How to Survivie Disney (in August) – The Nitty Gritty {Part 2}

Alright, its time to get into the Nitty Gritty of Disney! You’ve got the basics down. 
So now where do you eat, how to see characters and how to make that all happen while trying to enjoy yourself!

1. Best Places to Eat – Disneyland – if you’re looking for ease, lots of seating, good prices and some shade, head on over to The Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country! We ate there for lunch three days in a row. Pack those snacks. Don’t be shy! Disney is really good about that. Bring that cooler in as long as its smaller than 24x15x18! Eat one big meal in the park and snack away the day!! It helps pass the time when you need it and the kids don’t miss out. Just don’t forget to grab yourself some Dole Whip and have a rest in the Tikki Room!!! Another favorite, that was actually a surprise (not that I expected any food to be bad) was Jolly Holiday Bakery and CafĂ©. You guys…the grilled cheese and tomato soup was to die for!!! And the desserts…well, Disney is magic.  Want to have a date night or eat out somewhere nice? They aren’t kidding about those reservation dates. Make them!

2. Seeing Characters – Having not been to Disney in over 10 years I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had kept hearing about how they just weren’t seen the wild as much as they used to be. And while that statement in general might be true we saw SO MANY!! And I want to reiterate that there is just something about Disney. Even in lines for characters, walking by with them, people were so nice!! And depending on the needs of your kids, that might be enough. You can frequently find Minnie and Mickey when you walk into the park on the right side on main street. Right in a little alcove past the first 4 or 5 shops (the ones that are really expensive). The Wicked Queen from Snow White hung out near the bathroom right as you were walking to Fantasy Land. Many princesses can be seen down in Snow White’s Grotto (which is one of the most romantic places in the park). Peter Pan, Alice and the Mad Hatter hung out by the tea cups, and Critter Country is a good place to find Winnie the Pooh and his whole gang! If getting guaranteed time with characters is really important Minnie’s Breakfast and Ariel’s Grotto is the place to be!

3. Souvenirs –  One of the biggest things I did to save money was purchase most of the souvenirs BEFORE we went to Disney. I realize that I could have been taking a gamble, but for the most part you can do a pretty good job of avoiding most of the temptations. Watch out for the shop after the Small World Ride and Pirates of the Caribbean. One of the best purchases we made was at the castle, in the little beauty salon. Believe or not that have amazing swords for boys. They are amazing, really sturdy foam swords! Every prince needs a sword!!

4. Regrets – We didn’t do a character meal. I’m totally blaming Mr. Air Force on this one. He convinced me that it wouldn’t be very exciting for the kids, and did the cost equal the benefit. I would absolutely say yes!! Other regret – going towards the back of the park for the parade based on a recommendation. The recommendation came to me for the evening parade. Get to the back of the park where the parade was ending that time. Unfortunately meeting anyone at the back of the park is a nightmare. Either all go together, or stay at the front of the park.

5. Random Thoughts – Daytime parade watching was a breeze, and much easier than I expected. We sat outside of the castle, along the wrought iron fence (on the cleanest street in all the land. We arranged seating about an 45 minutes before the parade began, and then one by one I took the kids over to the castle for souvenir shopping. It worked out perfectly!!! Frozen fast pass, waiting in line to see the characters….totally worth it. Waiting at Pixie Hollow, also completely worth it. We survived without a dining plan. Eating our way through Disney wasn’t a priority. We made it with a hearty breakfast, snacking through the day and eating one large meal in the park. We left the park for a rest time around 2/3 and then went back into the park for all the fun evening stuff. Take your date night during fireworks time. In the summer this is one of the best times to ride the rides. So many people are watching the fireworks. It was so much fun riding Thunder Mountain over and over again, coming up over the bumps and seeing the fireworks explode above you. So cool!!!

Visiting Disneyland can be a crazy place, but it is most definitely crazy fun!! As long as you go into it knowing that you can’t control every experience you have. Going through to see the park through your children’s eyes, and that learning to stand in lines is a rite of passage and makes you a good human. What better place to learn all that stuff then in the happiest place on earth! Have fun!!!!!!!!!

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Why Everyone Should Take a Spontaneous Road Trip to Cleveland

A couple weeks ago we did something a little crazy! We decided to take a last minute trip to Cleveland!! We packed up the kids, rented ourselves a van and jumped in the car after two days of discussion and found ourselves on the road to Cleveland at 10:30 at night. I was cool with it if only because we almost never do anything spontaneous. I married an Air Force guy who is also a boy scout….and who was also born an old soul. So here we were, driving all night to Cleveland. Maybe your road trip isn’t to Cleveland…but you should be taking one to wherever you should be going.

We have dear friends who are temporarily living there and that’s where we needed to be. There’s something about doing something spontaneously, something fun and exciting! You get that giddy feeling, and I for one absolutely love it. If I could live my life that like I would probably do things like this more often. Road trips to Cleveland are long, its a good 5.5/6hrs from here to there. We chose to drive through the night, which left my husband in a red-bull, caffeine-fueled haze. May not have been the greatest idea for the adults in the car, but driving with three kids at night is pretty amazing! I think we should have changed the time just a smidge, but it’s been almost six years since we’ve done a crazy road trip. And if you have kids I suggest you do them! Never stop doing all the things – eating out at nice restaurants, riding buses and trains….and going on road trips!

Places we visited

           1) Great Lakes Science Center – This was such an awesome experience and this is a Cleveland must see. The kids AND US, had a fantastic time. The second level with the hands-on exhibits were the hit of the day and we spent a couple hours exploring and touching everything up there. We loved it!! They currently have a Lego exhibit downstairs, as part of their rotating exhibits. The Science Center is also home to the John Glenn NASA Visitor’s Center, which has space exhibits and interactive lessons for the kids.

 learning to land the Mars Rover…

 time to land the Space Shuttle

 learning about how wind affects your plane’s movements…

 daddy and his bestie, posing with the boys…

 one of my favorite things to do….I sort of did this one…sort of…


2. La Dolce Vita (Little Italy) – I wish would could have spent more time in Little Italy. I wanted to walk around to each restaurant and bakery and taste something, but I’m glad we chose this place. I’m still dreaming of the fruit dessert they brought us. The staff was amazing, a real home-town Italian family feel. I felt right at home! Take me back!!! But seriously, look at this pasta?

I was so full but I couldn’t stop eating it!!!

3. Presti’s Bakery (Little Italy) – we stopped to grab some Macaroons and some Tiramisu for later! Basically heaven. They also have a fantastic little deli and coffee shop, but I literally had no room.

look at this adorable street and building? I really wished we had had more time to explore.
Check out Little Italy’s website for yourself and put it on your list!

4. Geraci’s Restaurant – Of course, on our Cleveland food trek we had to find one place on the Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives list. I try to hit up one place whenever we go to a new place. We chose another Italian place, because why not! The place was great, nice atmosphere, super clean bathrooms (an important detail when you have kids), but they are a cash-only business so be prepared for that. I would say overall it wasn’t the best place I’d ever been and I probably wouldn’t go back. But, in all fairness we just had the pizza and didn’t try much else from the menu. Their meatballs, which they are famous for are really good however.

5. Mootown Creamery – And then we had the best ice cream in all the land guys! I mean, seriously this stuff was good!! Go, and you can thank me later.

The next blog post will be all about the

The Christmas Story House and Museum!!
Stay Tuned!!!
Have you been to Cleveland? We are going to head there again soon so we want to hear all the things we should do!!!
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Sunday Social – Week 57

Sunday Social

Happy Sunday peeps…its been a little while since I linked up with Ashley and Neely for Sunday Social, so why not jump back in and start off the week right.  I’m also excited to say I just made #34 on Circle of Mom’s Top Military Mom Blogs.  Didn’t make the Top 25 this year, but the competition was pretty amazing.  Some wonderful military mom blogs made the list.  You should go check out out.

Okay, now on to the fun stuff!!!

1. What is the best trip you’ve ever been on? 

Gosh that is tough.  The hubby and I have had the opportunity to go on a couple really amazing trips, including our cross-country move.  I think two of my favorite trips we’ve taken was to (Ashley’s stomping ground!!) Oklahoma City and also to Savannah, GA.  We went for some military conferences and we got to go without the kids.  It was pretty amazing.  Two places that I never would have thought I would go and probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to otherwise.

OKC baseball
leaving a note at the OKC bombing memorial

of course, had to go to Toby Keith’s

2. what is your best idea for a girl’s weekend trip?

I think going to Las Vegas would be pretty awesome with just girls, or a night on the town in San Francisco.  I’ve never been on a girl’s trip before, so I think I would be super thrilled about any trip!  LOL!

3. what is your best idea for a couple’s trip? 

Well, for me, any trip with just the hubby is pretty awesome.  Like I mentioned before we have had the opportunity to take some trips by ourselves.  Our honeymoon to Hawaii was pretty awesome as well.  I think anything at the beach is the perfect couple’s trip.  Just something low-key and simple.  No TV, no phones, no computers.  That’s what I love.

4. what is the best vacation on the cheap

Okay, so this week’s questions are great!  The absolute best idea for a vacation on the cheap is a staycation.  Get yourself a no frills hotel in town and experience where you live.  Hubby just recently returned from some time away (more on that later) and we are blessed with some pretty amazing friends who told us to get a room (LOL) and stayed at our house with our kids for a night.   We stayed in the heart of DC and hung out.  We were like tourists in our own city and I loved it.  We just were with each other, hung out, walked, went to dinner, had breakfast in bed. It was truly lovely.

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Hanging out with Kermit and The Wicked Witch at the Smithsonian American History Museum

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WWII Memorial, Washington, DC

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Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
5. What is the place you most want to visit
I really really really want to go to Europe…..very badly.  Hubby has already been (cuz I’m an amazing wife) and I really want to go.  Just to experience everything.  It seems like a dream….and I’m totally doing the whole rose colored glasses/Sabrina thing.  But I really can’t help myself.  I think about it all the time.  silly girl.

can’t wait to read what everyone else has to say.  And if you’re a new follower make sure to let me know!!!!

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