I admit it, I've been stuck in a rut with my cooking lately.
I have been falling back on the same old recipes: stir fry veggies, rice and chicken with peppers and spaghetti. Add in the occasional chili, quesidillia or breakfast burrito and you have my every week for the past two months.
Boring, I know.
Today I made French dip sammiches and they were to die for!
And so damn easy.
I got a 3 lb top roast and a packet of Au Jus sauce. Add in a cup of water and put it in the crock pot for six to eight hours (on low).
Save the sauce for dipping!
I picked up some fresh sub rolls from Publix, toasted them and added provolone cheese.
I added mayo, because everything tastes better with mayo.
When you combine animals and Sesame Street, you have a happy family on your hands.
My girls are crazy for both and I adore that Busch Gardens makes magic for them when we visit.
And visit, we will because we are armed with the (FREE) Preschool Pass.
From a recent press release:
"Saturday, Feb. 11
Elmo’s Warm and Fuzzy Valentine’s Day Party
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your family’s favorite Sesame Street friends on Saturday, Feb. 11 at Busch Gardens’ Sesame Street Safari of Fun. Swap Valentines with the characters and enjoy delicious food served buffet-style.
Sunday, April 22
Begin your family’s Viva la Musica celebration on April 22 by joining Rosita and her Sesame Street friends for a special fiesta at Busch Gardens’ Sesame Street Safari of Fun. Dance along with Rosita and her friends as they celebrate her Hispanic culture and enjoy delicious food served buffet-style. Then be sure to stick around for the featured concert that afternoon as part of Viva la Musica.
Sunday, May 13
Mother’s Day Dine
Mom is special! So celebrate her special day on Sunday, May 13, at Busch Gardens’ Sesame Street Safari of Fun and enjoy lunch with Elmo and Friends. Your family will enjoy delicious food served buffet-style, character meet and greets with the lovable Sesame Street characters, family together time and a special treat for Mom.
Sunday, June 17
Father’s Day Dine
Make this Father’s Day special by sharing lunch with Dad at a Dine with Elmo and Friends at Busch Gardens’ Sesame Street Safari of Fun on June 17. Your family will enjoy delicious food served buffet-style, character meet and greets with the lovable Sesame Street characters, family together time and a special treat for Dad.
Saturday, Sept. 22
Zoe’s Dance, Dance, Dance Birthday Party
Zoe’s birthday is Sept. 30, and Busch Gardens invites you to celebrate Zoe’s birthday along with her best friend Elmo and their Sesame Street friends on Saturday, Sept. 22 at the park’s Sesame Street Safari of Fun. The dance party is included with a lunch with the characters. Wear your dancing shoes so your family can join Zoe in her favorite pastime.
Saturday, Oct. 20
Halloween Monster Mash Dine
Celebrate Halloween at a special party on Oct. 20 at Busch Gardens’ Sesame Street Safari of Fun. Your child can do the Monster Mash, meet The Count and his Sesame Street friends and enjoy a spooky, buffet-style lunch. NOTE: Costumes are welcome at the dine, but may need to be removed in order to safely go on rides.
Each special event dining experience is from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted. The cost is $22 adults and $15 children, and a 6x8 keepsake photo is included per family. Make your reservations at SesameStreetSafariofFun.com or call 1-888-800-5447. Pass members receive a 10 percent discount. Admission to the park is required but not included."
I’m on a roll with this whole making list things lately.
Today I am sharing the top five things I am doing instead of homework.
#5 Searching for birthday party themes
I swore I wouldn’t do it this year, I said NO PARTIES. Then Roo went and started school and all her friends were having huge birthday parties and I made the mistake of asking Roo if she wanted one of her own. Of course she said yes (Duh Mom!) and now it’s exploded into a big party and I have a list of things to do a mile long. It’s going to be a pony party and finding cute horse theme birthday stuff is hard! But someone has to do it!
#4 Checking Facebook
I do this everyday… I have a great group of friends online and we congregate on our groups page all day long and it’s a great way to distract yourself from homework, deadlines, children….
#3 Staring out the window
My desk is right under a window and I spend 80% of my time staring out at the bright blue sky (I love Florida) and watching the clouds pass by.
I am a compulsive doodler. There is not a blank piece of paper out there that is safe from my pen. I tend to start with pretty, curly swirls and then go on to an octopus, or skull or quotes from Shakespeare.
#1 The Kardashians
I am serious about this one… The reality show on the Kardashians is on the E channel allllllllllllll the time. ALL THE TIME. So I flip on the tv and I watch… and watch… and watch. All the while I am asking myself WHY. But I still do… am.
It's no secret, Disney movies rule this household.
It's safe to say that 8 out of 10 movies played here are of the Disney brand.
And I'm cool with it. Disney movies are always adorable, have catchy songs and happy ever after.
I decided, for your reading entertainment, to name my top five Disney movies.
#5 Toy Story
I was fifteen when this movie came out, and I went and saw it in the theaters with my family. It was hilarious. It was the first Disney movie I can recall that added a lot of humor into it, even humor that parents can laugh at. When Roo was two, this movie was on loop everyday at our house. She loved Buzz and Woody, even had little dolls of the character.
#4 Pete's Dragon
I remember seeing this movie for the first time on ABC's Wonderful World of Disney. I thought it was the coolest thing, having animation and live action at the same time. It was so cool. And Roo agrees with me on this one, she loves dragons and Pete is no exception.
#3 The Little Mermaid
After I saw this movie, I wanted nothing more than to be a mermaid. I can't imagine one little girl that didn't want to be a mermaid after this one. The songs in this one are also amazing and get stuff in your head long after the movie stops.
Oh, Rapunzel... Oh, I adore thee. Seriously. When Roo and I went to the theaters to see this one, I fell in love. The characters were great and the humor was spot on. I still laugh when we watch it at home. Rapunzel also stepped up to the plate and knocked it out by saving her true love, what a great way to teach girls that you don't always need to be rescued.
#1 Beauty and the Beast
A timeless movie that still makes me teary eyed! Oh, it's perfection. A smart, strong lead female that doesn't take any crap, especially from a Beast! What more do you need? This movie will always stay at the top spot of my list.
The beauty of the film, the story, the colors, the humor!
And most importantly, the fish.
My girls are fish crazy.
So they (okay, Roo is going crazy not Turtle because Turtle doesn't really get what's going on, but when her sister is excited and jumps around she is excited and jumps around) are crazy about Finding Nemo coming out in 3D!
Here is the Official Trailer from Pixar and Disney.
Saturday, February 11, 12 NOON
Saturday Matinee Classics
ROMEO AND JULIET
Special introduction from Orlando Shakespeare Theater
General Admission: $8
Enzian Film Society Members: $5 http://www.enzian.org/film/romeo_and_juliet/
Sunday, February 12, 10AM
AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER
Fall in love all over again with an elegant brunch, live band, and stunning presentation of AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.
Doors to the theater will open promptly at 10AM
Buffet will be available 10AM to 11:30AM
Film begins at 11:30AM
General Admission Pair: $125
Admission for Two
Brunch Buffet for Two
Two Complimentary Mimosas
VIP Pair: $250
Admission for Two
Brunch Buffet for Two
Two Complimentary Mimosas
Reserved VIP Table
A Bottle Perrier Jouet Grand Brut Champagne
AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER on DVD http://www.enzian.org/film/an_affair_to_remember/
There are moments in my day when I stop and look at you and I feel this skip in my heart and my eyes fill with tears. And I get really emotional and happy that I'm your Mom. These moments are filled with such pride because I look at you and think, "You're my daughter!"
And then I wonder how in the world I got so lucky.
You truly are a bright light in my life and in my heart.
I look at you and cannot believe I managed to get you right. And I have screwed up a lot in my life, I won't lie to you... but the best, most perfect moment was when you were placed in my arms and you renewed me, refreshed me... made me whole.
And you continue that to this day (and btw, you will be five in two months, FIVE! Where the hell did the time go?), to make me whole.
Even when you stall going to bed for almost two hours or when you push your sister out of the way to get to the tire swing.
Even in my moments of "OMG! I'm going to lose my mind" chaos, you calm me.
You pat my hand, tell me you love me and that everything is going to be okay.
And you are right, oh wise child of mine, everything will be okay.
I can remember back to the first time I saw Beauty and the Beast on the big screen. I remember being absolutely amazed by it and loving the ballroom dancing scene because it seemed so real! So vivid!
Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite Disney movie, ever.
A beautiful girl who loves books and has a kind heart. A dancing candlestick that can juggle dishes. A manly beast who growls a lot!
It was perfection.
And it still is!
Disney's Beauty and the Beast is back on the big screen and in 3D!
I got a chance to take Roo with me to see a media preview of the movie and we loved it.
Yes, I won't lie, I did sit there for a moment and think that animation has come a long way since I saw the original in the theaters, but it was amazing to see it in 3D. I was also able to see more details that I tend not to pay attention to when we watch the movie at home.
Roo just loved it all.
She loved wearing the glasses the most though.
Another treat that comes with Beauty and the Beast in 3D is the Pixar short, Tangled Ever After is too die for. It was funny and we spent the entire time LoLing.
Both are in theaters today!
I attended a media preview to write this review. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.
I don't even think my other half knows how to turn the washing machine on and I know for a fact that my girls are to short to reach the knobs, so all the responsibility to get the clothes clean rests on my shoulders.
And a family of four goes through A LOT of laundry.
I tend to wash my clothing in warm water simply because it fills the washing machine up the fastest therefore gets the laundry done the quickest.
Honestly, when I turn the temperature dial to cold water, it takes forever to fill up.
But Tide recently sent me a bottle of their new Coldwater detergent to check out. The facts about Tide Coldwater state that using cold water to do your laundry can help you save money on your utility bill.
Since you aren't using your water heater to heat the water to do your laundry, I can see this.
Plus, Tide Coldwater says that (from the press release): "Tide Coldwater removes stains better in cold water than leading bargain liquid detergents in warm water."
Tide Coldwater is specifically formulated to help get the stains out of your clothes when washed in cold water.
So I put it to the test and gave it a whirl.
And I'll be honest... my clothes came out clean.
Just like they did with the warm water I normally use.
I understand the appeal of the cold water issue, saving money and being green is a very good thing. But I have to be honest with you, due to time and the amount of laundry I do a week, I'm going to stick with using warm water.
And let me state, for the record, that my washing machine may be odd and that it's weird for the cold water to take longer than the hot water to fill my machine, but that's how it works in my household (My husband thinks its because our water heater is right next to the machine and since it's always full of hot water, it may take longer to get cooler water to the machine).
I received a bottle of Tide Coldwater to test out and a gift card as compensation as part of a She Speaks and P&G blogger program. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.
I've never seen this, but have had friend who take their kids and their kids LOVE seeing the elephants parade through Downtown Orlando.
Here's the details on the upcoming parade in Orlando, straight from a press release:
"Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Pachyderm Performers
Parade Through Orlando This Monday Night
The Greatest Show On Earth® Moves To Orlando’s Amway Center
ORLANDO, FL – January 6, 2012 – TheRingling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey train rolls into Orlando this Monday, January 9. Fantastic photo opportunities will be available Monday night as the Ringling Bros. pachyderm performers parade to Amway Center. The all-new 142nd edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, DRAGONSSM, debuts in Orlando next Thursday, January 12th, for an eight-performance run.
The Ringling Bros. animal performers will unload at 8:00 p.m. and walk beginning at 8:30 p.m. Animals will unload at railroad tracks near 1053 W. Amelia, then travel east on Amelia to Parramore, south to Church Street, then east to the Amway Center and enter the GEICO Garage. (Note: route and time are subject to change.)
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents DRAGONS is a once in a millennium event that honors The Year of the Dragon. Circus performers from the farthest reaches of the earth have assembled forRingling Bros. Presents DRAGONS to showcase their astounding acts of bravery and astonishing athleticism. Ringling Bros.® Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson presides over this fantastical celebratory tournament of circus champions that brings together mystic dragon lore with authentic circus feats.
Tickets start at $15. Ticketmaster service charges and facility fees not included. All seats are reserved. Tickets are available at www.ringling.com or www.ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Amway Center box office (phone for information only: 407-440-7900). For group ticket sales and information, call 866-248-8740.
Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment's productions have appeared in more than 70 countries on six continents and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Feld Motor Sports, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!"
Walt Disney World is bringing back a great ticket option for Florida residents in 2012.
From the press release:
"Florida Residents Can Make More Memories in 2012 with 3-Day, 4-Day ‘Wild For Disney’ Passes
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Jan. 4, 2012) - Just in time for the new year, Florida Residents get added incentive to make more memories at Walt Disney World this spring, with an extra special ticket offer.
From now until May 21, 2012, Florida residents can purchase a “Wild for 3-Day Pass” for $99 (plus tax) or upgrade to a “Wild for 4-Day Pass” for $129 (plus tax), valid for entry into one Walt Disney World park per day. For even more memory-making, Florida Residents can also add “Park Hopper” or the “Water Park Fun and More” option for $27.50 per ticket.
3-Day “Wild for Disney” Pass
Price: $99, plus tax
Includes: admission to any of the four Walt Disney World theme parks any three days (excluding blockout period); one park per day.
4-Day “Wild for Disney” Pass
Price: $129, plus tax
Includes: admission to any of the four Walt Disney World theme parks any four days (excluding blockout period); one park per day.
Offer period: Jan. 4 – May 24, 2012
Purchase by: May 21, 2010
Blockout dates: Feb. 18, 2012 – February 20, 2012; April 1, 2012 – April 13, 2012
Proof of Florida residency required; pass is nontransferable and excludes activities/events separately priced.
I adore Sea World and Busch Gardens. In fact, I'm planning trips to both in the next two months.
And my pre-schooler gets in for FREE!
Yours can too, check it out.
From the press release:
"CHILDREN AGES 5 AND YOUNGER CAN EXPERIENCE
FAMILY ADVENTURE FOR FREE AT SEAWORLD & BUSCH GARDENS
The New SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Preschool Pass Offers Kids
Unlimited Admission With No Blackout Dates Through 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 4, 2012) – It’s an awesome time to be a preschooler! Children age five and younger can now explore the depths of the ocean and the wonders of Africa for FREE with the new SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Preschool Pass. Little ones will experience kid-size thrills at Busch Gardens' Sesame Street Safari of Fun and SeaWorld's Shamu’s Happy Harbor play areas, get up close to their favorite furry and feathered friends in addition to seeing new shows brought to life.
The pass is good for all of 2012 at both SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Kids are welcome to experience all there is to do for the preschool set, along with the chance to enjoy seasonal events including SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular and festive holiday events at both parks. New this year is SeaWorld’s all-new festival that’s “Just for Kids!” featuring concerts by Lazy Town, Max & Ruby, the Doodlebops and Choo Choo Soul, along with plenty of family-friendly fun and activities on Saturdays, Jan. 14 through Feb. 4. And Busch Gardens will delight guests with its biggest ice show ever, Iceploration, premiering this February.
Parents and older kids can join in on all the excitement with a Fun Card, when they pay for a day and come back all year through Dec. 31, 2012, with no blackout dates.
“Must-see” preschool attractions at SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld’s littlest guests can enjoy the wildly popular 4-acre play area, Shamu’s Happy Harbor. It’s a kid’s dream come true, complete with kid-size rides, a 4-story net climb, and a great place for parents to relax while watching their kids have splashes of fun. The park’s first family-oriented roller coaster, “Shamu Express” can be found here along with other kiddie rides to explore.
Of course no visit to SeaWorld is complete without being splashed by Shamu! SeaWorld’s newest killer whale show, “One Ocean,” features majestic whales performing spectacular behaviors, including thrilling high-energy leaps, while educating and inspiring kids and their families to make a difference in this world. And at “Blue Horizons” kids will be awed by graceful dolphins, false killer whales, a rainbow of exotic birds, and entire cast of divers and aerialists.
Kid-favorite “Pets Ahoy!” will leave children giggling as a menagerie of rescued dogs, cats, birds, rats, skunks, pot-belly pigs, and other animals performing a series of uproarious and amazing skits.
While older kids are flying, gliding and soaring on Manta, younger ones can experience the incredible underwater world of tropical fish and rays in the floor-to-ceiling aquariums. Manta’s underwater viewing area is home to more than 3,000 species. Kids can even “pop up” in the middle of a small aquarium, surrounding themselves with hundreds of fish for some great photos.
At Dolphin Cove, kids (and parents) can touch and feed dolphins and also go below the surface for an underwater view where they just might see a dolphin blowing a bubble or two!
Plus, SeaWorld features a cozy Baby Care Center located at Shamu’s Happy Harbor with top-of-the-line changing facilities, private feeding rooms and pint-sized potties. This brightly-colored building gives parents the privacy and comfort of a home-away-from home in the middle of all the fun and is a one-stop shop for baby necessities.
Busch Garden loves kids, too!
Don’t forget this awesome new FREE Preschool Pass also includes Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Just a short hour’s drive away, in addition to all the wondrous animal encounters at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, preschoolers will delight in Sesame Street Safari of Fun, a sunny funny play land, filled with moments that your family can share for the first time — like a first coaster experience aboard Air Grover. And everyday smiles can be repeated time after time —clapping along to original shows, splashing in our expansive water play area and enjoying kid-size rides.
Sign up today!
The Free SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Preschool Pass is an exclusive online offer, available at SeaWorldOrlando.com or BuschGardensTampaBay.com. It is exclusively for Florida residents ages 5 and younger and is valid for unlimited admission – with no blackout dates – through Dec. 31, 2012 at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. The Preschool Pass does not include parking or Premium Passport discounts or benefits.
After registering through either park’s website, registrants can pick up the Preschool Pass for their child by bringing a printed confirmation and a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate to any ticket window at SeaWorld’s or Busch Gardens’ front gate.
Being on vacation opens up my laziness streak, the one where I slack on everything. The laundry piles up, the toys don't get put away, the blog gets neglected.
You know the drill.
And like most people, once the vacation is over you tend to need a vacation to recover from the vacation.
Getting back to the grind is painful and slow... painfully slow.
For me, I need to get back to a routine or I'll just continue to be on "vacation" and let all my deadlines pass.
And that won't fly with my brands or my professors.
"Sorry, sir. I didn't submit my thesis because I'm lazy."
I'm planning on sitting down tonight, making a long list of what I need to accomplish, what needs to get done and start ticking things off the list. Soon enough, it will all become routine again and I'll be squared away... until Spring Break at least.
I'll be honest, 2011 punched me in the gut and then kicked me while I was down.
Needless to say: IT SUCKED.
And while yes, it taught me some valuable lessons and gave me some things I really needed to open my eyes to... I'm more than desperate to leave it all behind.
I was really hoping that I could start 2012 with wide, fresh eyes and an open mind... and maybe a little luck.
But nope, I spent the last moments of 2011 in the hospital with a very sick baby (all is well now) and then today through me a personal curve ball that came out of nowhere.
So I'm officially asking for a do-over.
I want to pretend that my New Years starts right now... Ready.... 3,2,1... GO!
Happy New Years.
As of right now, I'm taking a deep, deeeeeeeeeppp breath and letting it all go.
I'm starting new, I'm starting fresh.
And I'm doing it with a slice of apple pie (if you're gonna do it, might as well do it right, right?).
I'm not going to go on and on that 2012 will kick ass and that it will be a life changing year (but you never know), but I will say that it will my goal to end every day with a smile and a hug from my babies.
And maybe one or two trips to somewheres I've never been.
I don't want to give 2012 too much pressure that it buckles from the fear of not living up to its expectations, but I'm going to do my best.