Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer is just around the corner...

And you know what that means!? The kids are home. They are all mine. Well, mostly, they still kinda like to hag out with their friends. But, no more homework, no more rehearsals, no more early mornings when all we want to do is sleep in! Yay!


Instead, we will spend time together in the garden, in the kitchen, and out in the big wide world that school seems to believe isn't as important as a classroom. Road trips, camping, the beach, days at the pool, and the library are all on the horizon.

I get to concentrate on being with them while they still want me around. So, I won't be around as much. I'll still post when I have something...

But Summer Vacation is in the house!


Enjoy your summer!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Disneyland Tips, Tricks and Secrets #4

Welcome back to the fourth part of our series


As many of you know, we will be visiting the original home of the Mouse this week. I thought it might be insightful to see our plans outlined. Maybe it will help make the tips, tricks and secrets a bit more real as we continue on our journey through the labyrinth that has become a Disney Vacation. I have to remind everybody, this itinerary is for Disneyland Resort in California. Florida is a different beast and I am certainly no expert there!

Okey dokey. Here we go.

*Wed AM: Pack the roomiest, most comfortable vehicle we have access to. In our case, my in laws' mini van with dual recliners in the back and built in DVD screens. No children arguing over who is getting the best seat or Heaven Forbid being forced to share and complaining over who is taking up most of the room! They might be nearing 13 and 15 but they still argue like they are 2 and 4. Pack that vehicle with the following:.
Cooler - Both alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages, breakfast, lunch and snack items. Ours will certainly have a bottle of wine, a six pack of beer, an assortment of juices and sodas, cheese, cold cuts, sliced chicken breast, cream cheese, and salsa. And whatever else looks good at the time. 
Grocery box - Dry goods and paper products. Crackers, bagels, beef jerky, popcorn, assorted candies, granola, coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and paper picnic items. And a case of water bottles. You get the idea. 
Luggage - For a spring, almost summer trip, we will have an assortment of shorts (or skirts), short sleeve Tshirts and blouses, a pair of jeans, a sweat shirt, a set of night clothes, a swim suit, a pair of comfy tennis shoes, a comfy pair of sandals and maybe a comfy pair of nicer shoes, plus the assorted necessity clothing. We pack for one day longer than our trip adding 3 more pair of socks and underwear than you think you will need. Sometimes fresh is nice after your nap! LOL We always include one nicer going out outfit for every member of the family. We don't always use it but its nice to have just in case. 
Bathroom bag  - with shower necessities (if your family can share it makes it easier), grooming supplies (again share as much as possible), and individual personal items. We keep makeup and jewelry to minimum. Don't forget the sunscreen! 
Day use back pack - with bandaids, medications, sunscreen, New Skin and your important papers like medical cards, AAA card, Disney Tickets, hotel reservation info and your itinerary. I also put a phone charger in here along with my ID, one small limit credit card (that you are not using for your hotel and tickets), and some cash.  
Electronics bag - I always bring a charger for each device including the laptop/ipad and a surge protector strip that they all can be plugged into. There are never enough outlets and its nice to know you items will be protected like they are at home form electrical surges. If you are bringing the camera, this is a good spot for it and its extras including spare batteries. 
The Travel Box- Assorted DVDs to watch during the trip, snacks, drinks, pain meds, a couple of magazines, little book lights, maybe a joke book, or anything else that can be a fun time eater. The older the kids get the less I put in this box. They sleep or entertain themselves well enough. Get creative with little ones.
The Glove Box- Gets a copy of pretty much everything in the Day Use Pack, plus Hubby's wallet with the credit card we use for gas and misc purchases on the road. It also gets a map, a flashlight and some cash.

*Wednesday Afternoon- Pick up the kids from school and hit the road. I recommend wearing the most comfortable clothing you can be seen in public in if your drive is longer than 3 hours. 

*Wednesday Evening- We are coming from Reno and usually stop for dinner in Sacramento before getting on I-5. Casual sit down or drive thru depends on everyone's mood. 

*Wednesday Night - We've traveled along I-5 all evening, stopping for gas and bathroom breaks as needed but only at the large travel centers for safety reasons. Its now probably 11pm and we have arrived at our destination for the night an hour or so away from Disneyland. Off to bed!

*Thursday - DL open 9am to 10pm CA open 10am to 8pm. 
Rise and shine early. Dress for your first day in Disney! Hit the road in time to be at Disneyland about two hours before the park officially opens. Its now 7am. Disneyland opens at 9am. Enjoy breakfast at Mimi's Cafe on Harbor Blvd next to our hotel.Its 8. Breakfast is done. Check in at hotel (we won't get our room keys until later in the day), park the car, secure valuable items in the hotel safe, lock the car, grab you day pack and walk to the parks. First up Star Tours! Grab a Fast Pass and then get in line to ride. Next, Space Mtn. We usually do the same. Fast Pass and Ride. Now you are holding two high priority Fast Passes for the evening. Maybe sneak a ride on Finding Nemo here. We will spend the morning collecting other Fast Passes and riding attractions that will likely have long lines later in the day that don't have the Fast Pass option. Because we had a big breakfast, we will probably grab a snack around 10:30 and continue to play, throwing in a show or two along the way. Around 2 we will leave the parks and eat lunch from Subway or some other quick serve place outside the parks.Then go back to the hotel to get our keys and settle in. Swim a little, maybe nap, grab a snack from the cooler and go back to the parks by 6pm. We will use those Fast Passes all evening long. We have reservations in DTD at The Jazz Kitchen at 9 with the rest of our party (nearly 20 of us!) to watch the Thursday Night live entertainment, The Dueling Pianos. Here we will have light appetizers and a night cap. Then off to the hotel for a good night's sleep.

*Friday - DL open 8am to 11pm CA open 10 am to 10pm
Have breakfast in the room and walk to Disneyland by 7:30. This morning we will concentrate on getting Fast Passes for the evening and riding more rides that gather long lines later in the day that don't have Fast Passes. Probably Fast Pass Indiana Jones and ride it, then get a Splash Mtn Fast Pass and ride Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise. We are saving Fantasyland for Saturday morning. At 9:45 walk to CA for its opening. First ride is Toy Story Midway Mania. Then begin gathering Fast Passes and riding other attractions. Because we had a light breakfast, we will want lunch early, around 11 am, from one of the in park counter service options. Maybe the wharf soups in bread bowls? Yummy. After lunch, we will continue with CA and use some of those Fast Passes up before going back to the hotel for a break around 3. After a swim/nap break and a light dinner poolside from the cooler, we will go back to DL by 7. Use the Fast Passes we gathered earlier in the day and watch the Fireworks and the second showing of Fantasmic. I will explain how we do this in my post next week. I promise. After Fantasmic we could either go back to the room and go to bed or close down the park riding rides. That will depend on everyone's energy level.

*Saturday - DL open 8am to 12 midnight CA open 10 am to 10pm MAGIC MORNING HOUR
We are choosing to use our Magic Morning on what should be the busiest day of our trip. So we want to be at the park by 6:30. This will probably keep us from staying out too late the night before. Breakfast is from the cooler again today. Fantasyland is first up. You will notice when you enter Fantasyland thru the Castle that there are 4 rides that are in the cute little buildings surrounding the space in front of you. You definitely want to do Peter Pan first, then Mr Toad's Wild Ride that way you can avoid the longest lines. Then you will want to do Dumbo, if you want to do it at all. The lines here get long quick too! Remember, there are no Fast Passes in this part of the park. Then back to Snow White and Pinocchio, followed by Alice in Wonderland and the Tea Cups and the Storybook Canal Boats. Round it out with Casey's Train and you've done Fantasyland. Probably before the park opens to regular guests. Now the rest of the park is open. Send a Fast Pass runner to get your highest priority Fast Pass. The off to ride Big Thunder Mtn RR. Toon Town will open at 9, so that would be next on our list. Get a Fast Pass for Roger Rabbit (its off the grid, so times of last Fast Pass don't matter) and then get in line to see Mickey. Its a long line but it winds thru Mickey's house and studio. There is lots to do and see while you wait to see Mickey in one of the best spots in the Parks. Finish touring Toon Town, there are lots of fun interactive things back here, grabbing a snack somewhere along the way. At 11:15 we need to check in at the Blue Bayou for our lunch reservations. Again, 20 of us crazy peeps! After a large (and pricey) lunch we are off to play some more. We will probably hop over to CA and gather Fast Passes for the evening as well as draw at Animation Academy and visit the people tank over at Turtle Talk with Crush. Both are must dos! Back to the hotel for a break around 2 or 3. Another dinner out of the cooler or order pizza to the room and back to the parks around 6 or 7. Play in CA until 8, when its time to line up for World Of Color. I will also discuss how best to strategize for this show in next week's post. After WOC we will hop over to DL and use our Fast Passes there until we can't go no more!

*Sunday - DL open 8am to 12 midnight CA open 10 am to 10pm Happy Mother's Day!
This is our last day to play and its only a half day. Boo! 
We will probably sleep in this morning. It is a vacation after all. Breakfast in the room again, but at a slower pace. A leisurely morning to pack up the car and check out. Then head to the parks to revisit some of our favorite attractions or see a show we haven't seen yet this trip. Today is the day we usually buy any gifts for people back home and maybe a keepsake we have been coveting the entire trip. Back to the show thing. We have made it a tradition to go see Aladdin as our last thing each trip. Its a nice way to say goodbye. So, we will pick the last show before we want to leave and see Aladdin and Jasmine fall in love and let the Genie tell us his new one liners. What a wonderful way to say goodbye to The Happiest Place on Earth!

 Time to get in the car and head home exhausted but happy. Wouldn't want it any other way!
 See you all on the other side! 

I'm Going to Disneyland!











Thursday, May 3, 2012

Master Closet Plan


I really don't need a super fancy closet, just something that is neat and tidy, and remains that way because its functional. Is that so much to ask? Here's what we are starting with at Sagebrush Ridge. 



You can read more about it here. And my frustration with it all here.
Its sad really. Its sorry state of affairs that I have such a large space at my disposal and it looks, and functions, so horribly.



This is the basic layout as it currently exists, if it were empty of everything but the music equipment.


And here is the basic plan I want to implement. 

Source:http://thecubaninmycoffee.blogspot.com
After purging some stuff, finding new homes for others, and generally cleaning up I want to add a long dresser with a ton of drawers for folded clothing and a dressing table, again with more drawers. Something like on the back wall of the pic above, but instead of the mirror it would be hanging space for shorter length clothing.

I can't say I will sit at the dressing table to do my hair or makeup, since there isn't a lick of natural light in here, nor a single electrical outlet. We have to deal with the two woefully under powered over head light fixtures. I'd like to replace the one on the pretty side of the closet, but we shall see. Either way, makeup isn't gonna happen in this space.


Then why a dressing table and chair, you ask? Well, its always nice to have a spot to sit and put your shoes on and the extra storage in the dressing table will be appreciated. Plus, a mirror will add a little much needed sparkle. I want to create a feeling of pampering in here to match our master bath. Make it feel like its all part of the suite. You know what I mean?


The drape partition will go a long way in helping hide the ugly side of the room. The music equipment and various household storage that we couldn't relocate will all be hidden back here. I may even add a full length mirror suspended from the ceiling along here. Something like shown above, without the sofa, of coarse.And full length. Something to give this wall a little punch. I have the sneaking suspicion that setting up getting everything to fit in that side of the room may feel a bit like playing Tetris.

How have you guys made your closets work hard for you?