Thursday, October 30, 2008

Disneyland with a Two-Year Old - Part 2

Part 1 here.
By Mid-afternoon we headed over to California Adventure. E-ver-y-one had the same idea. It was packed and hot.

The minute you stepped into the park, you can tell it was pumpkin season. Candy corn ws everywhere.
Candy corn stalks and candy corn cactus!

First Stop - Hollywood

Playhouse Disney
What's more fun this standing in line in the hot sun for 20 minutes? My thoughts exactly. But it was well worth it, the minute we walked into the playhouse, settled on the floor in a massive room full of kids and parents, we knew this was up Cristian's alley. What's better that tool puppets and tigger? It was so cute and the quality of the show was incredible.

Disney Animation Building
I can spend hours in here. When you walk in, the main room is massive, dark and cool and covered with huge screens playing still shots from the Disney animated movies. In the center are plush sofas for sitting.

There are different rooms with interactive attractions that take you behind the scenes of Disney's animation. Our feet needed some rest so the first thing we did was see Turtle Talk with Crush. Crush, the turtle dude from Finding Nemo, interacted with the audience. How Disney does it is a mystery.

In Animation Academy they show how to draw Disney characters with real Disney Animators. Below is a showing of how animation is achieved. This Toy Story setup shows characters that are slightly different than the others. The setup begins to spin super fast... and magic happens.

video


We headed back to get the stroller and this is what we came upon... not an easy task, trying to figure out which one is yours and how to get it out. We ran into country fall Mickey and Minney as they ran away from the crowd.



Second Stop - Bug's Land


By this time, the weather was beautiful. The sky's were picture perfect!
Cristian is a water kid. He loves showers and baths, he's already in the middle of swimming lessons. The minute I saw the water zone, I knew we had to stop... As you can see below, he l-o-v-e-d it! We continued onto Bug Land and went on a few kiddie rides. Cristian was now almost over the screaming fear of Disneyland.


As we waited for my aunt and cousin to get off the roller coaster I took some pictures of the California sunset. It was the perfect day to be at Disney.


We headed back to Disneyland for the night, along with the other multi-trillion people.

Third Stop - The French Market and Fireworks

The French Market is my favorite restaurant in Disneyland. My parents would always take us to The Blue Bayou or the French Market. Both are located in New Orleans Square. The food is scrumptious and the atmosphere is priceless. The Blue Bayou is a swankier restaurant compared to the other dining places in Disneyland. The inside makes you feel like you are outside. Tables overlook the swamp that is the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The French Market is located next to the train station with dimly lit lanterns and iron gating all the way around. You stand in line for your food and then sit down to a serenade of Jazz. I ordered Clam Chowder in a sourdough bowl and a Salad with their famous blue cheese dressing. My family is big on blue cheese. We love it! We split this chocolate cake with a white chocolate castle on top.

After a long long dinner we headed over to the castle to get seats for the firework show. By this time, my feet hurt so bad, I didn't care of there was bird poo on the floor, I was going to sit! I sat under this massive flower bulb...

We waited a good hour for the show to start. I took pictures of the crowd all around the circular square that didn't come out very well. The mass of people was overwhelming. No walking space, barely room to sit on the floor and tuck your feet and hands in.

If you haven't seen the firework show at Disneyland you are missing out. This was my favorite part of the whole day. Incredible! I took a long video to post here... It is worth watching!

Part one - Disneyland Fireworks


Part two - Disneyland Fireworks


All in all, it was a fun Disney day with my favorite kid!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October's Rush

October is a busy month around here. Everything seems to be going and going and going... no time for a breather!

I'm working on Part 2 of my Disneyland trip. That will be up shortly. As for now, I had some random stuff to share.
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I just finished Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck, the funniest book I've read. After about 3 weeks... I turned the last page. Like I said, no time to breathe let alone read! Sweet Caroline is a must buy, great message. I struggled with the ending, but I understand why the author chose to end it the way she did. Now, I am trying to get my hands on book #2, Love Starts with Elle. I'm told this will fill in the blanks.


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I am in the middle of a costume frenzy... trying to figure out what to be for our Harvest Party on Friday night. The teachers are putting together a party for the kids and their family and friends. Horse rides, games, grilled corn, candy galore and all the other Halloween festivities. I was told by my sweet sister that maybe I should be a horse... not going to happen.
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To get us in the Fall spirit, my co-worker gave me the below candy bag. After reading the label he put on, makes you think twice about eating it!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Companion is No More


So it has happened. The dreaded day.

Our sweet Tiffany that I told you about here is gone. The most beautiful dog, ever.

The past few weeks she has been taking little walks in the front yard when she knows we are not home. She never left the yard, in 18 years... with the exception of the one time she was talked into running away with another dog of ours. Some say that dogs and cats run away when they know they are getting ready to die...
Last night, we came home from going out to eat after church, my brother, SIL, their nephew and I turned on our street and two men were standing by the curb. I thought this was odd since it was about 10:45 PM. I said, "maybe we should call the police..." since that is the answer to all strange men standing by your street. I looked down and there she was. My mind didn't quite register that that was her until we drove down a our street and then I just moaned and cried.

She had wandered down the street and was hit by a car. Two neighbors pulled her out of the street and took care of calling the police and animal control for us.

As our family sat together, we cried over her and prayed and thanked God for this special gift He gave us. He fashioned the perfect dog for us. May sound far fetched to some, but God cares about even the smallest things in our lives.

She was our baby. We grew up together. Our house will be lonely without her.

(Asleep Christmas morning after a gift opening.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blog Set to Private

My blog has been temporarily set to private and those of you that are my normal followers have been sent a permission.

This is only temporary! I know it's a pain to sign in every time you view. =)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Disneyland with a 2 year-old - Part 1


I've probably been to Disneyland 200+ times in my life time. Our family had this special connection with Disneyland, my dad, his company that is, made the wheels for the rides and certain little pieces, to this day I don't know what they're called or what they do. There was a time my parents would take us a few times a week just for dinner and a ride, which usually was Pirates of the Caribbean. Rarely have I gotten the chance to go with a kid and take them on all the fun kiddie rides and see all the attractions that are meant for the younger Disney fans.

We had the opportunity to take my 2 year old nephew to Halloween Time at Disneyland. The park is decked out in candy corn and Halloween themed foods. Kids are dressed up and running around like it's a fun zone.

Normally I map out what I want to see and where I want to eat. Since this was his first time at the wonderful world of Disney, I was going to to go with the flow. Cristian decided to map out his own day...



On the way down main street, we stopped several times, not once or twice, several times to take pictures. Because, of course, this was Cristian's first time at Disneyland. I had my camera turned on indefinitely, just in case a good shot needed to be taken. In case he smiled, in case Mickey came out, in case there was an opening at the extra large, massive pumpkin in the middle of the square.

The weather in California has been perfect... not on this day. It was hot! Standing in a 15-20 minute line, outside, under the sun... miserable.


First Stop - Buzz Lightyear Ride

The minute we walked in the cool, air conditioned building, relief! But... Cristian didn't feel the same. He screamed as any 2 year old would do the minute they saw an 8 ft Buzz Lightyear glowing in the dark building. "No, no, no Buzz!"

The ride was just as eventful. Cristian clung to Auntie Cat as Mommy and Cat shot aliens. As soon as the ride was over it was, "No, No, No Buzz, all done! All done!"



Second Stop - Mad Hatter and Dumbo
After buying Mickey Mouse ears, with the exception of me who didn't want to pay $12.99 for a pair of ears that would be taken off minutes later, we stood in line for Dumbo. Cristian rode with me, his little head couldn't see over the edge of the "Dumbo", but he still loved it!



Third Stop - Mr. Toads Wild Ride, Lunch at Village Haus, and Casey Jr.'s Train

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is one of the scariest kiddy rides in Fantasyland. You take a dark trip to hell that all kids just love! Not really. Cristian was no different than I was when I was a little girl, he screamed and tried to crawl out while we held on and assured him that it was almost over while we laughed like crazy people attempting to lighten the mood of flames and thunderings (is that even a word?).
Next... FOOD was calling our name. After standing in line for 20 minutes to get cheeseburgers, we headed over to Casey Juniors train, one of my favorite kiddie rides. By this time, the heat had doubled and we were all ready to get into a cooler zone. As soon as we were off the ride, I ran to the refreshment stand and bought a Diet Coke for $2.75. When you come to Disneyland, you have to remember to pay an arm and a leg for a drink that would normally be $1.00.




(Mr. Toad's Wild Ride)


(Not sure if Casey Jr.'s is scary)

Fourth Stop - The Jungle Cruise

You'd think that being a lover of animals, well monkeys, the little man would LOVE the Jungle Cruise. If you've never been on the Jungle cruise, let me tell you about it. ... I don't remember eve being scared of the animals as a little girl, but that was long ago and maybe I blocked it out. After you climb in a boat that is on green swampy water in the middle of the "jungle", your safari captain narrates as he leads you through the waters past monkeys, hippopotamus, and crazy jungle men... with heads hanging from their fist! The minute Cristian heard the strange "oooeeeeahhhh oooooeeeee" he buried his head and begin screaming. The piranhas jumping on the side of the boat didn't help to calm his nerves.


Would you like a little Jungle Cruise Disney Trivia? The jungle became so authentic that real life massive spiders, were talking spiders bigger than your head, and snakes begin to reproduce and take over the jungle in the middle of the park... true story. As for the ride itself, it's one of the first attractions that was installed when the park opened. The canopy boats were designed by Walt Disney after the movie - The African Queen, which starred Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. Thought you might find that interesting.

Part 2 - California Adventure... to be continued.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Today is my sister's 33rd birthday. She has been many many things to me. Growing up, there was always a huge age difference between us, she was always with our cousin Eileen who is like a sister rather than cousin. They did everything together and I always asked, "Can I come?". Nope. Not until I was seventeen or so did they start to let me in on their outings and the age seemed to not make a difference.

(Eileen and Catherine)

Over the years I've looked up to her for support and someone to hold my hand. She is my best friend and understands me better than anyone else. Of course, as sister relationships go, ours is not perfect; we fight and get over it minutes later... that's what sisters do. I think we do it best.

So today, Catherine, I wish you the best birthday ever! It seems you just get better with age. I can't wait to see what's accomplished this year of your life. - Love, Deb

Monday, October 20, 2008

October is Birthday Month

As I mentioned before, October is the month for birthdays...


On Thursday we celebrated my dad's birthday with one of his favorite foods - Carne Asada and Chicken Tacos. My brother grilled the meat and we had a nice spread of different kinds of salsa's, rice, beans since my dad has a big taste for Mexican food.

After dinner we roasted my dad and laughed so hard we cried.



My Gramms gave my dad a chess set that my Gramps had custom made in the 60's and taught my dad to play chess.


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My brother Peter's birthday was last week. We celebrated and went to one of his favorite restaurants - Thai Chili Restaurant. Our family is big on Thai food. We looooooove it! After dinner we had cheesecake, weird combination - Cheesecake and Thai food.



(Peter loves Spongebob)

My sister's birthday isn't until tomorrow, but since our week is so hectic, we did a mini celebration at the park. Just the siblings and a couple of friends. I made mini egg salad, BLT, tuna salad, and ham & cheese sandwiches. I also threw together a red potato salad. Yum! We got a little camera happy... lol.


(laughing at mad libs)

(cousin Eileen and I)


(Being silly!)


(Birthday Girl and me)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday

As you can now tell, this is the month for birthdays in my family. Today is my dad's birthday.

Over the years, celebrating his birthday has gotten more and more low key. The birthday gift buying is so difficult! How do you buy something for someone who has everything that you are able to afford? lol. This year my dad asked for nothing... almost nothing. He said, "I don't want any gifts, just be nice to me." LOL Because, if you must know, his kids are cruel to him every other day of the year. Ha!
(Dad-Center)

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Tough Nut to Crack

Can you smell the Fall air?

Sunday morning was crystal clear, beautiful and crisp! Perfect Fall weather. The sun was shining, there was a nice breeze with a slight chill in the air, between 65 - 70 degrees. Just as Fall should be in Southern California.

We have several different kinds of trees in our yard, a few actually have things that you can pick off. Our home was originally the main house on orange acres many years ago. Almost every house has an orange tree in their yard. Our tree is an orange/lemon tree. Very unusual looking fruit with an even more unusual taste.


We also have an avocado tree that doesn't bear much fruit since it is overshadowed by a three story pine like tree. No sun means no avocados.

(macadamia tree)

One of my favorite trees is our macadamia tree. Every Fall/Winter, the tree drops Macadamia nuts all over the yard. One of my mom's favorite things to do is to gather all the nuts in baskets for cracking or to give away, shell and all.

A few facts about this tough nut:

  • Originally from Australia and now moved to Hawaii
  • Macadamias are highly nutritious nuts. They have the highest amount of beneficial monosaturated fats of any nut
  • Macadamia oil is a desirable ingredient in cosmetics, especially skincare.
  • Macadamia nuts are toxic to dog.
  • Macadamia nuts are often used by law enforcement to simulate crack cocaine in drug stings. When chopped, the nuts resemble crack cocaine in color.

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It was so nice on Sunday morning, I decided to spend some time outdoors and crack nuts to roast.

Cracking a macadamia nut is no easy task. I have proof of it on my bruised hand. This is the reason for the high price of this particular nut. The shell is so thick that a special nutcracker has to be used, even then it is a slow process and way too expensive. I use a large brick and a ton of patience.

You can see from the picture on the left, the shell is thick and hard as a rock. This was cracked with a few hits of the brick and still... the nut is enclosed.


It took me about an hour and a half to get a good amount cracked and ready to be cleaned and roasted. Since it's still early Fall, quite a few of the nuts weren't separated from the shell, white in color, these had to be thrown out.

A Macadamia nut should be a buttery color and soft. This is when they are ripe and ready to be eaten.

I cleaned all the excess shell and dirt off the nuts and placed in the oven to be roasted. They smelled so gooood!

After about 17 minutes of roasting, the nuts were hot and ready to be tasted jarred. If the task wasn't so back breaking, I would jar these and give them out for Thanksgiving gifts.

After yesterdays morning spent cracking and feeling the after effects today... I think I'll just buy the nuts for too much money in the store!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Blog Funny






Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Today is my brother's 27th birthday. I cannot say enough about how much I admire him. His love for God shines and his hunger for more is evident.

He's been a busy guy this past year. His band Down to Earth (D2E) has been traveling and doors have opened for them. He became a licensed minister with the UPCI and is currently in classes for ministers in our district.

He is a wonderful husband, son, brother and one of my best friends.

I think he is incredibly talented and sincere in his service for the kingdom of God, something that a lot of people miss.

I wish you an incredible birthday with lots of cheesecake!

I love you, Pedo!