Friday, January 31, 2014

The one Disney tip I DON'T believe in....

There are tips all over the internet for Disney vacations. I have done several myself (here). A lot of people say the same thing over and over again (including myself) but there is just one tip I don't agree with.

One of the money saving tips that people recommend is getting souvenirs at WalMart before you leave. That way when little Suzy wants a Mickey stuffed plush you can pull your $7 one out of your suitcase that you got at WalMart and give it to her and save some cash. Same goes for when she wants that $30 Princess T-shirt.

This sounds like a good plan BUT my problem with it is that I can go to WalMart right now and buy those and give them to my kids. So can my neighbor kids that have never been to a Disney park. Does this make me a snob, probably. But I want something to show for my Disney vacation not my WalMart shopping trip. 

My first trip to Walt Disney World was in 1981 when I was 5 years old. Starting that year, all the way through my late teens, I bought one Disney plush per year. It was a smaller one, about 10 inches but I have Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, Pluto, Goofy, etc. They all have memories to go with them and I remember picking out a lot of them myself, not my mom buying it at the store and giving it to me out of her suitcase. They are all still in my room at my parents house.

T-shirts follow the same thing. But do they really need a shirt they are going to grow out of in 6 months? Yes, it's cute but it won't last. I had nicer ones made online (etsy or eBay) that I saved but I have only ever bought 2 at the parks. 

I didn't get several souvenirs every year I went, just a couple. No one can afford to buy thousands of dollars worth of junk for their kids.

Limit your children to an amount, even small kids will understand this if you work with them. We like to do gift cards so there is no cash to carry around. 

As for a toy, let your children have the joy of picking out what they want and you get the joy of seeing their eyes light up when they carry it around. They will love it forever. My daughters first Disney plush was Squirt from Finding Nemo. She was 2 and loved that little turtle. He still lives in her room, 9 years later! I even kept the receipt. Xander never wanted stuffed animals so we saved there. He wanted swords and the like. 

My recommendation for clothing is visiting the Disney outlet store at 2 of the outlet malls in Orlando. This is official Walt Disney World merchandise that didn't sell in the parks so they move it there. When my son was 5 I got him an outfit (jeans and a long sleeve shirt) for $15. Both were Disney merchandise and had Mickey on them. 

It may sound awful but I just don't like the thought of pawning off a cheap toy to my kid when we could get one together and make a lasting memory. You don't have to spend a ton of money but think about the memory. Also, how long is a cheap Mickey from WalMart going to hold up compared to one that is nicer made?

I get a lot of stuff to take with me like my post here about glow sticks for the parks. But let your kids have the joy of searching the mounds of animals for just the right one, you won't regret it!
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Go away winter, you aren't wanted!

Cabin fever is setting in.

It's so freakin' cold again this week!! Here is the current, check out the windchill temp:

I'm over it. The snow won't melt, we have missed so much school, and IT"S COLD!!

It's colder in Indiana than Alaska, who came up with this plan?

My pipes are frozen today! No hot water for the kitchen sink or washer. Then to top it all off, the drain is frozen to the washer. I only discovered this after I started a load of laundry and water spurted out all over the laundry room floor! FML

I went shopping on Friday night in 40mph winds just so I could get out of the house. Someone please flip the switch to May.....please. At TJ Maxx I got this candle called Beach Walk so I can dream. Bonus: it smells good and had 2 little shells in it.

I've watched so much TV, especially Monday and Tuesday when school was cancelled. I watched a lot of the old show Reba on TV and some old The Vampire Diaries episodes on Netflix.

Not much else is going on.

Found out that this is my puppy. Her name is going to be Penelope Joy (we will call her Penny) and we pick her up on February 7th. We are so excited! I am mentally preparing myself to get up every so often in the middle of the night to let her out.

No, she will NOT wear dresses but she may wear a small hair bow :)

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Valentine's Day

I finally got around to decorating for Valentine's Day. To be honest, I don't usually do much decorating for it. It seems almost like a pain in the a** because it's not out for very long. 

I decorated the dining room table a little. The little vases, roses, heart scatters, vase fillers, and pink heart picks are from the Dollar Tree. My awesome mints are still in the bowl, they make a great decoration!!

The side table in the dining room got a little too. The red bowl, heart scatters, and ribbon on the owl came from the Dollar Tree. I got the little vase at the Dollar Spot at Target and the heart pick in the vase came from Hobby Lobby. Next on the list is to get some Valentine's M&M's to fill that bowl.

Grandma's dishes got fancied up with a burlap banner (times 2) that I found at the Dollar Spot at Target.

The kitchen bar got this candle. It took me forever to find a white vanilla scented pillar candle. I finally found it at WalMart. 

Lastly is this cute little heart tree. I worked for a doctor several years ago and his wife bought us these at a local primitive shop for Valentine's Day. I used to leave it out year round when my living room was more red but now it just comes out in February. There is even a tag that says: "Here's my Heart" and "J.B.  (the doctors initials) trees. " 

Do you like to decorate for Valentine's Day?

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Glow in the Dark Slumber Party!!

We had this party back on January 10th but it has taken me forever to bounce back from starting school again. The first week back is always exhausting and I never feel like doing anything!

Eve wanted to have a slumber party this year and I figured this would be the last year she could do it for awhile because once girls hit junior high, they become too clicky to party together. She invited 10 girls this year and 9 came!! Last year we invited 10 girls and only 4 showed up, I guess it was a good thing to wait until after Christmas break was supposed to be over so more girls would be able to come.

Here are my best instructions on how to plan an awesome glow in the dark slumber party. PLAN AHEAD and get glow stuff after halloween on clearance or at the Dollar Tree. Although, you will get a better deal on stuff after halloween.

You're Invited: I don't like buying invitations because they are something that is usually thrown away by people (along with cards, wrapping paper, etc.) so we designed our own. I found this one I liked on Etsy and modeled ours after it. I designed it on the Open Office program on my computer. I downloaded a font called "billo dream" from here. I tried to use the brightest colors I could and I thought they turned out cute. They only cost me the paper to print them on and ink.

The papers are covering our address and phone numbers!!
Everybody Loves Cake: I had a friend make the fabulous cake. Her cakes are delicious!! Eve and I searched Pinterest and found this cake we liked and emailed it to my friend. There are tons of cakes for glow parties on Pinterest but she loves paint splatter so that's what we chose. We didn't need multiple tiers and we wanted square. Eve picked out the colors and we loved how it turned out.

It's Game Time: As for games we only played on just for the fun of it. I found online (I don't remember where) a sticky note game. Basically each team picks a person to put the sticky notes on, the team gets a pad of sticky notes and they must stick them all over their person. First team to finish wins. I got neon colored sticky notes at the Dollar Tree so they would glow under a blacklight. I also found a game where you hang black paper on the wall and let the party goers splatter it with paintbrushes and Tide detergent with whiteners. Evidently it will glow under the black light! We decided not to try it. The girls were happy just talking and playing Truth or Dare. 

My floor after the sticky note game!
Snacks are Good: For snacks, I got chips and Christmas marshmallows (on clearance and they glowed). I put them in clear bowls that I borrowed from my moms church. We connected 2 glow bracelets to put under all of the bowls to help them glow. Another clear bowl contained a TON of glow bracelets (Dollar Spot at Target) and some SweetTart candy canes (clearance from Christmas). We also had a bowl full of glow in the dark hair spray (clearance from Halloween) and glow in the dark face make up (also clearance from Halloween). I put a plastic white tablecloth down (Dollar Tree) and on top of it a table runner made of green tulle (Christmas clearance from Hobby Lobby). Unfortunately, the table runner didn't glow but it was still cute. My husband cut open a glow stick and made glow drops all over the tablecloth (and my sink and the floor). As for plates to eat on I found some neon clear plastic plates at Hobby Lobby. They were expensive ($7.99 before the coupon) but they did glow. The napkins were white with bright dots, the white was the only part that glowed.

Here you can see the bowl with the hair spray and face make up in it. You can also see the glow bracelets under the bowl. 
Hubby's fingers after he splattered the glow juice everywhere.
Bowls with bracelets in them, along with the plates and other stuff.
Without the night setting on my tablet. You can see the splatters better here.
With flash to see how the table was set up.
Nothing Like Freebies: As for goodie bags, I think at age 11 they were just too old for them but we did them anyway. I had white lunch sacks that we wrote their name on in orange highlighter so the names would glow. Inside the bag was glow in the dark shoestrings from Dollar Tree, a glow stick (clearance from halloween), bright colored silly straw (Family Dollar), glow in the dark vampire teeth (clearance from halloween), glow in the dark hair extensions (Dollar Spot at Target), and a black and neon pencil. 

Picture Please: We bought a huge back drop from Party City and hung it in the living room so they could do a photo booth. I only got one picture because I basically let the girls do their own thing. 

Happy 11th Birthday!!
Background pic from Party City.
Liar Liar Pants on Fire: We tried to make glow bubbles by pouring glow juice from a glow stick into the bubbles but the glow juice is heavier than the bubble juice and it would never actually mix. It looked like a glow in the dark lava lamp, lol. The bubbles would no glow :( I had found this idea on Pinterest and it is a lie!! 

Lying liar!!
I Scream, You Scream: Last year we had an ice cream sundae bar and Eve wanted something similar. It was a mess last year and I was not into messes this year so we just got vanilla ice cream, different kinds of sprinkles, vanilla and chocolate marshmallow bits, and chocolate syrup. 

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza: I also wasn't up for cooking like I did last year so this year we ordered pizza from Pizza Hut. We got in on a 1/2 off pizza deal where I got 5 pizzas and 1 order of breadsticks (for me!!) for only $35. Hardly anyone ate it at first but it helped give snacks all night long since we ran out of chips early.

As for the blacklights, we bought 3 blacklight bulbs for my dining room fan. It wasn't very bright and I wish now that I would have bought the bigger light instead. We put a single bulb in Eve's room and it worked but her bedroom is smaller than the dining room. She also had a handheld blacklight that she carried around that we got at the pet store when we bought some spray to deter cats from going potty in certain areas (some days I really hate cats!!). 

I'm glad we got to have this party. Most of the girls had fun, there was only a little drama. For me, my night was spent in my room watching random shows on Netflix.

Besides the Tide paint splatter that we didn't do, I also had out glow in the dark fingernail polish that the girls didn't use. I also found glow in the dark bead bracelet kits at the Dollar Spot (Target) and only about 1/2 made bracelets. There's tons of stuff out there to do for a glow party, you just have to look around and get creative!!

It is easier to have a glow party if you are planning one ahead of time so you can get lots of stuff after halloween super cheap. I think most of my clearance stuff was 75% off. 
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Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekend update...

Happy Monday!! School was cancelled for us today and I got to sleep in. Monday's should always start with sleep :)

First weeks back to school are exhausting and this past week was no exception. Because of this we didn't do anything all weekend. 

Friday, Eve and I visited the eye doctor to get her glasses tightened and both of us picked out new frames. Hoping to get us both new glasses ordered very soon. I haven't ordered glasses since 2006 so I'm really looking forward to it.

Saturday was filled with cleaning and relaxing, all while in my jammies.

Sunday: See Saturday!!

I did make a new recipe for mac and cheese this weekend. I found the recipe here. Basically you take 2 cups of uncooked noodles and cook them in 2 cups of milk, the fattier the milk the better. Don't let it boil, just cook on medium to low until the noodles are how you want them. DO NOT DRAIN THEM. Take off of stove and add 2 cups of shredded cheese (packaged or shred your own from a block of cheddar). We used cheddar from the package. It is so creamy and good. I like that it doesn't have all of the chemicals that boxed has. It was good stuff!! We will be making it again very soon. 

Not much to update, sorry.

I do only have 18 days until one of these cuties are mine:

Not sure which one is mine yet, I am pick #2 and pick #1 is taking her sweet freakin' time choosing which one she wants!!

It's been 5 years since I've had a puppy, any tips?
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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Indiana, blah

I am sick of winter!!

This weather is stupid. We got several inches of snow on Sunday, which I mentioned before. Then Monday and Tuesday brought temps below 0, just dumb. We didn't have school all week. It would normally be cool to miss some school but 4 days (Tuesday-Friday) is a bit much. I want kids to be safe but if I don't work, I don't get paid. 

This was Tuesday, the warmer of the two days!
On top of all this fun, late last night we heard a weird noise under the house. Turns out the pipe to the outside spigot had burst (stupid below 0 temps). We had let our faucets drip for 3 days but not much we can do about that one. We ended up having to call the city to come out and turn our water off. While waiting for them to come out I was filling several water bottles with water so we could brush our teeth, have drinking water, and wash our hands. Hubs took the day off from work today to fix the problem. He went down into our basement (really just a deep crawl space) and it was filled with water. GREAT!! He had to get a pump to pump the water out before he could even fix the burst pipe. So here it is, almost 24 hours after the water was turned off and I still don't have water. It will need to be turned back on tomorrow because I will be hosting 7 little girls for a slumber party and they will need to potty and such lol.

Today was supposed to be my day to prepare for the party. I needed to vacuum, mop, and hand wash dishes (which is the chore I hate but the dishwasher is also frozen). I tried to vacuum but the electricity flickered off due to the pump running. So, no vacuuming! No vacuuming means no mopping. No water means no dishes. Ugh!!

Instead of those chores, we got everything ready for the party so tomorrow I can vacuum, mop, and do dishes. 

I will post pics of our awesome birthday party when it is over. We are having a glow in the dark slumber party. 

Have a good weekend!!

BTW: Just found out that our little town is having some water issues and the whole town might lose water tomorrow. Hope that doesn't happen because this girl needs a shower!!

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Snow day!!

My county in Indiana has been officially deemed a blizzard area. Yesterday, we got 13.5 inches of snow and then overnight the wind was horrible. Most businesses are closed today and some are even closing tomorrow. We didn't have school today anyway but we were supposed to start back up tomorrow and school has already been cancelled. It's good that I get to stay in my jammies another day BUT it is a day that we will have to make up. 

Today and tomorrow we are having stupid freezing temps. Today's temp is -12 with a windchill of -38!! I am spending my day in my bed with Eve and the cat and my Edenpure heater. Tomorrows temps are supposed to be warmer but not supposed to go over 0. 

I hate winter. I hate snow. So, how does someone that hate's winter and show spend their cabin fever time inside? They plan their next Disney vacation, obviously!!

We are going over Fall break again and this time daddy get's to go too. We are looking to stay at a Deluxe this time to fit all 5 of us in one room. Last time we had 5 people we did 2 value rooms but I am not looking to go back to value ever again. I would do Art of Animation suites but those are never included with the free dining and we LOVE FREE DINING!! My husband has never been when we have had free dining and this will be a whole new experience for him. He will get to order steak for dinner and I won't even complain :)

I think we will stay at Boardwalk Inn. The rooms hold 5 people, it is Xander's dream resort, there is easy access to both Hollywood Studios and Epcot, and we like a lot of restaurants in that area (ESPN). I have even read that I can request a room with an Epcot view, which would be a dream for us. 

Have you ever stayed at the Boardwalk? What did you think about it?

Now for a Disney confession: I have been to Walt Disney World 20+ times and have never seen the Enchanted Tiki Room. 
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