Friday, September 26, 2014

High Five for Friday

It's so hard to find the positive when it seems like so many negative things are happening all at once. Never have I needed this high five for Friday post more than I do right now. Until I was gathering my pictures together to capture my week, I was only dwelling on the bad things that happened and forgot all the great memories we made in just a few short days! Sure, over the course of a few weeks, life has given us two cars that aren't running, a broken garage door, AC that needs repair and a child with pink eye, but it by no means will define my week. I want to remember the good things, the things that matter years from now. It's time to celebrate the highs and bury the lows with four simple words: High Five for Friday!
  1. We spent last weekend in Minneapolis for my husband's American Idol audition. Even though he didn't make it to the next round, it was still a great experience! Here is a fun family picture of us in front of the American Idol backdrop!
  2. Minneapolis is home the the Mall of America, so you better believe we went and checked it out. The entire center f the mall is an amusement park. I knew there were rides, but never expected 5 roller coasters and other rides! 
  3. I will talk more about the trip in detail next week, but while we were there, we got tickets to a Twins game. And even though it was cooler than we would have liked, we all still had a great time!
  4. Couldn't leave Mall of America without a family picture. :)
  5. After a long weekend and some craziness near the end of the trip, it was only fitting that we end on a high note with dinner outside in the city accompanied by a bottle of wine. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review: Epcot After Hours Wind Down

People often ask me why I go to Disney so much. Aren't you tired of doing the same rides over and over again? Sure, a lot of the things we do while on vacation are repetitive, but the familiarity of it all is what makes it a true vacation to me. You like to go to the beach and I like to go to Disney World. To make each trip memorable and unique, I try to do at least one thing I've never done before and the Epcot After Hours Wind Down event was just the thing I was looking for!

On select nights now through the beginning of November, you can choose from four bars in Epcot to take part in a very unique after hours event. Parks after hours?! Food and wine?! Sign me up! 

We decided to try the wine tasting at Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar in Italy for our after hours experience. The other options were tequila tasting at La Cava del Tequila in Mexico, beer at Rose and Crown Pub in England and I'm not really sure what at Spice Road Table in Morocco. 

Concluding the fireworks show, Illuminations, the park officially closed to the general public. If you are part of the After Hours event, make your way over to the country you chose and sign in with the host. They will lead you to a table where you will then get a wristband to denote that you are part of the event. I apologize in advance for the pictures you are about to see. I did not have a decent camera with me so these were all taken with my iPhone. Sorry!!

You are presented with a pairings menu. I was not expecting such a variety of options. I kinda figured it would be the same for everyone, so it was nice to be able to order different things and see/taste what everyone else in your party chose.

 Since it was 9:30 at night, I went with the sweet option for my wines since they were paired with dessert. To be honest, this is the part I wish I could do over again. I was intimidated by the red wines since I usually only drink white, and ended up with too sweet of wines (Moscatos to be exact). Since my inlaws ordered the reds with cheese and bread, I sat envious wishing I hadn't done what I did. The desserts were good, but after sweet wine and three dessert shooters I was left with a sick feeling in my stomach. Way too much rich food that late at night.

I didn't let my own ordering mistake bring me down though. One of the highlights of the event was the fact that our server was the same server we had on our Disney cruise over a year ago! I couldn't believe it. His name and voice were so familiar to me and it didn't take long before I was able to place him. Of course he had no idea who I was, but it was still nice to make that connection.

Once we were done, we went ahead and asked for the check. At this point you have the option to order drinks a la carte off the menu but since we just spent $35 on this, I didn't see the need to spend another $10 on a glass of wine. 

This next part was the absolute best and made me feel like I really got my money's worth. We got to walk all the way to the front of the park to leave with no one else in the park! My Disney inner nerd was completely freaking out. I mean how often can you say you just walked through Epcot with no one else?! I got to snap some awesome pictures (as awesome as you can get with an iPhone camera) and enjoy the peace and quiet of the entire theme park. 

All in all I would recommend this experience to anyone who enjoys a nice quiet end to a hectic day at the parks. Sit back, relax and enjoy an adult beverage while everyone else battles with strollers and wheel chairs to get back to their rooms after a long day. Then when you are done, just waltz out of the parks like you own the place; priceless.

Friday, September 12, 2014

High Five for Friday - Disney Edition

Since we were in Disney for part of last week and this week, I thought I'd share some of the highlights of our trip for this week's H54F! 

  1. Even though we weren't home for the first official football Sunday of the year, Charlotte still rocked her team with a little Disney flare. 
  2. So far Charlotte LOVES the Disney characters. One of the first things we did when we got to Disney was have breakfast with Pooh and friends and she loved every character! I wish I could say the same thing for her and our servers while we were there. Every male server or male in general that stopped to talk to her freaked her out so much and she would cry and scream to be held. 
  3. I couldn't resist having matching outfits at least once with her! So who better to dress up with than Minnie Mouse! As you can see, she's a little less than thrilled about this, but I promise she warmed up to it later. :) 
  4. One of the things I was looking forward to most was the Epcot After Hours Wind Down Event. It was a wine tasting and food pairing after the park closed. Next week I'll post about the whole event if you're interested.
  5. I couldn't help but get this last picture of the ball as we were leaving the park one night. We were one of the last people left so it gave me the perfect opportunity to get an unobstructed shot.
All in all it was a great trip and we are already counting down the days until our December trip! Now it's time for a nice relaxing weekend. TGIF!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Charlotte's 8 Month Update

I can't believe it's been a week since my last blog post! We just got back from another trip to Disney World and I was super busy trying to get everything together for the trip and then getting our lives back together after, that I kept forgetting to make time to blog!

So in case you didn't know, Charlotte turned 8 months on the 9th, so we are just a few days late. However, I did manage to take the pictures on the actual day, so that's a plus.

Eating: Charlotte LOVES real food and will eat anything off my plate. We are introducing her to all different types of foods so she gets used to all foods and not just the pureed baby food. We break it up into super tiny pieces so she doesn't have any trouble getting it down. So far she truly likes everything. Surprisingly enough, we haven't noticed her taking a preference over certain types of foods versus others; she seems to like it all!

Sleeping: She does not enjoy napping very much and often skips a morning nap, but we are fine with it since she still sleeps so well at night. Even though she is teething, she doesn't really wake up. Sometimes we will hear her crying in her sleep but that only lasts a few seconds. She wakes up between 6 and 7 every morning no matter how early or late she goes to bed.

Charlotte seems to discover a new frequency of shrieking every day. She still loves to chat and babble all day long. Along with crawling, her new thing is to wave at things while she is being carried. She is completely freaked out by men right now. She knows her granddads and her daddy, but if any other man approaches her, she instantly starts screaming and reaching for us. I think it's safe to say that "stranger danger" has set in. Charlotte also hates not being able to play with anything she likes. She often gets told no for getting in to things she shouldn't and will let you know her disapproval rather instantly.

I can't believe we are just 4 months away from her first birthday. We absolutely adore watching her grow and discover new things every day as she develops her own unique personality. We truly got lucky with such a sweet, fun and laid back baby!

 Check out her other month updates here:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

DIY Craft Room Pegboard

This project has been a few years in the making. Back when I first began transforming my little space into a dedicated craft room, I literally slapped a pegboard on the wall and tried hanging stuff from it without any planning or thought put in to it. Nearly two years later, I decided it was time to turn my makeshift solution into a permanent fixture.

Here's what it looked like before...

How did I think that for even a second this was a good idea?!

Lucky for me, my friend, Mike, was willing to help me build it the right way this time. He had the knowledge and the tools to help turn my vision into a reality. I simply sent him a picture of what I wanted and after a quick trip to the hardware store, the job was in his hands!

What you'll need:
4' x 6' pegboard (Warning: this is massive! Make sure you have the wall space and you measure first!)
Crown molding - (2) 4' pieces and (2) 6' pieces
Mitre saw
Wood glue
Pegboard hooks (I got a variety pack from Lowe's)
Wooden dowels
Scrap wood planks

These pictures are the actual making of the board (the part I had nothing to do with). As long as you have the enough space and the proper tools, it is relatively easy. You simply cut your molding to fit along the edge of the pegboard and glue it directly to it. Using clamps, secure everything in place while the glue dries.

The finished board barely fit in the car to come home and because of that it warped a little. I recommend building everything from start to finish in the same location that it will be in so you don't have to worry about warping. 

Once everything was assembled, I painted it teal to give it a pop of color and then began the hanging process. Now is when you will use the wooden planks I mentioned earlier. These are to set the pegboard away from the wall a bit so it's not flush and you can hang the hooks easily. I did not drill into studs, but instead used anchors and screws to attach the wood scraps to the wall. Once they were secure, it was time to attach the pegboard to the wood. 

So here it is! I won't begin to tell you how long it took me to arrange everything just the way I wanted it. I really couldn't be happier, and I absolutely LOVE that everything is easy to see and find, not to mention I still have a ton of space to hang new things!

Buckets//Michaels Craft Store for $2 a piece
Thread holder//Joann Fabric

This is my favorite part! No more hoops and stabilizer monopolizing all my desk space! I now have a nice place to access them and put them away after each project.

I am so happy I finally got around to upgrading this. It has really helped me keep my nook clean and clutter free since everything has a place and it takes no time to clean up at the end of the day! What do you think? Would this solution work for you?!