Wednesday, January 29, 2020

What's Up Wednesday: January 2020

It's the first What's Up Wednesday of 2020. Whoooo hoooo!!!
image from here

What we're eating this week... All the comfort food -- tuna noodle casserole, curried affair, tacos. After eating so much fancy, incredibly good food on our cruise, it's been nice to get back to the basics! Also, I'm trying to up my fruit intake because while I enjoyed fruit at breakfast on the cruise, I didn't eat it at other meals. Apples, peaches, and pears -- oh my! Honestly though, as I've been writing this post, I've been eating a bowl of popcorn :)
What I'm reminiscing about... All the fun we had on our Disney cruise with my mom and dad last week. I am going to be blogging about it (you can read the first cruise post here), but we cruised on the Disney Wonder out of San Juan, Puerto Rico and visited Aruba, Antigua, Bonaire, and Curacao. I already want to go back!!!

What I'm loving... We participated in Fish Extenders on our cruise and got some really nice gifts.
All the magnets on our door were Fish Extender gifts. We also got a beach bag that I love and a fleece blanket which has "Disney Wonder" embroidered on it.

What we've been up to... Getting back to reality after a fun week and a half of vacation. I'm scheduled to work three days this week (with a potential fourth day) so around that I'm trying to do laundry and continue the unpacking process. Fun times! I might have told Dave last night that dirty laundry wasn't allowed to exist until I'd caught up on the six loads from vacation :) We'll see how that plan goes...

What I'm dreading... I found out the day we got back that the store where we've bought coffee for almost five years is closing at the end of May :( I'm so sad about this. It's a store where they sell fair trade products and I'm still in shock. If you've been reading around here for any amount of time, you'll know that I don't do change well so I'll have to buy enough coffee for at least six months to allow me to find a new store.

What I'm working on... Well, it looks like I need to start working on our Disney Cruise photo book. Yay! I love making photo books on Shutterfly as a way of documenting our memories. I'm also working on blog posts about all our cruise fun.

What I'm excited about... Only 24 more days until my beloved Blue Jays are playing again. Whooo hooo!!!
Take me out to the ball game
Take me out with the crowd...

What I'm watching/reading... Well mostly I've been watching the snow and wondering why it's not the ocean. Ha! (Can you tell I'm still in cruise mode?!) Other than that, it's been watching the piles of (thankfully clean) laundry grow, waiting for me to fold them. Or put them away, if they're folded.
Me reading on my e-reader on the adult deck 
while Sam and Rachel were at the kids' clubs.
I read quite a few books on my Kobo e-reader on our vacation and I quite liked it. I just got my first e-reader a few weeks ago so there are parts of it I'm still getting used to. I do like the flexibility of being able to get either a hard copy or e-copy of a book, depending on what is available first.

What I'm listening to... Silence! One thing I find about Disney cruises is that there is always noise -- music playing, big parties going on, people having fun. I'm really enjoying the quiet of our house -- even though it's not as much fun, there's not constant noise going on.

What I'm wearing... Socks. Boots. Mittens. Winter gear again :( I loved wearing shorts and t-shirts and swimsuits last week. And my summer hat which I'm still loving.
Me sitting on a beach in Aruba just seven short days ago. Sigh.

What I'm doing this weekend... I'll probably still be unpacking and folding laundry. Ha! It would be nice to have a low-key weekend and I think that's what we have up -- besides the usual church-synagogue-dance routine that always defines our weekends. Also, randomly last night, Sam offered to make lunch for all of us on Sunday so we'll see how that goes...!

What I'm looking forward to next month... I started a new job in December (you can read more about it here) and I was supposed to get trained to work in libraries about a week after I started. However, that training was cancelled, and I had to miss the re-scheduled date because of our cruise. I'm excited that I will finally get the library training in February so I can work at more locations. Yay!!!

What else is new... I think that's about it. We're just trying to catch up on sleep and get re-settled back into a (somewhat) regular routine around here. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Disney Cruise Bucket List

We got back from our amazing Disney Cruise on Sunday night and I am still trying to organize my thoughts (and pictures! I took over 1,000 pictures and I don't know how many more Dave took. This trip was well documented!). To give you a small taste of what we did, today I am talking about the Ultimate Disney Cruise Bucket List which I found on Pinterest (and added to. Ha!). I've only included things that we actually did.

1) Kick off your cruise with the Sailing Away deck party.

I have fond memories of this from our first cruise. Sadly, this time the weather meant that the party moved indoors and we ended up watching from the 5th deck. It was not fun, Rachel started crying, and we left about ten minutes into it. Boo.

2) Do a scavenger hunt for hidden Mickeys on board.

While we didn't do this officially, it was pretty fun to find them when we could :)

3) Get fancy on formal night. 

4) Deck out your cabin door.
We participated in a magnet Fish Extender so we got 
some amazing magnets throughout the week.

5) Take the Art of the Theme show ship tour.
I convinced Dave to do this tour with me and he was glad I did. We learned about how the ship was designed, interesting facts about Disney, and various other nerdy things which I loved. This picture shows that the fifth floor (top one in this photo) is designed with lower ceilings and smaller portholes so that kids feel like it's their floor. This is where the kids clubs and the nursery are located.

6) Do Disney trivia with other shipmates.

We did this to 90s Music and I thought Dave would kick butt. However, someone scored 50/50. I really wish we would have known about the 80s Music night. I would have rocked it!!! Ha!

7) Get your drawing animated over dinner at Animator's Palate.
In the left picture the drawings are (from left to right) Dave's, Rachel's and Sam's. The last one is a stranger's. In the right picture the second last one is mine and the last one is my mom's.
You can see our names as animators in about the middle :)

8) Hang something special on your fish extender.

9) Take a class on towel art.
This was so much fun. If you come to our house, expect to see some fancy towels!

10) Dress up for one of the ship's themed days.

11) Watch the adorable Diaper Dash in the lobby atrium.
Watching this made Dave and I wish we had a nine month old. One baby sat at the start line and cried, one baby crawled into the audience, another baby kept taking sitting breaks. It was so hilarious!!!

12) Watch your favorite Disney movie at the ship's indoor theater.

Dave and I saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It was amazing!

13) Get a souvenir on your port excursion.

You know I got myself a mug :) And we may have picked up a thing (or more!) for our travel wall.

14) Attend a themed event like Pirates in the Caribbean. Dance on board at a deck party.
Even Sam had fun! Ha!
 Rachel (bottom left) on the big screen.
She was up front the whole time with her new BFF, Sophia.

15) Take a photo with Mickey and Minnie in their cruise attire.

16) Make friends with a Disney cruise veteran.

Our Facebook group was so fun. We had a few meetups and we met some great people, some of whom were on their fifteenth (or more!) Disney cruise. 

17) Get a character's autograph.

18) Take time to talk to the captain or crew members.
Sam and Rachel with Captain Henry. 

19) Connect with cruise-goers on your Wave phone.

We used the Wave phone (Disney provided phone) more than ever. Including one night when I accidentally called my parents after midnight. Ooops :(

20) Sip on one of the themed drinks of the day.

Dave did this on Pirate night. I can't remember what he had, but it had rum in it and tasted pretty good :) 

21) Buy exclusive Disney Cruise paraphernalia at the souvenir shops.

I didn't actually buy anything specific from the shop this time but we did get a Disney Cruise Christmas ornament and Dave got a new cruise mug. (I may have turned him to the dark side of "mugs as souvenirs." Hahaha!!!

22) Marathon On Demand Disney movies in your cabin.

The kids watched "Lady and the Tramp" one afternoon while Dave and I had naps, so I'm counting this one as achieved :)

23) Say "see ya real soon" at the trip's closing performance.

Rachel wanted to go to this but unfortunately, it started at 10:15 on the last night and right before it started, she decided she was too tired and needed to go to bed. I agreed with her (wholeheartedly, I might add) and we missed it. I wish this party had happened a little earlier so we could have seen it.

24) Relax on the 18-and-over deck.

25) Enjoy a Mickey-cinno at Cove Café.
I hope this gives you a small taste of some of the fun we had. Trip recaps coming soon. As I write this post, Dave is working on getting his pictures ready to send to me so I have lots to go through. Plus you know, doing laundry, grocery shopping, remembering how to cook again, and possibly somewhere in there, working :)

*You can read about Day 1 here.

Friday, January 24, 2020

All About Sam, 2020

A few days ago I gave you All About Rachel 2020. Here is All About Sam. You can read about the last time I did this with Sam (in 2019) here. As always, the comments in italics are mine.
photo by Tessa

What is your name? Sam

How old are you? Is this a trick question? Ten! (He seriously asked me if it was a trick question!)

What is your favourite colour? Red

Who is your best friend? I don't know. Griffin, Benji, Chase, Ollie and Marcus.

What is your favourite animal?  Cats

What is your favourite movie? I don't know. I don't really have one.

What is your favourite book? Uuuuummmm... Warriors series. (He's like me. He really didn't want to pick one!)

What is your favourite food? Tacos.

What is your favourite song? I don't know. Imagine Dragons. I have favourite artists but not an actual favourite song.

What makes you happy? Baseball. (When I asked if it was playing or watching, he replied, "Both!")

What makes you sad? I don't know.

What is your favourite game? Minecraft.

Can you write your name for me?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

All About Rachel, 2020

This is a quiz I found around the blogosphere in January of 2012. The last time I did this with Rachel was in February 2019 (see that post here). Let's see how things have changed! As in previous years, the only things I have added are the clarifications in italics. Enjoy!

photo by Tessa

What is your name? Rachel Katie "My Last Name" "Dave's Last Name" (Both our kids have my last name, which I kept, as a second middle name.)

How old are you? Eight

What is your favourite colour? Blue and green

Who is your best friend? Katie and Erin from school (I'd never heard her mention these friends before I asked her this question. Maybe Erin has come up once or twice.), Sydney and Morgan and Leah from dance

What is your favourite animal? bunnies and arctic fox (Dave and I weren’t surprised by the “bunnies” answer but the “arctic fox” one was a shock!)

What is your favourite movie? Frozen 2

What is your favourite book? Guinness Book of World Records (She basically loves anything that is odd facts right now. She also reads a lot of "Werid But True" books.)

What is your favourite food? KD with peas and tuna; Spanish rice; pancakes and waffles and grilled cheese and tomato soup

What is your favourite song? Into the Unknown, Lost in the Woods, Show Yourself, All Is Found (all from Frozen 2); It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere (by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet), Sailor's Rest (by Stan Rogers), Rocketman, Imagine Dragons songs, Old Town Road

What makes you happy? Sammy (Her nickname for Sam, which she uses sometimes when she's being silly.)

What makes you sad? It's sort of hard to decide.

What is your favourite game? Speed (I think Sam taught her this game the night before I asked her this question. Ha!)

Can you write your name for me?

Monday, January 20, 2020

How I Pack

If you follow me on Instagram, you will see that we headed off on a trip last week. We flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico where we enjoyed a few days before we boarded a seven day cruise on the Disney Wonder with my parents! AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! We're so excited!!! Dave and I booked this cruise back in October 2018 so we've been looking forward to this for 476 days (or thereabouts!).

Today we're stopping in Antigua so I'm pretty excited!!!

So anyways, I've been packing for about the last two weeks, and in the summer, some bloggers I read shared about "how we pack." I thought it was interesting to read other people's posts on this, and since we travel quite a bit, I spend a lot of time packing (and unpacking). So I thought I'd share my process with you, in case you're like me and also find this interesting.
About two weeks ahead of time, I started gathering odds and ends in a laundry basket.
Then I started laying out piles on the guest room bed, sorted by person.
I had a separate spot for “day of” travel clothes, if that makes sense. We each needed only one “warmer outfit.”
The piles are getting bigger, We added in shoes, and miscellaneous items are on a different table. This was a more involved packing job because of the number of different things required (fancier clothes for dinners, princess and pirate costumes, etc).
The travel day outfits, and pjs and first day outfits for carry on, are more complete. (This was two days before we left.)
I always give a warning for about two days before that I am doing the last loads of laundry. We pick out outfits we’re not going to wear on our trip to wear for the last couple of days at home. When I fold, I then put the travel items in a separate laundry basket.
Dave added dress shirts to the laundry basket as well.
We try to pack the night before we leave. I also have a laundry basket to clear away items we decide not to take with us.
Everything fits in the suitcase. (Not pictured: two small carryons with pjs and clothes for a couple of days and some miscellaneous gifts.) Also, I pack the suitcase in outfits by day. So at the top are outfits for each of us and hopefully nobody’s clothes end up all at the bottom!
Once we’re pretty packed, I make lists of last minute items — stuffed animals and blankets for the kids’ small carryons and anything I need to make sure Dave has packed (chargers, kids’ toothpaste and toothbrushes, etc).
Once everything is checked off the lists, we’re ready to go! Whooo hooo!!!
What we took for our trip — one checked bag, 
two larger carryons, and four smaller carryons.

For shorter trips, or trips where we are wearing our travel clothes every day I only pack about two days before we leave and put everything on our bed upstairs. This trip was different because we are wearing winter clothes but took only summer clothes so there was more organization required.

I have to say, while I love traveling, packing (although somewhat exciting) is more stressful for me. I am hoping to get some packing cubes in the near future because I’ve heard good things about them.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

#tbt: Glow Gardens

I had originally intended to write this post in the week before Christmas but, as we've already discussed, not much blogging happened that week. Ooops. We decided to kick off our holidays by going to Glow Gardens in Toronto. Basically it is a big indoor light extravaganza. According to the website, there were over half a million lights used. It was so pretty. This year there were about seven locations in Canada and two in the US. So Google Glow Gardens next year and see if there might be one near you.

We hit major traffic on the highway. It was because there had been a big accident on the other side the night before. Traffic was so backed up that people were pulling U-turns on a major highway to exit. I’ve never seen that on the 401 before!

The first thing we did was ride bouncy moose. The kids had a blast here, and honestly, so did the grown ups!!!
There were fun swings to go on and they were constantly changing colours. I found them very relaxing.

We went with friends of ours and the kids had a great time playing.

I LOVED the Icicle Forest. It was so fun!

They had fun photo frames to take pictures with. We enjoyed that!

    I loved seeing all the different light displays.
Did I mention there were over half a million lights?

Our whole family enjoyed the Cinderella carriage!!!

One thing that was really fun was that they had a pile of HUGE stuffed bears. The kids (and grownups) had a lot of fun being buried in, or snuggling with, the bears. 
There were a ton of opportunities for family pictures
and we took advantage of most of them!

I loved the Glow Tunnel.

We really enjoyed our time at Glow. It was a fun way to kick off the holidays. And it was a photographer’s dream!

PS. Due to some unusual circumstances, I mostly wrote this post on Dave’s phone. This also explains the weird picture sizing. This is not my favourite method of blogging.