Over the next ten weeks I will share the recipes with you. I haven’t tried them all yet, but the ones I have were delish!

Recipe 1 Chimichurri Steak

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs sirloin steak
  • 1/4 cup Pampered Chef Garlic-Infused Canola Oil
  • 1/8 cup Pampered Chef Cherry Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1tbsp Pampered Chef Garlic & Herb Rub
  • 1 tbsp Pampered Chef Southwestern Seasoning Mix

Directions:

  • Cut the steak into thin strips across the bias
  • Combine all ingredients in the freezer bag
  • Freeze

Cook Time:

  • 4-6 hours in a crock pot on high

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The Chimichurri stead was so good. I left it in the crock-pot about 10 hours, which was probably a little too long, but even with that the steak was so tender. I combined it with rice and threw in a little shredded cheese.

I liked it so much the next night I threw the leftovers into a fajita shell and cooked up a quesadilla for diner. Amazing two dinners out of the one recipe.

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Splish Splash #SummerMustDo

Watermarked PhotoSo much to do so little time. If you are like me you are trying to squeeze a million activities and trips into one short summer. Sometimes it works and sometimes not so much.

I always make a summer “Must Do” list. I do my best to get it all in, but sadly many activities go unchecked and are held over for next year’s list. One item from my “Must Do” list is a day at Splish Splash Water Park located on the East End of Long Island.

images-9My first visit to Splish Splash was a few years ago. I wasn’t really expecting much since I had never had any interest in water parks and didn’t really consider myself a water park person. The whole walking around in your bathing suit was kind of a deal breaker for me.

When I did finally make the day trip out to Splish Splash I was pleasantly surprised and really impressed with the Park.

The first thing I noticed was how clean and well maintained the park is. And once you get past the whole walking around in your bathing suit thing it really is a great time.

Splish Splash is good because there is  something for everyone. There are so many rides, slides, wave pools & rivers to keep everyone in the family busy all day long. In addition to the ride attractions there are several kiddie splash and play areas for little ones. Many of the tube rides are family rides where you can all ride together.

The magic height at Splish Splash is ’48 inches. Any child over ’48 inches can ride almost every ride on their own with the exception of Cliff Diver (’54) a thrilling straight drop body slide which I typically avoid, I am not that much of a thrill seeker.

My youngest is still not ’48 inches and there is still plenty for her and I to do while the big kids are on the few rides she can’t ride. For the most part those not yet ’48 inches don’t miss out on many rides because they can ride most accompanied by an adult.

There are several food stands and a food court with lots of seating. No food is allowed in the park and they do check your bags at the main entrance. Food is pretty reasonable and they offer the usual amusement park fair of chicken fingers, fries and burgers. They also have a Johnny Rockets in the park which is a big hit with my kids, definitely get a shake if you go there they are delish!

The wave pools and the lazy river are super popular with my kids and they would stay in them all day if I let them. My favorite ride is the bootleggers run a water roller coaster that was added last year.

I have always had pretty good luck with lines at the park because I seem to pick overcast days which I would recommend if you can although it’s practically impossible to predict the weather. The overcast days do seem to keep the crowds down.  If the lines are really long they offer a H2O pass which allows you to go to the head of the line and costs $25 per person.

Admission to the park is $41.00 for general admission at the gate and $31.00 for kids under ’48 inches and seniors. You can also pick up coupons at PC Richards or Dunkin Donuts and you save $4 per ticket. In addition if you buy online in advance tickets are discounted. They also charge for parking $20 per car.

It’s definitely worth the trip and a great day with the family. My only suggestion is to get early for a good parking spot and so you can hit the rides early before the park fills up.

 

Posted in Amusement Parks, Family, Family Fun, Life, Summer, Water Parks | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s so Magical about the #MagicBand?

What’s so Magical about the Magic Band?

MAGIC BANDS

As long as you haven’t been living under a rock, I am sure that you are fully aware that Disney Parks is testing out the latest invention from the Disney Imagineers the “Magic Band”

When you book your Disney Vacation at Walt Disney World you will receive a Magic Band. I highly recommend you order at least 10 days before your vacation and pick the color of your choice. That way you can customize your band and they will be delivered to your house. Predictably I waited too long to order and had to pick my Magic Band up at the resort. Also, I ignored the email that asked me to customize so I my Magic Band was “I forgot to choose a color grey” also known as iconic gray.

Magic Bands 3Prepared guests can choose from red, yellow, pink, blue, orange, green as well as iconic gray. In addition you can choose a name to be printed on the inside of your MagicBand. If you don’t choose a name they just use the first name from your reservation.

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The Magic Bands are your key to the Walt Disney World Kingdom. Magic Bands are waterproof bracelets that you wear on your wrist for the duration of your stay. They have several functions.

Magic Bands

  • open your hotel room
  • are your ticket to the parks
  • allow you to charge food and merchandise
  •  check in at FastPass+ entrances
  • connect Disney Photo Pass images to your account

They are pretty magical and once you get the hang of matching the icon up with the sensor they work really well. It makes life at Disney World Parks and Resorts very simple since everything works with the MagicBand. The technology is amazing and I never saw anyone have a problem with the MagicBand during my stay.

The only drawback I saw when I was in Disney World in the spring is that with the introduction of the MagicBand not many people were wearing lanyards. No tickets no reason for a lanyard. My family and I are big in to pin trading and we loved wearing the lanyards and trading pins with the Cast members. It was a big Disney tradition for us and I am afraid that MagicBands might mean the death of pin trading. Although, every Cast member I asked assured me they were still supposed to wear their pins daily for trading, I just don’t forsee Pin Trading lasting much longer.

We are heading back to Disney in August and the kids were psyched to customize their MagicBandRedMagicBands. And yes we did it early enough so they should be delivered any day now. I decided to pass up on iconic gray and go classic Disney red & black. Can’t wait for them to arrive!

 

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Social Media Sunday Link Up

Social Media Sunday link up
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It’s that time again friends! Time for another Social Media Sunday!

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homeschooling toddlers and preschoolers

Amber @ From ABC’s to ACT’s

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Michelle @ The MaMade Diaries

Epic Mommy Adventures

Natasha @ Epic Mommy Adventures

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Teresa @ Crafty Wife

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Penny @ The Real Housewife of Caroline County

Guest Hosts

A Labour of Life blog button

Linda @ A Labour of Life

Alice Megan blog button.

Alice Megan

Mommy Day by Day blog button

Mommy Day by Day

The Unextreme blog button.

Emily @ The Unextreme

SMSrules

As you know Social Media Sundays are a place for you to connect with other bloggers in as many ways as possible, since meeting other bloggers and making new friends is one of the best parts of this online world!

The rules are simple!

Follow your hosts and guest hosts and leave a comment letting us know so that we can follow you back.

Grab the button and spread the word, the more the merrier!

Get to hopping! Check out your fellow bloggers and make a new friend or two!

Most importantly, have FUN!

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