December 23, 2013

Celebrating Disneyland Style Day 2

Can you believe it?? I finally wrote a recap of day 2, and it only took me a little over 2 weeks to do it!!
Christmas on Main Street USAOn day 2 we decided we were going to do the parks in the opposite order so we hit California Adventure a little after opening and headed straight back to Radiator Springs Racer!! It was closed the day before, and the fast pass return time was already up to 5:00pm so we were hoping the stand-by line wouldn’t be too bad.

It said 75 minutes, which for newer rides isn’t all that bad so we decided to brave the line. This was by far the longest line of the whole trip, but the kids did rather well. “The Boy” did want to be held a lot, but at least he wasn’t whiney about it.
We all rode it and there was a mixed reaction among us. My mom and I have ridden it before and both really like it, but this was the first time for the kids. #1 & #2 both loved it and wanted to ride it again, while #3 hated every minute of it and will never go on it again. The boy seemed to enjoy most of it, until the dips when we were race. Since he is a bit of a little guy those negative G’s were a bit much for him, but he didn’t complain! 

After the ride we stuck around Cars Land for a bit and rode the other rides they have to offer and enjoyed Radiator Springs in all it’s Christmas glory! They have a lot of trees there and they are all so unique. Here are a few of my favorites.
Route 66 Tree Mater's Tire Tree Cozy Cone Christmas Tree

Up next the kids wanted to hit Bug’s Land so that is what we did. Amazingly “The Boy” insists that “the caterpillar” is his favorite ride, although I’m not sure I agree with him. We hit a few of the rides there and then it was on to my absolute favorite ride, Toy Story Mania!!

Bug's Eye View of Tower of Terror
I am so bummed that TSM does not have fast passes at California Adventure, but thankfully the wait was only about 30 minutes, because this is a must do ride for me!

I had “The Boy” next to me and he had such a blast it made it that much better for me. Every time we moved to the next game he would do a fist pump and declare that he won that round! He was rather disappointed when we got to the end and he found out that I actually had the high score for the whole car!!

By now it was about 2 o’clock so we decided we better get some lunch. I’ll be honest here, I am not as impressed with the food choices at the Disneyland Resort as I am at Disney World, but I do like what I have tried at the Pacific Warf area of California Adventure. I was really hoping to try some of the clam chowder at Pacific Warf Cafe, but the line was really long the whole time we were there so that didn’t happen. Instead we ate at Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, which is really good.

After lunch we headed over to the Animation Academy, as this is one of “Artsy Girl’s” favorite things at Hollywood Studios. Here we all tried our hands at drawing Agent P. I don’t think we did too bad. Can you guess who’s is who’s? I’ll give you a hint none of them are “The Boy’s” since he only scribbled all over his paper. ;)

After playing around in Beast’s library, and getting our voices stolen by Ursula we decided it would be a good time to go to Disneyland and ride a few of the rides, like It’s a Small World, that we didn’t do on the first day. The girls also wanted to take another spin in the teacups. We spent most of the evening in Fantasyland riding my ‘classic’ favorites like Snow White and Pinocchio. When coming out of Pinocchio we spotted this guy! I <3 him!!

Olaf in Fantasyland

We were in line for Peter Pan when the boy decided he had to go to the bathroom. My mom took the girls and Peter Pan, while “The Boy” and I went to use the restroom an then rode on Dumbo . . . again. The Christmas Parade was going on at this time so the line was really short! We ended up waiting just about 10 minutes to get on the ride, and those of you out there with Dumbo lovers know how rare that is! 

After we rode everything there was in Fantasyland we decided we wanted to head back to California Adventure to end our evening with a hot cocoa from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop. Unfortunately, our timing was not as good as the day before and we got caught in the end of the parade mess. That always scares me, but alas we did make it out of the park safely and did not lose a single kid, so I call it a success.

We made our way over to Ghirardelli’s and was greeted by a CM handing out samples of peppermint bark. I had actually tried it before at the Ghirardelli Shop in Monetary last year and was surprised by how much I liked it since I am not a huge peppermint fan.

The 3 girls all got small hot cocoas, while I found myself intrigued by the salted caramel hot cocoa, and got a medium. We sat outside the shop for a bit enjoying the best hot cocoa we have had in a long time and then decided to make a loop around Paradise Pier while World Of Color was going on, before heading back to the car and home for the night.

Ghirardelli hot cocoa please I have to say it was a very nice ending to a wonderful trip. How can you not be happy when you get to see something like this on your way out of the park??
California Adventure Christmas Tree

December 20, 2013

Foodie Friday: Holiday Breakfasts

My kids are big on holiday traditions, so we have many, but one of my favorites is our Christmas Eve and Christmas morning breakfasts.

For Christmas Eve I keep it simple and we make a Christmas tree out of cinnamon rolls. We simply buy 2 cans of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and arrange them on a cookie sheet to look like a tree. Then bake them at 375° for 20-25 minutes.

Pay special attention to the rolls in the middle, as those will take the longest to cook.

Once the rolls are cooked you simply ice them and add sprinkles!

Cinnamon roll Christmas treeNow the breakfast for Christmas morning takes more prep so I make it on Christmas Eve as well. I start by baking a fresh loaf (or 2) of challah bread using the recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Honestly, this is the only way I make bread. It’s so easy and convenient, if you haven’t tried it you should. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day Challah Bread I make two so that we can eat one now and still have the second one to actually use for breakfast.

If baking bread isn’t your thing you can buy challah bread at some bakeries, or you could use Texas toast or any “thick” bread of your choice, but you really should try fresh baked challah at least once.  

Now what do I make with that beautiful bread, you ask?? How about some Crème Brûlée French Toast. That is the original recipe that I have adjusted and adapted a little over the years. This is how I usually make it now.

  • 1 Loaf of challah bread sliced thickly
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half (whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • You start by melting the butter in a heavy sauce pan on medium heat. Next whisk in the brown sugar and corn syrup and continue whisking until it is smooth. Pour the caramel sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish making sure to cover the whole bottom.

    Nestle the bread slices into the caramel, making sure to they are as much of the bottom of the dish as you can.

    Whisk eggs, milk, heavy cream and vanilla together and pour over the bread.

    Cover and refrigerate over night

    In the morning when we get up to open presents I take the dish out and preheat the oven to 375°. Once the oven is up to temperature bake for about 40 minutes or until the edges start to turn a golden brown.    

    December 13, 2013

    Foodie Friday: Christmas Cookies

    Eat Cookies Every year we bake Christmas cookies as a family. Some recipes have been one and done and some seem to make the list year after year. Those are the ones I am going to share with you today. 

    One of my favorites is this Mocha Crinkle Recipe.

    I have an old cookbook that use to be my grandma’s and there are a few recipes that she had put a star on the page in pencil to indicate that she was going to make it so the first year I got the book I went through and made all the recipes she had made and I fell in love with this one.

    Unfortunately, the cookbook is packed away in storage, but I was so excited to find the recipe on Pinterest so that we can continue the tradition of making them! The website even has the exact same photo as my book!!

    When you have kids Sugar Cookies are a must! We like to use this recipe and then make up some royal frosting so that they can decorate them. Of course we also keep plenty of sprinkles on hand as well.   

    Of course you can’t bake Christmas cookies and not make chocolate chip. Around here we love our Ghirardelli chocolate so we tend to make the recipe on the package, which can also be found here. We either make that, or this Toll House recipe (which also happens to be in my grandma’s cookbook), with Ghirardelli baking chips instead. (Shhhh don’t tell).

    This last recipe is newer to the group, but my number one favorite!

    Pecan SablesPecan Sable Cookie Mix

    1 package Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix

    1/2 cup softened butter

    1 egg

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

    1 bag pecan halves (16 oz or larger)

    • Preheat oven to 375° (350° for dark nonstick cookie sheets)
    • Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside
    • Prepare the sugar cookie mix according to the package directions.
    • Add the chopped pecans to the dough and mix well
    • Roll one tablespoon of dough into a ball
    • Roll the ball of dough in the cinnamon sugar
    • Place dough on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart
    • Top each ball of dough with a pecan halve
    • Bake for 8-10 minutes
    • Cool for 1 minute before moving the baked cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely

    What are you Christmas Cookie traditions? Do you stay with tried and true, or do you like to mix up a bit?

    December 11, 2013

    What’s Up Wednesday: 12/11 Edition

    First off, day two of our Disneyland trip is still coming, I promise. Unfortunately we all managed to bring colds back with us so that has hampered my blogging a bit.You get a cold meme

    Moms are not suppose to get sick, and surely they are not allowed to get sick at the same time as the kids, so I’m med’ing up and trucking on.

    Last month New Balance and runDisney announced that pink Minnie and Sorcerer Mickey would be featured on the 2014 runDisney exclusive version of the 860v3 model stability running shoe. For all of you neutral shoe runners out there this was your lucky week because New Balance has now revealed that they will also be releasing Goofy and Cinderella in a neutral model!!

    runDisney 2014 shoesI am hoping that this might mean that the shoes will be a little easier to obtain, but I’m pretty sure it will just mean that there will be plenty of people buying both models.

    Honestly, I am not too keen on the characters being featured on the shoes. It kind of reminds me of the shoes I use to wear as a kid with the puffy sticker character sewn on the side of them. Hopefully once I see them I can get past that, or if not it will save me some money. ;)      

    And now onto the subject of training. To make it simple it just plane ain’t happening. Maybe this whole 10k one day and half marathon the next isn’t such a great idea anymore. But one way or another I’ll get it done. 

    With that I leave you with this Hey Girl, because I think it will make me feel just a little bit better. :)

    Hey Girl Sick Meme

    December 8, 2013

    Celebrating Disneyland Style Day 1

    I love Christmas and I love Disney so you combine the two and you have one happy Summer!

    Happy Birthday ButtonChyenne’s birthday was on Tuesday so we decided to drive out Monday evening so that we could wake up, eat and hit the parks first thing, and we did just that.

    The kids decided they wanted to go to Disneyland first so that is what we did. Our first stop was City Hall to get Chyenne a Happy Birthday button. Apparently that was the same plan many others had since the line was pretty long, and took awhile. Eventually we did get the button and were ready to let the fun begin!

    My mom and the kids decided that they would get in line to see Mickey as I waited in line at City Hall and I was done just in time to join them for this picture! I just adore the characters all dressed up for winter ! !Winter Mickey at Disneyland

    After a few pics we were ready to hit the rides! First up was Winnie the Pooh, one of my personal favorites. Once we got off the ride we noticed the line for Tigger and Pooh was really short so we thought we better get in it and get a few more winter character pics!


    Up next we visited The Haunted Mansion Nightmare Before Christmas style! I absolutely love the Haunted Mansion this time of year. Jack Skellington and Zero take over in such a magical way that includes a haunted gingerbread house that you can smell as you pass by, ghoulish presents galore and snow a plenty! 

    Jack Skellington

    From there we hit the preschooler friendly rides as we made our way over to Toontown to check out the homes of the big guy and gal themselves, and of course took some more pics.

    DSC01142Teacup fun

    We had a great time at Disneyland and a little before 5 we had done most of what we wanted to do so we decided to head on over to California Adventure. We actually timed it pretty well and caught the Main Street Tree Lighting Ceremony as we made our way down Main Street USA. One of my favorite things about Disneyland growing up was how magical it looks all lit up, and watching the lights coming on down Main Street all at once never gets old!! 

    One of the things I love most about Disneyland Resort is how easy it is to park hop. For those of you who have never been, you can literally walk out of the turnstiles of one park, across an open area and into the turnstiles of the other!  It’s so convenient that we often go back and forth as we please!

    Once in California Adventure we made our way to Carsland, which is always amazing at night, but is even more amazing at Christmas time!! Unfortunately I don’t have any pics to share since we managed to kill the batteries in 2 cell phones and our camera before we made it there!!! But we did spy Santa flying by Hyperion Theater, home of the Aladdin Musical.California Adventure Santa After riding Monsters Inc. we decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel to recharge so we can do it all again the next day!!

    Stay tuned for day 2 and, of course, a lot more pictures!

    December 6, 2013

    Foodie Friday: Disney Holiday Treats

    In honor of our trip to Disneyland this week (recap coming this weekend) I decided to make this week’s Foodie Friday food porn from our trip.
    I am very proud to say that I did not eat any of these wonderful #LimitedTimeMagic treats, although I wish I did. :)
    #DisneyHolidays Apples #DisneyHolidays Cupcakes #DisneyHolidays Gingerbread #DisneyHolidays Treats
    What is your “must have” treat at Disney?

    December 4, 2013

    What's Up Wednesday 12/4 Edition

    Lots of fun this week! Yesterday was #2's birthday and we spent it at Disneyland!! We had a lot of fun and are going back for more today. :) Watch both my blog here and for my recaps and tons of pics coming later this week. 

    We also caught a little extra magic as the cast of Dog with a Blog were in the park filming!! We were actually riding the teacups and saw the cameras filming the ride and then saw a crowd gathering. Once our ride was over we decided to ride Alice in Wonderland next and that is when we saw the cast going in the exit followed by the camera crew. Now only if we were 2 groups later we might have made a cameo. I will definitely be watching for this episode just in case. 

    #1 totally fangirled out, which really surprised me since she doesn't even really watch the show like #3 does. It was really fun to see her that excited over seeing them, though.

    Last week I also started doing Focus T25, and I am excited to say that I am down 2 pounds after just one week!! This week is a little off with our Disneyland trip so tomorrow I am going to pick back up with the second half of week one and will continue on to week two next week. I also have to get back to running or Tinker Bell will be even uglier then I already expect it to be. 

    For right now things are going I the right direction (finally) so I really want to keep the momentum going!

    Anyone have anything exciting to share from their week?