Monday, November 29, 2010

Our Thanksgiving

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My dad was thrilled with the meal I brought him, proclaiming every bite of everything I made to be the best thing he's ever tasted. He was so cute! I made this pumpkin pie and everyone said that it was the best they've ever had too. Instead of the 3 separate spices, since I'm not a fan of allspice or cloves, I used 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice.

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And if you care to know how Bobby Flay's turkey turned out...let me just say "The gravy! Oh me, oh my...that gravy was THE best gravy I have ever tasted in my life."

Here is why...
Bobby's recipe has you creating an herb butter to put on top of the turkey. He called for fresh herbs, but I saved the $20 and used dried. It was still heavenly and I don't think it could have been any better with fresh. So save your money. The turkey sits on top of cut up carrots, celery and onion. And then he has you baste the turkey every 15 minutes with warm chicken stock sitting on your stove. That part is genius! Growing up, I only remember seeing birds basted with their own juices from the pan.

So...now you've got the herb butter that has melted and dripped down into the pan...the chicken stock that's built up in the pan...mixing with all those yummy roasted veggies. Next he has you make a roux with butter and flour and then whisk in the strained stock. It ends up being this dark brown, creamy sauce infused with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Makes you want to sing, doesn't it? Well your taste buds will be singing, that's for sure.

The only thing I didn't do for the gravy was steep the broth with fresh sage leaves. It has plenty of flavor without that step.

As far as the bird itself, it wasn't particularly juicy or tasty. It was just turkey. So if you've got a recipe for brining that you like, or you know how to make the tastiest bird on the planet, then just combine your method with Bobby's so you have the dreamy gravy and a tasty bird. I do like how he has you brown the skin first by cooking it at 450 for 45 minutes and then turning it down. It sure is a pretty bird when you take it out of the oven.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm all about the mashed potatoes and gravy and less so about the meat.

Gravy is good and I'm not afraid to admit it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bobby Flay don't fail me

Today I'm making a Thanksgiving meal to share with my parents in the hospital. Still figuring out how to get it all there. But I think it will work. And when I told my dad about it last night, he was thrilled. This wasn't the Thanksgiving any of us would have chosen, but we're making the best of it and are so thankful for the chance to fight this awful disease.

I just asked the girls "how do you make a turkey?"

Allison:
"You just cut up some vegetables and then you cut the wrapper of the turkey and then you put it in the pan. After you put it in the pan, you really do something too. You...put the butter on top and all over. That's all. It cooks for 45 minutes. Then when it's all cooked you bring it to someones house if you want to eat it there or at the hospital if you want to eat it with Boppa. Then you eat it there!"

Emily:
"I don't know Mom. You make it with eggs, and meat and cheese and sauce. You cook it in the oven or on the stove. I don't know Mama. Just tell me Mama."

Can you tell who helped me this morning?

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I'm using Bobby's recipe, found here, and so far I think it's going to be great. Sadly I missed his Throwdown at PW's ranch and didn't get to see him make it. I dont' have a go-to turkeyrecipe since I've only made two. I've tried it Alton's way and it was good, but a lot of work to brine it overnight. This time Bobby's was the first recipe I came across and thought "this sounds easy." I'll let you know how it turns out.

Sweet potatoes ready for the oven - Check!
Green bean casserole ready for the oven - Check!
Cranberry Orange Dream dessert in the fridge - Check!

What's left
Stuffing
Mashed potatoes
Gravy
Two Pumpkin Pies
Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake Pie

I better get crackin'!

I hope your Thanksgiving is shaping up nicely and you are able to spend some time and reflect on what you are thankful for this year. God bless you and yours!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

These days...

I'm in my second week of Daycare of two little ones and I love it.
Sam gets a friend to play with and we all get to cuddle a sweet little girl.
Sam calls her "Babe" and it's just the sweetest thing to hear.
Thankfully his jealousy only lasted one day.
And he's so cute standing at the door waving "Bye Eat(for Ethan)" after they've left.

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Allison is such a sweet Little Mommy.
She adores "Babe" and is happy to just sit and hold her hand.

You-know-who has been potty training himself and doing a great job at it.
He also thinks that clothing is optional. It's a real fight to get him dressed anytime of day.


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I've battened down the hatches which is making life so much easier.
So far everyone is abiding by our check-in/check-out rules.

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Starting the week with an organized house is a must and a life-saver. I wasn't able to do that last week and I can see a huge difference in my own outlook and it's so much easier to play with them. Thanks Honey for helping me whip the house back into shape! You did more than your fair share and I appreciate it. Especially all that carpet cleaning you did. Muh!

Once I figure out the real placement of furniture in here (this is where all the extra pieces go since there is no room anywhere else), I'll get stuff up on the walls. A project indeed! I started this how long ago? Where's that swift kick when you need one?

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Pre-school toys are within easy reach and turning that dollhouse around with all those
parts that end up everywhere also made a huge difference. Plus it's much prettier now.

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The girls' room has become a safe haven for all the "little" parts and
each bucket gets put back before another one can come out.
Yes, I'm running a tight ship but it is so needed to save my sanity.

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Thought I'd throw in a pic of that granola recipe. I'm on my 4th batch.
Love it!
These mid-week days go just about as fast as this granola does.

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My dad is doing a bit better. He is no longer septic. They had discovered that the pneumonia had entered his bloodstream. His white blood cells have finally started making a comeback. It took forever but we are so thankful that he now has a fighting chance of getting rid of that pneumonia. So we've gone from thinking he wouldn't survive the week to having more time to keep fighting this roller coaster of a battle. We are very grateful and thankful to the Lord.

We had a dangerous week-end in the cities here with icy roads. 300 some car accidents throughout Saturday night. Church was a ghost-town with people staying off the roads. My mom got called in by the nurses to help calm my dad at 1am Sunday mornding. She got there just fine but at about 10:30am she went out to her car to look for her cell phone. She was parked right next to the door in a covered ramp of a huge hospital. They hadn't salted or sanded the ice there and she fell, breaking her right arm just below her shoulder. Thankfully the ER was close, huh? What were they trying to do, drum up more business? Geesh! They can't do a cast because of the location so she just gets to keep it in a sling and not move it. I'm sure that's easy.

As if we needed one more challenge...David got a flat tire on Monday. When it rains it pours.

I finally went to see a Dr. for that head injury since I started feeling dizzy last week. After a tongue lashing for why didn't I see a Dr. on the boat and who's insurance is paying for this, she ordered a CT scan. Give me a break! I'm not the type of person that goes around suing people for my own stupid mistakes. A CT scan ruled out bleeding but she said it could take another 2-3 weeks for my brain to heal. And that I'm supposed to just rest and have someone watch my kids.
You could probably hear me laughing all the way home.
Hahahahahahaha.....

Not really, my head hurt too much.
But she did suggest a stronger dose of pain meds than I had been taking,
and that has helped a lot. So one good thing came from going in, but it won't have been worth what our bill will be.

Other than Thanksgiving, we aren't going anywhere this week-end. Three days of rest will be good. I also plan to reacquaint myself with my sewing machine. It's been a looooong time.

Two more recaps coming and then I'll be pretty quiet over here for the next few weeks. Recuperating and all ya know.

Happy Thanksgiving!


p.s. Does it irk anyone else to turn on the TV these days? I see adds with words like "Merry Giftmas" and "Happy Thanksgifing" and I get so annoyed. I'm reminded of why I hardly watch TV anymore (which is good of course). The consumerism at Christmastime gets to me more and more the older I get and makes me more protective of celebrating the real reason for the season.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Homemade Granola

I made homemade granola today. Wow! It's amazing. I'm totally keeping our house stocked with this forever and ever and plan to eat it as often as possible. Amen.

I made two batches today and have given away 2 bags of it already. David just ate it over yogurt for dinner and loved it. That's saying a lot since he's not a granola kind of guy.

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Here's the recipe which I adapted from this one. Enjoy!

  • ½ cups Plus 1 Tablespoon Real Butter
  • ⅔ cups Honey
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups Old Fashioned Oatmeal (uncooked)
  • ½ cups Wheat Germ
  • 2 Tablespoons Flax Seed
  • ¾ cups Almonds, Slivered
  • ¾ cups Pecan Pieces
  • ¼ cups Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • ½ cups Dried Cranberries (Craisins)
  • ½ cups Raisins or any other dried fruit you like
First melt the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the honey and salt and briefly heat with the butter. Remove from the heat and add vanilla. In a separate bowl mix together the oatmeal, wheat germ, flax seed, nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add the butter to the oatmeal mixture. Stir until everything is coated. Pour the mixture onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Spread the mixture out evenly and bake it at 325° for 10 minutes. With a spatula flip/stir the granola. Bake for another 10 minutes. It will remain chewy. If you like it more crunchy, cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Add the fruit and mix. Store in an airtight bag on the counter for one week or in the fridge for three.

*I was going to add dried apricots too, but I bought the kind not treated with sulfer and didn't like them. I think dried pineapple would be delish here too.

**This wasn't quite as sweet as I thought it would be for eating plain, but it's perfect when paired with vanilla yogurt. I might add more sugar next time.

Calling all prayer warriors

My dad was taken to ICU last night. His blood pressure was dropping rapidly yesterday and they thought maybe he was “septic”. I stayed until midnight last night when they told us he was stable (that was with a 75/43 blood pressure). But this morning it’s still not under control. They’ve been giving him blood to increase the volume (thus increase the pressure) and now he’s on meds that are supposed to help. However, they can only give him up to the max dose before that won’t help anymore. He’s halfway to that max dose and so far his body hasn’t kicked in to start regulating it today. If it doesn’t and they reach the max then they won’t be able to stop it from dropping completely. He would die. They said his condition is tenuous. Not sure exactly what that means to them.

David is picking the girls up from school today and then bringing them to the hospital to see him. He had wanted them to come at 11pm last night, but we decided to wait. I’ll stay home with Sam since he can’t be in the ICU, and then I’ll go back again tonight. My mom stayed with him all night. She said that he’s in good spirits, but also convinced he won’t live past tonight. He looks awful, like a typical chemo patient I guess. His stomach is greatly distended which can also mean the cancer has spread to the abdomen or may be part of that “septic” thing they were talking about. Mom forgot to ask the Dr. about that when he came in at 5am. She’ll ask the oncology Dr. when they hopefully visit this morning too. They just did a chest extra since he also has pneumonia (which alone is not good) and they’re doing blood work. He had just finished up an intense round of chemo (he has terrible mouth sores from that) and yesterday his body rejected a platelet transfusion he had (just one of many). Please keep him in your prayers today. It could be a pivotal day for him.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Disney Wonder {10 things you should know}

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Should you consider a Disney Cruise, 10 things you need to know...

1. They don't show the screaming kids at the dinner table on the promotional video. Thankfully they weren't my screaming kids. But 2 hours at the dinner table is a lot to ask of little ones.

2. If you've been on one of the big cruise ships that hold 4000+ people (I have not), I hear this is nothing like those. Meaning Disney's ships only hold 2000 so it's a much smaller boat. With the exception of the new one they just built, can't remember it's name right now. We had cold, windy weather on the way down and the boat was extremely rocky. If I hadn't been taking Dramamine I would have been miserable. But even just the intense rocking of the boat was a bit disconcerting for me. I didn't care for it one bit. On days when the water was calm I could still feel the boat rocking.

3. If you travel with a toddler, bring a small umbrella stroller. When you arrive, they tell the men to go park the car and leave the ladies to haul the kids and all the carry-on bags and passports through security and up the escalator to check in. It took forever and my 2 yo doesn't like his hand held or to stay put. To say it was a struggle is an understatement. I got quite a work-out carrying him. Next time I'll be the one parking the car. It never occurred to me to bring a stroller, but lots of people had them and I wished several times later that we had one too. Not because he can't walk the long distance, but just to be able to contain him and know he's safe.

4. Know that if you have a child that is not yet potty-trained, that they are not allowed to swim in any of the pools. Seriously. This is a cruise geared towards families and my son couldn't even go swimming. With a swim diaper. They have a separate splash pad area (very tiny), right next to the kid pool. Try letting them see the pool (hard to miss) and then not letting them swim in it. Not so fun.

5. Their entertainment scheduling is not family friendly. You have 2 dinner time options early (5:45) and late (8:30). Of course you'll want the early one. But...then you miss the 6:15 early show and are left with just the 8:30 option. So if you were planning on seeing any of the fantastic musical performances they offer (Toy Story, etc...) you'll have to forfeit your dinner in the nice restaurants and settle for either the buffet or pizza and burgers by the pool. For sure don't do this on the day you are scheduled to eat at Triton's though, the food there is fantastic. I think Disney should either change the early dinner time to 5:00 (and then let the staff know you are going to the show, otherwise dinner takes forever) or offer an earlier showtime of 4:00. Don't your kids go to bed between 7-8pm? All that fun stuff for "families" that was after 8pm was off-limits to us. I'm not about to make my kids stay up to have "fun" only to have crabby kids the next day. Mine won't sleep in, they wake at 6am like clockwork. All 3 of them. So you'll miss out on musicals in the theater, the pirate party, fireworks (hey, it's plenty dark by 7pm this time of year) and the pretend ball in the kids club.

6. You know how when you're driving behind a bus or a Ford F-350 your car fills with the lovely smell of diesel? Tell me you know what I'm talking about. That I'm not the only one with an overly sensitive nose. That you too check the type of every pick-up in front of you and immediately change the air to recirculate if it's a diesel. I get super queasy from that smell. I found that there wasn't any place on the upper deck that didn't smell like that. Regardless of how windy it was or wasn't. I've been told that's not the case on those larger boats though.

7. The kids club is for children ages 4 and up. We knew that going in. But what we didn't know was that younger kids can go in too as long as there is an adult from their family with them. That was great! David brought Sam in several times and they had lots of fun. So that's a bonus.

8. The staff is wonderful. And not having to cook a single meal or wash a single dish is divine.

9. A great resource for all things Disney (including cruises) is www.disboards.com.


10. Time with family is wonderful. Try not to think about the rest. But remember, cupboard doors have a tendency to close by themselves.

We did have a good time overall and the girls adored all the Princess time they had. Belle read them stories and Snow White danced with them in the kids club. Both were definately highlights. But in a nutshell, I think a Disney Cruise is best suited for couples or families with children 7 and up. And after this experience, if I ever take another cruise it will be just David and I or with good friends, sans children.
And on a big boat. By the last day I was so exhausted and just ready to be done, that I didn't even go sit outside to breathe in the diesel salty air on the most gorgeous sunny day of our whole trip. I did laundry.

The end.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Disney Cruise {Ouch!}

After enjoying some beautiful views of Nassau Bahamas (we stayed on the boat),

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picture worthy table manners,

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character hugs,

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Peter's favorite "twin" pose,

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silly ears,

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clear blue waters and seashell scavenging,

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soft sand beaches,

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and a Flying Dutchman,

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I did something really stupid. Wow, that's so unlike me.

On our last day, we had an early breakfast time of 6:45. I took the first shower after a 5:30 wake-up call and finding that everyone was still asleep, I decided not to turn on the cabin lights. That was mistake #1. I walked to the trunk/cupboard at the end of our bed, opened the door, and reached down to get my clothes out. I turned, set them on the bed, turned back to the cupboard and reached down again to get the rest. That was mistake #2. What I didn't think about was a) I'm on a moving boat, b) the cupboard is weighted so that the door gently closes by itself, c) the corner of the door is clad in metal. Oh the pain! Right in the middle of my forehead and with much force, I dove into the corner of that door. Needless to say the whole cabin and adjoining cabin woke up. I was their wake-up call. I'm getting to the point where I can almost kind of laugh about it now.

After several minutes of holding my head in unbelievable pain I went to the mirror to see the damage. It was bleeding. A lot. I tend to get very queasy at the site of blood and immediately felt nauseous. But in hindsight I'm sure it had more to do with the concussion. I told David to get a band-aid (yes, I was barking orders, you would have been too) and sat on the bed waiting for him to find one. It was taking way too long and I was feeling more sick by the minute. No sooner did I stand up to go be sick in the bathroom, did I end up on the floor. David, with his hands to my forehead, band-aid half applied, didn't have a chance to catch me before he realized what had happened. Of course I hit my head again, this time on the backside as I hit the floor. He says my eyes were open the whole time and my tongue went to the back of my throat making my breathing sound awful (Ewe!). I was only out for about 15 seconds. Just long enough to brush the hair out of my face and say my name 3 times. He was about to check my vitals but then I came to. But in those 15 seconds, I had a complete sense of well-being, feeling no pain at all. Waking up thinking I just had the best dream ever. It took me a few seconds to realize where I was and remember why my head hurt so much.

What a way to end our trip! I've had a headache ever since, but today Excedrin has helped a lot. They (meaning Google) say the headache can last for several weeks. Great. We left that same day, taking almost 3 days to drive home. I probably should have seen a Dr., but the idea of doing that on the boat or somewhere along the way just didn't sound good. Don't worry, I'm sure if I had felt even worse or had other symptoms I would have. Instead I just wore Hello Kitty on my forehead and tried to not think about it.

Next up...Should you consider a Disney Cruise, 10 things you need to know.

A Fabric Mecca

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I finally got to step foot inside Hancocks of Paducah. I know! And if you can believe this, it was completely on accident.

Three years ago when we drove to FL, I made it a stop on our route but we arrived 10 minutes after they had closed. All I got to do was press my nose against the glass and walk away disappointed. This time it wasn't even on my radar. But luck would have it that we ended up stopping for gas at the final exit for Paducah, which also happened to be their exit. And they were open!!!!

The first thing I did when I walked in was find the Dr. Seuss fabric and call Amy. LOL We planned out some skirts she's going to make for her daughter and a special someone. Just so ya know, we aren't buying any of the Seuss fabric for TaDa! since it's licensed. Darn that Cat.

I also picked up some fabric to make Christmas skirts for the girls and a new pattern. And I snapped a couple of pics inside (with permission of course). I was only in there for 15 minutes tops, but I could have spent hours.

One corner of the main room.

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This store is HUGE! They have everything imaginable. And I behaved like a giddy little school girl. I asked if all the orders are cut from the fabric on the sales floor or if there is more in the back. She said "it all comes from right here, we're all cutting orders right now." I know, I'm such a nerd for even wondering about that. And I'm sure I looked at these little old ladies like they were celebrities. *giggle*

The back room.

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And all the while I had a big ole pink Hello Kitty band-aid right in the middle of my forehead. More about that later, it's a good story.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Home Sweet Home {Wishing Stars}

And look what we found waiting for us?

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I snagged these pics from my neighbor's facebook page (hope you don't mind Cheryl ;) since it was dark by the time we pulled into our garage. The snow is likely to melt tomorrow. But the girls are hoping to get to make a snowman in the morning.

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Our area got somewhere between 5-8" of snow in the last day.

Wishing stars...

Oh Disney is good. Real good. They've got our kids numbers all right and now a bit more of our money...tee hee. When you eat at the castle they give all the kids a little blue plastic star that they call the wishing star. During your meal, a voice calls attention to them and asks all the kids to hold their stars and wish really hard for something. They make a big production out of it. You know where this is going don't you. Yep, they've got us, hook line and sinker.

Later in the day Allison asked me "Will you check Mommy?" Check what Sweetie? "See if my wish came." Oh Dear, David we're in trouble, I whisper. She asked me this every day of the trip that followed. It was just so precious. To see the question, mixed with belief, in her eyes. But at the same time we had to decide if we were going to go with it or dismiss it. We decided to run with it and let them believe because they are only this young once and I think they will look back on it as being very special.

Thankfully they hadn't wished for ponies. But rather Princess gowns. Allison wanted a real Sleeping Beauty dress in her size, with a crown. And Emily wanted an Ariel gown (not the one that has her looking like a mermaid), like the ballgown Ariel wore at the breakfast in the castle.

So of course a trip to Downtown Disney on our drive home from the coast that last day was in order. I was able to tuck them away in the back of the Explorer and tonight while they were eating dinner I laid them out on their beds. To say they were thrilled seeing them, would be an understatement.

Sweet dreams my little princesses.
And may all your wishes come true...

A TaDa! tutorial over at life{in}grace

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Welcome new readers! You may have found me through Edie's gorgeous blog, life{in}grace. And to those of you who haven't found Edie yet, run over and look at all the fun tutorials she's been spot-lighting for her 12 days of handmade Christmas. Darby has a really fun one today and Meg's rainbow alphabet crayons look great too. Plus many many more. I was featured on Day 9, but wasn't on land to blog about it.

So go check it all out, you'll be glad you did! And thanks Edie!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Next stop...

The Bahamas!

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Playing Cinderella

The role of Fairy Godmother is played by Allison.

Cinderella is played by Emily.

Sam as himself. Eating a granola bar.

Very shaky camera grip is moi.




And because I can't help myself (I have to point out every flaw. How Annoying. I know!). Allison's top ended up being about 6" too long, you can barely see the 3 mice around her skirt, and the straps are attached too far apart in the back. Buy hey, I made it per pattern directions the night before we left and didn't have a model to try it on at 2am. You'd think I could have planned ahead more, for our own trip. But that's what samples are for...to work out all the bugs. It didn't stop us from getting ooodles and ooodles of compliments though. :)

Tomorrow we head to Animal Kingdom and then on to Grandpa and Grandma's house for Sam's 2nd Birthday party. Where we will be sporting these. Thank you Jessica, they are perfect! And then it's on to the Bahamas. If it's not raining, it's been cold and windy here so the heat and sun will be so very welcomed.

Best hug ever!

Notice his little hands patting her back in the beginning. LOVE this guy!

A Magical Day

Eating breakfast at the Castle before the park opens has it's perks.

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Parking in the first row.
A practically empty park.
And a leisurely walk down Mainstreet.

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The moment they had been waiting for.

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Emily very patiently waited while her Daddy and siblings rode the Dumbo ride. She's not fond of "scary" rides. About the only ones she actually enjoyed were Peter Pan and Small World.

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It was getting hot, so time for a wardrobe change.

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We were almost rained out for the fireworks, but thankfully it stopped just in time. Just in time for Emily to be completely terrified by them and cry through the whole show. Poor thing. We thought for sure she'd warm up to them as soon as she saw how pretty they were. Nope. She kept begging for us to take her home where it's quiet. Other than that, it was a great day.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rained Out!

Oh boy, if this had been our only day at MK, I would be so sad. Our 30% chance of rain turned in to an afternoon long downpour. We had umbrellas, but they were in the truck of course. We are going back tomorrow and Saturday to finish the park. Tonight we are drying out over bowls of spaghetti and watching Toy Story 2. Then it's early to bed because we will be dining with Cinderella at 8:20 am tomorrow.

They really were happy to be there. Honest.

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You can barely see them in these pics, but the girls are wearing sweet little Sleeping Beauty ribbon clippies in their hair. I bought two complete sets of Princess clippies for them from one of my very first customers who is now isajoydesigns. We just love these!!!

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Even Minnie can't keep her eyes open for my camera. LOL

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The girls loved this show, but it was cut short due to rain. We'll be watching it again tomorrow.

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Allison wasn't shy about getting out there to dance. Emily says she'll do it tomorrow.

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My goofy girl.

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It was a loooong trek back and included falling in some mud. Eeck!!! Tomorrow should be even better though.

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And this time the umbrellas are coming with us.