Celebrating the Holidays at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

We had such a blast during out visit to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween (even with getting poured on!), that I was trilled when the opportunity to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party arose. I was so eager to check out the Magic Kingdom all decked out in it’s Christmas best.

And the timing could not be better, as we went the night before Autumn’s 4th birthday, so she thought we were the best parents ever taking her to Disney World for her birthday. Sure! Unlike last time’s surprise, we warned her this time that we were going, so she told everyone within shouting distance that she was going to Disney as well for the week leading up to it. Repeatedly.

Thankfully we made good time and only had to hear ‘are we there yet’ 1,000 times and not a 1,000,000! ha!  But, of course, she started to scream with excitement in the car once she saw the Mickey Pylon that is visible at the exit you take for Celebration on I-4.  ‘I SEE MICKEY!!!!!!!!”

 

 

Before we knew it we were on the ferry to the Magic Kingdom.

One of the Captains gave her a sticker and called her a princess. Stuff like that is just so awesome.

And then heading into the park for an awesome time!!!!

I just can’t get over the charm that is all over the park. From the moment you get to the entrance you are welcomed with holiday decor. Main Street USA is heavily decorated for the holiday season with candy canes, wreathes, ornaments, soldiers

We arrived when they were doing the Flag Retreat service, which was really cool to see. Especially since it was the first time Autumn had seen anything like that. She stood there quietly, watching the service with her hand over her heart.

We are counting down ’till Christmas. Are you?!

There is a perfect photo opportunity by City Hall that everyone should check out.

 

And of course you can’t pass up the chance to take a selfie in front of the castle!

One of the best things about these parties is that the lines for the rides virtually disappear and you are able to get on the rides almost instantly. Autumn and I went on The Little Mermaid ride, which is a favorite of ours, just by walking right in. No line, no wait! Then Price and Autumn went on the Aladdin ride and then on the It’s a Small World ride.

 

While we were by the Aladdin ride, we bought Dole Whips!! Actually, we got a Dole Float, which is the pineapple whip topped cup of pineapple juice, and a *new* Pineapple Upside Down Cake that is topped with Dole Whip.  Both amazing and give life meaning.

Yeah, we like Dole Whips that much…

 

Autumn isn’t such a big fan of cold treats so she didn’t like the Dole Whip that much (fine, more for me!!!!), but she was thrilled about getting cookies and drinks around the park at the various locations where they have blow up candy stick markers.

There are 6 locations for these treats throughout the park. We only stopped at a few but they were all yummy.

Even more thrilling was telling us that she wasn’t sharing as she jammed the cookies into her mouth. It was all for drama as we all had our own cookies and she does share well but she just loves to say she isn’t sharing, esp when it comes to food. She is like Joey from Friends.

While the Dole Whip treats and holiday treats were enjoyable, they were not very filling, so we decided to stop for a bit to enjoy some food and drinks. We wanted it to be quick and affordable so Price and I split an order of beef nachos ($12.49) from Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café in Frontierland. I trashed them up by covering them with just about every topping at the toppings bar to make them even more filling and delicious.

While we gobbled them up we watched the clock in hopes of getting to the 7.40pm show time for Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration (7.40, 9.25, 10.30, 11.55pm)at the Castle Forecourt Stage. We missed the first few minutes of it, but Price and Autumn still snuck in on the side and had a great view on all the dancing.

 

After that, we hung around so that Autumn could see the gang from Frozen in the A Frozen Holiday Wish show (8.15pm).  Since this is the only showing of this show I suggest making this a priority of the night, especially if you kids like the Frozen movie.

Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf come for a visit and has a  gift to the kingdom, Elsa transform the castle into a icy winter palace with her powers. It’s really pretty awesome.

Autumn was in complete awe!

There was some chanting as part of the Frozen show and she even participated, which she hardly ever does so she was really into it.

 

Soon after the Frozen show was the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade (8.30 and 11.00pm). The parade winds through Adventureland, then Liberty Square, in front of the Castle, and then down Main Street USA. That’s a lot of fun Christmas music, waving, and dancing!

Since having a good spot for the Frozen show was our priority, we didn’t have great spot for a parade, but with Autumn on Price’s shoulders, she still got to see her favorite princesses, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Olaf,

It’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride down Main Street, U.S.A. in “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.” Santa Claus, gingerbread men, elves, reindeer and other friends from the North Pole join Mickey and his pals for the happiest holiday parade.

Since we missed the start of the Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration, Price and Autumn caught the 9.25 showing while I browsed the shops. Basically I want everything from Pandora to make a Little Mermaid bracelet. #disneygoals

Then we met up for Autumn to do some birthday shopping before we left to head home.

We didn’t plan on staying late enough to see the Holiday Wishes Fireworks that start at 10pm, but we were having such a wonderful time that we caught some of the fireworks that light up the skies above Cinderella Castle timed with holiday music as we were waiting for the ferry ride back to the parking lot.

Unfortunately, we had missing packing up a key piece in our stroller set up that allows the use of the 2nd seat. So, again, we were piggy backing Autumn across the parking lot. But this time, she was not freaking out with excitement, but was utterly exhausted. And so were we.

Our shoulders and backs were killing us the next day but it was all worth it.

Mickey certainly knows how to throw a Merry Celebration!!!

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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party runs through December 22nd

Tickets are available select nights, making the park close earlier than normal for this ‘private’ event. You do not need to purchase general admission to the park to attend this event.  Tickets start at $89.00

You can purchase tickets HERE.

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While I was invited to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party with my family for free, all opinions are my own.

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Happy Friendsgiving 2017

I love that we found such a great group of friends since moving to Florida.

We just clicked and it works so well with kids all around the same age (5 and under). The kids all play together and we get to hang and talk fun things like crappy sleep, endless weekend to do lists, and boob jobs we dream of. Ah mom life! ha!

Well, we divided up the holidays and hosting duties throughout the year.

Molly and Aaron got Friendsgiving, so we headed over to their house on Saturday with a giant tray of Sausage & Mushroom Stuffing and some booze in hand to hang out with friends while getting stuffed on some really awesome food!

 

They created really cute Thankful cards for each of the kids and gave them crayons to color in a big picture together. It was a good activity for the kids, besides the regular running around and screaming they always do.

Hunter’s future girlfriend Mila… so sweet and squishy. I love fresh babies.

Hunter was thrilled just to hang out with everyone. Also, nom on some blocks.

I did my typical Thanksgiving thing and not eat any turkey but just stuff myself on all the sides.

I realized that my sweet potatoes need work. The ones that Dolly brought were out of this world. They were so incredibly creamy, mine are never like that. But I did rock the stuffing that I brought so at least there is that! I am good with my stuffing skills, but I need to work on things for my sweet potatoes.

 

 

The kids finally wound down and watched a movie.

Ahh, so many girls. The few boys are going to be in trouble in this group!

The ladies stayed in and talked and talked and the guys went outside to build a fire n the fire pit and hang there.

Well, I’d say that the night was a big success!

Can’t wait for our next group party… Dolly & Rocky’s Ugly Sweater Party!!

 

Happy Birthday Autumn @ 4 years old

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I simply snapped this picture while you were waiting for Poppy to come over for your birthday to give you your presents, but it’s a new favorite.

It shows off your personality perfectly.

You are eagerly waiting for presents, because you have zero chill. Yet, you still look cool and fun. I think it captures your free spirit.  You won’t let us do your hair but you need to have sunnies around at all times for style and for the sun that bothers your eyes. The TV sometimes bothers them too, so it’s cute seeing you wear them in the house when you first get up.

I think you barely go a day without wearing something related to Disney, but it’s just so cute how you love the princesses just as much as you love Mickey and the Roadster Racers. But we don’t tell Disney Jr how you are also in love with Paw Patrol and Shimmer and Shine. shhhh, your secret is safe with me!

You are insanely smart. You easily identity colors, shapes, letters, colors, animals, and so much more. You are quick to point things out, and eager to continue to learn more and more.

However, you do not enjoy playing by yourself. You would be happy to watch youtube or TV allllll day if we let you (we do not!) but the moment the TV is off you are like “but who is gonna play with me?!?!” Dare we suggest that you color by yourself or create some play-doh masterpiece by yourself. HOW DARE WE?!?!? You think its much better that we draw something super complicated like Sophia the First with her horse and rabbit with the sun shinning that you immediately color in vs using the very coloring book that you want us to replicate.

I love how caring you are with Hunter. You are a wonderful big sister. It’s so fun to watch you with him. I know that you will continue to do a great job of holding him, helping him get toys, and helping me out with him. We just need to work on you not being so loud around him, or me.

There are moments when my frustration with you is ripping my head up when you are not patient or really, really loud, but those moments pass quickly as you have me quickly cracking up with some exaggerated expression or response to me. I know I should take you seriously when you roll my eyes at me, but it’s the cutest thing ever. Omg, when you nail being sarcastic… perfect!

I keep catching myself seeing you in the future, like in the picture above. There are these moments when you are looking so mature and I see you 10 years in the future and it breaks my heart and excites me at the same time. I don’t love how fast.

I am looking forward to everything this next year brings.

I love you so much!

Love,

Mom

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Currently…

you love “teacher beans”, carrots in chicken soup, but not the chicken, Doritos, making smoothies with me, rice, pasta, hot dogs, waffles, peas, corn, coconut water, and any excuse for “sessert” even when I tell you we don’t have dessert every day, it’s a special thing. You don’t like sharing food. We can play around pretending to steal your food until you don’t think it’s funny anymore and are like “cool it guys, it’s MINE!!!!!!”

symnastics (gymnastics) is your favorite thing. classes on Tuesday night make your week. You can do headstands against the wall with little effort. Your cartwheel needs a lot of work, but we can’t tell you that. At least your enthusiasm is 110%

You battle us at bedtime. You really shouldn’t be napping so long during the day, but it is what it is since you are at daycare, since it makes bedtime a struggle when you aren’t too tired, but need to bed to have enough sleep. And you sneak into our bed most nights, esp. since Hunter was born.

You weigh about 29 pounds. You generally wear 3T with some 2T and 4T in the mix as well.

Owl is still your favorite stuffed animal, but not the original owl since his eyes got beat up in the washer/dryer and you do NOT like them. You won’t let us wash this owl so I keep spraying it with monster spray (night time essential oils) to keep it smelling fresh. Also, I hope the oils will mellow you out at night too

“What did you say?” you say that in the cuuuuutest way when you missed what we said. It’s kinda excited and confused and all just one word at the same time.

You are not a cuddlier. Well, only when you know we will kick you out of our bed and then you want to cuddle. sneaky! And you still don’t like covers either.

Dear Hunter @ 5 months

November 2017

Dear Hunter,

Or maybe I should call you Alfalfa! You have 1 long dark hair that stands up in the middle of your head. We smooth it down but it tends to pop back up again. The rest of your hair is much finer, and is more slowly coming in, while this single strand of hair has a mind of its own. It’s really barely noticeable so I don’t cut it, plus I’m sorta interested in how long it will actually get.

You have 99% gotten better from being sick. It just took 4 doctors visits and a 10 course with a nebulizer, but you so rarely cough now that I am calling it a win.

Even while you were sick you were a champ, everyone at daycare said that you were still so happy and smiley. I get to hear great reports of you playing around, being happy, and even starting to hold your bottle on your own now.

You have mastered rolling over. As soon as we lay you down you twist yourself over and push up to see what is going on, and then you can just as quickly flip back over onto your back. I only wish you wouldn’t do that while I was changing your diaper. It’s like trying to change a gator while in a death roll. I usually give up flipping you onto your back and put the diaper on your which ever way you let me while you are on your side or stomach.

Sleep has been rough since you were sick. You get up multiple times at night still, which is okay except that prior to getting sick you were only up 1x, maybe 2x. There were even nights when you would sleep through. Now I just bring you right into bed and you snuggle up next to me while nursing. You are back to sleep a few minutes later, as am I, but we probably should try to get you back to sleep without that being the routine. It would make things easier for me in some ways (I’d probably still need to get up just to pump then), but I sorta just love it at the same time. It’s so nice getting to snuggle with you.

I’m still so much in awe of your chill personality. You are so relaxed and happy. You do get talkative and loud at times, but you are still so happy when you are loudly blabbering and shreaking away.

Can we please slow down time though? I can’t believe that you will be eating foods and sitting up soon. And then crawling… omg. I can’t handle it all speeding by!

I love you.

Love,

Mommy

PS. SORRY Autumn keeps grabbing your head and hugging you. She loves you, she really does, but it’s not a gentle love. I know you will get back at her soon enough!

 

 

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Cider Salted Caramel Sauce

We got a car!!!!!

More specifically, my husband picked out a certified pre-owned mini-van. He got it Friday night and now I’m in love with it.

I loved our Rav 4, but it wasn’t going to work out for us long term with 2 kids and 2 dogs. We are active with friends and family so then we can’t travel with any of them. Sure, someone could squeeze between 2 car seats but that’s not too fun. And, what do we do if we want to bring one of the kids friends with us for something? We certainly wouldn’t be able to get 3 carseats/booster seats in the back.

So now we have a Honda Odyssey that has more cup holders in it than I know what to do with. Seriously, that is what I snapped to Amanda when I first got into it. And, of course, my husband is like, enough with the cup holders! Do you actually like it?!?!?” Yes, I love it. It’s so great.

Now I need to find the perfect political bumper stickers to slap on there. And I need a Vineyard Vines’ pink whale on it. Isn’t that just perfect? The preppiest bumper sticker ever with a “Pod Loves America” sticker?! HAHAHA

Anyway… cinnamon rolls!!!!

 

Guys, I learned something very valuable the first time that I made these… don’t put cinnamon in the dough. At least not the quantity that I put in. Cinnamon is acidic and can retard the yeast from getting its bubble on. It rose well-ish over night, but didn’t do another successful rise when rolled out the dough and made the cinnamon rolls. I baked them up anyway just to taste the flavor, which was good,but the texture was horrible.

So, repeat after me, do not put a lot of cinnamon in the dough.

Okay, so now we that all learned something from my fail, let’s make great Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls!!!

Secondly, in my adventures in making a crap ton of cinnamon rolls this year, do not over work the dough, or roll it out too thinly. It breaks up the bubbles in the dough, so keep that in mind when you are making them. You really want to keep the dough to be at least 1/4″ thick.

The apple cider salt caramel sauce is everything on these cinnamon rolls. EVERYTHING.

If nothing else, just make the caramel sauce and put it on everything. But you really need to take the time to follow the instructions. I make this sauce all the time in the fall and once I was rushing and didn’t make the sauce syrupy enough at first and when I added the rest of the ingredients it was a mess. I was sorta able to  salvage it, but just follow the directions and take your time. It’s soooo worth the time babying it.

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Cider Salted Caramel Sauce

Makes 12 cinnamon rolls*

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 1 Cup warm milk (100-110 degrees)
  • 1 packet yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted (but not hot!)
  • 4 Cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Filling

  • 2 large baking apples- cored and then sliced into 1/8″ thick slices
  • 1/2 Cup melted butter
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon

For the Caramel Sauce

  • 2 Cups apple cider
  • 1 Cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 Cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon sea salt

Process

  1. Add the yeast to the warm milk. Let rest for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs, then slowly mix in the warm milk mixture. Add the butter and just mix to combine.
  3. Add in the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a hook attachment, work the dough until combined.
  4. On a well floured work surface, roll the dough into a smooth ball. Add the dough to a large bowl that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Rotate to cover the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let double in size, at least 1 hour.
  5. Once the dough is ready, preheat your oven to 350 F and grease a 9x 13 baking pan.
  6. On a well floured work surface, roll the dough out so it is approximately 14″ x 24″ x 1/4″ thick
  7. Evenly arrange the apple slices on the dough in rows along the entire length of the dough. Keep the apple slices 1″ back from the edge where the cinnamon rolls are sealed, when rolled. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon.
  8. Roll the long edge towards you and then cut into 12 evenly sized rolls. Arrange the cinnamon rolls in the baking pan.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare your caramel sauce. Using a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat, bring the apple cider to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and slowly cook until cider has reduced from 2 cups to 1/4 Cup. It will be fairly thick and syrupy at this point. Stir occasionally.
  11. Add the sugar, cream, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring continuously. You’ll want it to be syrupy at this point.
  12. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract. Add 1/2 teaspoon  the sea salt, mix well. Add more to desired taste. Transfer to a heat-proof container and let cool.
  13. Serve your warm cinnamon rolls with a healthy drizzling of caramel. (You will likely have to reheat the caramel sauce for drizzling consistency if it cools or you store it for a few days as the caramel thicken as it cools.)

Caramel adapted from Bashful Bao

*I purposefully rolled out my cinnamon rolls to be smaller and more than 12 so that I could share at work. Typically, I would just make 12 cinnamon rolls, as the recipe states.