Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Homeschool Preschool: Semester Plans

When we first decided to try homeschool preschool, I did a lot of research on schedules and plans.  I think I started with what a scheduled day would look like and what would be covered.  However, before I really started breaking down my days, I needed a plan for the semester.  Each week will have a featured color, shape, number, letter, a math concept, letters we're learning to write, a field trip, and of course a theme.  Numbers were easy to figure out as we will progress numerically for those.  Letters were a lot more difficult.  I came across many different methods of letter introduction, and in particular, the preferred order of introduction.  Every time I thought I decided on what I wanted to do, I would read negative reviews of that method that seemed to make just as much sense as the reasoning for using that method.  After a while of being confused on what to do, I decided to just go alphabetically.  It may not be the most modern method, but it has worked for many years just fine.  In all honesty, I figured I'd do the least amount of harm sticking with the original method.  I have math concepts lined out on my current semester plans, but as I'm starting to plan more of my weekly plans, I feel like these concepts are already changing so we'll see how that goes.  For our handwriting letters, I knew I wanted to use the Handwriting without Tears method, as I've worked with this method before and it makes a lot of sense for me.  As for theme, you know I had to go with Disney, but I also wanted to use the traditional preschool themes a little too, so I have a little of both.  I know for preschool I should probably be simplifying and sticking to one theme completely, but that's not my style and it's my kid.  The advantage of homeschool is that we can do what we want and change it anytime we need to, if it is too much.  That being said, I expect many changes to occur to this schedule, but as of now, here's our semester plans.  

Wk 1: Alice in Wonderland classic & live-action, Littlecjc
           red, circle, 1, A, count 1-10, draw picture of self and introduce Mat Man, visit New Harmony

Wk 2: Beauty and the Beast & Baymax, Body
           yellow, triangle, 2, B, count 1-10, trace a line and draw own line and letter F, CMOE

Wk 3: Cinderella & Cars, Transportation
            blue, square,3, C, 1:1 correlation, letters E & D, Disney/Owensboro Museum

I'll admit this is all I have figured out in full detail yet, so the rest might still change, but here is what I'm working with right now.

Wk 4: Dumbo & 101 Dalmatians, Farm/Circus
           green, rectangle, 4, D, sorting, letters P & B, Lil Rexing Farm

Wk 5: Emperors New Grove & Enchanted, Apples
            black, oval, 5, E, sorting, letters R & N, orchard

Wk 6: Frozen & Finding Dory/ Birthday
           purple, star, 6, F, patterns, letters M & H, party

Wk 7: Good Dinosaur/Fall
            orange, diamond, 7, G, patterns, letters K & L, fall festival

Wk 8: Hercules & Hunchback of Notre Dame/ Leaves
            pink, triangle, 8, H, matching, letters U & V, Wesselman's Woods

Wk 9: Incredibles & Inside Out/ Pumpkins
            white, square, 9, I, matching, letters W & X, Mayse Farm Market

Wk 10: Jungle Book/Monsters
             brown, rectangle, 10, J, direction words, letters Y & Z, zoo

Wk 11: Kim Possible/ Halloween
             black, circle, 11, K, sizes, letters C & O, trick or treating

Wk 12: Little Mermaid & Lilo and Stitch/Ocean
             blue, oval, 12, L, sizes, letters Q & G, Lloyd Pool

Wk 13: Moana & Mary Poppins/Thanksgiving
             brown, star, 13, M, more & less, letters S & A, Thanksgiving

Wk 14: Nightmare Before Christmas & Chronicles of Narnia/ Holidays around the World
             green, diamond, 14, N, sizes, letters I & T, Christmas shopping/Christmas Lights

Wk 15: Christmas Classics/Christmas
             red, triangle, 15, letters J & review

If you homeschool and see anything missing or feel like I should change something up, please let me know in the comments.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Show and Tell: What's on your Phone


This week, Andrea prompted us to share what is on our phone.  First of all, I should probably update my photos.  After taking these screenshots and slowing down to look at my phone, I may have to clean it out and update some things, including this picture from last October.  That smile always makes me smile, though.

That being said, let's dive in.  Here's my home screen.


Mostly what I imagine most people have on their homescreen: email, pinterest, facebook, instagram, snapchat, photos and app store.  I also have the my disney experience app right here ready to be used whether I'm planning a current trip or dreaming about being "home."  The colornote app is another one that could probably be moved, as I haven't used it in a while.  I do like having this space on my phone though, where I can take a quick note if I need to, but I no longer use it daily tracking toddler words for instance as I did when I first placed it here.  The app you may not be familiar with it the one that says Kingdoms.  This is a game called Disney Magic Kingdoms and I have to admit, I use this probably more than anything else on my phone.  I am totally sucked in to this game and I am fully aware of how much time I waste here, but I love it.  

My next screen is my calendar.  I use this all the time and love that I don't have to open it, but instead it is always here.


My next screen has more health and personal interest apps.  The timer and endomondo are used for running and hiking.  Overdrive is the app that my local library uses for digital downloads so I use this app often when listening to my audiobooks.  The EVPL to Go app is my local library.  We use our library a lot and I love that I can search for books here to know which branch to visit, check their hours (since each branch is different I can't ever remember,) and see what events are going on.  I haven't used my fitness pal or the food planner in a while, but I probably should start using them again, or at least my fitness pal.  I think everything else is pretty standard here, except maybe goodreads.  I love this app for tracking all the books I read and all I want to read.  I'm also in a group here for a yearly reading challenge.  I'm not very active in the group, but I love the challenge that they present to us.


My next page becomes a little more random.  CFC is my church and we get updates here including closings due to snow in the winter.  My most frequented shopping pages: Disney Store, Disney Parks, Etsy, and Cartwheel.  Mouse Perks is an app that has all the current Disney Annual Passholder discounts listed so it's convenient while on property.  Rest Stops is a simple, yet convenient app to  know how close you are to a rest stop, which has come in handy the last few trips to Florida with a toddler.  A few games are here, that I periodically open maybe once every few months.  And of course, the ESPN app used during football and basketball season for checking scores and the tournament challenge app used once a year during march madness.


My current final page right now has a few more random games that I very rarely open.  Usually this page is filled up with the baby panda games that my daughter likes to download and play for two seconds before being prompted to try a different baby panda game.  It doesn't take long for these apps to overwhelm my phone and I recently went through and deleted them all.


That's it.  Nothing really out of the ordinary apps that everyone else probably has, with the exception of the Disney apps.  Admittedly, you probably already have those apps though, or else you have no need for them.

Do you have a great app to share?  Join the fun and share what's on your phone.

Hello Tuesday

Weekend Recap
Our weekend was pretty laid back this week, thanks in part to the major heatwave that rolled over us this week/weekend.  With the exception of a repeat visit to the Franklin St. Bazaar on Saturday morning, we mostly stayed in the house and the AC.  The bazaar was fun though, even though it wasn't geared towards kids this week.  Littlecjc played with some hula hoops, ate some gelato, and made a necklace while we visited the library.  The bazaar is on the lawns of the library, so they usually offer a craft of some kind for the little ones as well.  This works out great for me, as we were able to return our books and movies and pick up new material to entertain us the rest of the weekend while we stayed inside.




Hello Tuesday
Here's your peek at our week.


As you can see, we have an extended weekend coming up, and I am so excited.  We live about two hours away from Barkley and Kentucky lakes, so we have been visiting here since we were kids.  Last year, we all spent a weekend down there, and I'm so happy that plans worked out for a repeat trip this year.  Littlecjc and I get to travel down on Thursday, and poor dad will maybe join us over the weekend if he's not needed at work. Boating is not really his thing and he's in the middle of a large project at work anyways.   I'm hoping this becomes a new tradition.  My parents and my brother both take their boats and we trade off riding wherever Littlecjc wants.  Usually it's with my brother since he his boat is open in front, which is another reason I've been so happy to get out on the river twice so far with my parents.  I have a feeling they will get a little ignored while on the water this weekend.  Hopefully next week I'll actually get this post done on Monday, and I will tell you all about it.

Hello Fair
This week is the local county 4H fair.  Although I was never actually in 4H when I was a kid, I did always have a season pass for fair week.  Honestly, I'm a little surprised I wasn't a member, but I know we were involved with so much as kids and I don't really remember any friends from school being involved.  However, none of my friends really lived out in the country like we did either.  Anyway, I always loved the fair and I couldn't wait to share that with Littlecjc.  I of course have taken her to the fair before, but I don't think we made it out there last year for whatever reason, so she was pretty young last time and didn't remember it at all.  Because of scheduling, we actually visited the fair already last night.  Littlecjc spotted the rides before we even entered the grounds.  I was surprised at how well she behaved around them really.  Since she's used to Disney where you can ride anything, and here you had to pay for tickets.  Although we walked around the rides many times, she only rode the giant slide and the little dragon coaster.




With the rides out of the way, we were able to eat some food while Littlecjc watched part of the dog show.  Unfortunately it was just getting started so there wasn't really a lot to watch yet, but it was enough to entertain her while we ate.  We then made our way to the animal barns, where the baby pigs were by far the favorite.  Littlecjc stood here for a long time watching these little ones saying "ahh, so cute."


When we finally left the swine barn, Littlecjc was saying "ducks" and heading off in the other direction.  She had mentioned this earlier and we said yes since we were thinking of real ducks which were in the next barn.  Littlecjc, however, was thinking of the pick a duck game that she had spotted up by the rides.  After finally realizing this, we convinced her to look at the last animal barn before heading back and playing the game.  With her new prizes in hand, we were then able to get some ice cream and head to the grandstand for some motorcycle races.


This was the best thing all night in Littlcjc's opinion.  She loved watching the dust and riders fly through the air.  She mentioned that some of the riders looked like power rangers.  When we finally convinced her to leave the arena, we had to take a final ride on the dragon before we could head home.


  As we asked her about her night on the way home, I was surprised to hear that her favorite part of the night was the pigs and the "bicycle racers."  I was sure she would have said the ride, but I was really happy with her answer.  

Hello Binge List
I'm still working on Parenthood here, but I thought I'd confess that I did binge watch the new Netflix series The Worst Witch over the weekend.  This show reminded us so much of Harry Potter, that Patrick couldn't hardly watch it.  I, on the other hand, really enjoyed it for that reason, but now I just want to have a HP marathon.

Hello New Reads
I finally finished The Nest yesterday, and I have to say I was a little disappointed.  I felt like this book took so long telling everyone's stories and then when something finally started happening it just dumped the ending too quickly.  I almost felt like the author just decided one day she was ready to finish the story, so she provided the quickest way possible of  doing just that.  I also finished The Wonder this week, which had a much better ending, in my opinion.  This book made me angry, sad, and happy all while throwing a few twist in my face.  Always a good make for a book!  With all the books on my phone finished, I downloaded Marissa Meyer's Heartless yesterday, but I honestly haven't even started it yet.  I enjoyed her Cinder series last year though, so I'm looking forward to what I'm guessing will be another guilty pleasure.

That's all for now,

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Disney Autograph Book

There are so many different options available when it comes to Disney autographs.  Most characters will sign just about anything you want them to; a book, a picture, a picture frame, a pillowcase, a shirt, etc.  You can easily do a google search or play on pinterest and find many creative ways to display your signatures.  Before Littlecjc, we really didn't spend much time meeting characters.  In fact, I'm not sure I met any characters other than when I was actually a young kid.  Now, I can't imagine a trip where I wouldn't meet at least a few characters.  They are so much fun to talk to, and if you have little ones they are great with them.  Even if your kids won't talk to the characters, they are great at carrying the conversation without remarks from the little ones.  On Littlecjc's first big trip to Disney World, I knew that she would not say a word to any characters, and I had no idea if she would like them or be terrified of them.  Since I didn't have experience meeting the characters, I feared that I would have no clue as to what to say so I wanted some little buffer, or something to give me a reason for meeting a character in case my little one became a monkey, attaching herself to me.  So, I made the decision to get signature and started my search on pinterest on the best way to go about that.

I found many post linking back to shared albums on Shutterfly.  There are so many of these photo cards available if you just take the time to search through them all.  I did this for the first several trips, and I am so thankful that I did.  Littlecjc clung to these cards.  She absolutely loved running up to the characters and handing them their photo and a Sharpie to get their signature.  She never said a word, but she was always so excited standing in line, holding each card.  A lot of the post on pinterest talked about making a book out of the signed cards and adding the picture of the kid meeting that character, but that seemed like a lot of extra work for me, and I really didn't want to do it ahead of time, because who knows what characters you will or won't meet.  So, instead, I just took the photo cards in a ziplock bag and after we got home, I just bought a photo album and filled in each card next to the photo of Littlecjc and that character.  To me, this seems just as efficient, and I don't have to worry about her tearing up a book when she decides she wants to look at it by herself.  

The first book I got was a cheap book from the dollar store.  It's nothing fancy, but it's tough and held up to Littlecjc hands and handling

Since the photo cards are all horizontal, this book worked perfectly.


With Littlecjc being so little during our 2015 trip, we didn't meet an abundance of characters, so we still had plenty of room in the book for our next trip in June 2016.


When we decided to go back in October 2016, we met so many characters, that we needed a new book.  This time around, I took Littlecjc to the store and let her pick one out.


This one is still horizontal, but it also has space to write which I haven't done anything with yet.


We were able to use this book again when we went back in November 2016, we didn't meet too many characters again since it was a really short trip, so they got put in this book as well.  That worked out nicely as this was the two trips around the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

We're very far behind on our April 2017 trip.  I know we have too many characters to fit in this book, so we'll need a new one, but we haven't gotten to that yet since we haven't even printed our pictures yet.  Thanks to our upcoming trip, we have finally sorted our photos and I need to print them soon along with our new photo cards.  Speaking of which, I have learned since our first time, not to actually print these from Shutterfly. The last few times, I've had a lot of trouble working with the online program to pull the specific photos I needed out of their albums and into something I can print.  Also, I personally feel that they have gotten a little expensive over the last few years, especially if you have to pay for shipping.  I used to order these from Shutterfly and have them printed at CVS or Walgreens, but they've gotten picker about that as well, and no longer allow you to use their coupons if your order was placed through Shutterfly, which doesn't save anything then except shipping time. So, this time I decided to try something else.  After figuring out which photos I needed, I googled that specific character signature card and found everything I needed.  I saved it to my computer and now I can print through CVS or Walgreens, whatever happens to have the best price when I actually get around to printing them, skipping the Shutterfly step all together.  Plus, the photos will be a lot easier to print again for our next trip.

If you decide to go this route, take a little time when searching for your photos, as their are several varieties and even special ones for many of the character meals and holiday parties. 


Another tip, is to separate your characters out by their park location and then to put them in alphabetical order so you can easily find the right one.  They also make generic ones with mickey head balloons and such that don't have any specific names on them that you should also include in each bag, because you never know who you might see.  I've also learned, to make it easier on the characters, to use a small clipboard that you can clip the photo to so that they have a hard surface to write on.  

My Littlecjc now expects these cards, so I have no option but to continue with this method of autograph collections.  Whether you choose this one or not, I suggest you come up with something during your trip preparations, because it is so much fun both during your trip and looking back on them once you're home.  I suggest planning this ahead of time, too, because if you don't you know your kid(s) will want to do it once they see everyone else collecting signatures and then you will be paying twice as much for something half as cute from a Disney gift shop!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

It's another blog hop Wordless Wednesday with Deb at Focusedonthemagic.com.  This week's theme is My Favorite View.  There are so many views at Disney that make me happy, but here's what came to mind after the initial thoughts of the park icons and the welcome signs.


I am still bitter about the Welcome Show being moved to the castle.  I have to admit that I still haven't seen the new show at the castle, but how can it beat this?   This show included one of my favorite songs of all time, that first view of the train pulling in with all the characters, all before you actually enter that magical world of the Magic Kingdom.  I mean come on, I can't be the only one that teared up every single time I saw this!

Join the fun, and share your favorite view!


Focused on the Magic

Homeschool Preschool

It seems like preschool has become much more popular and expected than it used to be when we were kids.  Neither Patrick or I attended any kind of preschool, but it seems like everyone does now.  I did some research this year when it was time to sign her up if we were going to send her somewhere, but after a lot of deliberation, we decided to not start her in a formal preschool class this year.  As of now, we think we will try to enroll her next year for a pre-k class, but we will see.  I know part of the dilemma this year was that if we didn't enroll her, there may not be a spot for her next year.  I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Many people told me, "oh she's so smart, she'll be fine" or "you have her involved in so many community activities, she doesn't need it."  I'm not sure I feel confident with either of those statements on their own, but I did use to work in a preschool.  So, I'm going all in with the idea of homeschool for preschool.  My plan is to have class twice a week, always in the morning, with a themed field trip if possible on a third day.  Our fall schedule is pretty crazy already, but the great thing about homeschool is that we can work around our schedule.  So far, I have our fall semester of 15 weeks generally planned out, with a more detailed idea of the first few weeks.  I'm a little anxious to see how our days actually turn out, but right now I'm mostly excited.  Of course, I'm going to share this whole adventure with you.

I have to be honest, I do have some fears about how this is going to work too, though.  First and foremost, will she even sit still and listen to me?  I have to admit that she isn't always the best behaved little girl, especially for me.  My hope is that if I make a big deal about starting school and if I actually have a little bit of a classroom set up, then she will be curious enough to pay attention.  I guess I will just have to wait and see.  I'm also a little concerned that I will make things harder than they need to be or that I will end up confusing her more than helping her.  I keep telling myself that anything we might accomplish will be better than nothing at all.

Do you or have you homeschooled your kids?  Let me know if you have any tips or suggestions, and come back next Wednesday to get a look at what I'm planning.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Why Bullet Journal?

I know I have been promising a post on my bullet journal since I started blogging again back in January.  Nothing like fulfilling a promise 6 months later, huh?  So, first things first, what is a bullet journal?  Well, there is an official website found at bulletjournal.com that provides this definition:

The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.

My favorite word out of this definition is "customizable."  The absolute best part of a bullet journal, or bujo for short, is that it can be whatever you want it to be.  It can also be changed whenever you want, so you can explore with what works for you.  I personally use mine as a plaanner/organizer, with trackers for everything that I'm interested in seeing.  Here are some of the things that I have in my bujo: yearly calendar, monthly calendar, weekly plans and to-do list, mood and habit trackers, meal panning, books I've read, movies I've seen, TV shows I've watched, miles walked, my Whole30 journey, blog plans, workout plans, and a running log.  The actual possibilities are endless.

What I've learned so far

  1. I'm not as bad at drawing as I always thought! - You don't have to draw to create a bullet journal, but let's be honest, it's a lot prettier and more fun if you add something to it.  Some of my pictures are way more elaborate than others and that's fine.  I'm still impressed with every single one of them and I know I'm always going to have this little keepsake of this year to look back on.
  2. The more I bujo, the more I get done! - I know this seems a little strange, that the more time I spend writing in a book the more I would get done in my life, but I swear it's true.  Somehow, this holds me accountable.  The weeks that I've been lazy in my bujo are the weeks that I spent binge watching some TV instead of doing dishes, laundry, projects, anything.  In my bujo, everything is lined out as to what I need to do each day, and the more that I can write down in my book and fill it up, the better everything works out.
  3. There's so much more I can do with this! - I always have all these plans of what I can put into my book, but I don't get to.  I love that the possibilities are endless and that I can continue doing this and adding new pages.  I don't think I will get tired of this anytime soon!
I'm so excited to share more of my bujo journey with you all, and please feel free to ask any questions!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hello Monday

Weekend Update

This weekend was another perfect summer weekend.  Friday was laid back, as we stayed in Friday night, but I did get a chance to visit the Littlecjc salon and I know you are all jealous of my new pedi.


On Saturday, we started our morning with a family run.  I'm starting to get into the true long runs (or at least to me) as this week was 6 miles.  It may have been really slow, but I was so happy to say I did it.  Anyway after our run, I made breakfast and cleaned up and we headed to the Franklin Street Bazaar for kids day in the park.  They had a great family band playing music and it was so much fun.  We also walked around all the booths, and even bought some homemade, local honey.  We also hit up two different Lularoe fundraisers, allowing Littlecjc and me to score some matching Disney prints!  We ended our morning with some ice cream from my new favorite local eats, Milk and Sugar, where Littlecjc finally got away from "pink" ice cream and tried some Superman. 


She loved it, and finished every little bit of it.  I think it may have been the first time she's ever actually finished any ice cream we've given her.  Definitely a win!  After our dessert, we headed home for a late lunch and spent the rest of the day doing some work around the house.  On Sunday, Patrick spent the day at work, with a little break for church.  Littlecjc and I on the other hand, left church and made our way to the river and Grandma and Grandpa's boat.  We had a great day on the water, and Littlecjc played hard all day with her friends.




Hello Monday
Here's your peek at my week.


As you can see, I was a little lazy this week with my bujo, but that's ok.  The important thing is all the writing in black.  We're working two days this week and Littlecjc and I both have a dentist appointment.  It's also my mom's birthday, but she will actually be out of town.  So, here's hoping she has a great trip, celebrating her birthday with her parents and brother out in Washington!

Hello Books
Last week, I started listening to The Wonder by Emma Donoghue.  So far it's been interesting, but a really different book than her last book I read, Room.  I mean, obviously it was going to be a different story, but I didn't really know what to expect since Room is told from a kid's perspective.  So far I'm enjoying this new book, and I'm intrigued to see where it goes, but I still have a lot to go.  I also brushed the dust off of Voyager this weekend, the third book in the Outlander series that I started months ago.  Hopefully, I'll be able to finish that one sometime soon, as well.

Hello Binge List
Nothing new here, still watching Parenthood when I have the time.  I've finished the second season, but haven't gotten too far in the third yet.  Patrick also started a little marathon this weekend of the Fast and the Furious series, since we never saw the latest addition, which is now out on video.

Hello Menu Plan
So, I switched my days up some on last week's plan, but I actually cooked everything I planned to cook last week.  I call that a success.  I have to be honest, though, and say I'm already behind on this week, as I don't have my plan done yet so I can't really share with you.  This definitely will get done today, though, so here's hoping I come up with something good!

I think that's all for today.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, July 14, 2017

September Fastpass Selections

We've reached the 60 day mark on our next Disney trip!  If you're not familiar, this is important, because if you are staying on property you can select your fastpasses 60 days out.  For this trip, we planned these on somewhat short notice.  We decided we were going, but still hadn't decided if we were going to stay on property or not.  Patrick was looking around online and since there didn't seem to be a lot of standard room choices available at the value resorts, he decided to go ahead and book one when he saw it.  He kept saying, we can always cancel if we decide to stay off property, but we may not be able to find a room on property if we decide later to go that way.  So, on a Friday night we booked a room at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort.  Honestly, this is my favorite of the all-star hotels and it seems the hardest to get into.  I'm not really sure when the last time we stayed here was, possibly not since our very first trip together, 11 years ago.  Anyway, later that evening after booking our room, we realized that our 60 day mark was later that weekend on Sunday.  Needless to say, we got right down to the business of figuring out what are park plans were for the trip and what fastpasses we were going to try to get.

For this short trip, we will be arriving on a Thursday.  Since we are driving though, we don't know for sure when we will get there.  However, since we now have the annual passes, it doesn't matter how late it is, we can still go to a park without wasting a day in park tickets.  So, our first thought was we wanted to get to Magic Kingdom on this evening before 9:00 and the new fireworks show that we still haven't seen.  We figured we might as well get fastpasses for the last three hours leading up to this so that we have them if we're there.  We'll have a better idea what time we will get there earlier that day and we can always adjust fastpasses.  Our Friday plan was easy, since this was the Halloween party day that we planned this entire trip around.  On Saturday, we decided to go to Animal Kingdom for the day to explore the new Avatar.  I assumed we would spend Sunday at Epcot, since we were excited to also get in some Food and Wine Festival action, but Patrick was a little upset about missing Hollywood Studios all together.  So, we decided we would start our day at Hollywood Studios and then hop over to Epcot around lunch where we would have our 3 fastpasses waiting for us there.  We knew our hardest fastpasses to get would be at Animal Kingdom, so we started making our Saturday selections first.

Saturday - Animal Kingdom
If you've read any of my park day blog post, you know that we always arrive early for rope drop.  Feeling confident in this and knowing that Littlecjc is not tall enough to ride Flight of Passage, we decided to get our Avatar fastpass (as you can only get one fastpass for that land) for the Na'vi River Journey.  Our plan then, is to go straight to Flight of Passage at rope drop where one of us will ride and get a rider swap pass for the other to return later through the fastpass line.  Our other two fastpass choices for the day were Kali River Rapids and Kilimanjaro Safaris.  We hadn't really planned on booking any dining during this trip, but since River of Lights isn't currently on the schedule to run during our next big trip, when we saw that there were still dining packages still available, Patrick decided to grab it.  With that all being said, we were also then working around a dining reservation at Tusker House at 9:45.  The park is open from 9-9:30 with an extra morning magic hour from 8-9.  So, here's what we currently have:

Na'vi River - 9:10-10:10
Kali River Rapids - 10:55 - 11:55
Kilimanjaro Safaris - 12:15-1:15

Sunday - Epcot
We figured the next most difficult fastpass to obtain would be Frozen Ever After.  Remember, we were searching for afternoon times here.  We were thinking 1:00 or after to be safe.  Epcot also has fastpass tiers, so our other two target fastpasses were The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Spaceship Earth.  Nemo never really needs a fastpass, but because of the tier system, you have to pick something.  As for Spaceship Earth, Littlecjc loves this ride and sometimes a fastpass can be helpful here.  So, of course we started with Frozen and worked around that.  Park hours aren't as important in relation to fastpasses for today, but Hollywood Studios opens at 9 with an extra morning hour from 8-9, and Epcot is open until 9.  Here's what we currently have:

The Seas with Nemo and Friends - 12:15-1:15
Frozen Ever After - 1:45 -2:45
Spaceship Earth - 2:45-3:45

Thursday - Magic Kingdom
On this arrival day, we decided to aim for Flight of Peter Pan, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Big Thunder Mountain.  These are all popular fastpass selections, but I'm sure it helped that we were looking for evening times.  Littlecjc loves Peter Pan and the Mine Train, but she has never been tall enough for Big Thunder before.  She seemed so close back in April, so we're guessing surely she will be tall enough this trip, but we will see.  The park closes on this day at 9:00 and of course we will enter whenever we get there.  Here's what we currently have:

Peter Pan's Flight - 5:25-6:25
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - 6:25 - 7:25
Big Thunder Mountain - 7:25 - 8:25

Friday - Magic Kingdom
Many people choose to take an easy, relaxing morning when they are attending a party that evening.  However, we know if we do that, Littlecjc will not take a nap that day and end up sleeping through the party.  So, we plan on starting the morning at Magic Kingdom and wearing her out all day so that she takes a nap in her stroller during the afternoon instead of during the party.  I know it's always a gamble with little ones, because they are always growing up making each trip different, but this is how we're feeling now at least.  Since she loves the Mine Train and it always has a long line, we decided to try for a repeat fastpass on this day.  Assuming she loves the Mine Train since a coaster (which may not be the case) we decided to get a repeat for Big Thunder as well.  I would have loved to get a fastpass for Splash Mountain, but since it on the refurbishment list during this trip that changed our thoughts.  If she hates Big Thunder on Thursday night, we can always adjust our plans, but if she loves it, we'll be happy we have it.  We also decided to get our final fastpass for Jungle Cruise.  This is also a popular ride that Littlecjc loves which we ususally pick up later in the day, but it is also one that doesn't run during the Halloween party, so we figured we better start with it just to be sure. The park is open from 9-7 with a morning extra magic hour from 8-9 and the Halloween party running from 7-12.  So, here's what our current Friday schedule looks like:

Jungle Cruise 9:30-10:30
Big Thunder Mountain - 10:45-11:45
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - 1:35 - 2:35

We'll see what changes if any get made before we actually leave, and I of course will update you after the trip with a full trip report.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hello Tuesday

That's right, it's another edition of Hello Monday on a Tuesday, and a Tuesday evening at that!  Make that Wednesday thanks to internet issues.

Weekend Update
We had so much fun on Saturday!  Littlecjc and I went out with my parents on their boat.  Our hometown sits right on the Ohio River and boating is a summertime staple for many people here.  I grew up on the river and I love going out when I can.  Littlecjc played hard on the beach all day.



 My parents are members of a boat club, and said club had a 4th of July picnic/party that evening that we stayed for.  There was so much fun, games for the little ones, and even a very impressive fireworks show to end the night.






We all had a blast, and Littlecjc was asleep before we even made it to the car.  Because of our busy Saturday, on Sunday we made it to church, but that was about all that got done.  I think everyone took a nice nap on Sunday afternoon.

Hello Monday
Here's your peek at this week.


It's a fairly calm week, with an emphasis on this blog.  Obviously, I'm off to a great start.  Needless to say, look for two new weekly topics that are coming your way and a twist on my Friday Disney posts since I've finally finished summarizing our April trip.

Hello Anniversary
Patrick and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary yesterday.  We didn't plan anything special and agreed not to get any gifts, since we decided we would rather spend our money on our next Disney trip coming up soon.  This trip isn't one we've been planning for very long, we just saw an opportunity and are trying to make it work (which means we didn't financial plan for this one either.)  I actually much prefer these trips to gifts on most occasions anyway.  We did however go out to eat for dinner at a local restaurant called Cafe Arazu, followed by ice cream at another local ice cream joint called Milk and Sugar.


 It was extremely nice to spend some quality time together without Littlecjc.  She got to spend the evening with her aunt and uncle and she's pretty sure she had a lot more fun than us! 

Hello Workouts
I've been out of my normal workout routine for a month now, and I'm paying for it.  With the exception of last week, I've still been getting in 3 runs a week, but they've been inconsistent and I haven't done any of my beachbody workouts in 4-5 weeks.  This week that needs to end.  Last night, I completed the first day of the Piyo program, which I didn't think was much of a workout but I am still feeling it today.  I don't really know a lot about this program and I may not stick with it, but I figured it would be good to get back into the swing of things.  

Hello Menu Plan
Along with the lacking workouts have been the lacking menu plans.  My meal plan calendar for last month was a joke, and because of this we have eaten out more often lately.  This also needs to stop.  So, here's my plans for this week.

Monday - Anniversary dinner (eat out)
Tuesday - buffalo chicken and broccoli with rice
Wednesday - meatloaf cupcake, mashed potato, carrots
Thursday - pork chop, green beans, apple
Friday - tacos
Saturday - leftovers
Sunday - Polynesian dinner

Hello Binge List
So, last week was a super lazy week for me.  There are so many things that I should have done, but didn't.  I did however start watching Parenthood, which I am now midway through the second season.


I think that's all for today.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Magic Kingdom, Day 2, April 2017

On our final day in Disney, Magic Kingdom was open from 9-11 with an extra magic hour in the morning at 8.  So of course, we were at the park by 7:30


Originally, we had fastpasses planned for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Big Thunder Mountain.  I don't know what our third original choice was, but we really changed our plans after our first day in the park as we figured we would anyway.  We did keep Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at 9:50-10:50, and ended up adding Jungle Cruise at 12:10-1:10 and Pirates of the Caribbean 1:15-2:15.  Since we always attack rides first, and this was our second day in the park, our game plan was to start with Mickey and Tinkerbell.  So, by 7:50, they had opened the gates and we were in line at Town Square Theater.


8:00
As soon as they opened the door, we met Mickey, character #1.


If you're not familiar with this particular meet and greet, it's a must because this Mickey talks to you.  

video

We stayed at the theater after our visit with Mickey and got in line to see Tinkerbell, character #2.


After visiting with Tink, we left the theater and finally walked up Main St. of course stopping for a picture in front of the castle.



We were due for a ride, so we made our way to  Fantasyland and Peter Pan's Flight, attraction #1.  This ride has a really fun queue.  You walk through the Darling's house where Tinkerbell is seen flying all around causing things to move and light up.  This picture is pretty bad, but if you look on the pillow, you might spot Tink.


Another ride with a fun queue is Winnie the Pooh, which is where we headed next.  This isn't the first time I've talked about this queue area, but Littlecjc really does love standing in this line.  During this extra magic hour though, she didn't have to wait long to ride attraction #2, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.


9:00
When we got off Winnie the Pooh, the park had officially opened and more crowds were appearing.  We decided to head next door to the Mad Tea Party, attraction #3.


This ride is a great one to get adorable pictures of your little one.  



I always end up with so many.  When our ride was over, we made our way to Storybook Circus.  We spotted our friend working at Dumbo and Littlecjc couldn't wait to tell him hi.


Since we were here, we jumped in line making Dumbo attraction #4.  Of course, Littlecjc wanted to ride with Grandma, yet again.



With our ride over, we stopped by to see our friend one more time, since we knew we wouldn't see him again before leaving town the next day.


Right behind Dumbo was our next stop, Barnstormer, attraction #5.  Littlecjc likes this ride, but she looks terrified in this picture.


After riding the plane, we realized that Pete's Silly Sideshow didn't open until 10:00, so we stopped for a bathroom break and decided we might as well wait 10 minutes for it to open and be first in line since that was better than standing in line for 20.


10:00
At 10:00, the doors opened and we walked in to see Daisy, character #3.



and Minnie, character #4.


After visiting with these two ladies, it was time to use our first fastpass.  We rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, attraction #6, where I finally got to sit with Littlecjc.


I love how nonchalant Littlecjc is on this ride that she loves, but she is cute when she sees the characters.  Here's a little video.

  video

I didn't think you needed to see the dark mine area, so here's where we come back outside.


video

We were thinking we would hit up Pinocchio Village Haus for an early lunch, but en route we found the evil stepsisters out and decided to visit them, making Anastasia and Drizella, characters #5 & 6


These two are always so much fun!

11:00
We then continued on to Pinocchio's where we were able to get one of the coveted tables next to the window overlooking It's a Small World.  Littlecjc thought this was fun.


After our lunch, we decided to wait in line for Haunted Mansion, attraction #7.



This is another ride that has added entertainment to the queue line, and Littlecjc had a lot of fun pushing these books in and playing the organ.


12:00
Patrick stopped for a drink at the marketplace right next to stroller parking for the Haunted Mansion and Littlecjc decided she needed some of the ice cream that was there as well.  So with our ice cream in hand, we made our way to the Liberty Square gazebo where Mary Poppins was scheduled to appear in about 15 minutes.  I really wanted to meet her this trip, because I feel like I keep missing out every time when I suggest meeting her and then it just doesn't happen.  This worked perfectly this time though since Littlecjc really needed to stand still with her ice cream anyway.  So, character #7 was Mary Poppins.


After I finally got to meet Ms. Poppins, we headed into Adventureland to use our next fastpass.  Here's Patrick and Littlecjc on Jungle Cruise, attraction #8, seeing the famous backside of water!


1:00
It was after 1:00 by time we got off our Jungle Cruise, and since we rode this at the end of our fastpasses' hour window, it was already time for our next pass, so that's where we went.  We rode Pirates of the Caribbean, attraction #9.  Since this was our third fastpass, as soon as we scanned our bands, we got on the app to select our next fastpass.  This time, we chose Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin for 3:25-4:25.

2:00
After riding Pirates, we put Littlecjc in her stroller, where she promptly fell asleep.  We knew we wanted to watch the Festival of Fantasy parade at 3:00, so we debated our options, and ended up just picking a spot in the shade and taking a little break.  We watched the Muppet's show first, and then I realized that we were in a handicapped reserved seating area for the parade, so we quickly decided to look for another spot before it got too crowded.  We ended up sitting across from the Sleepy Hollow.


This spot wasn't entirely in the shade, but the shade was moving closer by the minute, so we decided to save the curb spot.


3:00
As we were starting to wonder if we should wake Littlecjc for the parade or let her sleep, she woke up on her own.  The Festival of Fantasy parade is beautiful with large floats and a lot of entertainment.  The little girl that happened to be next to us was dressed up like Snow White, who spotted her and came to say hi.


Once the parade passed us by, we followed it for a bit, making our way to Tomorrowland.  Our fastpass time had just begun at Buzz, but the fastpass line was really long.  This tends to happen a lot here, and we decided to sit in some AC for a bit first to let it clear out.  So, instead, we rode Carousel of Progress, attraction #10


This ride is a classic and we hadn't rode it in a while, so it was a lot of fun.  Fair warning though, the song really does get stuck in your head.

4:00
While singing "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow," we exited the theater and used our fastpass at Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, attraction #11.  As always, we searched for our next fastpass while in line, and ended up with The Barnstormer at 4:30-5:30.  Patrick and I rode together and got competitive this time around.  I was so mad when we got off, because I was leading the whole way through and then right at the end, Patrick hit something big and ended up beating me.


I got over it quickly, as one of my favorite rides was up next.  No trip to Tomorrowland is complete in my opinion without a ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, attraction #12.


After our Tomorrowland tour, we backtracked to Storybook Circus to use our fastpass for a second ride on The Barnstormer, attraction #13.  Again, we checked the app for our next fastpass.  This time, we chose an almost instant faspass for Tomorrowland Speedway at 4:50-5:50.  Patrick was so excited that he was allowed to ride next to Littlecjc on the Barnstormer, where he worked hard on getting her hands up.


5:00
Since our fastpass was good as soon as we got off Barnstormer, we headed straight there, making Tomorrowland Speedway attraction #14.  I was the lucky one this time to ride with Littlecjc.  However, the car infront of us was broken, so we were told to push them all the way around the track.  We were told we would get to ride a second time, where we wouldn't have to move so slowly and carefully, but there was a lot of confusion when we made our way around the track and Littlecjc seemed to be over it anyway so we just got out and moved on. 


This attraction has a small viewing area, which is where we found Patrick and Grandma who were all confused on where we had gone and how we had ended up so far behind them.  


While Grandma and Littlecjc sat here, Patrick and I planned our next fastpass for The Magic Carpets of Aladdin at 7:05-8:05.  Since I'm not a huge fan of the Speedway to begin with, I was thrilled to finally move on.  We moved back towards Fantasyland, where we decided to meet Merida, character #8.


We then continued through Fantasyland with a stop in at Mickey's Philharmagic, attraction #15.

6:00
The 6:00 hour was mostly spent getting dinner.  We opted for Columbia Harbor House this evening, where we sat upstairs.  It's always a lot roomier and more quiet upstairs.

7:00
When we finished our dinner, we headed to Adventureland.  Since we had just a few minutes before our next fastpass, Littlecjc, Grandma and I decided to take a tour through the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, attraction #16.


By the time we made it back to the ground, we were able to use our fastpass at The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, attraction #17.  When we looked for our next fastpass, we decided on Space Mountain at 9:10-10:10.


After flying with Aladdin, Littlecjc spotted the "boat ride" and was determined that was what she wanted to do next.  Unfortunately, there was a longer line than I would have liked, but I think you know whose the ruler in our family.  So, we stood in line for Jungle Cruise, attraction #18.


8:00
When we finished our cruise, we decided to check out Country Bear Jamboree, attraction #19.  I hadn't seen this show in years, and Patrick and Littlecjc never had, so it seemed like the right choice for us.  I'll be honest, this is probably one we will continue to skip on most days, but Littlecjc really did enjoy it.


When the show ended, we were trying to decide what else we might want to get in this evening when we thought why not get a drink first, so we headed to Gaston's Tavern for some of LeFou's Brew.  While in line, we spotted the newly added macaroons and decided to sit down for a little snack so that we could test them out.  I can't believe I didn't get a picture, but they were so good.  I hope they stick around for a long time, because I'm already looking forward to getting them again on my next trip.  It was just about time for fireworks, but we had already decided that we weren't going to walk around to the front of the castle to watch the show this evening since we had already seen it this trip.  We debated watching from the backside of the castle, which can be fun for a second viewing, but Littlecjc didn't seem to care so we followed her lead.

9:00
We ended up riding The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, attraction #20.


When we got out of our honeypot, we noticed that the line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train seemed a lot shorter than the 60-70 minute wait that was on the sign.  I really don't remember how long the sign said, but I knew looking at the line that it was a lot shorter than it said.  We figured it was a bit of a gamble still, because we thought the fastpass line might explode as soon as the fireworks ended, but we asked the boss and decided to take a chance.  This really paid off for us.  We waited about 20 minutes, which is great for this ride.  It's also nice to occasionally wait in this line, because it is another attraction that has an interactive queue.  Magical tip for you: if you get all the barrels spinning at the same time inside the mine, Snow White will appear.


When we boarded, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train became attraction #21.


When we left the diamond mines, we headed back to Tomorrowland.  Grandma decided that she didn't need to ride this, so she opted to stay out with Littlecjc.  Instead, they checked out the Incredibles Dance Party, attraction #22 while Patrick and I rode Space Mountain, attraction #23.


While in line, Patrick and I were able to pick up one last fastpass for Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin for 10:00-11:00.  However, by the time we got back out to the dance party, we learned that Littlecjc had crashed for the night.

10:00
The park was open for another hour, but with Littlecjc asleep we decided we could call it a day on rides.  We couldn't leave quite yet though, because we had some shopping to do.  This was too difficult with Littlecjc awake, so it worked out great.  Grandma isn't big into shopping either, so she watched Littlecjc while Patrick and I got our fill of new merchandise to hold us over until our next trip.

We had a great last day for this trip.  We met 8 characters, obtained 9 fastpasses using 8 of them, to experience 23 attractions and 1 parade!