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Drained

I wanted my last post from Massachusetts to be light and bouncy. Something positive and full of hope for a happier future. But the truth of the matter is that I’m desperately trying to keep everything together right now and I feel like I’m drowning.

I’m literally surrounded by boxes. Walls of boxes everywhere I look. And still, not everything is packed and the moving truck is coming this weekend. Packing up twenty plus years of my own accumulated possessions plus my children’s has drained every bit of optimism out of me.

I greatly underestimated how hard it would be to pack this house up on my own.

Also, some things can’t be packed into boxes…

On my mental “must do” list is to visit Nina’s tree and her grave one last time because I’m not certain I will ever get the opportunity to do so again.

I guess I should’ve started with that task because now I’m too drained to do it. Heck, I could hardly do those things on a good day. Now that I’m in a raw and frenzied state, I don’t think it’s in my best interest or my kids’ best interest to do one more heavy thing.

How do you say goodbye to a grave? Why do I feel guilty for not doing that? Humans are strange. Or maybe it’s just me. I mean, she’s not there, but yet I feel like I should say goodbye to that physical space she occupies.

Or maybe I’m just exhausted. Everything is a blur right now.

I know this post is disjointed. I know it’s not inspiring. But at least it’s honest.

This coming week is going to be a stressful one. I may not be able to post for a week or two. I just need to get to the new house, settle my children and find our new normal.

I’ll be back soon…

Flowers and Showers #SmellsClean

spring flowersMaryland is in a state of Spring explosion. Blossoms and buds everywhere. After a very harsh New England Winter, I want to weep with joy. Big fat tears of gratitude that life is springing from the earth. I was starting to wonder if Mother Nature had it in for the East Coast.

rose treeBack in Massachusetts everything is still in a state of dormancy. Heck, there’s still snow on the ground in some places. But these trips back and forth from one state to another in preparation for the move next week assure me that Spring is creeping its way up North.

Here in Maryland however, things are looking pretty perky. Greens, yellows and even bright shades of pink and red are all over my new yard. It’s a spectacular sight.

daffodils

martin houseIt sounds like Spring too. All kinds of winged things are visiting the yard and we are delighted to have them as our guests. This is just one of the birdhouses the prior owners left behind for our enjoyment.

There’s even a hummingbird feeder hanging next to my kitchen window. I’ve never seen a hummingbird in real life before, so I’m pretty excited about that. I guess I better Google what to put in the hummingbird feeder. So much to learn about my new dwelling.

plug inSpring showers come hand in hand with Spring flowers. And today is one of those wet days. This weekend I’m running around the new house getting ready for the big move next weekend. Can you believe it’s upon us already? I’d like to say that things are all packed and ready to go. I’d also like to say that the new house is ready to receive both the kids and the boxes, but I’m not quite there yet.

So much to do in both places….

I decided to clean the new house myself instead of paying the money for a service. So this weekend I’ll be scrubbing tubs and floors. There’s something about a clean smelling house that makes it feel more like a home. I mean yeah, clean is important too, but the scent of clean is comforting.

And on this gray day, a rainy day when I can’t open the windows, I’m helping things along with some plugins and bright Spring scented candles.

If I can’t open the windows while Spring cleaning, this is the next best thing.

glade candleWhile shopping for cleaning supplies at Walmart, I took a quick run though the good smelling things aisle to check out the latest scents. Sunshine Cotton by Airwick sounded pretty darn good, so I tossed that into my cart and I also grabbed the candle you see above which has a clean floral scent. Just what this house needed to chase the slight musty smell of Winter away.

The air care aisle is full of bright Spring scents like Glade’s Sunshine Showers and Febreze’s Sage Lemon Grass. So many different scents that it was hard to choose just one. So I didn’t. I threw six of them into my cart and now I have what smells like an English garden wafting through every room of my new home.

So while the house might still be in a state of chaos, it will certainly smell clean. And that is a step in the right direction!

My next post will be bursting with more Spring goodness as I’m also heading into Washington, D.C. for the Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend. And I am absolutely GIDDY to share that with you! So much more to come.

Have a joyous weekend filled with the scents of Spring and I wish you much success with your own Spring cleaning!

Disclosure:

This is a sponsored post from Acorn Influence. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers Market Annapolis, Maryland

Amish donutsLately I’ve split my time between Massachusetts and Maryland houses. Packing up one and preparing the other for arrival. Amidst the chaos which is packing and preparing, I’ve spent a little time exploring my new home.

One of my favorite discoveries is the Amish culture of Maryland. Being from Pennsylvania, I’m familiar with the life of the Amish. I’ve spent time in Lancaster, Bird-in-Hand and other Amish communities, appreciating their handiwork and especially enjoying their cuisine.

So when I discovered that my new town is very close to the Amish community, I was gleeful. For the past twenty years or so, I’ve lived in areas where farm stands are few and far between, local eggs have been almost impossible to find and fresh farm butter? Absolutely nonexistent.

That’s a thing of the past as I’m now an easy drive from dozens of farm stands and local food producers. It’s a foodie’s dream come true. One of my favorite finds was the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers’ Market in Annapolis.

The market is located in a strip mall and looks unimpressive from the outside. But once you step in the doors, your senses are assaulted in the most welcome of ways. The scent of freshly fried chicken mingled with the sweet smell of fresh fried donuts will render you powerless against the calories that are sure to come.

amish girl donutsIf donuts are your thing, and how could they not be, then you’ll be in fried dough nirvana. Right in front of your eyes the donuts are freshly prepared. Bacon chocolate, Fruity Pebble topped, toasted coconut….. you name it, they make it. I was especially thrilled to find hot glazed apple fritters, my all time favorite.

Amish BakerMaybe you’re more of a sticky bun person. If so, then once again you will be beside yourself with joy as you watch the baker hand roll, cut and glaze more varieties than you even thought possible made right before you.

Amish BakerSeriously, cinnamon rolls for miles. I could watch the ladies make these for hours if I had the time. Make no doubt about it, I’ll be a regular spectator soon enough.

And if all of that isn’t enough to entice you to indulge, there are shelves stacked tall with freshly baked cakes, breads, cookies, muffins and other baked goods that I didn’t even know existed until this past weekend. If you are hankering for a sweet, I guarantee this is the place for you.

amish sticky buns

Amish Market ButcherJust to the right of the bakery you will find a large meat case full of the loveliest cuts of meat. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is where I’ll buy my meats because not only are the prices competitive with the local grocery stores, the cuts of meat are of a higher quality. Just one look at the steaks sealed the deal in my mind.

Amish DeliAnd then there’s the deli. Locally cured bacon, freshly made scrapple and long ropes of farm sausage. Oh, and take a look at those ham hocks. Can you say bean or split pea soup? I predict next winter will be the year of the soup for my family.

amish fried chickenAnd for the nights I don’t feel like cooking? Believe it or not, that happens on occasion. On those nights I’ll be picking up boxes of fresh fried chicken or smoky baby back ribs along with homemade potato and pasta salads from the deli. If I’m going to eat fast food, this is the way it’s going to happen.

amish cheesesAre you hungry yet? But wait! There’s more! Hidden in the way back of the market is one of the very best cheese counters I’ve ever seen. I used to think Whole Foods had the very best selection for cheeses. No longer. The Amish Market for the win. Not only do they have a vast selection of cheeses, the prices were the lowest I’ve seen. Hello epic cheese boards!

amish quail eggsNext to the cheese case is a cooler filled with organic milk, local eggs, fresh churned butter and dozens of tubs of flavored cream cheeses. A dairy lover’s dream come true.

You can also find a vast selection of bulk spices, candies, dried fruits and nuts, savory salty snacks, fresh fruit and even flowers. The only thing they don’t sell are stretchy pants which might not be a bad idea to offer right when you walk through the doors.

If you’d like to visit the market, be sure to remember that they are only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Check out their website for hours and be sure to bring your appetite. With all of the ready to eat foods waiting for you, you’re sure to satisfy any sweet or savory craving you might have.

Packing Up the Toy Box

PinocchioMy house is in a state of shambles. Boxes line the hallways and bags destined for Goodwill are filling the garage. We are in full blown moving mode and it isn’t pretty.

While the divorce itself was painful, the sifting through shared memories with my ex has been equally hard to handle. The division of Christmas ornaments alone nearly gutted me. Going through that box with my former husband was excruciating. So many precious handmade ornaments made by our children. Dividing them by the “one for you and one for me” method seemed almost disrespectful to those memories.

But we did it. Maturely even. And at some points it was downright gracious.

While we worked together to split up the sentimental stuff, the job of packing up the kids’ toys was my own because all that stuff is coming with me. So late last week I spent one day going through the girls’ room, packing up their toys and discarding what they no longer played with.

If I thought going through the ornaments was hard, the toys were infinitely harder to sort through because they told tales of happier times.

And when you have four kids, the toys commingle and become a sort of archaeological dig of their childhood years. As I sifted through the buckets and boxes, I took a walk down memory lane that required a case of Kleenex.

Pirates and CowboysAidan was two years old when we bought our first home. I distinctly remember that first Christmas in our new house. We put every penny into the down payment which left us cash strapped that first year.

A few weeks before that first Christmas, a local kids’ consignment shop advertised for seasonal help. I figured that would be the perfect way to raise some money for the holidays. While I was working at the shop, they held their annual holiday toy sale which allowed the employees to get first dibs on the merchandise.

So I took my earnings and bought all sorts of wonderful gently used toys to give to my sweet boy in our first Plymouth home. I remember brining home a Thomas the Tank Engine train set, a brand new talking Barney, an entire play kitchen with food included and the pirates you see above and the assorted Fisher Price and Little Tykes figures below…

fisher priceI arranged these new to us gifts under the Christmas tree with such a heavy heart. Even though these toys were in mint condition, there were no boxes. No shiny packages to open. And I felt guilty giving my beloved son toys that another child had played with and discarded. In my heart he deserved the very best. Shiny and new. But the reality was that we were broke and barely getting by. It would have to do.

As he toddled down the stairs that Christmas morning, his tight curls bobbing with each excited step, I held my breath with anticipation on how he would react. Would he even notice that these were someone else’s toys before they landed under his tree?

Of course not. He was beyond thrilled with his gifts, marveling over each and every one. And that night he slept with Thomas the Tank clutched in his chubby little fist, something he would do for many more nights to come.

That morning I learned some valuable lessons. Lessons that would carry forward with three more children. Used does not mean discarded and devalued. And toddlers have no idea what’s used or what’s new anyway. Oh, and that guilt is self inflicted and deserves no space in your brain.

modern fisher priceAdd twenty years to the equation, subtract one purple dinosaur, add a whole bunch of pink and that’s where we are today. While the toys have changed, the emotional attachment to these things remain.

It’s funny how the toys have changed so drastically over the years. The Fisher Price figures of today make Aidan’s look Stone Age. Don’t you think?

Oh how the girls loved this bus and its riders. They would play for hours on end, rolling it across the floor from room to room, picking up passengers along the way. Such sweet memories.

SmurfsAnd these Smurfs, they hold a special place in our hearts as well. The social media team at corporate McDonald’s mailed them to my girls when I was in the hospital after I was hit by the distracted driver. The package came while I was in surgery. I had just said goodbye to my children, not knowing if I would see them again. A small gesture that gave my girls a distraction when they most needed it.

Scary DollsThen there were other toys that were easy to put into the Goodwill bags. These dolls make me wonder why my girls didn’t sleep with me more often. Spooky times a thousand. I wouldn’t be able to sleep in a room with them, that’s for certain.

I sorted through the toys while the girls were in school, knowing darn well that they’d cry foul over every single toy I put in the donate bag. But to be fair, I only donated stuff that was truly outgrown and with no sentimental value. Rest assured, I’m still bringing a tremendous amount of toys with me to Maryland.

kellogg's wobblersOh, and one more toy to share with you from a ways back. Up above is a picture of my Kellogg’s Wobbler collection. This is more sentimental to me than to my children. It was available in 2005 and at the time I was knee deep in the couponing and refunding culture. I remember getting the boxes of cereal for free and sending the box tops in for this collection of Disney Wobblers.

I was completely immersed in the couponing community back then and this promotion was a big hit within that community because apparently couponers and Disneyana go hand in hand. I was so excited when this came. I think I played with it more than the children.

Boxing up all of the toys has been both a happy and sad kind of thing. Childhood playthings with adult heartstrings attached. Strings that are frayed and taut right now.

What gives me comfort is that my grandchildren will enjoy these toys someday. And while these toys won’t be new, they’ll be cherished because I’ll share joyful stories about how they were loved years long ago. Stories told by a grandma who’s learned a few things on the journey.

An older wiser Melanie who sees value in used things.

Tissues and Tylenol

Melanie is SickBoy did I get cocky this winter thinking I was going to make it through an entire season without getting sick. I came so close too! But it finally happened. I came down with the yuck and I’ve spent the entire last five days fighting it off. Not very successfully, I might add.

Leela ShamrockLife doesn’t care if you are sick. It still needs to be lived. This week we’ve had a bunch of school activities to attend and someone had to get the kids to said activities. Of course that someone would be me. So I tucked my box of Kleenex under my arm, stuffed some cough drops into my purse and half-heartedly tried to conceal the dark circles under my eyes and off we went.

Leela had a super cute social at school for Saint Patrick’s Day. There were sweet treats, giggles with friends and dancing to Taylor Swift tunes. I’m pretty sure they played every song she’s ever produced. And while I’m totally a-ok with Taylor Swift, listening to a hundred gleeful little people belt out each and every song was brutal on my fluid filled eardrums.

But I sat there and smiled as we moms do when we aren’t feeling our best. Praying the power would go out or that the fuse to the audio would blow. Neither of which happened.

Pi DayAnd then there was STEM night at Shannon’s school. At that point my fever had gone down and I was feeling a little better with a bit more energy. There were some pretty impressive science experiments going on that even I found fascinating. Shannon was more fascinated with the pies. Pi Day might be a little over her head, but it was totally in line with her tummy.

MelanieAnd here I am today. Feeling SO much better. I can actually breath out of one nostril now which is a huge gift. One cleared nostril and one ear that works again. Progress! I even had enough energy to put on some makeup. If you had seen me earlier in the week you’d know how much of an accomplishment this was.

It’s a good thing I’m feeling better because the move is coming up right quick. It’s just weeks away now and I’m knee deep in boxes. Expect some sappy posts coming up because as I’ve been packing I’ve come across baby clothes, photos and other mementos that are gutting me with each discovery.

More on that shortly.

How’s your week going? Staying healthy? Did you eat pie on Pi Day?

My Week In Food Pictures

princess popcornThe post I had planned for this evening was one that spoke of parenting trials and the joy of working through them with your children. It was going to be an inspiring post.

One where I told you that even if your kids are giving you a run for your money, it’s so worth it in the end. Parenting is rough, but gratifying. Good for the soul even. And we are warriors raising up a mighty army of children who will go forth and become amazing citizens of the world.

And then life happened…

I had a spat with one of my older kids which is still raging on and one of my kids has had three days of BS math homework that has lasted two hours at a time even though her IEP calls for abbreviated assignments which has left her exhausted and exasperated at the end of every evening.

Oh and me too. Exhausted, exasperated, mentally evaporated and every other E word that sounds frustrating. Yup, that’s me.

To say that I’m not feeling like a parenting warrior right now would be an understatement.

So instead we are going to talk about the only thing that’s gone right this week. Food. Are you surprised? I didn’t think you would be.

It all started on Sunday. I bought the girls the movie Tinkerbell and the Neverbeast so that we could have a mom and daughter movie night. And on those nights when it’s just mom and the girls, we make our traditional Princess Popcorn which is essentially a bowl of hot buttered popcorn and our favorite candies mixed in. Not nutritionally sound but super fun.

Now about the Neverbeast. This might be why our week has been a basket of crazy. Have you seen that movie yet? A mixture of scary and grab your Kleenex sad. Thank God we had a bowl of popcorn and candy to eat our feelings with. Not your feel good movie of the year. Good grief.

But Princess Popcorn was a hit as it always is and the girls asked if we could watch another movie to make up for the Neverbeast next weekend. More Princess Popcorn is on our horizon.

MusselsSo the school week started as did my work week. I had a couple of recipes that had to be written and shot before the sun went down which meant the the kids came home to a wonderful after school snack, Mussels Rockefeller.

kids eating musselsThe good thing about having such a hearty after school snack is that my daughter could work on her math homework straight through dinner and right up until bedtime with not a hunger pang to slow her down. Bonus!

kids polishing off musselsFour pounds of mussels polished off in under twenty minutes. Rather impressive if I do say so myself.

arugula flatbread pizzaThe day after the mussels snack, I greeted the kids with an arugula flatbread pizza. A much healthier snack. And I thought it would be well received. It wasn’t. I think they were expecting something much more grand judging by their sullen faces when they saw the pile of greens.

But we have a rule in this house. If you don’t like what mom puts out to eat, you’re really going to appreciate the next meal because this house is not equipped with a short order cook. Eat what you are served or I’ll see you at the next meal.

honey chickenNot that they suffered long. This was dinner that night. A recipe I can’t tell you about quite yet because I need to write the post for A Beautiful Bite. I can tell you that there’s chicken, bacon and honey in the mix. And while things have been rough this week, no one complained about dinner. A small miracle.

L.A. Burdick Chocolate MouseYesterday was the most onerous day of the week so far which is pretty comical because it’s only Wednesday. The week isn’t even over yet. So much more potential drama and math homework to come! But the fact that I survived yesterday made me feel like I deserved a little treat.

That treat came in the form of a Burdick Mouse. Isn’t it cute? I went to a baby shower for a dear friend this weekend and I won the baby shower game. My prize was a box of Burdick Chocolates which included this little mouse. I happily bit off his head and the rest of him with my glass of wine last night. He tasted like finishing the last problem in a math homework assignment. Delicious.

So that’s been my week so far. This week is a week of survival, apparently. And while I’d love to be your encourager, your cheerleader, the one to tell you that it’s all going to be a-ok, I’m not feeling it today.

Do know that we are in this together. The good times. The crappy times. And even though sometimes life sucks, at least we’re not alone in the struggle.

Also, thank God for good chocolate. And wine. Especially wine.

My Weekend In Pictures

ChesapeakeLate Monday night I got back from a whirlwind weekend in Maryland. The closing was on Friday and that same day I spent time at the schools in order to prepare for the transition, whenever that may be. There’s still a lot that’s up in the air right now and that includes an exact transition date.

But while I was down there, I spent some time exploring the area and getting a feel for what’s to be my new life. The new house is situated between the Chesapeake and farm country. Or at least it feels that way to me. The nearest Target is forty-five minutes away and the closest gallon of milk is a fifteen minute drive. To me that means we’re in the country. I’ve got pictures of horses to prove it…

Maryland Horse FarmCool, huh? I imagine lots of farm fresh eggs and produce in my future. Besides not having a Target around, this part of the county really doesn’t have much commerce at all. The only restaurant in the area is a Mexican one which is sort of awesome because if my town is only going to have one restaurant, I want it to be Mexican.

Another plus to living in a kind of remote area is that there’s little ambient light. So when it gets dark out, it gets pitch dark and you can see the stars shining brilliantly on a cloud free evening. I would’ve stood outside enjoying the display longer if it hadn’t been so frigidly cold last weekend.

The house is situated in a very wooded area. And while I cannot share pictures of the house yet (I’d like the kids to be the first ones to see it), I can share some pictures of my favorite trees on the property. I know it sounds strange to have favorite trees, but I do. Trees and birds make me happy.

Fir treeFor someone who loves trees, I know very little about them. Take this tree for example. Is it a fir or a pine? Are they the same thing? I haven’t a clue. All I know is that it’s tall and has outrageously large pinecones like I’ve never seen before and I love it.

crepe myrtleThis is a crepe myrtle. There are five of these on the property, but this one is the most mature. While the blooms of crepe myrtles are stunning, the bark is what I love the most. It’s smooth to the touch and so visually striking. I might not be an arborist, but I do appreciate a majestic tree.

Naval BaseThe house is in close proximity to three military bases. You can’t go anywhere in the county without seeing something military. And being a huge military supporter, this is a welcome thing. I also had to sign a release stating that there could be significant aircraft noise in the area when I signed the house contract. I’m pretty sure my sons will find that fascinating!

I know that’s only a tiny glimpse of the new place, but it will have to do for now. Much more to come when the time is right. Many of you left such supportive comments on my last post. I will spend some time this evening responding to them once the kids are in bed. This weekend was way too hectic to do much of anything by the way of blogging or commenting. And it wasn’t until this morning that I felt like I was getting some of my energy back. Moving is exhausting.

Not that I moved much of anything, really. The truly exhausting stuff is to come soon enough.

Thank you all for your supportive comments. It means the world to me.

xoxo

Saying Goodbye is Never Easy

Leela and StitchAs we sat in the airport on Sunday, no one was in a jovial mood. Leaving Florida after nine days of fun in the sun was difficult. Especially considering all we’ve gone through this past year.

Nine days truly focused on having fun was blissful. No heavy conversations. No suffocating tensions. No worrying about the future other than what rides we would experience the next day. I can’t speak for the kids, but I can tell you that my shoulders felt a lot lighter that week.

I took the picture of Leela above while we were waiting for our flight. I think this image represents how we all were feeling at that moment. But vacations always end and goodbyes are inevitable.

And today I am about to start another goodbye process.

Tomorrow I close on the new house in Maryland.

Saying goodbye to my current home and life isn’t easy. I’ve lived here for over eight years. The fact that I’ve moved around a lot during my life doesn’t really help anything. Once you sleep somewhere for a period of years, moving your bed is not an easy thing.

And I’m definitely a creature of habit. I take comfort in schedules and knowing what comes next. The bus comes at 8:45am. I drink my first cup of coffee at 9am. Work happens between 9-3pm. And then the kids come home and there’s homework, cooking dinner, dishes, some downtime and then the bedtime routine.

That is my life. It’s not particularly exciting, but it is predictable. And for a woman who loves adventure, that might seem odd that I would take comfort in my normal dull life. But I do.

Now I have to start a new routine somewhere else. And as exciting as that is, it’s scary too.

Then there are other concerns…

I have no friends in Maryland. Well, I do have a few blogger friends there, but I don’t know them very well yet. Hopefully that will change.

But that having no friends thing is scary. I’m afraid to be alone in a new place. And I’m certain my kids feel the same way.

You will of course remind me that I’m an extrovert, but that really doesn’t make it any easier. Making new friends is work and I’m not entirely sure I have the energy to put into that kind of relationship building right now. I’m kind of mentally exhausted after the divorce. I’m not sure I have a lot to give right now.

And then there’s the packing up of this house, unpacking at the new house and arranging all that stuff so it feels like a home again.

Just writing that last sentence was exhausting.

But that’s what you do when you say goodbye to one place and hello to another.

It was just SO much easier to do when I was in my 20’s.

There’s so much more I’d like to say in this post, but I cannot. Matter of fact, most of my blog posts have been so surface as of late. Lacking a lot of personal info and a far cry from my normal posting. The reason for this is that I have an agreement with my ex to not write about the divorce anymore. And it’s REALLY hard to write about anything personal when you have that kind of agreement. But it’s what’s best for all parties and I have to honor that.

I can only share onward with you.

So with that, I’m off to pack my suitcase and head down to Maryland to close.

Goodbye Massachusetts, hello Maryland.

Bring on the crab cakes!

Our Disney World Vacation

Disney CastleWe just got back from the most magical place on the planet. Well, at least in my kids’ eyes anyway. And if I were to be perfectly honest, mine too. We spent the past nine days in Disney World and it was truly magical.

Originally we were scheduled to leave Boston two Saturdays ago, but at the last minute we changed our plans and flew down a day early because Boston was forecasted to get another blizzard starting the Saturday we were supposed to leave. And it’s a good thing we made the change because our flights were indeed cancelled.

An extra day with the Mouse made everyone in this family rather gleeful. Oh, almost everybody. Aidan didn’t have February break like his siblings, so he wasn’t able to join us. Don’t feel too badly for him though. He went down right before Christmas on his own to meet up with a friend who works at WDW. So he’s had his dose of the Mouse too!

kids at disney

Shannon BirthdayShannon’s birthday fell during this trip and she was happy for it! We celebrated her birthday at Be Our Guest where she ate the grey stuff and agreed that it was absolutely delicious!

Shannon on Dumbo

Michael Mickey MouseDisney brings out the kid in all of us. And I especially loved watching Michael cut loose and be silly. 2014 was such a rough year for all of my kids, but the teens especially so. It was such a relief to see them smile and laugh. It was like a shot of much needed medicine.

Shannon Elsa

Goofy

Beauty and the Beast

Mom and Kids at Disney

Michael and Wookie

leela and wookie

The Kitchen Sink Beaches and CreamNo Disney trip is complete without a stop at Beaches and Cream for the Kitchen Sink. The biggest sundae I’ve ever seen. Leela was speechless. And yes, we polished the whole thing off.

Fort Wilderness CabinsMy favorite place to stay at Disney World is the Fort Wilderness cabins. The quiet at Fort Wilderness is such a respite from the chaos that is a Disney vacation. It’s a good chaos, of course, but a break is always nice.

We especially love the coziness of the cabins. It’s nice to end the day with a home cooked meal and space to sprawl out and chill. The girls being horse lovers were thrilled to see the horses at the stables.

And the smores campfire with Chip and Dale is so much fun for all! If you haven’t stayed at Fort Wilderness before, you ought to. It’s a special Disney property.

And a tip…

We ordered our groceries to stock our kitchen from Garden Grocer and it was absolutely perfect. All the food was fresh and delivered right on time. I cannot say enough good about this service. We saved a considerable amount of money eating some meals in our cabin.

Oh, and one more tip…

disney strollerIf you are a member of Amazon Prime, you can order food, drinks and other items from Amazon and have them shipped right to the Disney resort. We had an inexpensive umbrella stroller shipped to our resort so we didn’t have to lug our cooler around all day. We loaded the cooler and into the stroller it went. And no dragging it through the airport! Strollers are not just for people with babies!

Fort Wilderness

Disney Wishes FireworksComing back to the frozen tundra that is Boston was particularly hard, but we are so thankful for the good times we had while at Disney. Enough happy memories to keep us warm until spring!

Cakeus Interruptus

CannolisEarlier this week I had grand plans. I finally had some inspiration for my poor neglected food blog. If you think I’ve been slow posting over here, it’s been a couple of months since I’ve posted anything over there. But this past weekend I came up with a delicious idea and my goal was to have the post up by Monday or Tuesday at the very latest.

Girls

And things started off swimmingly. The first day I baked the cake layers and the next I started working on the finishing touches. Just when I was ready to put the whole thing together, everything came to an abrupt stop.

Both girls came down with ailments at the exact same time that necessitated a trip to the pediatrician. And of course they would get a bug right before we are supposed to leave on a vacation. Isn’t that the way it always goes?

Luckily their issues weren’t major, but they still needed to be seen. One had an ear boo boo and the other had a very sore throat that I needed to make sure wasn’t strep.

But the worst part about going to the doctor this time of year is the germ factory that is the waiting room. I didn’t want to go in with an ear infection and come out with the flu. So I’m officially that crazy mother who makes her kids wear masks while in the waiting room.

I’m sure you can tell how excited they were over that.

Actually, it was the nurse’s idea. So I blamed her. She knew we were going away and suggested the masks for extra protection.

Secretly I was more than happy to have them put those masks on. I don’t know if it really protected them, but it made me feel better.

Cannoli CakeSo what was supposed to be finished earlier in the week finally got done today after the case of cakeus interruptus. And it was certainly worth not giving up on. Isn’t it pretty? I named it The Best Cannoli Cake. If cannolis are your thing, you might want to check out the recipe. It’s easy to make and even easier to eat.

That’s what’s been going on over here. Cakes and co-pays.

How about you? How’s your week going?