...

Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 Posts of 2010

On this last day of 2010 I thought that I'd take a look back  at my top 10 viewed posts  of the year.  It always surprised me as to what gets viewed and what doesn't.  As a blogger I do my best to be relevant and sometimes I just feel out of step.  My favorite post of all of these choices is the post about the kids and I completing Mickey's Halloween 5K.  

I've truly enjoyed having you join me along this journey and I hope that you enjoy this peek back at my year. I look forward to sharing 2011 with you more than ever. 
 
Aug 9, 2010, 1 comment

Jul 25, 2010, 3 comments

Aug 15, 2010

Oct 5, 2010

Oct 7, 2010, 3 comments
Oct 31, 2010










Oct 10, 2010, 1 comment










Dec 9, 2010, 7 comments










Nov 19, 2010, 2 comments










Sep 13, 2010, 4 comments












Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - I miss summer.

100_1731

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Barefoot Bubbly Rose' Cuvee'

I love a good wine, but when it comes down to it, I'm a bubbles girl.  If it sparkles, I'm in.  If you're looking for some bubbly to help Ring in the New Year give this a try!

On Christmas Eve day I made a stop at the local wine shop to see if I could find a lovely Sparkling Rose' to try.  Since I was going to be the only one drinking, I didn't want to spend a lot of money.  It's a pitty to waste what I can't drink, but second day bubble just fall flat when not resealed well.  My mission was to pick up the Yellow Tail sparkling rose' with the new resealable cap, but instead I came home with was Barefoot Bubbly Rose' Cuvee'.  Barefoot wines is offering a fabulous array of sparklers from Brut to Moscato, the quintuple selection and sale price (I picked up my bottle for $6.99) drew me in.

Barefoot Bubbly Rose' Cuvee' is a strikingly pink pour that bubbled up in the glass, and left behind some lovely legs.  It's bouquet of sweet strawberry and rose is enjoyable and inviting.  Superbly tiny bubbles created an explosion in my mouth, a sweet and fruity taste that finished just slightly drier than I had expected.  Barefoot Bubbly Rose' Cuvee' is fun and highly drinkable without being pretentious or taking it's self to seriously.  It's a fabulous every day sparkler with a price point that welcomes everyone.


The one small down point is that this seemed to be uncorking this wine. It is, as has been reported by others online, really difficult to get the cork out of the bottle.  Have someone with strong hands do the job and remember to twist the cork out, not just pull.


Winemaker's Notes: "Think pink with Barefoot Bubbly Rosé Cuvée! This slightly sweet sparkling wine is versatile, great tasting and perfect for a special occasion or everyday celebration.  Its delightful aromas and sweet flavors make a fun, flavorful and affordable addition to any meal."

Disclaimer: All opinions contained within are my own and no form of compensation was received for this review. Also posted at http://savordenevell.blogger.com and on snooth.com

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to All...



As the snow falls outside the window I sit warm and comfy snuggled on the couch. Meet Me In St. Louis is playing on the television and the kids are playing with their hauls. Some of the things that I put very little thought into turned out to be huge holiday hits, and everyone is filled with the holiday spirit. Erik is in the kitchen whipping up a lovely holiday breakfast, while I continue to rest and try to recover from the pneumonia that has moved into my lungs.

This Christmas seemed to be a struggle to get to, and it was scaled back considerably. Overall though, this laid back, relaxed, modest Christmas seems to be just what the doctor ordered. My thoughts turn to my friends, my readers and with all my heart I wish that all of you are having a lovely Christmas as well. I hope you're safe, and well, and surrounded by the people who you love and that love you. When it comes down to it, those are the best gifts of all.

Merry Christmas.

Love,

~Kristen

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

IMG_0030
Dear Santa, Please bring back summer. K, Thanks! Love, Me

Monday, December 20, 2010

DCL Makes Conde' Nast Traveler's Gold List

In it’s January 2011 issue Conde’ Nast Traveler releases it’s Gold List. Comprised of the best of the best in luxury travel from the 2010 Readers Choice Awards. Updated annually the Gold List collects Hotels, Resorts and Cruise Lines from across the globe and brings them together for a look at the cream of the crop in travel accommodations. Though several Disney Properties made the Reader’s Choice Awards, only one star shone brightly enough to earn it’s spot on the Gold List.

Making a repeat appearance on the list and ranking #4 in it’s category is Disney Cruise Line. With an overall 2010 score of 90.3 this fleet of magical ships received especially high marks in staterooms, service and activities.

The Disney Cruise Line continues to be a top contender in globe trotting travel. The lavish addition of the Disney Dream, setting forth on it’s maiden voyage January 26th, 2011, and the spectacular Disney Fantasy launching in April 2012, assure travel fans that there will be no lack of rooms for guests to enjoy Disney’s world class service on the high seas.

Congratulations Disney Cruise Line, we can’t wait to sail with you in May!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Be Back Soon...

Dear Friends,

My son was admitted into the hospital yesterday morning and I have been by his side. He will be there for a few days. The outpouring of love that we have already received means the world to my family. His condition is steadily improving, please keep his continued recovery in your prayers. Posts will return once things have calmed down here.

Thank you so much

~Kristen

Monday, December 13, 2010

DVC Member Holiday Perk Alert

DVCGift

To celebrate the Holiday Season, Disney Vacation Club is offering some fantastic discounts for it's members to enjoy at home. Visit the DVC Member website and follow the page to "Member Perks at Home" for a little savings while adding Disney Magic to your home for the holidays.

D23, the official Disney fan club, is offering DVC Members a 10 percent discount off the purchase of new Gold and Silver D23 Memberships through Dec. 31, 2010!

Disney on Broadway has discounted show tickets for DVC Members during this limited-time: 20% off regular-priced tickets to select shows. Offer Expires: 7/3/2011

The DisneyStore.com loves DVC Members too and for a limited time take $15 off your purchase of $100 or more! * Offer expires 11:59 pm PT, January 9th, 2011

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holiday Crafts & Cookies from Disney

mickey-reversable-ornament-240x240Baby, it’s cold outside, and with the kids coming home for winter break, moms across the country are looking projects to keep them busy.

Disney Family Fun offers all sorts of holiday cheer for you and your kids to bring a little bit of Mickey into your home. Projects and printables include coloring pages, tree ornaments, paper wreath patterns, and cookie stencils to name just a few. So take a peek, and follow the link for great craft ideas from Disney Family Fun.

Looking forward to a little baking this holiday season? Give this sugar cookie recipe a try, it’s straight from the fabulous kitchens of Walt Disney World’s Swan & Dolphin Hotels. Disney can help you add a little fun here too, with decorating stencils to help you create sparkle and smiles from Mickey Mouse. Just download, print, and cut them out for easy use in decorating your holiday cookies.

Sugar Cookie Recipe from Disney’s Swan and Dolphin

 Ingredients:
• 3½ Cups Sifted Flour
• 2½ Tsp. Baking Powder
• ½ Tsp. Salt
• 1½ Cubes Sweet Butter (6 oz.)
• 2 Tsp. Vanilla
• 1½ Cups Granulated Sugar
• 2 Tbls. Sour Cream
• 1 Lemon (grated rind only)
• 2 Eggs
• 1 Tbls. Milk

Putting it all together:
Preheat your oven to 340 F.

Use a stand alone mixer if one is available.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream butter, vanilla, sugar, sour cream, lemon peel in a separate bowl, beating them well. Whisking briskly, add eggs one at a time, then incorporate into the milk. Next gradually add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and continue to mix.

Once the dough is fully mixed, set it aside to rest for a minimum of 3 hours in the refrigerator. When ready to make your cookies, roll the dough down to desired thickness. Use holiday cookie cutters to cut into fun shapes.

Place the cookies on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes. Once out of the oven, move the cookies onto a cooling rack.

Wait until completely cool and decorate with sugars and icing.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post, but you know I printed out some holiday fun for my kids! Recipe Resource: http://www.swandolphin.com/recipeclub/1207print.html

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The 14th Disney Blog Carnival is out.

DisMarks is a great community that gathers together Disney Bloggers from around the web. DisMarks Blog Carnival puts their collective knowledge assembled into one place and releases a digest that puts off the magic right at your fingertips. The DVC Mom Blog is honored to have participated in several past Disney Blog Carnivals and is happy to announce that Carnival #14 has been released.

Visit the DisMarks Website today to check out the fabulous collection of Disney Goodness in Disney Blog Carnival #14!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Simple...

DSC03873

When life is getting hectic and the pressure of the world seems to be crushing me, I try and look to simple pleasures that will boost my spirit. The world is full of little things that give us joy but are often overlooked. It's important to stop, however briefly, and acknowledge those ordinary joys that can lift spirits when times are tough.

My favorite mid-day escape is cup of coffee. I don’t need a frilly sugary latte that’s more like dessert. Just a nice cup of coffee with a little cream, and I have a little escape from all of troubles that are worrying me. The warmth of the cup in my hands, the lovely aroma drifting up in the steam, a full bodied sip of deliciousness. It is a moments respite, from the world around me. Simple comfort, in a perfect cup.

As a busy mom I often forget how important it is to take a few moments for myself every day. It’s so important to schedule a few minutes of “mom time”. It doesn’t matter if you find joy in a beautiful piece of music, an extra few minutes in the shower, or a cup of coffee. Take a little time every day to focus on you, and something that gives you that simple pleasure.

What is your simple pleasure? Leave a comment below to tell me the secret to your joy.

Mama's Losin' It

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Grand Floridian

100_1290

Monday, December 6, 2010

WDW Value & Moderate Rooms for Six

Over the years, I’ve learned the hard way that this world is ready made for a family of 4. Prepackaged food, sets of plates, small cars, restaurant tables contest prizes and hotel rooms are always ready made for this customarily deemed perfect size. However, that leaves many of us with larger families out in the lurch, often having to buy double the amount of things we really need, or travel. Some hotel rooms can “squeeze in” and extra child or two while they are still infants, but once they start growing, what’s a parent to do? It can be particularly challenging if you’re a single parent with several children, because even booking two rooms is frequently not an option.

At Walt Disney World (WDW), most of the deluxe resorts have sleeping space for a family of five in their standard rooms, with the use of a daybed. My family, however, has that magic number that makes a do it yourself travel planner want to cry. Six. There are six of us and we simply don’t fit into a standard hotel room. It's been a challenge over the years when traveling and I've tried it all. I've made the kids squeeze into one bed, packed a camping cot, air matresses, I’ve rented two rooms had the "big" kids stay down the hall. As a mom though, I enjoy my family, and their company, I like to keep us together. Adjoining rooms in most hotels are requests that can sometimes be reserved, but can’t usually be guaranteed.

Our solution to the problem was solved when we purchased a membership in the Disney Vacation Club (DVC). The flexible point system of DVC allows you to pick a wide variety of rooms, room even for a family of 9-12. DVC isn't for everyone though, and if you're on a tight budget when you travel the following Value and Moderate options might be the key to vacation success.

AllStar_Music_Resort_LogoThe All Star Music is one of the Value Hotels on WDW property. That means that it is designed motel style with hallways on the outside. There is no sit down eatery at the hotel or room service (possibly pizza) but there is a food court. It offers the same privileges as other Disney properties - complimentary transportation throughout WDW (also a large family plus); the ability to charge purchases at most WDW locations to your room; an affordable food court; package delivery from the theme parks to your resort gift shop, and creative, well maintained pools. One additional perk is the use of Disney's Magical Express (free ground transportation from Orlando International Airport to any Disney Resort).

The All Star Music family suites are outfitted with two TVs, and pay per day high speed Internet access. There is a queen bed, a full-size sofa sleeper, and a convertible chair sleeper. The small kitchenette includes a microwave and small refrigerator (4.3 cubic feet) plus a coffee maker. A delightful addition to this room is it’s two full bathrooms. A huge plus when traveling with older girls. They are by far the most cost effective rooms for this family size. I love having a Suite of two rooms because it can be a huge sanity saver for Mom & Dad while enjoying down time at the hotel.

The All Star music family suite sleeps six and in 2010 offered a rate of $235 weekday/$265 weekend during regular season.

Coronado Springs LogoDisney's Moderate hotels offer a little more style and expanded services than do the Vales. The next room that we’re going to look at is a Jr. Suite at the Coronado Springs Resort. This resort includes one of the large Disney Convention Centers on property. As a moderate resort guests at Coronado Springs receive all the benefits of staying on property and a few more amenities such as several pools with one larger themed pool called "The Dig Site", which includes a water slide and children's area. These next level properties offer more dining options than just a food court. Table service can be enjoyed here, as well as light room service and lounges. For all of your travel needs the Coronado Springs Resort also has a gift shop, fitness center, beauty salon, and spa.

A very large property, the Coronado Springs is very spread out, so the complex offers an internal shuttle system, as well as connections to the greater WDW transportation system. You’re able to put in a personal request for the area of the resort you would most like to stay in, however no matter where you’re room is you’ll have a wonderful time. Because of it's size, unless you have a rental car, this is probably the most difficult option to get back to the hotel for a mid-day rest.

The Jr. Suite at Coronado Springs that sleeps six and is $405 weekday /$420 weekend during the regular season.

I hope that this article has offered ideas you a couple of new ideas on where a large family can stay in casual comfort and style, while visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. These certainly aren’t the only rooms available for large families, but they’re a good place to start if keeping your family together is important to you.

This post is part of the Disney Blog Carnival #15! Head over there to see more great Disney-related posts and articles to make your vacation planning a breeze.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Winter has come...

This is what awaited me out the window this morning.

IMG_0091

I can honestly say that I'm less than thrilled about it. At the moment I estimate a mere 3-4 inches, however it's still coming down. Though I think it's beautiful, I'm really not a snow lovin' gal. I can handle a little here and there, but the thought that this will begin three months of what will most likely be below 20 degree weather does not have me jazzed. It's not so much the snow I mind, but when the temps drop down by zero and the wind blows so hard it stings you skin is just not my favorite.

Do you live someplace warm and sunny? Tweet me a picture @DVCMom to cheer me up!

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm IN!

HoooYAaaaH! I'm going to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in March. Just called my best friend Bekah and let her know that she's coming with! Woot!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

DisneySMMoms - Regstration Day

SMMlogo


This evening has calmed down a bit from the Internet hilarity that ensued after registration opened for the Disney Social Media Moms Conference, being held next March at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. This is one of those things that I’ve been working towards over the past year with my little blog. If I didn’t make the 2011 Mom’s Panel, I wanted to at least be able to go to the social media conference. The 2010 inaugural conference was a spectacular success and got praise from mom bloggers across the Internet. Top notch business speakers and events were highlighted by Disney Magic around the resort at one vey low price. A great opportunity to learn from those leading the industry and to network with moms from all across the country. Not to mention, those of us who are regular Disney goers were floored at the value given to conference attendees.

Registration was set to open December 2nd at 2PM EST. I emptied my calendar and rescheduled appointments so I wouldn’t have to worry about anything else. I was ready and waiting for over an hour to get in the virtual door. Only priority programs running, check. Kids entertained for at least an hour, check. Blog stats, check. Credit card information, check. The twitter hastag #DisneySMMoms was in full furry with a virtual race grander than Filene’s Basement on bride’s day about to take place. Over 1,000 mom bloggers from around the world, trying to get just over 100 spots at the conference on a first come first serve basis. I closed down my twitter so that I could get down to business.

Registration opened and I started trying to get to the website. Click… click… click… the registration page was not was coming up. The place holder told me to wait and that the page would auto-refresh. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes passed and still I was left staring at a little orange circle going round and round. Nothing seemed to be happening, and I was beginning to panic, had I missed it? Was there something wrong with my Internet? I opened twitter back up to see if anyone else had gotten in. No, no one had been able to make a connection. Fingers were flying with frazzled, panicking, moms hoping to snag a coveted spot. More time went by and a few people slowly started to get registrations. Others just waited and tried everything they could thing of to get their page to load. Some moms had to leave their house and dropped out because it was taking so long to get registered. Some got kicked out of registration several times and had to get back in que. Some moms went through registration and then decided at the last moment they didn’t have the money, other still sat watching the orange circle go round and round.

Finally! Just a few minutes shy of an hour, the registration page came up for me. I was in! I made sure that all my fields were filled out, and five pages later I hit submit. It took, I had put in my request to register. However my dear readers the story doesn’t end here. I received and email shortly thereafter saying that all registrants would be verified and a confirmation of registration would be sent later. Verified!? Later!? Good googlie mooglie what new hell was this? Tweets still kept streaming at record speed on the thread as more people got in and others still waited. No one was really sure exactly how verification would happen, or what it would entail. I closed my computer and went to get coffee with my husband.

I arrived home a little over an hour later and saw that the registration process had been shut down. No one is quiet sure how many people got to register, but we do know that some people never even got to the registration screen and were stuck staring at the little orange circle of death for over two hours. Word was sent out that confirmations would not come before morning.

Now… for those of us who did make it through the process, we wait. Wine will be involved and hopefully, I sleep.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Kristen & Great Pat 1981
I really miss my aunt.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Epic Mickey is Epic!

www.totalvideogames.com_Mickey Ears_69765__size_655_1500

As I sit here writing, the hard core gamer in our house (Erik) is taking the first turn at playing Epic Mickey on the Wii.

Not just a light romp through Disney Parks, this game takes thought and skill as you control Mickey and his fight against the Blots. Choices must be made along every step of the way, will you go after the obvious tools, or will you help out the Gremlins along the way which have been trapped by the Evil Doctor? Do you restore the land to it's former glory? Or just get by with what needs to be done to move on to another land? Game style matters in this one and every family member can create a different journey as they travel through the Wasteland.

Both the gaming environment artwork, and the unique style of the cut scenes is a visually stunning delight. Erik is currently working his way through the Small World ride area. At first it was unrecognizable to him but a serious Disney Parks fan will be able to pick out even the smallest of magical details. Personally, I find it disturbing when he smashes the dolls to pieces in order to earn "tickets" which act as game money.

This game takes some mad skills with the Wii-mote, and a lot of thought about what you want to do next. Erik says it's not for just killing a mindless hour, but even a hard core gamer won't be bored. Epic Mickey is gold for the Disney gamer in your family. Make sure it's under the tree!

This is not a sponsored post.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme

With a house full of gamers, how could I not enter the Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme Giveaway?

TodaysMama and GameStop are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What is your holiday wish for your family?
My holiday wish is for my family to be happy and especially healthy. I'm really over doctors appointments after this year.

2. What is your Christmas morning / Hanukkah Nightly tradition?

A great breakfast, and presents are in store for my family Christmas Morning.

3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be?
A New MiniVan with all the bells and whistles.

4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?
Lots of family time and great food.

5. What games did you play with your family growing up?

Clue and Monopoly were always holiday favorites growing up.

6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?
Hrmmm... Decorating the Tree on Thanksgiving, and sending out the Christmas Cards the day after.

7. Where would you go for a Christmas/Hanukkah-away-from-home trip?

Disney... Land/World/Cruise it really doesn't matter, just bring on the Mouse!

8. Check out GameStop and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?
EPIC Mickey, TRON, and Tangled for Wii

Happy Holidays

Xmas Card 2010

From our house to yours we're wishing all of our readers the very best that this holiday season has to offer.
This post is part of Merry SITSmas, The secret to success is support!

Getting from Here to There

As we have recently mentioned in this series(Not Okay Part III), my husband is vehemently opposed to the new TSA security screenings. He would rather stand on principle against them and give up travel all together than have to go through the stressors of the enhanced full body scan or the fairly invasive pat down. I, on the other hand, can’t imagine not traveling, and I’m not giving up Disney. So, in an effort towards not have have a fight with him over our coming vacation, I began looking into and comparing alternative modes of travel from Rockford, IL to Orlando, FL. I looked at a couple of different things in breaking down our travel considerations that include door to door travel time one way, round trip transportation costs, food during travel, and a hotel on the road for the driving option.

Flying
Time invested - 8 hours / Costs Est. $650

Pros: This is the least expensive and fastest way for us to get from point A to point B. I know that can handle 3 hours on a plane without pain issues from my fibromyalgia. Cons: The trouble still remains that security is an issue to my husband. However, we have learned that Orlando Sanford Airport is opting out of the TSA program. In part II we addressed what’s going on at Sanford, and how it's future may improve by switching o private security.

Driving
Time invested - 30 hours / Cost Est. $1050

Pros: We could somewhat decide how long we are on the road, when we leave, and where we spend the night. If we were traveling with the kids, this would also be the most economical option. Cons: Extended travel time. I’m not sure how my body will react to being in the drivers seat for more than four or five hours at a stretch. This will also ad wear and tear on an older car. This is a heck of a long drive, however with two drivers and 8 hours at a hotel to sleep, it may be our best option.

Train
Time invested - 43 hours / Cost Est. $2,700

The train, which was our first choice of alternative travel turned out to be the most difficult option to make work. Pros: I wouldn’t have to be behind the wheel the entire time. We might get to make a quick sight seeing stop in D.C. It’s not as cramped as an airline or the car. No charge for baggage. Cons: 43 hours one way travel time is a heck of a lot. We would have to go all the way to Washington D.C. and have an eight hour layover before continuing on to Orlando. Because of health concerns (my fibromyalgia, and weak back) we would need a room, that alone added the bulk of this cost. Without a room, costs would have been about $800.

Since our travel will be in early October of 2011, we have some time before we make a decision in how we will travel. I will be watching the news for how the TSA scans are developing, and what the overall impact is to travelers. There is rumor of new software being created that would give a less personal image, either making them more blobby, or more stick figure like.

UPDATE: I first wrote this piece almost a week ago, and in that time I've become increasingly intrigued with the idea of driving to Disney next October. It holds some options that I hadn't really considered at first. One of the things that we don't do a lot of in EPCOT that we always want to is buy wine. I have been dying to get a bottle of Magicale in my collection. By driving, we can transport our purchases home with no trouble or hassle at all. On our last trip we also felt that we were rushed through what we were doing on the final day. If we drive we can make sure that we get to take our time getting packed up and on the road home on our schedule, not rush by having to catch a bus.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Family Winery Trip

Vineyard & CaveI gathered the Clan over the weekend and we headed up to the Wollersheim Winery, which is my favorite local vineyard. The countryside is beautiful, and the vineyard it's self a national historic treasure. In the picture to the left you see the mouth of the cave which the founding family lived in while they were building the spectacular limestone home and winery building. The winery was first built in the 1840's by the Hungarian Count Agoston Haraszthy. However, this lovely vineyard was just the first stop on the Count's journey into the annals of wine history, as he eventually traveled further west and became known as the Father of the California wine industry.

Before, anyone gets worked up, yes, I take my children to the winery. I've done it for as long as they can remember, and it's no big deal to them. They get to taste the food products that have been made with the wines (this year's favorite included a white wine mustard, a spreadable red wine cheese, and a vinegarette salad dressing) as well a have a glass of of the sparkling juice made by the winery. We believe that knowledge is power and that includes battling the problem of underage drinking that plagues America today. The kids get to see and tour the vineyard, soak up the regional history, as well as learning about the production process of the wines from vine to bottle. For our family it's an educational experience that has widespread benefits, we believe as the kids learn about wine the "taboo" is somewhat taken away and by example they can see how to taste and deal with wine responsibly as they become adults.

Wine TableOnto the good stuff! This year we tasted wines from both the Wollersheim Winery, as well as their sister winery, Cedar Creek. Both of the wineries had fabulous offerings to enjoy throughout the holiday season. Two of our best "new finds" this year came from the Cedar Creek label. The first was favorite of everyone tasting for the day (Myself, Hubs, and BFF) Cedarburg Spice was a flavorful, Foch grape wine that has been marinated with fresh dried mulling spices. I don't always like red wine, but this had no oakiness, and didn't dry the palette. The spice added during vinting produced a perfect balance for your holiday festivities. We sampled this wine both warm and at room temperature, and though it was lovely heated, we all agreed that it is served best at room temp.

Our second new find is also brand new to the Cedar Creek line up, and it's called White Christmas. A fruity, bright, 100% Gewürztraminer wine I was delighted with this tasting. My BFF found it to be a little on the sweet side for her, but I've always been a Gewürztraminer fan, and I think I'll be buying up several bottles for the cooler so that I can enjoy this one throughout the year. I'm always searching for wines that I can drink without food. IMG_0055 Something that I can have a nice glass of in the evening or sip with just a small nosh. White Christmas is perfect for that. These two Cedar Creek wines were added to our regular holiday purchases from Wollershiem and I hope that they have a very successful run. If you're looking for something to highlight your holiday meal, or a gift to give that wine lover on your list, I hope that you consider seeking out these fabulous bottles of wine.

A fabulous time was had by everyone on our jaunt out to the winery for the year. Euripides said that "One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives" and I couldn't agree more. To me, my family includes my Best Friend, her son, and soon to be husband. There are few better days that I spend, than when the family that I have built is all together. Whether we're just hanging around, touring someplace, or sharing in a meal, I never get enough time with all of us together. I got the chance this weekend to get the rare family picture. As usual, not everyone is in it, but this is the closest we've gotten so far!
The Family

Friday, November 26, 2010

A VINTAGE CHRISTMAS at Wollershiem Winery

100_0736


One of my favorite Thanksgiving Traditions actually happens over the weekend after, when we gather the troops and head up to Wisconsin so that we can visit one of my favorite wineries. Are you a wine lover? Just because one doesn't live in Napa doesn't mean that there aren't local gems waiting to be discovered. Small local wineries across the country produce some surprisingly delightful wines. My favorite is Nestled on 27 acres in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. The historic site the charming and lovely Wollershiem Winery was even recognized by wine guru Andrea Immer Robinson.

If you're in southern Wisconsin on Saturday, November 27, 2010 head over to Wollershiem to experience A VINTAGE CHRISTMAS from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.


Taste a variety of Wollersheim wines as they're paired with festive nibbles. Find unique gifts for the wine lover on your Christmas list. From wine gift boxes, to Ice Wine glasses, to Prairie Fumé ties, there are many unique choices. Listen to the carolers setting the mood to kick off the holiday season. Wollersheim winery is a picturesque setting to take your family Christmas card photo either inside or out, so be sure to bring your camera. Take a self guided tour of the winery and view the vineyard.

(The winery is open year round, stop by any time. No admission fee. Open to the public.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Classic

DSC04593

Growing up we had many family traditions, but my favorite may very well be the 1940's movie marathon that was always on TV. My very favorite of these movies is the amazing Bing Crosby & Fred Astaire classic "Holiday Inn". The very premise of having a little Inn in the country that's only open for holidays has captured my imagination since I was a young child. The movie goes through a year at the Inn owned by an entertainer trying to get away from the New York/Hollywood hustle and bustle. There's a musical number by Fred or Bing for every holiday. This Thanksgiving I wanted to share a little bit of this with you.

I found two great clips on YouTube celebrating Holiday Inn at Thanksgiving. The first is the scene in the movie where Bing celebrates Thanksgiving depressed and alone, talking back to himself on the record player. The second is a montage of still pictures that accompany the fabulous song in it's entirety.






I'm so thankful for my friends and family, theres a roof over my head, food in our tummies, and everyone is fairly healthy. I don't have to cook today, yes, I'm thankful for that as well. I wish you all a beautiful holiday, amid all of the holiday hustle and bustle, don't forget, that you've got plenty to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Thanksgiving

Turkey

Monday, November 22, 2010

Orlando Sanford Airport (Not Okay Part II)

I’m happy that the pilots have been able to opt out of these TSA scans and searches, but overall it still doesn’t help the general law abiding American public. One of the situations I had been waiting for, occurred over the weekend. The TSA broke a traveler's colostomy bag. The man had to continue on his trip covered in his own waste. He had told the TSA twice that the bag was there and that if they touched it that they could break the seal. My heart goes out to this gentleman just trying to get to Orlando for a Wedding.

According to the Orlando International Airport’s website “more than 50 million tourists holiday here every single year.” It is the busiest airport in Florida and the 13th busiest in the nation. Orlando International's ground breaking transportation deal that brought Disney’s Magical Express to them, makes it *the* airport of choice for guests headed to the Walt Disney World Resort. However, the Transportation Security Administration is not having a very easy time of it at Orlando International. Accusations of sexual harassment, child molestation, rampant discrimination, and a vulgar teasing of passengers moving through the security checkpoints seem to flow freely from this airport. That doesn’t even begin to address the newer issues of body scanners and rough, invasive, pat downs that have recently come to light.

I want to say that I personally have never had a problem with security at Orlando International, nor has anyone else in my family. I do however, have a fair amount of concern regarding experiences that may be coming down the line in the future. It’s not that I don’t believe security measures are needed. It’s that I believe that they can be done without invading our person, with good customer service, and with a general respect for everyone involved. As we’re mainly Disney travelers there is a bit of recent news that has peaked my interest.

Larry Dale, the director of the Orlando Sanford Airport has said that Sanford will be opting out of the TSA conducted screenings and instead go with one of five approved private security firms. It will still include the TSA scanners (if and when they are installed at Sanford) and the full body pat downs, as the private firms must abide by the TSA rules. However, one hopes that with a private firm being held accountable, that they will conduct the searches to the guidelines set forth, and only subject those people deemed suspicious will be subject. It’s a small victory for the passengers who have been complaining about the rough TSA agents. Dale hopes to begin the turn over of his airport to the private firm beginning in January, after a few small details are worked out. The hope is that with the security team only answering to the airport, not to Washington, accountability and efficiency will be greatly improved. Dale understands that if the customers aren’t happy, the customers will go someplace else.

The Orlando Sanford Airport is a smaller airport, but still very close to the Walt Disney World Resort, it is not an option for all travelers, as airlines flying there is limited, but it is worth looking into. Many of the ground transport companies run shuttles and limos from Sanford. It does add a ground transportation cost when there may not have been one before. However, I believe retaining my dignity is well worth some more money into my vacation budget.

**At the time of this post it is my understanding that Orlando International is reviewing what switching to a private firm would mean with their larger volume of travelers. All opinions contained herein are my own and I have received no compensation or endorsement.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thoughts on Airport Security (Not Okay Part I)

There’s been a lot of debate in my house this week over flying and the TSA. We’ve never had any sort of problems with security in the past, however today things are getting stricter and invasive. Though I firmly believe in the need for security, I don’t believe that these reactionary measures are really going to help. I think that if you build a better security system, you just make smarter more creative criminals. And for the record, the last two terrorist threats to airplanes (underwear bomber and ink cartridges) did not originate in the US, the flights came from other countries. I am a fan of the profiling process that the Israeli airports use. Americans need to stop being so scared of the word profiling, if everyone has to go through the process equally, profiling is not a big bad demon. Maybe if they invented a new phrase for it, people wouldn’t freak out at the thought. How about “conversational screening”, or “the friendly talk checkpoint”, maybe “traveler survey station”.

The TSA says that people don’t mind the enhanced body scans, because they are submitting to them without a problem. I say that the TSA doesn’t know the difference between submitting to something and being okay with it. I am NOT in any way shape or form okay with these scans, I’m also NOT OKAY with the invasive pat down that borders on sexual battery and skirts the 4th Amendment. Even though I am not okay with having this done, I’m even more against the government restricting where I can and can’t go. If I want to travel, if I want to get back to Disney in a quick and economical way, I need to fly. I will submit to a scan so that I can fly, however, it will be uncomfortably. And if for any reason I have to be patted down so throughly, I’m positive that there will be tears involved. There is nothing okay with that.

My husband is vehemently against this new screening process, and being the rabble rouser he is, would be more than happy to cause a scene at the airport over it. Thus ruining whatever vacation I was about to go on. If he’s lucky, I might think about bailing him out when I got home. However here’s the thing, as much as he is enraged over the stories coming out of airports over the past couple weeks, he suffers from an anxiety disorder, and getting through an airport to begin with isn’t easy for him. My youngest daughter, who also suffers from severe anxiety, cried going through the regular metal detector when we went to Orlando in October. Security checkpoints can be scary for kids, and unfortunately the under trained, under paid, gruff TSA agents just don’t care. Katie pushed through her fears and made it through the check point through, I was very proud of her. I can only imagine what kind of damage it could do to Katie if she must be submitted to a full invasive security pat down.

The consequences to the mental health of Americans coming from this are huge. Aside from people with anxiety issues, I have concern for survivors of all sorts of traumatic events and painful medical conditions. There could be a whole new therapy field opening up just to help people get through security checkpoints by the TSA. Short term Xanex scripts will go through the roof. These TSA methods open up all businesses that require their employees to fly to hostile work environment lawsuits. If travel drops as a result, it will leave the already unstable airline industry reeling at the loss of income, and by extension could destabilize the hospitality industry.

How on earth is any of this okay? Quite simply, it’s not.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Where is the world?

Sombrero

The area where this photograph was taken looks very different today than when I was a child. Can you tell, where in the World am I?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Starbucks Celebrates 12 Days of Sharing

DSC03873

Happy Holidays my java driven friends! Today I want to share with you a couple of specials Starbucks has brewed up so that you can share the goodness with your loved ones over the holiday season. Thanks to @PlazaAndMainSt for bringing this fabulous deal to my attention!

Start your season of joy off right by sharing one of Starbucks classic holiday drinks with a loved one. November 18th-21st,2010 from 2-5pm when you buy one cup of the fantastic holiday specials, you get a second free! Not all stores are participating, and not all drinks included, so ask you're barista how you can share a red cup of joy. (US & Canada)

Next, Starbucks is launching an amazing “12 Days of Sharing” promotion! So grab your cell phone and text 12DAYS to 29943 to join the fun! Then, Starting December 1st Starbucks will text you with one exclusive offer of sharing per day. There's no word yet on what the offers will be… so sign up and stay tuned! (US only, Standard Text Messaging rates apply and vary by carrier.)

In addition to these special offers, Starbucks is getting ready to launch their full line of holiday products. Be sure to stop in for a delightful winter wonderland where you can get some shopping done while sipping some steamy goodness. Christmas at Starbucks starts today!

While I've not been compensated in any way for this post, you can be sure that I've signed up for these great holiday deals!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Transfering Domain

Greeting Friends!

I wanted to let you all know that because I'm now on my own domain, www.dvcmom.com you may experience some disturbance in delivery of my RSS Feed. If you haven't seen me in your inbox recently, please re-subscribe for continued coverage of this wild Mickey Mouse ride I call my life.

You all keep me going and I couldn't keep at it without your encouragement. Thank you for all your support!

If you have any more questions, as always you can contact me at DVCMom (at)gmail.com.

Love,
Kristen
http://www.dvcmom.com

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Peaceful Castle

100_1910

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Excellence in Historical Interpretation

My kids have grown up as historical reenactors.  We believe that the best way to learn about history is to experience it ourselves.  Yes, that's us, we're the people that you go see for a day when your town is having a battle, or your local history museum is putting on a demonstration.  We've given presentations at schools and libraries, and just set up camp in the back yard to get in some living history practice.  My family has participated in Medieval, American Civil War, Victorian, and WWII reenactments.  For the past two years we haven't done a lot of reenacting as a family, however my girls have been volunteering as Youth Historical Interpreters at Midway Museum Village in Rockford, IL.
 
Last night Katie went to the end of the season party at the Village, Tori stayed home because she didn't feel well.  When Katie came home she had with her a little trophy and certificate for Tori.  Tori had been given an award for Excellence in Historical Interpretation at Civil War Days. 

So Congratulations Tori for putting you heart into what you do.  Your research and the way you share information has made a difference in the lives of all of the school children who came through those four days of Civil War Education.  It's easy to tell the kids that there was no TV or Nintendo, but your interpretation and the way your shared all you know about children in the 1860s made it come to life.


Tori 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Jazz hot baby

TBone
That's him, the cool cat with the mean chapeau blowing his horn at his first ever Jazz concert.  He bobs and weaves, keeps time with his whole body and feels the music. He's the only trombone in the band, and he holds his own, because there's no other choice.  The other family member in the picture, that's his horn "Shiny".

Kirk has played the trombone since the 7th grade, that's four years now, and he's come a long way.  He's been in concert band that whole time, and this year, this year he added Jazz.  Though it's not really his music,  Kirk grew up listening to Chris Botti, Jane Monheit, Peter Cincotti and Michael Buble', Jazz is in him whether he wants it or not.  His plan in life is to be a rock star, I had to break it to him that most rock bands don't have a famous trombone player.  Plan B is to be a music teacher, so next year he's dropping drama and picking up the saxophone as well as playing his trombone.

Last night the girls and I made our way to the High School to here the group play.  Kirk had warned me that not all of the selections they played were going to be up to par.  He had tried to get the Jazz band to understand that of the numbers they had down, they should put their best foot forward with the concert selections.  In the end he was out voted and he was a little nervous about what I would think.

The music wasn't bad, and my ears didn't bleed, these High School kids are so much better than the Middle School was.  I can sit back and enjoy the concert, especially when it's my kind of music.  I thought that his band did great, and the song he had been so worried about was not bad at all.  The most horrifying part of the night however was not on Kirk, but a girl in the second band that was announcing  their next selection.  She thought that Miles Davis was sort of a famous trumpeter, maybe... he kinda did great things.  Ugh!  Like a stake through the heart.  Sort of?!  It seems to me that a Jazz band class should include some teaching about the Jazz greats.  If they don't know where the music came from, and people who influenced it, how can they understand the music?

Yes,  the life of a High School Trombonist can be hard when mom's a Jazz fan, but last night after an already grueling eleven hour day at school, Kirk took a deep breath and went on with the show.

I'm very, very proud.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Katie is the NDP of the Month for November, 2010

Last month our very own Katie submitted a Halloween story to a contest being held by the Inner Mouse Vidcast/Podcast.  A few select stories were picked to be read on the air and hers was declared the winner!  As the winner of the contest, Katie has been given the honor of being featured on The Disney Driven Life as Neurotic Disney Person of the Month for November, 2010 and a premium subscription to TouringPlans.com.  There’s a fabulous profile on Katie written by the talented NDM #1 that details Katie's love for Disney over on The Disney Driven Life.  Surf on over and be sure to check it out.

I couldn’t be prouder of my little Disney fan for putting all the effort into her writing, as well as having the guts to put it out there to the public.  This is Katie’s first year Home Schooling and we’re happy to add Disney focused projects whenever we can.  While Katie was working on this story she learned about composition structure, sequence of events, when to end a paragraph, and how to express conversation using quotes.  A little pixie dust added to the homework makes it so much easier.

Visit The Disney Driven Life
Read Katie's Profile on the DDL
Listen to the Live Inner Mouse Vidcast on Tuesday Nights or subscribe to it in iTunes

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Wet Kisses!

Everybody Loves Katie

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Perfect Holiday Card

It’s that time of year again when I begin to search for the perfect Holiday cards. With such a diverse family, I usually spend weeks looking for the perfect holiday design. Then more time addressing them and writing notes, so that they can be ready to go and I can pop them in the mail the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, that’s me… the annoying first Holiday card that reminds everyone else to get out their holiday cards. This year, our friends at Shutterfly offered me the opportunity to review their Holiday card designer so that I could easily create the perfect card for my family and share the experience with you. So I surfed on out to the Shutterfly website and started playing with the card designer.

Browsing through the Christmas Cards, the “Many Memories Snowflake” caught my eye so I started the project to see what I could create.  I picked some of my favorite family vacation shots from the year and uploaded them to a Shutterfly album.  We hadn’t all been on vacation together, so I tried to grab pictures from Disney to make it look more like a cohesive theme with gray-scale pictures and a blue centerpiece.  I think that this is my favorite of all the cards that I made.  You can check out the many distinct selections of Christmas cards by surfing on over to the Shutterfly website.
Blue and Gray Family Card
The next design style I chose to explore was the Shutterfly “Holly Chocolate” Flat Photo Card. These cost a little less, and lets face it, we’re all trying to save a little money this year. The flat photo options have bright, creative design, so much more fun than just a simple family shot. I decided on this card I would just feature the kids and see how it turned out. I think that this sepia toned picture looks great on the earthy, magical card.
Pixie Dust Card
Shutterfly can help with personal styling for all sorts of cards. While I was browsing through the vast selection of deigns I came across a little something extra special on the Card & Stationary Page. This year Shutterfly has partnered with a few special charities, and a percentage of the proceeds from your card purchase will go to the charity of the card you chose. I decided to design a card from the LIVESTRONG campaign. LIVESTRONG fights for the 28 million people around the world living with cancer today. Known for the iconic yellow wristband, LIVESTRONG’s card is also sporting the colors in order to inspire and empower anyone affected by cancer. Because we spent the year training and believing that we could complete the Halloween 5K, I thought our finish line photo would be perfect for the card. This is a chance to pick up your Christmas cards while doing something great for a charitable organization.
LIVESTRONG Card
I had a great time coming up with all sorts of ideas for our family card for 2010. Which one is your favorite? Leave a comment and help me pick the best shot! But wait, here’s the best part! Shutterfly is offering 20% off all holiday cards, so you can join in the fun too! So head on over to the Shutterfly website and start designing the perfect card for your family! While you're there, check out the Thank You cards and get a jump on your post Holiday correspondence.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a code for 50 free cards in compensation for this review, all opinions, experiences, and photography contained here in are my own.  Are you a blogger? See how you can get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly http://bit.ly/sfly2010 #SFLY

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Disney Resorts make Conde' Nast Traveler Readers Choice Awards

100_1162
Conde’ Nast Traveler
is the world’s most trusted travel resource. It’s travel reporting is completely free from the industry which allows reporters to speak openly and honestly about all of their travel experiences. This truth in reporting has earned Conde’ Nast Traveler a high reputation for excellence and a loyal reader base of jet-setting world travelers. Amongst those loyal readers, every month I page through hoping to find a new article of mention of what their writers think of Disney Parks vacation destinations.

In the November 2010 issue of Conde’ Nast Traveler came their 2010 Reader’s Choice Awards. I’m happy to say that even though Conde’ Nast doesn’t do much Disney Reporting, their readership put Disney Parks in the spotlight. Four Disney Resorts made the Top 100 US Mainland Resorts list:

In spot 51. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
In spot 58. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
In spot 86. Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa
In spot 88. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Also mentioned on the list (rumors say they will soon be on Disney Property) were three of the Four Seasons Resorts (p.150)

In addition to this honor at the four Disney owned resorts, the Disney Cruise Line was voted #1 of the Top Mega-Ship lines. Not only was the Disney cruise branch honored in the Readers Choice Awards, but we are reminded in the issue (p.22) that the Disney Cruise line is a leader in environmentally friendly and humanitarian tourism. In 2008 Conde’ Nast Traveler honored then with a World Savers award.


Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this blog post.
Photo of Animal Kingdom Lodge: Copyright © Kristen Kirk

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - My Desktop

P1010214

Monday, October 25, 2010

And I’m Okay…

sociall_rejection_stockxpertcom_id3193501_jpg_

A little over a week ago Disney sent out letters for the folks that made the cut for the second round of applications for the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. For the second year in a row, I wasn’t chosen to move forward. Even though I didn’t expect to move on, I was really sad when I found out. I had spent a year of my life “preparing” for the 2011 Panel application process, unlike last year’s off the cuff responses. I live and breathe Disney it’s hard to know that they didn’t find my application interesting enough to move on. The thought that maybe I'm not "fan enough" is hard to swallow. Overall though, I’m ok with it.

I know that there were other fabulous people that also didn’t make it to round two. I know that there were people who are much “more fan” than I am who didn’t move on. There are better bloggers than I, better mothers than I, more frequent travelers than I, all who didn’t get chosen to be part of the WDW Mom’s Panel. The esoteric process of who Disney wants is lost on me. I don’t believe that it’s a popularity contest, as some have suggested, because if it were the popular people would have been picked. As far as I can tell, many of the “cool kids” of the Disney Internet community were passed right over with the rest of us.

The Moms Panel was a great idea when it was introduced three years ago. The application, and rejection, process has brought people together, created new Internet communities, spawned blogs and tweets, and has been a benefit to millions of people planning their next trip to the Wonderful World of Disney. However there's just no doubt that it creates hurt feelings, smashes self confidence, and leaves nearly thousands of Disney fans around the world feeling like they aren't good enough to do what they are most passionate about. Our consolation prize is something called the "Mickey Moms Club" and in concept is fun, but in actuality has been neglected, and doesn't live up to it's idea. I believe that it's time the Disney Company re-consider not the Moms Panel in whole, but how the selection and rejection process is managed. I’m a giant Disney fan, but sometimes I disagree with the “company line”.

I don’t have the cash to get down to the World as much as I want, and anyhow, where I really shine is when I talk about DisneyLAND. So, overall I’m okay with not being picked for the Moms Panel. I’m still a D23 member, DVC owner, Disney Store shopper, avid Disney vacation planner, and all round go to gal for all things Disney for my friends, who wears her Mickey Mouse tattoo proudly.

My life is no less, my Disney is no less, and I’m OK.

Apple Girls

Apple Girls

The girls an I took a trip to the apple orchard on Friday afternoon. We were excited to harvest our own apples to bring home. We went to the orchard as a lesson on how important it was to Harvest food during World War two and how women played many important roles in making sure that the country kept running while the men were overseas fighting for freedom. From 1941-1945 the U.S. Government campaigned to recruit pickers that would harvest the fruits of our orchards. The Women’s Land Army was a specialized branch of the U.S. Crop Corps that got laborers in the orchards and fields to harvest food during this where farm workers were serving their country on another front. The women at home knew how important the timely harvest of fruits, vegetables and other farm products was to prevent spoilage and waste.

We picked a small bag of apples for $15. It’s rather a pricey bag of apples compared to the amount of apples that we could buy for that same amount at the local grocery store, but we enjoy the experience and like to support local business. However this time it seemed different. As we walked through the rows of trees the girls and I were struck at the amount of food lying on the ground going to waste. During today’s hard economic conditions it seemed to us that there was too much waste and that the country should be putting into practice some of the programs that helped the country get through difficult times in the past. As consumers it’s good that we continue to support small local businesses and farms, however it’s also important for those small businesses to give back to the community when they can. A van with a couple of people from the homeless shelter and some bins could keep people in need feed with healthy locally grown fruit. Yet there it laid on the ground to spoil.

In the 1940s American’s realized that the bounty produced from a plot of land was too valuable to waste. Families were encouraged to grow Victory Gardens, which supplemented the food rations that were allotted to a family. Not to grow a garden or care for fruiting shrubs and trees was considered unpatriotic. For a farm, or family, to not use and preserve the harvest was downright un-American. Every single person pitched in to make sure that we all had enough.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Look, she is alive! Just catching up.

allergy_drug


My family suffers from allergies, but until this year mine haven't been all that bad. usually a Dayquil takes care of things and I don't miss a beat. That has not been the case this year. I have spent this week in a crazy drug induced haze from a cocktail of multiple over the counter and prescription allergy medications. My body is itchy, achy, sneezy, watery, and dry all at the same time. My doctor, in her infinite wisdom, pretty much told me to take one of everything. So I did.

Now I ask, how in the world is it Friday already!? I swear to god, I lost two entire days. I wasn't on twitter, I didn't pick up my email, I don't think I even left the house. It's all a blur, and I really hate feeling like I haven't been productive. Today however I'm down to just one, it's prescription Singulair. It's new, so we'll see how that goes. Hopefully I'll be out of that foggy medicine head and be able to function again. If nothing else, today has been productive and I can hang onto that.

This weekend is a Halloween extravaganza of volunteer time for my kids. Katie will be at Midway Village supporting their All Hallows Eve event as a Junior Interpreter, while Tori & Kirk spend their time at the Discovery Center Museum supporting "Grossology". Kirk will even be sporting the Nigel Nose-it-all costume, Tori will be acting as his handler. I think I convinced him that it would look good on a job application at Disney if he already had experience being a character. I'll be sure to post pictures after the events!

Tonight Katie and I are off to the YMCA for a Trunk-or-Treat event. Wonder Teen has generously lent Katie her "Organization 13" (from Kingdom Hearts) coat to wear for Halloween this year. One less thing for me to worry about and a great sisterly gesture. Rocket Boy is marching with the school band at half time tonight as well, so I'm hoping that Katie and I will be able to snag some candy and then hit the High School for a little football pep band.

At some point I would also really like to get to the apple orchard to harvest some nom-worthy fruits. What's on the schedule for you this weekend?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Help me fight chronic pain...

jingle Bell logo Like many people these days I do my best to stay healthy. I have made efforts to change my lifestyle. I eat much better than I used to, I exercise, and I try to get enough sleep. For me however, these things are methods to combat a painful, debilitating syndrome, with no known cause, and no known cure. I May not look sick, but I suffer from Fibromyalgia. Each day is a challenge to live my life to it’s fullest without overreaching my physical reserves and winding up curled in bed crying in pain.

When I go on vacation, I do my best to attack Walt Disney World with gusto and vigor, yet some days my body simply doesn’t agree and I end up in an electric wheelchair (ecv). I was very Self-consciousness of being in an ecv this year because I was going to meet so many people from the Disney community. I wasn’t sure if I would be treated differently, looked down upon, judged. Happily what I was met with was understanding and consideration. The truth is that conquering Walt Disney World can take an incredible physical toll on even the healthiest of people. For those of us with disabilities, it can be akin to climbing a mountain.

I have found that exercising is a huge benefit in my pain management strategy, and because of that I get out and walk as much as possible When I can, I even participate in the occasional 5K race. It’s reaffirming, and crossing a finish line validates that even though I live my life with disability, if I manage my condition carefully I can live an exciting, full life.

Fibromyalgia is a confusing and often misunderstood condition. The overwhelming characteristic of fibromyalgia is long-standing, body-wide soft-tissue pain, that can be described as deep-aching, radiating, shooting and burning. My symptoms include memory and cognitive difficulties, sleep disturbance, and tingling as well the wide spread pain. The severity of the pain can range from mild to severe, with time periods where the condition flares up and symptoms worsen significantly.

Though Fibromyalgia is not a form of Arthritis, it is often considered a sister of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The Arthritis Foundation is a significant leader and contributor to fibromyalgia research and education. Every year The Arthritis Foundation holds a holiday 5K run/walk Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis® that I try to participate in in order to raise money to help this worthy organization. I didn’t think that I would get to do the Jingle Bell this year because I couldn’t afford the entry fee.

I’m thrilled to say that I’m being sponsored for the basic registration so that once again I’ll be participating in this fabulous event! This holiday season I will tie bells to my shoelaces and dust off my reindeer antlers as I participate in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk® for Arthritis, a 5K fun run/walk to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. And YOU can help, too! Won’t you please sponsor me in my effort to raise funds for this great organization that works so hard to find answers about Fibromyalgia. The Arthritis Foundation not only touches my life but the lives of more than 46 million Americans who live with arthritis and chronic pain syndromes.



jingle donate

Please visit my sponsor page and make a contribution
so that I can walk to be pain free.

I need your help to keep walking strong.

2009 Jingle Bell


Visit these great websites for more information on Fibromyalgia:

Arthritis Foundation
National Fibromyalgia Association
Butyoudontlooksick.com

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Light Tanks and Tomorrow City - Gamer Goodies from G4

There are six people in my household and four of them are serious gamers. You can be sure that whenever they are looking for the latest information on industry news, they're tuning in to G4TV. Right now G4TV.com has a great retrospective up on the history of Disney Gamer goodness "A Brief History Of Disney Video Games -- From Aladdin to Kingdom Hearts" that wets our appetite for what is soon to be coming down the line.

Speaking of down the line, we were thrilled to have G4 send a sneak peek of the upcoming Disney releases Epic Mickey and TRON Evolution, so of course, we're sharing it with you! G4tv.com is featuring all Disney exclusives that show a brand-new level for the upcoming Wii title Epic Mickey and Light Tank gameplay for the multiplatform release TRON Evolution.

Disney Epic Mickey – Tomorrow City  


TRON Evolution - Light Tanks


We thank G4 for sharing these fabulous gamer goodies with us, and hope you enjoy them too!