Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Disney Details #2

This is the first installment of what I should call DIY Disney I guess.  The first of my many Disney oriented projects I'm working on while the oldest is away.  The joys of a surprise trip mean that I can only work on things when he's not home so I've been trying to check some of these off of my to do list while he's gone so I can focus on the other projects when his eagle eyes and ears return!  I, of course, have a million Disney ideas pinned.  There's one problem...I don't sew.  For some reason in my home ec class we never learned how.  However, I CAN sew on a button so when I saw this project on Pinterest I knew I could handle it!

These adorable button shirts were so cute and so easy I couldn't resist.  Plus, all the materials for these four shirts cost about $25 tops so I made four shirts for the price of one at Disney and they are much more unique.  As I said this project is so easy I can do it so here are some quick instructions in case you don't want to click the link:

The Fussbucket's Shirt

1.  Cut out a Mickey silhouette shape.  I imported an image into my Silhouette Cameo, but you can google to find one online and size it as needed.

2.  Trace around the Mickey cut out with Tacky glue.  (The gold bottle in the craft section of Wal Mart or found at your local craft store.)

3.  Place buttons in colors & pattern of your choice on glue outline.  Wait for them to dry.

4.  Sew buttons in place permanently. 

5.  Done.  You are the creator of a super cute Mickey shirt for your Disney trip or your Disney fanatic. 

The Big Brother & The Gunny's Shirts

The little brother's shirt looks similar to the inspiration post, although it might be a wee bit crooked now that I'm staring at a picture.  But I don't think he'll care!  I decided though that my 12 year old and the Gunny may not want a giant Mickey made out of buttons so I got them polo shirts and put the Mickey on the breast of the shirt.  (Although according to the Gunny Mickey is 'huge" so I guess it's all a matter of opinion.)  For mine I put Mickey in the lower left corner of the shirt for a little something different. 

Little brother counting buttons while I try to take pictures.
I wanted the shirts to be matchy matchy without being too matchy if that makes sense.  Even the Gunny says they're cute so I think these shirts are crowd pleasers, even if they are cheesy!  My plan is to where them to our first day at Magic Kingdom.  Hopefully they'll make for some cute pictures!  I'd better make sure I pack a Tide to Go stick since we'll all be wearing white!   I just can't wait to see my whole family in our shirts.  That will be the true reward, even if the almost teenager rolls his eyes at me!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Disney Details #1

I have a feeling there will be a lot of Disney centered posts in the months to come and the posts will cover a wide range of things.  As I prep for Disney there are crafts, tips, etc. that I might just HAVE to share.  I grew up going to Disneyland.  It's got a million and one childhood memories for me.  As a kid Disneyland was a day of magic and a late night car ride home.  We ate hot dogs, churros, burgers, fries and ice cream.  We got to drink soda instead of milk!  But my, how times have changed.  I now live on the opposite coast and a trip to Disney can't happen in a day.  Instead we drive 11 hours and stay for a week!  I'd been to Disney World once in high school with my dad, but other than that when I planned our last trip I was a bit of a novice.  I spent a lot of time reading up on the ins and outs of Disney World.  The info paid off and we had a fabulous trip of course, but as we plan our upcoming trip I'm much more informed.

This time around I knew that there was more to Disney than hot dogs and churros.  Don't get me wrong,  I love me some churros.  They are so much harder to find on the east coast than in So Cal!  But I digress.  Last year I learned, a little late, that I could make reservations for our sit down dining experiences in advance.  I was still early enough to get most restaurants I wanted, but we ate at some funky times or some of our second, third, etc choices.  Not this time!  This girl was on the computer at exactly 180 days before our vacation making dining reservations!  Despite a set back of one restaurant not being in the system for over a week I am happy to say that we got reservations for every restaurant we wanted except one.  (More on this one later...)  So here is where we'll be eating on our trip:

Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge:  We ate here on our last trip and, what can I say, my boys love a good buffet!  Another perk is this restaurant is at our hotel this trip so it's a perfect arrival night restaurant.  Since the fussbucket will have spent quite a bit of time in the car I'm positive he'll have a ton of energy to burn off, as will the rest of us.  Hopefully it will be warm enough for the pool or the playground before dinner that evening.

Prime Time Cafe at Hollywood Studios: We'll be eating my birthday lunch here.  The best part of this restaurant is that it's set in the 50's so everyone is aunt, uncle or cousin and the food is just like mom makes.  Your table may even have a little black & white TV running old TV shows while you eat.  Best of all you can get a milkshake for your drink on the dining plan!  Hello, delicious!  Oh, and that viewfinder on the table, that's the kids menu!

Dinner 50's Style at Prime Time Cafe

Biergarten in Germany at Epcot: This will be our first experience here and I'm nervous about whether the fussbucket will have anything to eat.  However, I think he'll love the oompah band so if worse comes to worse, he'll just eat dessert or something!  I think it will be a fun experience for everyone.

Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom: We did one character dining last year at the end of our trip.  We ate at Cape May Cafe right before pulling out for home.  This time we scheduled the character dining earlier in hopes that it would help us gauge how the fussbucket would react to the characters.  Crystal Palace features Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore.  The little brother sleeps with a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal and enjoys the movie so I'm hoping this is a good way to start.  Plus, I was able to get the earliest reservation so I'm crossing my fingers I'll be able to get some photos in front of the castle without a million people in them!

Cape May Cafe Character Breakfast Last Trip

O'Hana at the Polynesian: I've heard nothing but good things about this restaurant and it was one we couldn't get a reservation at last trip.  I'm really excited to try it out!  Pineapple bread, meat delivered to your table on skewers and lots of fun antics.  I hope it lives up to the expectations!

Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room in Britain at Epcot: I had wanted to eat here last trip, but it seemed wrong to sit in a pub without a beer and I was pregnant so the beer just wasn't happening.  This trip I plan to induldge in a Snakebite and enjoy some fish & chips!  We've made a late dining reservation in hopes of being able to see Illuminations from the patio seating.

California Grill at the Contemporary: This is probably my favorite restaurant at Disney World!  The food is delish and the view is amazing!  It's a signature dining experience and take 2 table service credits, but they are so worth it!  Each time we make our reservations around when Wishes is shown so we can watch the fireworks from the viewing deck at California Grill.  Plus, it's a good excuse to get cleaned up for the evening and do Disney in style.  It really can't be beat! 

Special dessert plate made by our waiter at California Grill for Den
Chef Mickeys at the Contemporary: Just in case the little brother likes the characters or we're really brave I made reservations at Chef Mickeys for the morning of our departure.  It's a great way to get the big guys autograph without standing in line and supposed to be a lot of fun.

T-Rex at Downtown Disney: This is the one restaurant we didn't get a reservation at.  I guess everyone and their mother will be eating there the same day we planned too!  However, we have this magic card called the Landry's Select Club.  We love Landry's, the restaurant, but one of the great things is that the Landry's corporation owns T-Rex, Rainforest Cafe and Yak & Yeti, all of which can be found at Disney World!  Here are some of the reasons why we love Landry's Select Club:
  • Earn one point for every dollar spent
  • $25 Welcome Reward - You do pay $25 to join the club, but are credited with your $25 welcome reward as soon as you activate your card
  • $25 Birthday Reward - Hello, Disney in December when my birthday is!
  • Priority Seating - aka, your name is moved to the top of the list & you get the next available table!
So we may not have reservations, but we're still confident we'll be able to get a table in a reasonable amount of time.  And we should have $50 in rewards to spend so we don't plan to use our Disney Dining Plan credit for this dinner, even though it is now on the DDP.  And if I'm lucky I'll earn enough points on Swagbucks or MyPoints for a Landry's gift card so that the meal will be totally free saving our dining points for other dining adventures.

We are clearly set to eat well at Disney World this trip!  What is your favorite restaurant at Disney?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Best Intentions

I had every intention of blogging about all the projects I have been working on lately.  But here's the thing...these projects take time.  With the Gunny off riding his motorcycle and the big brother away I thought I'd have loads of crafting time.  I had some, but I also had to assume all of their "chores".   Nothing like some vacations you're not included in to make you realize how much the two big boys in the house do to make my life easier every day!  So I have projects, and I promise I'll post them soon, but in the meantime let's talk  couponing...

It's Super Doubles week at Harris Teeter this week!  This means I've spent a ton of time clipping and organizing my coupons.  I've made lists and scoured couponing blogs.  I've looked at ads and printed coupons I needed.   Before I knew it the day was upon us and the fussbucket and I were off to the Teeter for some super doubles fun!  He was very unfussbuckety, which was a welcome surprise.  Maybe it was the donut I got him before hand?  Or maybe he's just growing up.

I got quite the haul this week and I'm very proud of it! (Please ignore the paint swatches on the wall...)

My total before coupons was $136.60 and I paid only $22.76!  Pretty exciting stuff!  I got five 12 packs of soda, two pizzas, three frozen meals, four packs of hot dogs, two bottles of BBQ sauce, one box of feminine products, one thing of ketchup, a container of butter, two packages of cookies, two pints of ice cream, two boxes of cheese and crackers and two packs of organic salad for just over $20!    The fussbucket got a balloon and a cookie on the way out.  (Thanks Harris Teeter!)  Sadly, I forgot to take a picture.

This haul should greatly help with my couponing to Disney goal!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a lot of projects to tend to so I can get them finished off and posted!  Happy couponing!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wuv, true wuv!

Watch out Gunny, I've found a new love!  Ok, I exaggerate a wee bit.  However, did you see what showed up on my doorstep yesterday?

I spent the better part of naptime setting it up and just fiddling with it.  Today I've started on some projects.  (Pictures to come soon!)  Clearly the Silhouette Cameo is the key to being a crafty goddess.  I've been wanting some kind of electronic cutter and settled on the Cameo because it connects to my computer so I don't have to invest in tons of cartridges.  Images are only $0.99 on the Silhouette site and I can upload and use images from my computer.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

So, while the Gunny is off riding his bike all over the state and back I'll be sitting right here, crafting away.  It could be worse!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Changes

Big brother holding Little brother for the first time

Today is our last day together as a family, and not for the reasons many may think.  Our oldest is going away for a month.  When he has to go, it breaks my heart.  I cry after he can't see me any more every time.  However, this time is different.  This time he has a little brother who adores him.  Who can't wait for him to come home every day after school.   Who follows him around and mimics what he does.  For almost two years the big brother has been a constant in his little brother's life and I'm worried about how it'll go.  I'm sad thinking about it.  I'm worried how the fussbucket will react when he doesn't come home.  I'm worried about how he'll react when his big brother does get home a month later.  They have such a sweet special bond.  I really hope it sustains this trip.  I'm sure it will, but there is still some fear because kids are unpredictable.  Out of everything I worry about when C leaves this is probably the least of my worries.  I know these two love each other.  I also know that we're all gonna miss C like crazy when he leaves. 

Now I'd better go think about Disney projects to do while the big brother is gone or something else happy before I break into tears.  Nobody wants a crying mommy!

At Busch Gardens in April, almost two years later.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Disney Fund Update - June

I'm Dreaming of a Disney Christmas!

Well, it's been one month since I last updated you on our Disney fund.  It's coming along slowly but surely.  I really need to be better about putting a set amount into the fund each month besides the additional deposits from outside sources.

Deposits since last update:

-$30 from Opinion Outpost*
-$5 Miller NBPR Rebate
-$10 "Found" Money**
-$2.19 Lysol Rebate

Total Deposits: $47.19
Total Saved: $178.43

*TIP: Opinion Outpost is a great survey company where you earn points for surveys taken.  When you have 100 points you can cash out for $10 via PayPal.   I've found them to be easy to use, that I qualify for a fair amount of surveys and that the points add up quickly.  I was able to cash out three times last month!  Not too shabby!

**TIP: Found money is any extra money I find in my budget.  For instance, if I budget $150 for the electric bill, but it's only $140 then I would have $10 of "found" money to add to my Disney fund.  The same is true for the grocery budget.  If, at the end of the pay period, I have $10 left over in my grocery budget then I add it to the fund.

Here's to hoping I can at least triple, if not quadruple, the deposits this next month!  Momma's got a lot of saving to do!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Just Call Me Farmer Gretchen!

I am by all accounts a born & raised city girl.  However, the Marine Corps had other plans for us and we now live out in farm country.  It's an interesting adjustment to say the least, but there are pluses and minuses to where we live.  I could do without all the bugs.  And I'd like more culture and things to do.  But we own a nice house in a safe neighborhood that we probably couldn't afford without a second income in CA.

So, I'm trying to embrace my new "country" lifestyle and realized a little dream of having a vegetable garden.  It has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done!  First the Gunny and the boys built me a nice raised vegetable bed.  We scaled in down in case we didn't like gardening and I totally regret that decision.  It has been such a fun project for the older brother and I to do together.  We water and inspect the plants.  We watch for new growth and exclaim over the sprouting veggies!

Recently we picked our first fresh vegetables.  There is a thrill to picking something in your own backyard.  To knowing you grew it.  And you all know I love to save a buck so not having to buy zucchini for my Turkey Zucchini Vegetable Pot is a huge plus!  Fresh veggies are expensive and I'm happy to save on my grocery bill.

Maybe I'm a little bit country after all!  You might be too...get out and grow something!