Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Disney World 2010 - part 2 (Animal Kingdom)

On our second day we decided to go to Animal Kingdom and spend the entire day there. We got up, had breakfast at the resort then hopped on the bus. Of course, it was HOT (about 100 degrees) so we lathered up with sunscreen. I'm happy to report that despite the fact that the sun was trying its darnedest to burn our pasty white skin, no one got even the slightest sunburn the entire trip!

SPF 60 really does the trick.


When we walked into the park Ron and I realized we were ill prepared. I brought hats for the girls but we didn't have any for us...so we stopped at the first outpost we saw and got some snazzy looking safari hats. We wore them all day every day and they help tremendously to keep us cool and not sunburned.

The first thing we did to cool down was go on Kali River Rapids. We all got soaked and it felt sooooo good to be wet (so good that we went on it twice that day). Then we watched the show "It's Tough to be a Bug" which was really cute and air conditioned!! We hit up some of the best rides like Expedition Everest (a roller coaster that goes backwards for part of the ride. Ron, Steph and I rode it and Steph HATED it), Dinosaur (Ron, Steph and I and Steph LOVED it so we rode it twice), and Kilimanjaro Safari where we saw giraffes, elephants, alligators, hippos, and more.

One of the best things was that we had special fastpasses for all the rides during our trip so we never had to wait in lines longer than a few minutes. We got the fastpasses by participating in the Give a Day, Get a Day program (we donated 4 handmade blankets to Project Linus). It was a great way to teach the girls about volunteering and the fastpasses were wonderful!!

At about 8 PM we left exhausted and headed back to the resort for dinner. When we got back to the room I had a surprise waiting for me from Grannie. It was a "celebration" in the room complete with balloons, a medal, a certificate, a huge Mickey, 5 wine glasses and sparkling cider.....all for my college graduation!

Here are the pics.....

The girls (and Grannie) in their Minnie Mouse ears:

The Tree of Life which is seriously one of the coolest things EVER:

To get an idea how big this thing is check out Ronnie (in his cool safari hat) at the bottom right of the pic below. He's a tall guy at 6'4" and he looks itty bitty next to the tree.

Jennifer meeting Stitch. A cool thing happened while she was getting his autograph - one of the flowers from his lei fell off onto the ground and he noticed that she was wearing some silly bands, so he offered to trade her his flower for a silly band. It was sooo cute!

Giving him the "thumbs up"!

Here they are trading!

Steph meeting Stitch (who became her favorite character - she even came home with a big Stitch stuffed animal!)

This is one of the things we did to *try* and keep cool. Grannie bought one of these battery powered water fans and we would mist ourselves constantly with it until we were soaked. We would fill it with ice and within minutes the ice would be melted and the water would be warm!!!

Expedition Everest:

Meeting Goofy and Pluto:

Some pics from the safari:

My graduation "celebration"! Thanks mom!!!!

Day 3 coming soon.....


Monday, July 12, 2010

Disney World 2010 - part 1

We took a BIG family vacation this year and headed to Disney World in Florida for 8 days from June 12th - 19th. This was every one's first time visiting Disney World (although I've been to Disneyland in California countless times due to growing up about 30 minutes away from it and let me just be the first to say - - not the same. So vastly different I can't even describe it.)

This trip was also Steph and Jen's first time riding on an airplane, as well as the very first time in 14 years of marriage that Ron and I have flown together.

Geesh. Guess we don't get out much.

Grannie (aka my mom) also joined us from Las Vegas and we stayed at the Port Orleans Riverside (which is one of the moderate resorts on Disney property).

Let me start by saying that I planned this trip for MONTHS. I did tons of research and read all kinds of blogs and forums and books and talked to dozens of people about it. I even called Disney numerous times with questions. None of this prepared me at all for the trip and I'll tell you why.

First of all we chose June as the month to go because we got free dining (can I get a WOOT-WOOT!!!) and because the average high temps that time of year are supposed to be around 90, which isn't too bad for Florida standards. We didn't want to go in July or August because we didn't want the extreme temps to damper the trip.

Notice I said the temps are SUPPOSED to be around 90.

Well....we didn't even see 90 during our trip (unless you count the fact that it was already 90 degrees outside by 8 AM each morning). GAH!

The heat index most days we were there was well in the 100's and a few of the days it got as high as 107.

Take a moment and re-read that last sentence. Yep. I said it. 107!!!! Who the h.e.double-hockeysticks wants to walk around riding rides all day when it's 107 out??!!!

And that's just what we did. And it was great fun, and something that I will always remember and that my kids are still talking about every single day (but oh.my.hell, did it have to be so hot!!!???)

The second reason I wasn't prepared is because it's an exhausting trip. Ignore the fact that we were walking around in scorching heat and we wondered if the soles of our shoes were melting directly onto the pavement all day. Nope, it's the constant MOVING and GOING and WALKING and STANDING and EXCITEMENT and PEOPLE and LINES and.....you get the picture. No amount of reading about that kind of exhaustion can prepare you for the feeling of not wanting to take one.more.step despite the fact that your at least 10,000 steps away from the hotel room and your husband is carrying a sleeping kid and can't carry YOU at this particular moment. *sigh*

All of that aside it was a wonderful vacation full of hundreds of memories that I will have for a lifetime and that I'm sure my kids will tell their kids about. Of course I took 1200 pics during our visit (plus about 150 from the photopass people) so I'll share a bunch here with you broken out in a few different posts.

Our first day:

At the airport watching the planes take off and land before our flight.

All of us on the plane just before takeoff. Each side of the aisle has three seats so we all couldn't sit together. On the flight out I sat with Jen and Ron sat with Steph, then on the flight back we switched. Both girls did TERRIFIC during the flights with the only problem being Steph's ears bothered her during landing on the way there (not so much on the way home though).

When we got to the hotel we checked in (and the girls caught some Disney cartoons in the lobby while they waited). Then we walked around the resort looking for our room and taking a few pics. It was a gorgeous place! Right away we saw lizards, tiny baby frogs, squirrels, and numerous different birds.

We found our room, dropped off our bags (and had a special Mickey waiting for us on one of the beds) then headed straight to Magic Kingdom.

Jennifer standing at the beginning of Main Street unaware of what is just beyond that corner....

These next few pictures are the exact reason we took this trip. This is Jennifer's face the moment she saw the castle at the end of Main Street.


And this is what she saw:

Afterwards we ate dinner and rode a few rides (It's a Small World, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad) then watched some of the light parade. We were headed up to the top of the Swiss Family Robinson tree house when the fireworks started and we noticed that we were the only ones there. At the top we found a clearing with the most PERFECT VIEW of the fireworks and the castle, so we stayed up there to watch it. I didn't have a tripod so this was the best picture I got.

The highlight of the evening was when we saw Tinkerbell fly from the top of the castle. Jennifer's reaction was something I will never forget, it was an excitement I have never seen from her or anyone else for that matter. She was screaming at the TOP of her lungs and jumping up and down as fast as her little feet would take her. She couldn't believe what she saw and was giddy with happiness for the rest of the night.

After that we headed towards Main Street to leave but it was PACKED, so instead we hopped into the ice cream shoppe and grabbed some root beer floats and sat and enjoyed them till the crowds diminished enough to get around. We headed back to the resort after 11 PM to finally meet up with Grannie (who's flight arrived about 3 or 4hours after ours did).

Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Welcome to the old blogitty-blog

If your here from Scrapbook News and Review Magazine's newsletter then I send you a very warm WELCOME.

If your one of my 5 regular visitors, thanks for keeping me in business.


I've been so lucky to be a staffer at SNR for the past few years and lately I've been learning a lot about mixed media and "goop" (as we like to call it) by being a regular contributor on the SNR forums. There are such great conversations going on over there about all kinds of things "art" related like scrapbooking, card making, digi, and altered art. The best thing about SNR is that everyone is so open and friendly and even my silliest questions get answered by people who really want to see all of us succeed in making things that make us happy.

So...what are you waiting for? Do you like to paint? Have you ever wondered what gesso is? Or how you even SAY gesso???? What about watercolors? Or how to make your own mists? All of that and more is waiting for you in the forums. Don't just read it behind the scenes, interact with us so that we can all learn together.

Now onto the cool stuff. Below is my very first ATC....ever. I did it after reading some extremely inspiring threads in the altered art/mixed media forums. I went out and bought some of the "goop" that everyone was talking about and just started playing with it. It's pretty basic. Be gentle...it really was my very first one.

Here are the steps I used to make it:

1. Painted ATC with acrylic paint watered down slightly to give it that "washed" look. Let dry.

2. Stamped the dandelions using UTEE but didn't like the effect so I stamped over them using gesso (pronounced jesso in case you were wondering. LOL) Let dry.

3. Added extra course pumice gel to the bottom to simulate dirt/sand. Let dry.

4. Inked edges a tad. Added word stickers. Done.

So...as a "goop" newbie I learned a few very big lessons on this tiny ATC.

First, I used a regular ATC card (made from regular cardstock) which was a bad choice. I clearly used wet stuff like paint, gesso, and gel so I should have used an ATC made of watercolor paper (because as soon as I put the goop on the card warped and I had to let it sit under a book to straighten out for a few hours). Lesson learned.

Second, I purchased extra course pumice gel which is cool stuff but not what I expected. I should have purchased regular pumice gel since the little sandy bits are much smaller and finer than the one I used on the card (if you look you can see that the bits are larger and more spread out which would look cool on a canvas or larger piece but might be slightly too big for my tiny ATC). Another lesson learned.

Third, and more importantly, my UTEE skills are not quite stellar yet. I learned that using UTEE on a tiny stamp with tiny details isn't as productive as using it on a stamp which has more surface area. I'll try again soon with a larger stamp because I refuse to let the goop win.

Thanks for stopping by!

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