Thursday, December 29, 2011

Strength.

Moms are amazing things.

We can be the pillars of strength when called upon. We can ease the pain of a boo-boo with just a kiss. We can find missing puzzle pieces or a Barbie shoe and stop a temper-tanrum with the wag of a finger. We can put the world back on its axis with a hug.

We can rule the world all while wiping butts, picking boogers out of hair and picking up toys. We can whip up science fair winners on a hours notice. We can sew buttons, wash loveys and not pass out at the sign of blood on our children.

We do all of these amazing thing on little sleep and little food.

I account all these feats as a signal of strength.

Oh, the strength that radiates from a Mother is an awe-inspiring thing.

Some say we are born this way while others say we learn from those around us, our children.

I like to think that my strength was given to me from my first born. The second Roo was placed in my arms, I felt empowered and capable.

My strength grew as I learned to become a mother. Sure, there were times that I failed and I cried myself to sleep after hard days, but every day was a fresh beginning and every day gave me more strength.

When Turtle was born, she tested me.

And I proved to her, and myself, that I was capable.

Being a Mother to these beautiful girls makes me feel like Super Mom (cape and all!).

Being their Mother gives me courage, humor and dexterity (yes, dexterity).

And if I never accomplish another feat in my life, I'll know I've succeeded with them.

They are the proof that I am a strong woman.


And that's all the reassurance I need.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jake & The Never Land Pirates - Peter Pan Returns to Never Land

My girls adore Jake and the Never Land Pirates on the Disney Junior Channel.


It's cute and the songs on it are the kind that get stuck in your head for hours on end.


Peter Pan was always one of my favorite characters on the Disney lineup.


It was destined that Peter Pan would make an appearance on Jake and the Never Land Pirate series. 


Now, it's happening.


Here's the information about the upcoming prime-time special coming up next month featuring Peter Pan.


From the press release:


                              "PETER PAN RETURNS TO NEVER LAND IN
FIRST-EVER PRIMETIME SPECIAL OF DISNEY JUNIOR'S #1 SERIES,
"JAKE AND THE NEVER LAND PIRATES,"
PREMIERING MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13 ON DISNEY CHANNEL

Star-Studded Season Two of the Hit Series to Debut Monday, February 20


The classic character Peter Pan makes his first-ever appearance in the hit series for kids age 2-7, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," in a primetime special presentation, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns," premiering MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13 (7:00-8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. Featuring six original songs, the special finds Peter Pan returning to Pirate Island to enlist Jake, Izzy, Cubby and Skully in finding his lost shadow. Adam Wylie ("Picket Fences") voices the role of Peter Pan.

Generating excitement and demand among the youngest viewer category (kids age 2-5) and their parents, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" ranks as 2011's #1 series launch in the demographic (kids age 2-5) and cable TV's #1 series among Boys 2-5. Overall, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" is pacing as Disney Channel's #1 preschool series of all time among Total Viewers (2.2 million), Kids 2-5 (1.03 million/6.1 rating), Boys 2-5 (648,000/7.5 rating) and Women 18-49 (424,000/0.6 rating).

Season two will debut MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20 with new episodes airing daily at 8:30 a.m., ET/PT throughout the week. Sharon Osbourne, Josh Duhamel, Jane Kaczmarek and Tiffani Thiessen star in recurring roles, joining the series notable voice cast including David Arquette, Tori Spelling, Lisa Loeb, Adam West and Ariel Winter.

(Editors please note: Images, clips and screeners are available at www.disneychannelmedianet.com. Registration required).

Beginning Monday, February 6, DisneyJunior.com/PeterPan will feature "Jake's Countdown to Peter Pan" and the debut of a new two-part game, "Shadow Shenanigans," where players can take on the role of Peter Pan's shadow to try to wake the sleeping Jolly Roger crew and then play a shadow matching game.

A full-length preview of "Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns" will become available via Disney Channel on Demand on February 6. Mobile providers Sprint TV and MobiTV will simulcast the special in conjunction with the television premiere on February 13 on Disney Channel. The special will be available the following day on mobile VOD for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon customers.

Based on Sir James Barrie's classic children's book, Disney's Peter Pan was first seen on the big screen in the 1953 film "Peter Pan" and later in 2002's "Return to Never Land." A fan favorite of multiple generations, Peter Pan, the little boy who never grows up and has the magical ability to fly, has also been featured in a variety of Disney television specials and direct-to-video releases, as well as the popular video game series "Kingdom Hearts." 

"Jake and the Never Land Pirates" introduces a crew of kid pirates – leader Jake and pals Izzy and Cubby - and follows their Never Land adventures as they work to outwit two infamous characters, the one and only Captain Hook and Smee, from Disney's classic "Peter Pan." The series, which emphasizes teamwork, features original pirate rock music performed by Sharky and Bones of The Never Land Pirate Band.

"Jake and the Never Land Pirates" airs daily during Disney Channel's Disney Junior programming block for kids age 2-7. The series stars Colin Ford as Jake; Madison Pettis as Izzy; Jonathan Morgan Heit as Cubby; David Arquette as Skully; Corey Burton as Captain Hook; Jeff Bennett as Mr. Smee and Bones and Loren Hoskins as Sharky. Rob LaDuca ("Mickey Mouse Clubhouse") is executive producer. The series is produced by Disney Television Animation.

The Disney Junior programming block on Disney Channel reflects the emotional connection generations of consumers have to Disney storytelling and Disney characters, both classic and contemporary. It invites mom and dad to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical and heartfelt stories and characters, while incorporating specific learning and development themes designed for kids age 2-7. Disney Junior's animated and live action series blend Disney's unparalleled storytelling and characters kids love deeply with learning, including early math, language skills, healthy eating and lifestyles, and social skills.  Disney Junior is available on basic cable in more than 99 million U.S. homes (via a daily block on Disney Channel) and to millions of other viewers on 28 Disney Junior channels (fka Playhouse Disney channels) and free-to-air broadcast partners around the world. It is also seen via subscription video-on-demand and a broadband website, DisneyJunior.com. In 2012, Disney Junior will add a basic cable and satellite channel in the U.S."



I posted this information just for informational purposes. I did not receive anything for this post. 

Wordless Wednesday: Sisters

Mom Down!

The other day I was checking all of my friends Facebook updates and most of them were about how they, their kids or their entire families were down with sickness.

I closed out my laptop that day thinking, "Thank goodness we aren't sick."

Ha ha ha... ha ha ha.

How silly was I?

The very next day Turtle woke up with a horrid snot nose.

Then as the day progressed, Roo came up with a cough.

And it just all went downhill from there.

Turtle now has green snot, Roo has a fever and I have a chest rattling cough that has me coughing up crap out of my lungs.

It's miserable.

There's nothing like spending the last week of your vacation holed up in your house with a sickness.

At least we have tons of new toys and craft projects to keep us company.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tree Down!

The funny thing about me is that I cannot wait for Christmas to roll around.

I cannot wait to put up the tree, turn on the music, enjoy the movies and bake every cookie under the sun.

Then Christmas day comes, flies by with the blink of an eye... and then it's over.

And the day after Christmas, I tear through the house and take everything down.

It's like I erase every trace of Holiday cheer and then it's like it never happened!

Of course, it doesn't help when your kids do this to the tree.


After that disaster happened, I had no choice but to follow tradition and take down the tree.

Now the only thing that lingers from Christmas is all the toys my girls received from Santa and I feel like it's my duty to figure out how to organize that mess.

And start planning my New Years resolutions.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas.

It's that time of year when the family rolls into town and we get down to some serious celebrating.

:)

And I couldn't be more excited.

My parents are in town, my kids are tickled pink and I am so happy to be in the kitchen baking my tush off.

I'll be taking the next few days off to eat, shop and be merry.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Party City's Holiday Kits

When I was 16, I worked at this huge party store called Party City. I blew up balloon orders, stocked shelves, sold tons of Halloween costumes (I even dressed as up a road kill cow once, complete with fake blood and an itchy costume) and ordered wedding invitations.

It was a great job.

Recetly, Party City and I were able to work together again.

I had the chance to review one of their Holiday Kits.

And lemme tell you, the holiday kits are amazing.

I picked the Wonderful Life theme because I adore Santa's suit and how festive is the red!

This kit includes everything you would need for a party.

Balloons and streamers for decorating.



A piƱata for your kids to steal off the table and cuddle.



Plates, utensils, napkins and cups.



Table decorations.


Festive banners to hang by the Tree (with care, of course).


And wall decorations!

The Party City Holiday Kit took a lot of stress out of my holiday party. I just picked a theme, ordered and set it all up. I didn't need to spend hours locating everything I needed for my table and the best thing about it, minimal clean up.

There will be ton pile of dishes to wash when you are done!

If that doesn't sway you, I don't know what will.

You can order your very own Holiday Kit from Party City online.



I received a Party City Holiday Kit for this review. All opinions in this review are 100% my own. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Growing Up

I'm kinda afraid to say this, for fear that I'm going to screw it all up.

But I think I've grown up.

Sure, I'm positive some people that know me would argue with me here... but it's my blog.

The other day I had a discussion with a friend and we disagreed on something. We both took some time to think about things and when we came back together, all was well. We talked, made our points and moved on.

It was so grown up.

So unlike my past.

In the past when a friend and I got into a spat, it would last for 6 months or so. My feelings would be so hurt that I held on to my anger and I let it take over everything.

It wasn't pretty.

But  no more, I'm an adult now.

Another example that proves I'm an adult was making a decision that tore my heart in half, but knowing in that broken heart that it was the right decision.

I think it's official... I'm a grown up.

I do have the two children to prove it.

Oh, now I feel old.

:)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Heart Palpitations

Just when I thought my heart problems were over and done with, she goes and does this.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 17, 2011

All Clear!

Yesterday I went for a check up with my cardiologist as a follow up to my surgery.

And after they forgot about me and I had to go hunt someone down, an ultrasound and a round of question and answers, I was given the all clear to resume my normal life!

The first thing I did?

I went straight to Turtle and picked her up for a good solid cuddle.

Turtle is my snuggle buddy and being apart for a whole week was crippling.

So we hugged it out and the world was put back on the correct axis.

Then I got down on the floor and had a huge tickle fest with Roo.

I'm able to resume running too.

I haven't... yet.

I'm still a little off from the beta blockers they have me on (they are going to wean me off of them within the month) and I pulled a muscle in my left foot (don't ask how, I have no clue), so I don't know when I'll get back to pounding the pavement. But eventually I will and I will lose these few pounds I put on from not running and all really will be right in the world.

Oh, and I can drive!

I drove myself to the store last night and it felt glorious!

I feel almost normal (gasps!).

Now it's time to get in the Christmas spirit and start wrapping gifts and baking cookies.

:)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Must Have: Jingle the Husky Pup

A few years back, Hallmark came out with a recordable storybook. My parents bought it for my daughters as a Christmas present and it is a cherished gift.

Hallmark has continued stepping up their game in the whole interactive gift arena. Their latest endeavor is the Interactive Storybook & Story Buddies.

Jingle the Husky Pup arrived on our doorstep and my girls have been crazy about him since.

Jingle comes along with a book and if you press his ear and read the story, he responds.

Seriously (how does he do it?!).

Jingle has an adorable story to tell, one that ends happily, and Turtle loves pressing Jingle's ear and listening to his bell jingle while Roo loves to cuddle with him.




Yes, sometimes they fight over Jingle but we got a second one and solved that problem.

Another great thing about Jingle is that there is more than one story that he responds to. Hallmark offers two other books for Jingle to read along with you.

There are five other adorable animals to pick from to keep your kiddos happy all year long.

Jingle and his interactive friends can be picked up in a Hallmark Gold Crown store.



I received an interactive Jingle pup for review. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sea World's Kid Fest!

I am so excited about these upcoming events at Sea World next month.

I have them all penciled in my calendar and I've got my Fun Card in hand!

Check out all the details (word for word from the press release):


SEAWORLD ORLANDO HOSTS ALL-NEW FESTIVAL
THAT’S “JUST FOR KIDS”
Featuring performances by kids’ favorite entertainers, party zone area and more
 
 
ORLANDO, Fla. (December 2011) – With an all-new festival featuring awesome concerts by LazyTown, Max & Ruby, the Doodlebops and Choo-Choo Soul and tons of family-friendly fun and activities, SeaWorld Orlando is the place for kids, Saturdays January 14 – February 4.
 
The best way to experience all of the fun, music, treats and more at Just For Kids is with a Fun Card, where Florida residents pay for a day and play all year through Dec. 31, 2012.  Fun Card holders can enjoy all four weeks of Just For Kids and all of the other amazing special events throughout the year, plus the unforgettable animal encounters, world-class thrill rides and family fun found only at SeaWorld.

Super Kid Savings
This is a celebration that really is just for kids!  And that means not only will kids have the most fun-filled experience enjoying the concerts, but there are numerous special offers too.  On event days, parents can rent strollers at half-price, and the following items are free for kids with each paid adult: all-day dining deal, sky tower ride, and free Penguins Up-close, Dolphins Up-close or Behind-the-Scenes tours.
 
The concert lineup includes:
 
Saturday, January 14    LazyTown
Things are upside-down in LazyTown! Stephanie, Sportacus and others take kids on a fun journey while also promoting healthy lifestyles for children in a positive and catching way.
 
Saturday, January 21     Max & Ruby’s Musical Playdate
Celebrate the universal nature of sibling relationships in Max & Ruby’s Musical Playdate. Max & Ruby never quite want the same thing and their plans always collide – with hilarious results. Featuring upbeat and original songs, this playdate is sure to have the whole audience singing and hopping along!
 
Saturday, January 28    Doodlebops’ Musical Playdate
Get movin’ and groovin’ with the Doodlebops, a real favorite of all kids. Rock stars DeeDee, Rooney and Moe sing their favorite songs, tell their wackiest jokes and show off their funkiest dance moves.
 
 
Saturday, February 4     Choo-Choo Soul with Genevieve
Starring Genevieve Goings, Choo-Choo Soul allows parents to enjoy the same music their kids do. Featuring soulful and current renditions of the ABC’s, 1-2-3’s, and learning how to be polite, Choo-Choo Soul is a diverse and incredibly hip duo, teaching children through music on an animated train.
 
Concerts are included with park admission, with show times at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at SeaWorld’s Nautilus Theater. Guests will need to pick up concert tickets across from Nautilus Theater in order to attend the shows. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis starting at 9 a.m. each event day.
 
And, “Just For Kids” has even more fun in store!
 
Shamu’s Party Zone
Located at Lakeside Patio, this happening spot lets kids sing, dance and play the day away with a DJ spinning to a kid beat while bubbles float overhead.  There are loads of interactive games, too, and kids can sit down for a face-painting session or make a sea-themed sand art souvenir with jewels and sea glass in the shape of dolphins, tropical fish, turtles and starfish. The Shamu character and others will be on hand for meet and greets, dancing and photos. (Please note: there will be a small fee to participate in face painting and sand art).
 
Elmo and Abby’s Treasure Hunt
Sesame Street’s Abby Cadabby and her friends Elmo, Cookie Monster, Rosita and Grover are off on a treasure hunt—and all kids are invited to come along!  This 25-minute show will get everyone laughing and cheering along at SeaPort Theater.
 
Breakfast with Elmo and Friends
Elmo and his Sesame Street friends will perform a short song and dance number and then visit every table for an up-close meeting at this amazing breakfast buffet. Cost is $29.99 for adults and $24.99 for children ages 3-9. Times are 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. at SeaFire Inn at The Waterfront. This fun-filled breakfast also includes reserved seats at the concert of the day – attending the 8:30 a.m. breakfast includes reserved seats at the 11 a.m. concert, and the 10:30 a.m. breakfast includes reserved seats at the 2 p.m. concert.
 
Fun Cards are available at the front gate, online at SeaWorldOrlando.com or by calling 1-888-800-5447. Event dates, times and artists are subject to change. Performances are included with any daily admission or annual pass. Concert seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Concert dates and artists are subject to change."
 



This post is for information purposes only. 

Beauty and the Beast: Two Special DVDs

Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite Disney movie of all time.


I can remember seeing it in the movie theatre when I was a girl and how excited I was when my Mom had bought me the movie on VHS for Christmas one year.


I can also remember watching the movie every day one summer vacation with my sister.


It's obvious that I adore the movie. I also adore sharing my favorite Disney movie with my girls.


Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World and Beauty and the Beast: the Enchanted Christmas are out on DVD now and I recently got to share them with my girls.


Roo was over the moon that there were more Belle movies to watch and Turtle delighted at pounding her tiny fist on the screen of the television and shouting, "Ariel!"


In her defense, all Disney Princesses are Ariel.


We have watched both movies a dozen times, especially the Christmas one. Roo loves all the new characters associated with two of her own favorite Disney characters.


Here's a clip from the Enchanted Christmas:





I love it.

Your kids would too.

Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World and Beauty and the Beast: the Enchanted Christmas are on store shelves now and would be perfect under any Princess's Christmas tree.




I received copies of both DVD for this review. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.

Wordless Wednesday: Sea World Sea of Trees

Monday, December 12, 2011

Recovery Sucks

For the past five days I've been laid up in bed.

Okay, not laid up. Laid down!

I've been laying flat on my back with my legs extended and my head down for the past five days.

And it's been torture.

My surgery was a success and there was no need to burn any extra nerves around my heart. But it still sucked because I had four very large, very long catheters in my groin and it was damn painful.

Add in the fact that I threw up as they took two of them out and caused a little bit of damage on my insides.

And it was a lovely mess.

After my surgery (procedure, whatever you call it) I had to lay flat for four hours to make sure my catheter areas didn't bust open.

Four hours after laying flat on my back, with some major back pain, I got up and started bleeding out everywhere.

Needless to say, I was freaked out of my mind.

And there was blood everywhere.

The nurses were able to toss me on a bed and climb on top of me to stop the blood flow (seriously, a lot of blood poured out... I still freak out about the amount) and it was back on my back for another two hours with a monstrous pressure bandage on my leg.

When it was time to go, I was freaked out and made myself a mess by getting dizzy and having a mini panic attack. I was so worried that I was going to start bleeding again that I drove myself (and my nurse) crazy.

Finally, I was able to go home and was put in bed and wasn't allowed to do anything for myself.

Nothing.

I couldn't do a thing, not even go to the bathroom alone. I was waited on hand and foot, which sounds like fun but I'm a do-it-yourself kinda gal and hate not being able to get my own drink of water.

Now it's day five and I actually managed to get up by myself and even got to sit on the couch.

It was heaven.

Of course, it wore me the f out and I took a three hour nap to recover.

And recovery is great, but it still sucks because I have no energy to do a  thing and I feel so weak. I just want to get back to normal. Back to running, back to taking care of my girls and back to the holiday spirit.

I'll get there, eventually.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Happiness: King Arthur Flour's Gingerbread House

When the King Arthur Flour catalog comes in the mail, I get really excited.

It's always full of yummy treats and recipes.

And when their holiday catalog enters the house, it gets passed around like the toy catalog.

I recently had the chance to review their Gingerbread House.

I don't know who was more excited, me or Roo!

We waited until Turtle was napping or else we would've never gotten a thing done (she can be quite the destructive baby).

We ripped into the package and got to work.


The kit comes with everything you need: icing, candy, the works.


The icing was really easy to pipe out and it held the gingerbreads pieces together quite nicely. You held the pieces together for a minute and it stuck, like magic.

The only problem we encountered was that we had to hold the roof pieces together for longer than Roo wanted and she got antsy.

Her favorite part was putting all the candy pieces on (and eating some in the process). We did have a little trouble with the sprinkles, they didn't want to adhere to the icing very well and ended up all over the table instead.

The end result was fabulous.


 And I have to confess, it was yummy.

My kids ate most of it in two days. My cousin ate the rest.

You can order your own King Arthur Flour Gingerbread House online.


I received a Gingerbread House kit for this review. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Under the Knife

Today is finally the day.

Today I am going under the knife for my heart ablation.

Yay.

And booo.

I am super nervous, like to the point I've been having anxiety attacks (mini ones) all week long. Plus, I've been off my meds since Monday so my heart is a little freaked out having to work on its own.

But I am being positive.

I have faith.

I am praying.

I am going to be fine.

I'll be off-line for the next few days, but hopefully not for long.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Must Haves: Junque Trunk


The holidays mean lots of things in our household. Family, friends, food, fun… all that general merriment that makes me one happy Mama.

The one thing that the holidays bring that doesn’t necessarily make me a happy Mama: the mess.

And no matter what I do, I can’t avoid it.

It’s like my kids are on terror mode in every room of the house and I am trailing behind them all day long picking up after them.

It’s kinda like shoveling snow while it’s still snowing.

Or herding cats.

Near-to-impossible!

And I’ll tell you a little secret about me, I like things clean.

But not in a freaking out if a wrapper touches the floor kinda way, just a… get it out of my sight and I’m happy kinda neat-freak.

This is why I love the Scout Collection by Bungalow.

It offers easy way to store items out of the way, out of my line of sight and helps keep me organized.

I adore the Junque (pronounced Junk) Trunk.

It’s large and in charge!

Plus it’s made of durable, water-resistant material so if a sippy cup spills near it, I don’t have to freak out about it.

Oh, and it’s adorable in color.

This is mine:



It’s currently being used for toys.

And another great feature of it is that if I don’t need it at the time, it folds up flat for easy storage.

Love it.

You can find Scout by Bungalow products online.



I received a Junque Trunk for this review. However, all opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information

Monday, December 5, 2011

Celebrate the Holidays at Legoland

I won't lie... I haven't been to Legoland yet.

It's on my list! I just haven't gone.

I plan to change that, especially because it's the holidays! And nothing makes me happier than a theme park at the holidays. All the decorations hung with care, the twinkling lights, the cookies.... Oh, the cookies.

Legoland is celebrating its first Christmas in Florida.

Here are the details straight from the latest press release: 


"CELEBRATE LEGOLAND® FLORIDA’S FIRST CHRISTMAS
Christmas Bricktacular Makes the Holidays Come Alive

Winter Haven, FL (Nov. 15, 2011) -- LEGOLAND Florida is getting into the holiday spirit with the first annual Christmas Bricktacular.  Festive decorations and sounds of the season will fill The Beginning and Fun Town through the holidays, Dec. 8-31, followed by Kids’ New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31.  With more than 50 rides, shows and attractions all dedicated to families with children age 2 to 12 and one of the widest selections of LEGO® products available, LEGOLAND Florida is the best place to celebrate the season and pick up the Christmas gifts that are on every child’s wish list – LEGO!

The Beginning is home to a truly spectacular, Bricktacular sight - a more than 30-foot-tall LEGO Christmas tree made with a combination of 270,000 forest green LEGO and DUPLO® bricks.  The park’s first-ever tree lighting ceremony takes place on Dec. 5 with a special master of ceremonies.  Through Dec. 31, a special family will be chosen to help light the Bricktacular tree each night.

Santa Claus even makes special daily appearances in the historical botanical gardens making a picture perfect spot to capture family memories sure to be treasured for years to come.

Kids’ New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31 let’s kids rock out and watch the sky explode with LEGO fireworks at just the right time for them, midnight KST (Kid Standard Time) - otherwise known as 7 p.m. EST.

Holiday events are included in park admission. Tickets and Annual Passes for LEGOLAND Florida are available at www.LEGOLAND.com"


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ho Ho Ho...Blech.

Okay, it's honesty time here.

I like it call it a Mommy Confession.

I'm not feeling the spirit today.

You know that glorious holiday, ho ho ho, life is wonderful, bring on the egg nog mood (except I've never had egg nog).

Mind you, I had this spirit the other day... just not today.

Remember when you were a kid and you knew Christmas was right around the corner so every damn day was filled with excitement and all you wanted to do was get through the day so you could move the Christmas tree on the advent calendar?

It was so thrilling to color Santa Claus activity pages and watch the cartoons and sing the songs.

Yes, most days I'm still that kid dying with excitement. I adore watching my girls fall in love with the holidays and dance around the tree and baking cookies shaped like reindeer.

But sometimes, I'm an adult.

And sometimes being an adult sucks.

When you're adult you have bills to pay, lists to make, surgeries to schedule (or not schedule in my case), lunches to packs, clothes to wash... and sometimes it's hard to do that whistling "Frosty the Snowman."

A lot of my disenchancement comes from the fact that I still haven't had my surgery approved by insurance and I'm sitting here waiting with heart palpitations for that call.

I could've already had this surgery done with, I could already be recovered and moving on with the holiday spirit! Not getting pissy with every passing phone call because the doctor isn't calling me back.

And that, my dears is why it sucks to be an adult.

I know that my holiday spirit will return and I'll be decorating cookies and belting out Christmas carols at the top of my lungs (and quite badly too) because not only am I an adult, I'm a mother and being a mother requires that we suck it up sometimes for the enjoyment of our children.

WESH's Share Your Christmas

Times are tough right now.

Not just for some, but for many.

Unemployment rates are still up, the market is still bad, there's homelessness everywhere and there are even children going to school without food in their bellies.

Now, I know that the holidays are supposed to be happy, cheerful times... and they are, they should be. But the holidays (as well as the other 11 months of the year!) should be times to give where it is needed.

WESH, Channel 2 here in Orlando is gearing up this week for their annual Share Your Christmas!

What you can do to participate is purchase some canned goods or pull them off your own pantry shelves, load them up in your car and take them to one of the designated drop off sites around town.

It's that easy to help out the community.

WESH has more information on their website if you need it.  


Drop off locations are as follows:
    • Dec. 4: Kissimmee Fire Station No. 2, 1409 Denn John Lane, Kissimmee
    • Dec. 7: Sunshine Park Shopping Center, 2400 S. Ridgewood Ave., Daytona Beach
    • Dec. 8: Post Commons Shopping Center, 4100 N Wickham Road, Melbourne
    • Dec. 9: Forty East Shopping Center, 3450 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala
    • Dec. 10: Palm Springs Crossing, 482 E. Altamonte Drive, Altamonte Springs
    • Dec. 11: Big Lots Plaza, 923 N. 14th St., Leesburg; WESH 2-CW18 Studios, 1021 N. Wymore Road, Winter Park

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Celebrate the Holidays at Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure

I know I've said it beforeThe holidays are without a doubt my favorite time of year. 

I mean, how can they not be? Food, fun, family and lots and lots of Christmas lights.

It's all so heavenly.

And you know you cannot celebrate the holidays without adding in a little theme park magic.

Universal Orlando Resort's is putting on the ritz for the holidays with concerts, parades and special shows.

From their press release (word for word):




"UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT’S HOLIDAYS EVENT RETURNS WITH ONE-OF-A-KIND HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT
THE WHOLE FAMILY CAN ENJOY

Start a New Family Tradition This Season at Universal Orlando with Grinchmas, Macy’s Holiday Parade, The Holiday Village and Nightly Holiday Music

Enjoy the Timeless Classics by Holiday Music Masters Mannheim Steamroller as they Return for
Six Concerts on December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18

ORLANDOFla.  – There’s no better place to enjoy the Holidays with your family this year than at Universal Orlando Resort. It’s the only place you can come face-to-face with The Grinch and the Whos from Whoville, watch a cheerful holiday parade filled with big, colorful Macy’s balloons and sing along to the classic sounds of the season as you stroll through a holiday-trimmed theme park with your loved ones.

The Holidays fanfare runs from December 3, 2011 through January 1, 2012, offering guests incredible entertainment themed for the season at both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

At Islands of Adventure, adults and children alike will be entertained when the popular Dr. Seuss book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is brought to life in Grinchmas. Guests can see the live stage show featuring The Grinch and the Whos from Whoville with an original recorded musical score by Mannheim Steamroller. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet The Grinch and the Whos, and on select dates, purchase a spot at a special character breakfast with the mean, green one himself.

At Universal Studios, the Macy’s Holiday Parade will celebrate its 10th Anniversary of partnership with Universal Orlando by filling the streets every evening with some of the same iconic elements seen winding throughNew York City each year at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The beloved event features colorful holiday characters, fantasy-filled floats – including one specially-designed to commemorate the 10-year milestone – a tree-lighting ceremony by Santa Claus and dozens of larger-than-life balloons. The Macy’s Holiday Parade also welcomes select park guests to participate in the procession as real balloon-handlers guiding the helium giants, a truly unique and exclusive experience to Universal Orlando.

Returning this year with more concerts than ever before is Mannheim Steamroller – the masters of Christmas music with more than 40 million albums sold worldwide. The acclaimed musical group will take to the MusicPlaza stage in Universal Studios six times this year to play their memorable holiday hits for guests, performing on December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18.

Also at Universal Studios, guests can enjoy special holiday-themed versions of their favorite shows, and nightly a capella holiday music in the nearby Holiday Village, which is filled with hand-blown glass ornaments, caramel apples, hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts and a cupcake decorating location.

The celebration continues at Universal Orlando’s three on-site hotels – Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort – all of which will glisten with holiday decorations. Hotel guests will be immersed in the spirit of the season with tree-lighting ceremonies, special musical performances, holiday pool-side "dive-in" movie presentations and holiday buffets and dining events. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel kicks off the season on Friday, November 25 with 'Holiday Harbor Nights', a wine tasting, food and jazz celebration on the piazza, along with a tree lighting ceremony. Hard Rock Hotel welcomes Santa to The Kitchen restaurant on Fridays in December and Loews Royal Pacific Resort rings in the new year with a family-friendly dinner and celebration.

All holiday entertainment – including the Mannheim Steamroller concerts – is included as part of two-park or multi-day admission to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. There’s never been a better time to start a new family tradition at Universal Orlando’s Holidays event, as guests can take advantage of a special holiday vacation package:

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Offers
Holidays Getaway Package
• 3 night stay at a Universal Partner Hotel
• 2 day base ticket for both theme parks, one park per day
• Complimentary scheduled transportation between the hotel and theme parks
• PLUS early park admission to experience Islands of Adventure and more
Starting at $249 per adult, tax inclusive

*Upgrade to on-site hotel (starting at $509 per adult, tax inclusive) and receive complimentary Universal Express access to skip the regular attraction lines – a FREE benefit of up to $87 per person, per day

For more information on Universal Orlando’s holiday celebration and offers, guests can visit www.UniversalOrlando.com/holidays.

Universal Orlando Resort
There are many ways to enjoy your Orlando vacation – but there is only one Universal Orlando Resort.  It is a completely separate destination featuring two theme parks, three magnificently themed on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex.  It’s the only Orlando destination where you are not just entertained – you are part of the most exhilarating entertainment ever created.  You can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, battle aliens alongside Agent J, and help Shrek save Princess Fiona in Shrek 4-D.   You can be courageous, be outrageous – and be extraordinary."



I did not receive any compensation for this post. I just wanted to share the holidays with my readers. Cheers!