But, less than half the calories. Interested? Read on.

So, I love Starbucks. I have a Starbucks budget and I can promise you that I will spend every dime every month. I don’t drink or smoke. I don’t go out to bars. I don’t have an expensive or extensive collection of purses or shoes. I go to Starbucks. It’s my vice.

I also love their lemon loaf. It’s so very good. It’s especially good dunked in some coffee. However, that nice slab of lemon pound cake has 500 calories per serving. And, you can bet I’m not slicing that thing in half to share with anyone.

I’ve pinned a lot of Lemon Loaf copy cat recipes, but this time I decided to finally give one a try as the site said this was IT! It tasted the same.

It doesn’t.

Sorry.

But, it does taste pretty good and at more than 1/2 the calories per serving, it’s a good alternative.  It’s also not too difficult to make and not too expensive, either.  I think the original probably has butter in it instead of oil, so that might be a good substitution.  You’ll also notice that I left off the glaze from the top.  I don’t like it and this is my cake, so I can go glazeless if I want to.

Starbuck’s Lemon Loaf Cake

Lemon Pound Cake
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 5.1oz box of instant lemon pudding
  • .5 c of olive oil (but, next time I’d try butter)
  • 4 eggs
  • .5 c milk
  • 1 c greek yogurt
  • .33 c of lemon juice
  • For Glaze (which I ommitted because I don’t love it)
  • .25 cup of butter
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • .25c lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
Instructions
  1. For Cake
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two loaf pans. I used Pam for baking and had no sticking problems
  3. Mix dry ingredients together
  4. Mix wet ingredients together
  5. Put dry ingredients in bowl of mixer. Add 1 cup of wet mixture at a time until just blended. Do not over blend! I over blended and my cake was flat.
  6. Divide evenly into two loaf pans and bake for 45-55 minutes. Mine took 45.

Adapated from Let The Baking Begin

Twelve servings would be pretty generous.  I think 16 would still give you a nice big slab of pound cake. Sixteen servings=208 calories per slice, so again, while this isn’t quite the delicious Lemon Loaf they serve at Starbucks, for half the calories, it’s pretty darn good.


Also, want to get the most juice out of your lemons?  Fork them. Seriously.  Cut your lemons in half, hold over your bowl, stick a fork into the pulp and twist.  It will yield much more juice than just squeezing.

I was revisiting my old blog this week.  I wrote there before I wrote here.  There is good, but I like here better.  The old things I wrote are a little cringe worthy.  I’ve changed a lot in the 11 years since I began to blog.  My voice has changed for the better and I think I’m better at saying things now.

I was going to pull some posts over there, thinking it would be fun to let you all read some of the things that I wrote a minimum of four years ago, but….I haven’t found anything I want to share yet, words wise.  The angsty posts I wrote as I came up to the anniversary of my Mother’s death don’t sit right with me anymore.  That’s not to say I still don’t feel sad about her being gone, I do.  I just feel that sadness differently, now.

Six years ago I sewed the Princess’s first communion dress.  I needed some help from my mother-in-law and Big Daddy’s Grandma, but it was just lovely and so perfect for the Princess at that time…

 

Seven years ago, Littlebit celebrated her first Easter.  It was a tough season with a lot of sadness, but Littlebit and the Princess were the bright bits.

 

Eight years ago, we were still a family of three and this little girls was our whole world.

In retrospect, that wasn’t a good thing.  We didn’t do a good job of balancing our love with the Princess’s needs.  We were too indulgent and expected too little from her.  She has grown into an amazing, responsible young lady despite our short comings.  We learned our lesson and her sisters are parented differently.

 

Nine years ago, this gold old boy was still a young lad with so much energy and joy.  We were spending our last month in our IL home, for a while.  We had no way of knowing how soon we’d be back and how different things would be when we got there.

Ten years ago, this handsome fella and I went to Arizona for an entire week while Gramps and Gran watched the Princess.

He is wearing white shorts. Don’t judge us.  They were probably cheap which was our MO for most clothes at that time.  And, the 90′s weren’t that far away then.  Sorry, Big Daddy.

 

When I first started sewing, I sewed simple things. Easy pull on shorts and pants that had few pieces and parts and didn’t require a lot of skill, but still taught you good things in the process. Pull on pants, shorts and leggings are still one of my favorite things to make because after so many years of sewing them, they go together quickly and you can have a new pair of warm flannel pajama pants within a few hours.

But, pull on pants and leggings, while functional, don’t look very fancy and I wanted to make boutique style clothes that meant learning tons of skills I didn’t have yet.

I wish pre-ruffled fabric had been an option all those years ago.

Pre-ruffled fabric is so awesome. It comes in different varieties and I’ve worked with both the soft ruffles and the more firm mesh ruffles that this skirt is made in

These skirts are so simple to sew, require no pattern (just measurements) and some basic sewing skills (basically, sewing in a straight line).

 

How to Sew an Awesome Ruffle Skirt!

1) Get some ruffle material and elastic. I bought mine in store at Joann’s and it’s available on-line too. Most fabric stores should have something. Ruffle fabric tends to be pretty wide. I was able to get two skirts (4t and 7/8) out of one yard and Littlebit’s skirt is super full. Always over estimate to avoid having to run out for MORE ruffle fabric once you start cutting and realize you don’t have enough

Your elastic should be quite wide (2 inches or more) as this skirt will have an exposed waist band. No casings=easier to make!

2) Measure someone who wants a ruffle skirt. This is a very simple process with this skirt as you only need two measurements. Measure around the tummy of the recipient (or their widest area). Then measure their “outseam”, That’s the length from where you want to the skirt to sit (waistline) to where you want the skirt to end. We like ours around knee length to allow for a little growing. Baby Bee who is a very skinny 4t measures 21 inches around and 12 inches from waist to knee. LIttlebit who has a little bit (ha!) of a booty is 27 inches around and 17 inches long.

3) Cut your skirt piecesTo make the process simple, you should cut two rectangles per skirt. Baby Bee would have two fabric rectangles that were 21×12 and LIttlebit would have two that were 27X17. Double the waist measurement should give your skirt a nice fullness. If you want your skirt less full, multiply your waist measurement by 1.5. If you want your skirt to be fuller, the sky is kind of the limit, but the more skirt matieral you have, the more difficult it will be to attach the waist band.

As a note, ruffle fabric tends to be a “knit” fabric. “Knit” fabric is like a t-shirt material. Strechy. As a bonus, it does not fray after cutting and washing, so carefully cutting the bottom to be even means you won’t have to hem your skirts so you won’t lose any length to your hem. This is why I’ve added no hem allowance.

As another note, ruffle fabric tends to have lines on the back that will allow you to cut the skirt evening fairly easily. Just turn it over and cut along the back side. Be careful, though. If you cut into the ruffle stitching, the ruffles will come apart and you’ll have to cut some of your skirt off to compensate!

4) Sew Your Skirt Sides together With the right side of the fabric facing each other, use the stitch lines for the ruffles on the back of your material to make sure your rows of ruffles line up. Pin the skirt together and then sew up both sides.

As a note: I use a stretch stitch to sew knits. It creates, well, a stretchy stitch that will let the seams give a little with the material without the seams popping. A regular stitch will be okay, but you might want to zig zag over top of it or just sew it twice to make sure your seams are firm

5) Trim that nylon

I figure that extra nylon peaking through the seam would be uncomfortable, so I trimmed it off. Don’t cut your stitching!

6) Measure and sew your waist band.

Choosing a wide waistband allows it to be exposed on this skirt and it looks pretty nice! To get a waistband that fits well, cut the elastic to 1 to 1.5 inches smaller than your waist measurement. Using a 3/8 seam allowance, sew the ends of the elastic together to make a circle. This should make a waist band that fits your recipient comfortably. It’s always best to err on the side of too big and then try it on your recipient if you’re unsure.

7) Sew a basting stictch all the way around the top of your skirt to gather it to fit the waist band

The proper way to do this is to sew two lines of basting stitches. What are basting stitches? They are very loose/long stitches that allow you to hold two pieces of fabric together in a manner that is temporary and easy to remove. They will also allow you to pull your skirt into gathers to attach it to your wasitband.

Baby Bee’s skirt was 2x her waist measurement and gathering it wasn’t very difficult. Littlebit’s skirt was 3x her waist measurement. There was a LOT of fabric to gather.

8) Mark your elastic and skirt in 1/4ths and start pulling strings.

I use a pen to make small marks along the bottom edge of the elastic and the top edge f the skirt. To get an even gather on your skirt, pin your 1/4 way markings to each other. I gather in segments. I use a pin to pull up the basting stitches in the middle of each segment and pull to gather. Be careful! If you pull too hard, especially if the thread seems caught, you will break the thread!

You can see my 1/4 markings here and the amount of fabric I need to gather to fit the waistband. Pin your elastic and fabric right sides together. That means the bottom of your elastic will be pinned to the top of your skirt.

9) Pin your waistband to your skirt.

I have trouble gathering this much fabric neatly. I admit it. To get a cleaner edge on the outside, I pinned the bottom of my elastic UNDER the first row of ruffles. While pinning, I’d push the ruffles up with my fingers to keep them from getting caught up in the stitching and looking kind of ugly.

Here it is with the waistband all pinned. Hopefully, this helps with the visual of how to pin the waist on. I struggle a little bit with this sort of technique. I have trouble visualizing it. You can see that I have pinned the elastic under the ruffles and that I’ve kept the ruffles over the top of the edge of the elastic.

10) Sew your waistband onto your skirt

I let the right edge of my presser foot be the guide and sewed this with a stretch stitch again. I do stretch the elastic some as I sew. I want the stitches to stay and not pop as the fabric gets stretched. Baby Bee’s skirt was much simpler to sew as it had less gathering. Littlebit’s took a while because there was so much heavy fabric to try to maneuver through the machine. Just take your time! If you need to take a break, make sure you roll the needle down into the fabric to hold your place.

11) Trim off the extra nylon over the top of the waistband and present skirt to recipient!

I always encourage a good twirl to test the skirt out. If it doesn’t twirl well, what good is it?

I was able to make these two skirts in a matter of just a few hours. I would have finished Littlebit’s sooner, but Baby Bee wanted to sit with me and “help” and read and that makes it hard to sew. These would be adorable for Easter, dressed up with a little cardigan over top. I planned on Baby Bee wearing hers to school with her awesome black boots, but we opted for Mary Jane’s instead. ;)

Ten years ago, we bought a kitchen table. We started out without a lot, like a lot of people do, and over the years collected handful of furniture. Some of it was the cheapest we could manage to fit our needs, some of it was hand-me-downs and some of it, we made do with things we came into the marriage with. I called our decorating “early frat house” because it was mismatched and sometimes ugly.

But, there’s no shame in that. Having an ugly hand-me-down couch is kind of a rite of passage…everyone should have one so they can appreciate it when they get a nice couch.

In 2004, we moved to Michigan and left our hand-me-down table and chairs behind. They’d seen better days. For a while, we used our patio set indoors.

But, after Jack nabbing food off of the table at dinner time, we found a bought the perfect table.

It was a serious piece of furniture, or at least it felt like it to us.  We still had a futon as a couch.

So much has changed since then.  Our poor table.  It’s legs are wobbling off and a few of the chairs come with “sit at your own risk!” warnings.  The beautiful color in the picture above is a thing of the past, as it’s been bleached by years of sitting in the sun.  It’s covered in marker and at my spot is some glitter glue in mardi gras colors that will not scrub off.  I keep it covered up by a tablecloth now because I can’t get it clean no matter what.  It’s stained, gouged, faded and scarred.  It was the first, nice piece of furniture we owned.

In 8-10 weeks, a new table will be in the place of the table above.  We ordered to our exact specifications which are, strangely enough, the dimensions of the table above.  Counter height.  Sixty inches square.

As an aside, why are more dining tables not square.  Square tables are perfect for square rooms.

I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see our old table move on.  We’ll save the non-wobbly chairs for use in the kitchen at the island and the rest of it just isn’t worth saving.   I’m glad, though, that we bought it all those years ago.  We’ve had so many good meals and good times around it.

And, my new table is so beautiful that it’s hard to feel sad about it coming to live in my house and can’t 8-10 weeks be gone already?????!!?

 

The Menu Plan

Monday Grilled cheese pull apart rolls with tomato soup

Tuesday Spaghetti Carbonara

Wednesday Grilled chicken, garlic parmesan orzo and veggies

Thursday Lemon garlic tilapia, crash hot potatoes and veggies

Friday Pizza Night

Saturday Homemade corn dogs and oven fries

Sunday best ever baked chicken, mashed potatoes and veggies

So, I admit it.  I’ve been bitten hard by the Disney bug.  A lot of my spare time is spent trying to decide how to best convince Big Daddy to agree to another trip right now.  We are in negotiation for Fall 2015.  He made a face at me, but I have a good ace in the hole, so I think it might work out.

For me, I grew up a Disney kid.  My Mom loved Disney.  She was always at the store within a day of new videos being released and she had an extensive collection.  When the Disney Channel was a pay channel like HBO and Starz, she would tape the free weekends in their entirety, so we could watch Disney Channel programming over and over. And, we did.  I can sing you the theme song to the show “Dumbo’s Circus” right now.  Walked through the gates of the Magic Kingdom don’t quite feel like coming home, but they always feel like going back.  I’m not just a mother blinking back tears as little mouths fall open when the spy the castle at the end of Main Street.  I remember that feeling, too.  For an imaginative child, Disneyworld always made anything seem possible.  The castle was real.  It was proof of the delicious possibility of anything.

Walt Disney knew that, of course.  That it was one thing to present these amazing stories that allowed children to imagine themselves being amazing things; frontiersman, pirates, princesses but then, he gave them a place where it was all real.  Where it was all possible.

Disneyworld (and Land, too, I’m sure) have this amazing quality about them.  No matter how many people are in the park at the time of your visit nor how many people walk through the gates, Disneyworld feels like it’s yours.  That’s probably why you so happily hand over your wallet.  It sounds so crazy, but I see it time and time again.  Disneyworld has this quality about it.  You feel special there.  You feel it is special. Reading about people’s favorite things to do at Disneyworld always has a quality of “this is ours and ours alone”. It’s not, but it always feels that way which is amazing surrounded by the mass of humanity having that moment along with you.

I admit to Wishes being one of my favorite things in the entirety of Disneyworld.  It’s just this perfect moment.

For a kid with so many wishes, standing in front of the castle, it’s just the perfect moment.  My perfect moment.  Just for me.  And then, I turn and see Baby Bee’s face or the smile spread across Littlebit’s face or the tears welling up in the corner of the Princess’s eyes because it’s their moment too.Disney, please take my money!

Sorry, Big Daddy.

See Ya Real Soon, Castle.  Save a showing of Wishes for me.

Monday, I talked about Big Daddy and I being in a little bit of transition (and I mentioned that it was good that we are in this place at the same time).  Being in different places regarding transition and staying still can be hard on a couple and it’s hard to balance and compromise with such different desired outcomes.

I told Big Daddy, a few weeks ago, that it feels like something is tugging me toward something big and different.I don’t know what it is yet, but I have this great sense of anticipation towards whatever it will be.  I’m excited, but I’m not sure about what.  That probably sounds slightly insane, but it’s just a feeling.  Change is in the wind.

And somehow, after weeks of anticipation and vague feelings of excitement and anticipation I lit onto the idea of doing a Forty Before Forty challenge.

At first, coming up with forty things to do before I turned forty was difficult.  What should be on the list?  It couldn’t be all travel, I had to be realistic!  It couldn’t be all things I wanted to buy, I’m not a millionaire.  I started the list in Evernote three times and it ended up deleted each time (which annoyed me).  Finally, I wrote it on the laptop, in good old fashioned Notepad and I messaged the list to Big Daddy.  And, frankly, he was a lot less enthusiastic about it than I like!  Of course, I’m the person who would like a parade and some flowers every time I manage to get all the laundry done at once. ;)

 

And so, with two years, four months,three weeks and six days until my fortieth birthday, I’ve decided to undertake the following list.  The list will appear above in my pages, and I’ll be linking to entries I will write when I complete the task.  So, without further ado

  1. Hit my goal weight
  2. Run a 5K
  3. Run a half marathon
  4. Visit  5 more states (to bring my life total up to 25)
  5. Volunteer 100 hours
  6. Read every book on my shelves (but I can skip those I’ve already read)
  7. Knit through all my yarn
  8. Sell something I made
  9. Write a first draft
  10. Stay at the Drake in Chicago
  11. Stay at the Renaissance in Pittsburgh
  12. Drink 64 oz of water every day
  13. Learn to sleep with the TV off
  14. Give up the phone/laptop for six weeks
  15. Give up meat for six weeks
  16. Give up carbs for six weeks (grain and sugar, not fruit and veggies)
  17. Visit all 5 Great Lakes with the girls
  18. Visit, and camp in, 5 National Parks
  19. Learn and play 5 songs on the guitar
  20. Learn to paint a room correctly and then do it
  21. Learn how to use power tools and then build something all on my own
  22. Walk the Ravenel Bridge
  23. Stay a night on the Battery
  24. Spend a vacation Ocean Front
  25. Get a tattoo
  26. Dye my hair something other than blonde
  27. Donate blood
  28. eliminate all unsecured debt
  29. Plant spring bulbs
  30. grow an amazing garden
  31. have a porch swing on my porch
  32. Submit a picture to a photography contest and win
  33. Suprise #1
  34. Surprise #2
  35. Surprise #3
  36. Finish watching Lost
  37. Watch the top 10 movies on AFI’s 100 Movies list
  38. Spend a whole day paying it forward
  39. finish my degree
  40. Print out photos or put into books so they can be looked at and enjoyed.

If you read blogs or Facebook of HuffPo, you’ve probably heard of Maria Kang, even if you don’t know her by name. Kang is Internet famous for her “what’s your excuse” picture that went viral. The pictures was of Kang wearing a sports bra and work out short surrounded by her three very young children.

Plenty of articles were written in response to Kang’s picture as countless women tried to explain their lives and why Kang’s devotion to fitness wouldn’t work for them.

Kang posted a new picture earlier this month, detailing, again why there’s no excuses for not living her lifestyle and not having her body. After all, shes just like you.


The above links back to Kang’s Facebook page.

At this point, she’s planted herself into the “bless your heart” category.

What Maria Kang Doesn’t Get (and probably won’t, so this is pointless)

1. For some people there is no excuse, they just don’t share your priority of fitness. Period. End of discussion.  They don’t want to look like you or they have places they’d rather spend their time and efforts.  There is not one thing wrong with Maria Kang spending her time and effort at the gym.  Not a thing and beyond that, she does looks great and she’s obviously been successful.  The number of children you have, hours you work or help you don’t have doesn’t matter, though, if killing it at the gym isn’t your thing.

2. Maria Kang isn’t totally honest about her life and how she can achieve so much.  She wants you to think she’s Joe Average Mom.  Just like you!  She works 8 hours a day (at home and her husband is a stay at home dad).  She isn’t a personal trainer or a fitness model (but she IS getting paid to be fit.  She doesn’t have a nanny or cook, but what she does have is a full time partner supporting her in the home requiring not to need hired help. She has stretch marks! (that are photoshopped out of her glossy, professional publicity photos).

Somewhere, someone may read this and just think I’m a fatty hater that can’t stand a pretty skinny lady. That
seems to be the pat response when ever someone happens to suggest that maybe there is a very good reason why they can’t devote the same amount of time to the gym that Maria Kang does. Maria Kang is sleep deprived, too! Just like you! Except, not really. That’s really my whole problem with Maria Kang’s stance.I think it’s great that she’s seeking fitness in her life and in her family. I think it’s great that she’s leveraging a career based on something she obviously loves. But, I really don’t like her partial dishonesty regarding how she manages to do all of these things while asking you why you can’t. She’s disingenuous. I’d have a lot more respect for Maria Kang if she said “I’m super lucky to have a flexible work schedule and a full time partner at home to care for my children. Since I work from home, I do get to interact with my children during the day and that eases my guilt when I go to the gym. I’m lucky enough to be able to leverage my notoriety into paid work that eases my family’s financial burdens. Fitness and time at the gym is very important to me and I have a great support system that makes it all possible.”

Because the above is what the real truth is and I don’t think Maria Kang is ever going to get that point.  Her system is built on a foundation of privilege that many if not most families simply do not have.  Lack of money, time, support and resources are never “excuses”.

My first happy thing photo was taken at breakfast with Big Daddy.

It was taken at a little diner we’d never tried before (and probably won’t again.  It was just not good enough to justify the drive).   Big Daddy and I are in transition right now, I think.  We both feel change in the wind, but as of writing this, what that change will be isn’t certain.  It’s just there, rolling around and spurring deep “what if” conversations.  I suppose it’s a blessing that we both feel like we’re at the same place.  It’s hard when one of you is in a transition space an the other isn’t.

The premise of #100HappyDays is simple.  For 100 days, you post a picture each day of something that’s made you happy. According to the #100HappyDays website:

The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being.

Aren’t we all reaching for that? It’s a simple project, it takes little time. You register at the site and then let them know which socia media platform you plan on using for your project. Then, you take a picture and post it with the #100HappyDays tag. That’s it. Simple.

I do see it working. There have been days where, as the evening was drawing to a close I realized I hadn’t observed anything or taken a picture. So, I looked to find something. It’s not hard to find something that makes you happy, and slowing down to appreciate it something I’ve enjoyed. Only 91 more days to go.

The Menu Plan

Monday Grilled Bruschetta Chicken salad and garlic bread

Tuesday Chicken and gravy  with mashed potatoes and corn

Wednesday Grilled Chicken (seasoned with Bojangles Fry Seasoning.  Not just for fries!), Mexican sour cream rice and veggies

Thursday Brinner!!

Friday Bubble Up Pizza

Saturday Date night (or maybe Friday will be date night?)

Sunday Broccoli Cheese Soup in bread bowls

Do Make Advance Dining Reservations for your “must do” dinners and character meals.

Do Not make too many.  By the end of the trip I was tired of buffets and the stress of trying to get super stoked kids to eat something while Mickey was standing five feet away.

Next time: I won’t pay for the dining plan which means I won’t be booking as many sit down meals.  Sometimes a sit down dinner is nice and I will definitely have a couple (probably at Be our Guest and a character dinner) but seven was too many.

Do set a souvenir budget.

Don’t get excited when faced with store upon store of Disney merchandise, much of which you can’t buy elsewhere and cause Big Daddy to make THAT face.

Next time: I’ll set myself a budget, too.  Of course, it might be so I can buy a Dooney and Bourke bag…

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Do be flexible to the best of your ability.  I know it’s a huge expense, but if no one is having fun because Mommy is being a harpie and insisting that everyone march on to ride the Jungle Cruise when all everyone else really wants to do is ride the Flying Carpets again  You’ve missed the point.

The above did NOT happen on my trip.

Do not force your child to ride a ride he or she is insisting they are frightened of.  Do not be that parent.  It is expensive, but I bet if someone asked you why were at Walt Disneyworld, you’d say it was the kids so don’t be a jackass.

Do ride the small rides that are quick gratification (aka short lines) as frequently as your child asks to.  We rode the Carrousel and saw Mickey’s Philharmagic multiple times during our trip.  The lines were always short, so if we walked by we asked the kids if they wanted to ride/see the show.  They nearly always said yes.

Do Not break the magic for others.  There is only one Mickey Mouse and he’s standing right in front of you and of course it doesn’t get any hotter “in there” then you get under your skin.   The company line is that you are currently meeting the one and only Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty/Minnie Mouse/Goofy/Donald.  Every adult (and a lot of kids) knows the person you’re meeting is someone dressed as a character, but some little ones are true believers. Do not spoil it for true believers.

Do bring the essentials, but Do Not overpack.  I belong to a few Disney Planning boards and I’m often shocked by the amount of items people choose to carry all day in an amusement park.  Big Daddy and I like to travel light.  Want to know what was in our park bag?

  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • bandaids for blisters
  • motrin for headaches
  • granola bars
  • disposable ponchos
  • autograph books with pen
  • hand sanitizer
  • portable phone charger
  • jackets if it was cold starting out or expected to be cold by the end of the day

That’s it. No extra changes of clothes.  No ziploc bags for storing things. No flashlights or extra socks.  No beach towels.  And, let me tell you, the above was heavy enough as the day wore on.  We tried to pack five bottles of water, which mean a 5 pound+ bag at the start of every day. I think packing food is a fine way to minimize some costs and Disney does allow you to bring food in the park, but is the money you save worth toting extra crap?  For us, it’s not.  If it didn’t fit in our backpack, it didn’t come.  Period.  That also means, to be careful with what food you pack.  Granola bars don’t really crumble upon crushing, so while they do become more messy to eat, they don’t turn to dust.

Additionally, I know it can be expensive, but you can really buy anything in the parks.  From shoes to underpants.

Do be generous with your downtime.  If you have small kids, please remember that Disneyworld is huge and even excited kids tire out.  Rent a stroller, even if your kids have long aged out of it.We did five park days in six days. That was too much.  For our next trip (November 2015, right Big Daddy) I’ll plan better in that regard.

Do not be so obsessed with milking the fun out of Disneyworld that you miss the fun.  Don’t miss the fun!  Or the fireworks.

 

Spring Reads

So it’s National Reading Month.  Were you aware that such a wonderful thing existed?  Of course, I was from my years working in Library Land.  Did I ever tell you I worked in Library Land? I did.  In three wonderful libraries. Working in a library is, essentially, my dream job and I was so glad I was able to make it happen.

Really, it’s always reading month at my house.  Books are something I’m always willing to buy and enjoy owning.  While I love the instant gratification of getting books for my kindle app, real actual books are special to me.  I could write, for paragraphs and paragraphs, about how a book feels and smells.  But, I don’t want to make Big Daddy jealous and I want to give you some great read for spring!

 

Currently/Soon to be Movies

The Fault in our Stars by John Green.  I have a friend in book ground that “does sad”.  “We do sad”, she’s said to me on occasion, and she’s right.  I’ll read a sad book.  I’ll cry until my eyes are swollen and I’m a snotty mess.  I think books SHOULD do that to you.  Books should invoke something within you and make you feel something.  The Fault in our Stars is one of those books, for me.  I read it on vacation, on our last trip to Fripp Island and I stayed up late and tried to cry quietly to not disturb Big Daddy and Baby Bee who were sleeping with me, peacefully.  It is a book about cancer and teenagers, but it’s so much more than that.  This is note the angst ridden “OMG!  I’m Seventeen and I Have Cancer!!!1!” books of your youth.  This is…beautiful.  Read it before the movie comes out so you, too, an be one of those judgy bookish sorts, silently comparing every detail to the book. It’s actually great fun.

 

Divergent by Veronica Roth

This one is now out in theaters, I’m pretty sure.  Or will be quite soon.  I won’t see the movie until I give this a re-read.  It’s one of my guilty pleasures.  Divergent takes place in Dystopian Future Chicagoland.  Society is divided into personality types and that tells you everything from where you’ll live to where you’ll work.  Our heroine, Beatrice (aka Tris), can’t be so easily pigeonholed and…you guessed it.  Is going to blow the lid off the thing.  Liked the Maze Runner and Hunger Games series?  Here’s another triology for you.  Now, I admit I have NOT read book three in this series.  It’s gotten mixed reviews and I’m reluctant.  I’m sure I will read it, but don’t spoil it for me, in the meantime.

 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

This book is a one way ticket to crazy town and if you don’t finish the book going “WTF did I just read” I don’t know what to say.  I actually cannot WAIT to see this story translated onto the big screen and I like Ben Affleck so score for me.  I’m not telling you anything about plot, but you probably have had to live under a rock to not have heard some scuttle about this book.    I’m thinking reading the book first may be key to enjoying this movie, considering how it was written.

 

Coming Soon…to my Kindle

The First Fifteen Lives of Henry August by Claire North.  Because I like stories about reincarnation.

 

Reading soon from my Shelves

The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Laine Moriarty

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith  Well, it’s about on-line dating which, hello, I support.  And, it’s epistolary, which is a big plus in my book, too.

 

 

What’s on your to read list for the next few months?

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