Thursday, September 22, 2016

{Disney} Cape May Cafe, pool time, this and that around the resort

(Day 6)

If you are staying at either the Beach Club or the Yacht Club, I would highly recommend breakfast at Cape May Cafe.  This is a character meal, served buffet style, and the only character meal this restaurant offers.  It is not open for lunch. Dinner here, while also buffet, does not have characters.  The breakfast buffet consisted of a fairly wide selection of food items, similar to Chef Mickey's.


This meal is technically called Minnie's Beach Bash Breakfast, starring Minnie, Goofy and Donald all dressed in beachy attire.    




We thoroughly enjoyed our meal here.  The food was tasty, the characters friendly and the restaurant was in a convenient location for us.  After eating we meandered back to our rooms to change into swimsuits as our main agenda item for the day was POOL TIME.  I don't have any pool photos from that morning because I was in the pool myself and I'd left my camera in the room.  This was the one day of our vacation, aside from the day we arrived and the day we were leaving, where we didn't visit one of the parks.  It was a nice break and we all appreciated the time to relax.


When planning for this vacation, Day 6 was the one day I struggled with where to eat our meals.  Sometimes we do plan to just wing it, but I didn't know how winging it for two meals in a row during a non-park day would work out.  Especially seeing that we had dined at the quick service poolside kiosk the night before.  For lunch, we decided to take a walk over to the Boardwalk and see what they had to offer.  We did come across several dining options and picked up some sandwiches from the bakery next to the new ice cream place.



Beach Club


The real feel temperature on this day (and all the others) was 106.  Give or take a degree or two.  Yes, we swam and swam and swam. . .

~ To be continued

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The call of the ocean



When you realize it's a long way down.















I know, I know.  Everyone's all about pumpkin this and pumpkin that and apple picking and leaves that have already changed color, but technically it's still summer.  With 90% humidity.  (Confession:  we've picked apples because waiting means mangy leftovers and I've admired the colorful leaves and I don't mind that it's much cooler at night because our central air remains busted.)  At the beginning of the summer, Rich and I committed to exploring and getting out more and I feel like we made that happen.  We're drawn to the ocean with its salty air and lapping waves.  (Trust me, you learn to get over the sand that can never be fully removed from your car.)  This may have been our last beach day of the year.  Beach day defined as wearing swimsuits and actually swimming in the ocean.  Fortunately, for us, the Cape is beautiful year-round.  We'll be back soon.      

Sunday, September 18, 2016

{Disney} Hollywood Studios and an extremely delicious lunch

(Day 5)

Before we could leave our resort rooms for the day, we needed to pack up all of our suitcases and bags, and say good-bye to the Contemporary.  This was probably the one negative of our split stay.  Note that Disney does make it very easy for you to split stay.  Bell Services will come to your room, pick up your luggage and transport it for free (you just need to tip) to the next Disney resort.  After that was all said and done, we headed down to the bus stop.


Our bus experience was similar to that of the day before.  We didn't have to wait long and the bus was practically empty.


We kicked our day (or partial day) of fun with Tower of Terror.  Grammy sat that one out.  The girls enjoyed it, after all the screaming.  Anna commented how it felt like she had been flying.  We had just enough time to squeeze in a meet and greet with Olaf (new!) before our lunch reservations.


This was our first time dining at The Hollywood Brown Derby.  From my research online, including reviews, I was aware that guests should be dressed slightly on the nicer side with men wearing collared shirts, such as a polo shirt.  So I made Rich pack and wear a polo shirt with a real feel temperature of 106 and not one other male guest in that restaurant was wearing a collar.




The food here was outstanding.  I ordered the Cobb salad and it was one of the best Cobb salads I've ever eaten.  I went with the smaller appetizer size because I had planned to order dessert but then some people wanted dessert and some people wanted to wait for dessert so I didn't end up ordering dessert here.  But here's what they were offering. . .


We digested as we watched Indiana Jones.


And then it was time for the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.  OMG.  We hadn't been on this ride before, mainly because the girls have always been too short.  Anna was just over the required height of 48 inches.  Rich and I first rode it with Emily and Anna.  Allie waited with Grammy and after her Expedition Everest experience, said she wasn't sure she wanted to go on this.  Well, she decided she didn't want to miss out so I rode it again with her.  I have to say that it's scarier the second time around knowing exactly what's coming your way. We ended our time at Hollywood Studios watching the Beauty and the Beast stage show.

Instead of walking to the Yacht Club, we rode the boat.  Swimming would have been a quicker option.  We checked into our rooms and headed over to the pools to swim and eat dinner.  The quick service restaurant located by the pool has decent dining options.



We spent a lot of time in the pool.  The girls loved the water slide.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Some meals from last week

Wow, this week really flew by.  I can't believe it's already Friday.  The girls aren't allowed to watch any television during the week.  There really is no time or need for it and they always jump right into playing as soon as they complete their homework.  It will be interesting to see if they ask to watch tv this afternoon.

Anyway, here are three meals that I cooked last week:


These crustless mini egg frittatas are fairly simple to make.  You really are just beating eggs and mixing in veggies, herbs and cheeses.  The meal was fairly successful but a few lessons were learned, as always.  It may eat up time but allowing the girls to pick their fillings and/or making a variety will ensure greater success.  I made two different frittatas this time - basil leaves, parmesan cheese and diced tomatoes in one, feta cheese, spinach and diced tomatoes in the other.  I have one kid who does not like tomatoes but she ate the spinach.  Instead of having her pick the frittata apart to take out the tomatoes, I'll make her one without.


I love these mini meatballs but the whole process is fairly time consuming.  I finished some of the prep while the girls were in school.  The meatballs are cooked in a frying pan with some EVOO and then dropped into a big saucepan.  Some of them fall apart so the sauce becomes almost like a meat sauce.  The girls had theirs with pasta (they taste-tested the squash) while I ate mine with spaghetti squash.  This was my first time cooking spaghetti squash and it was really simple to make.  Admittedly, I was skeptical as to how it would taste.  I am not a squash-lover.  Here's the deal - mix up that spaghetti squash with the pasta sauce and you won't have any idea that you are eating squash.

Let's talk about the cost of eating healthy for a minute.  I'm very interested in how some keep their grocery bills so low.  I've seen a few budget grocery shoppers state that they only shop the outer aisles of the store, which translated means "we don't eat your processed crap."  This spaghetti squash cost $4.69 and would not have been big enough to feed my family.  I would have needed two of them, for a total cost of over $9.  It costs me $1 to buy a box of dry pasta, which is more than enough to feed my entire family.  I never cook an entire box of pasta for one meal.  If the kids want grapes, that's $4+ for a bag.  You want your kids to drink organic milk, that'll be $3.99 for a half gallon.  It's expensive.


When I asked for meal ideas for the week, Rich asked for tacos.  With meat.  So I cooked up only a half pound of meat and roasted a head of cauliflower.  I decided to eat lettuce wraps while everyone else had tacos.  Allie did have one lettuce wrap with her tacos.  

Note:  I know my food photography is not outstanding and I'm feeling self conscious because of it.  Honestly, I'm slapping the food onto a plate so we can eat.  Think of it as real life food photography.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My life as a dance mom and afternoon routines


Last week was an easy one with only a few days of school and dance.  And no homework, unless you count all the paperwork I had to complete.  I only had to cover two books, and I was surprised at how effortlessly my hands went through the motions.  Apparently, the act of covering a book was deeply ingrained within my refluxes during my years of schooling.  So, anyway, the real deal hit us this week.  I quickly established a routine for after we walk in the door from school as I know all to well how easy it is to fall into a chaotic situation.

The first to-do for the girls is to place their lunch boxes on the kitchen counter so I can clean out the food containers.  Next up is homework.  For this week, it appears that they will only have a math sheet and their nightly reading.  They each have a reading log and must read (books, magazine, etc of their choice) for a minimum of 20 minutes a day.  I don't really consider this to be homework as they already read for at least 20 minutes each night.  That's a routine we established from the get-go, years and years ago.  And what's wonderful about that is how it's become a habit and is not forced at all.  (Wish we could say the same for math homework.)

I review their math homework, which takes less than ten minutes for them to complete, and then we go over anything that is incorrect.  They learned multiplication at the end of last year and that is continuing into this year.  By the end of the year, they need to have their multiplication tables memorized, so they will be spending a short amount of time (even just five minutes) each day reviewing multiplication facts.  I even made up special flash cards that have little rhymes or tricks for remembering certain facts.  For example, 8 x 8 is 64 now shut the door.  I swear that's how I learned when I was in elementary school!

It looks like spelling homework will be introduced next week.  Allie and Anna also have to complete at least three activities each week related to the book(s) they are reading at home.  These aren't overly taxing.  For example, one of them is to list three words that describe a character in the book.

I quickly learned that on the nights the girls have dance, I need to cook a simple meal.  I've been preparing what I can while they are in school to reduce my time in the kitchen later but some meals just take a looong time to make.

As I was rummaging through a basket of outgrown dance shoes last week, I came across a pair of ballet slippers from the girls' very first year of dance.  So tiny!


And look at them now. Well, two of them.  I have one who cooperates on her own schedule.