Florida 2011 – Trip Diary – Part 4

Posted in Travel on January 21st, 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(NOTE – This is part 4/4 of our family’s trip diary detailing our vacation to Orlando, FL taken a year ago now.  This last installment is quite late, but better late than never, I think!)

Friday, January 21 – Today our house seemed quite empty as our travel companions left and it was just Hubby, me and the kids.  We did enjoy a day of family time, beginning with breakfast at…  Sizzler.  Actually, I don’t remember where we ate breakfast.  To be honest, I put the Florida trip diary aside for the past few months and now I don’t remember where we ate breakfast.  I don’t remember all of the details of the day, but I have enough treasured vacation memories to know that it was an excellent day spent with my family.  We drove over to Downtown Disney to try something different for a change – we had never been there.  Downtown Disney has so much to see that we just walked around for a few hours and were entertained without having to spend money.  My personal favorite was the amazing Lego store where one can buy just about any type of Lego a heart desires.  You can buy the flat building platforms, bricks in any color of the rainbow, minifigs, and there was even a sort of Lego buffet – you can fill a container with all different types of pieces, any kinds you want: basic building blocks, doors, windows, steering wheels, joints, hinges, you name it.  There were stations with samples to play with, and I had to exercise some self-control to let the kids play instead of sitting there myself for hours on end.  Because this is Florida, there were Lego things to see outside too – little stations with ramps where you can build Lego vehicles and race them, as well as full scale Lego models of people, the London Bridge, and even a large Loch Ness monster in the lake:

It’s really a good thing for my family’s budget that there is not a Lego store within 100 miles of our house; I could go nuts in there!

We also went to the Rainforest Cafe and a few other stores and restaurants where they had really cool decor for the kids to see.  There was a restaurant with huge dinosaurs where we stopped to use the bathroom, and the kids even enjoyed the Little Miss Match shop (a company that sells socks in sets of 3 and none of them match.  The store has socks and lots of other stuff that little girls love to accessorize with).  It began to rain, so we got on a boat to cross the lagoon to get to the bus.  If you are on vacation in the Orlando area and you find yourself with an extra day or some downtime, then I recommend taking a spin on the Disney transportation – especially if you are over-budget on your trip because it’s all free.  A fair warning that Disney property is so large that riding the buses, boats and monorails can take up a significant part of your day, but it is a fun and FREE way to see the sights of Disney.  So we took a bus to the Grand Floridian hotel to catch the monorail, just for fun.  Parking at Downtown Disney is free, so we got on Disney grounds without even having to pay parking!  We did have to spend a good 45 minutes on the bus though, but by now it was pouring, so we didn’t mind too much.  Besides, Hubby surprised me on the bus when he presented me with a Severus Snape minifig that he had picked up as a surprise without me seeing when we were at the Lego store!!  I could not even tell him that Snape is my favorite Harry Potter character because he would have wanted to know why – I didn’t want to spoil the last Harry Potter movie for him when it wasn’t out yet at that time.

At the Grand Floridian, I had to take some kids to the bathroom, and while I was in there, Hubby got a last minute great deal on a character dinner for us!  So we enjoyed dinner with Cinderella, her prince, her step-sisters and her step-mother.  The food was wonderful, and the kids loved meeting the characters as they walked around to greet tables.  After that, we made our way back to our car, and we were exhausted…  I think we called it a night – I’m not really sure; it’s taken me so long to finish this trip diary that my memory has faded.  All I know is it was a really great day, and a super way to end a wonderful vacation – SO WISH we could go back this year!

Saturday, January 22, 2011 – On this day I know we began to make our way back to Ohio, but I don’t remember the details.  I think we had told the kids we were going to do some souvenir shopping, but we ran out of time and just wanted to hit the road.  Then we had an idea – there are Cracker Barrel restaurants lined up along the expressway all the way home, so we found one on the GPS and got there just before it closed.  Cracker Barrels have little stores in them, and the one we stopped at (in Georgia) had a great sale going on.  The kids were able to shop and had fun getting some great deals – it was a nice way to add a little more fun to our trip.  We arrived home very early Sunday morning, if I’m not mistaken, and probably slept all day and unpacked.  SUPER trip that made awesome memories – can’t wait to do it again someday, I hope!!

Fun With Houses

Posted in Cool Internet Stuff, Travel on November 15th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

There’s a celebrity in Britian named James May who has a show on the BBC called “Toy Stories”.  Each episode centers around adventures he has with one of Britian’s best loved toys.  For the  episode about Legos (to be aired in the spring), he had a life-size Lego house built in which he lived for several days.  While the house itself didn’t look all that cool from the outside, it was fully furnished with Lego, including a working commode.  Here are some shots from the inside set to a groovy little song, “I’m living in a Lego house…” It’s a  shame that the entire project went to waste when they tore the thing down…  prospective buyers were scared off by the million dollars it costs to move a Lego house.

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And while we’re on the subject of life-size toy houses, this people-sized dollhouse can be found in Saskatchewan:

delete dollhouse

Switching Planets

Posted in hobbies on October 21st, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This year, I’ve decided to join my local  MOPs group (Mothers Of Preschoolers).  We’ve only had two meetings, but so far, I really like it.  At this last meeting, we had a video speaker who discussed the move between “Planet Me” and “Planet Mom”.  It was discussed how important it is for moms to maintain some of their personality traits and hobbies, even though time might be lacking.  After all, as the video pointed out, the word “Mommy” sounds like “Mom” and “me” put together.  After the video, one of the discussion questions was “What are some of the activities you gave up when you moved from Planet Me to Planet Mom?”  Most of the women at my table agreed that we can no longer do our crafts, but we didn’t really have time to be more specific.  The crafts I used to enjoy before I really lost the time for them were oil painting and Legos.  True, I don’t really have a natural artistic knack, but I would get those paint-by-number kits (back when they were a little bit higher quality than they seem to be nowadays); I would complete them and they’d turn out so pretty that I’d hate to have to tell people that I painted-by-number.

Another thing I enjoyed before I had kids was sorting and building with my extensive Lego collection I amassed over the years.  It took just one curious toddler to make me abort that hobby, and the Legos got packed away years ago when my oldest began to toddle.  Little pieces are the most fun part of the collection, and we couldn’t risk her putting those little pieces into her mouth or who-knows-where-else.  So I packed away the Legos, and somehow the entire collection followed me  throughout our moves around the midwest and resides with me today, albeit packed away in the basement.  There hasn’t been a shortage (blessfully) of little ones in our house for the past 10 years, so the Legos probably won’t see the light of day for at least a few more years – gotta wait until the little dude is old enough to play rather than destroy or get hurt with them.  So let it be known that I miss my Legos, but I am thankful to still have them and even to be adding to the collection whenever I can catch a cool set on a great sale – usually after Christmas.  Many empty-nesters turn their kids’ bedrooms into something of their choosing when the kids grow up and move away, like a gym, an office, or a rec room, but I already have plans for a Lego studio, where I hope to one day be able to build super-cool things like this:

delete lego house

I’d also like to build a replica of my house as well as a local historic building:

delete courthouse

Now that would be cool, but very difficult.  But if I had more time, the sky is the limit!  My favorite sets are house or city-themed sets, and I also really like vintage Lego sets.  Does anyone remember Fabuland?  It was a series of more colorful Lego sets that featured animals as characters rather than the popular and better known Lego “mini-figs”.

Just because I don’t have the room now to be able to spread out and work with my Lego collection, doesn’t mean that I can’t look at cool things other people have built online, especially now that I’ve officially and publicly declared myself a dork on my blog!

80s Toys

Posted in games, Pop Culture on October 5th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

All that talk of California Raisins on my blog the other day got me to thinking about many of the toys I used to play with when I was a kid growing up in the 80’s.  I was a big fan of Fisher Price’s Little People back then, and I generally liked playsets of any kind.  The internet is a cool thing for many reasons, and it’s fun for stirring up nostalgia now and then.  I remembered this set of wind-up skill games they had in the 80s that were really small.  After a few minutes of google searching, I found them:  T.H.I.N.G.S. by Milton Bradley (Totally Hilarious Incredibly Neat Games of Skill – who remembers these?) .  It’s funny how most of these little toys look like just your everyday junk from China when you’re an adult, but when I was a kid, I had the Sir-Ring-a-Lot game and wanted all the rest of the T.H.I.N.G.S.

I was also really into Nerfuls after sending away for one (visor guy) in exchange for cereal UPCs.  These were little 3-piece figures  – a body, a ball for the head, and a hat or hair.  Some came with vehicles and the coolest parts were the stackable Nerfuls houses.

Legos were also really cool (still are!), and I’m thinking of getting my 5-year-old some of her own sets for Christmas this year.

Added link to Weebles Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Awesome Anthem Of Moms Everywhere

Posted in Fun Forwards on December 22nd, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apparently while people are on Christmas break – off work or just home with their kids – they like to send email forwards.  I’ve gotten a burst of them lately, and 2 caught my eye so I will share them.  The first is another personality quiz, but it had some different questions than ones in the past, so I’m posting it.  Second is a really cute youtube video of a lady doing a marvellous job singing a song with which every parent will identify.  She is very talented, and it’s a good performance.  Not only do the lyrics ring true, but the woman has a nice voice, and she just performs the song very well.  It’s amazing to me that she was able to memorize all those words – they come awfully fast!

Here’s a copy of the personality quiz email with the answers I wrote:

A little fun thing to do.
44 ODD Things about you! If you opened this, FILL IT
OUT! Learn 44 things About your friends, and let them
learn 44 things about you! Send back to Me and to
several more friends !!

1. Do you like blue cheese? yes
2. Have you ever smoked? yes
3. Do you own a gun? NO!
4. What flavor of Kool Aid was your favorite? mountain berry
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? yes
6. What do you think of hot dogs ? like em – especially Vienna Beef or Nathans
7. Favorite Christmas movie? Elf
8. Favorite thing to drink in the morning:water
9. Can you do push ups? barely
10. Favorite piece of jewelry? my wedding and engagement rings
12. Do you have A.D.D.? I just might
13. What is one trait you hate about yourself?  that I can be high strung
14. Middle name ?  Marie
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment. My Grandma’s Christmas village is cooler than the one they’re showing on the news – I can’t wait until Christmas – I can’t wait until Chris gets off work
17. Current worry? money
18. Current hate right now? arrogant, self-absorbed people
19. Favorite place to be?  home
20. How did you bring in the New Year? with friends
22. Name three people who might complete this.  Jamy, Megan, Mary Beth
23. Do you own slippers?  no – I wear imitation Crocs around the house
24. What shirt are you wearing? a red sweatshirt with snowflakes on it
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? yes – but only in the summer
26. Can you whistle? yes
27. Favorite color?  green
28. Would you be a pirate? I’ve got a parrot…  but I don’t really know what this question means.  I would not hijack ships and steal from people, so I guess not
29. What songs do you sing in the AM. Country
30. Favorite girl’s name?  Taylor
31. Favorite boy’s name? Christopher
32. What’s in your pocket right now? a piece of Barbie fake dog poop – don’t ask
33. Last thing that made you laugh? My girls seeing their baby brother jumping in his bouncy
34. What vehicle do you drive? minivan
35. Worst injury you have ever had? emergency cesarean with a blood transfusion
36.  Favorite Season?  Spring
37. How many TV’s do you have in your house? 6
38. Who is your loudest friend? Lisa H. I guess
39. Do you have any pets? 2 dogs, a parrot, and one hibernating ladybug
40. Does someone have a crush on you?  does marriage count as a crush?
41. What is your favorite book? Monkeys on the Interstate by Jack Hanna
42. Do you collect anything?   board games, Legos, Cubs stuff, local historical memorabilia and books
43. Favorite sports team? Chicago Cubs / Bears
44. What song do you want played at your funeral?  Whatever other people want to listen to, I guess…  it’s not like I’ll be enjoying it!

And here is the Mom’s Anthem video:

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