Friday, December 29, 2017

Thursday, December 28, 2017

iFly at Universal Studios Hollywood

With everyone out here visiting for Christmas you know T had some fun stuff planned. On Friday the entire group piled into 3 cars and all headed to Universal Studios Hollywood to do some indoor skydiving!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Sleepy Hollow on Christmas Day with family

After a great Christmas day, we ended our night walking around and looking at Christmas lights in the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood.
Amy suggested we all wear Christmas hats and I thought that was an excellent idea.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve

It's been a fantastic Holiday season this year. We've done so many fun things. It's Christmas Eve and Christmas is almost here!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Making Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows for Christmas

It all started back in 2014, making homemade gingerbread cookies. Since then, every Christmas I've tried to make something new every year. I've done homemade candy canes and fudge and was having a hard time figuring out what to make this year.
I don't remember what was the inspiration, but one day I just decided that peppermint marshmallows would be perfect!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights

Welcome to Sleepy Hollow! This neighborhood in Torrance California goes all out when it comes to Christmas decorations. Each year we make it a point to visit at least once.
After a delicious dinner at the all-you-can-eat Mongolian BBQ restaurant Big Wok, we were all ready to get some walking in. And we've got a good size group going too.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Quick Friday Disneyland visit

T and I happened to be off work on Friday and decided a Disneyland trip would be perfect. All the crowds are expected to show up en-masse next week, and we were hoping for a slow day today.
The best hope for that is always to arrive before the park opens. Well we did our part, but the parking garage was backed up and it took 20 minutes from exiting the freeway to get to the booth attendant. After parking and seeing the line at security, we decided to walk to the Downtown Disney Entrance, as the lines are almost always shorter there.
With both bubble maces loaded, the kids gave me a face-full of bubbles on the walk over.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Santa Claus comes to town

Every year volunteers from the Redondo Police and Fire Associations spend 18 nights bringing Santa to every neighborhood.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Meeting Santa at Disneyland

You've got to meet Santa during the holidays! Did you know that Disneyland has 5 different places to meet Santa? Each park, plus each hotel. Let's go get pictures!

Making Christmas Treats

Ian - We have to make cookies for Santa!
Yes we do.

They're getting big. They wanted to do it all themselves. Ian poured out the mix.

Decorating the Christmas Tree

While decorating the outside of the house is left to me, Theresa has free reign over the inside of the house. Time to put up the tree!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

2017 Flowers' Family Christmas Lights

It's Christmastime which means it's time to break out all the Christmas lights! Ever since we've bought this house, I've enjoyed putting on a bigger and bigger light display.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

2017 Disneyland Candlelight - Chris Hemsworth

It's the 2017 Disneyland Candlelight Processional! We've been coming to see this show for 10 years now and it's always enjoyable. After waiting on one of the curbs on Main Street for 5.5 hours, the show is starting!

The orchestra takes the stage first and opens with a peppy mix of some holiday favorites. Then, all the lights in the area go dim and you hear the soft sound of caroling. As that soft sound grows louder, finally you see the entire choir assembly coming down the street, all following the leads with their lanterns.

2017 Disneyland Candlelight - Enjoying the parks then waiting for Candlelight

Do you have Christmas Traditions? Since 2008 we've been coming to see Ruston sing in the Candlelight Processional at Disneyland. Yes, this is our 10 year anniversary. But, Candlelight isn't until later tonight. First we've got to enjoy the parks!

Note to Disney. Prep and Landing is awesome. One of my favorite Christmas specials ever. We need more!
We were introduced to the Prep and Landing elves in 2009, with their last TV appearance being in 2011 in Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice. And even though it's been more than 6 years since they've been out, people still have very fond memories of them. The kids got so much attention today. People yelling Prep and Landing! Where did you get those hats? I have to get one of those. Seriously.
All. Day. Long.
It was awesome.

For those who are curious, these hats were released in partnership with Hallmark and sold in Hallmark stores back in 2011 when Naughty vs. Nice first came out. I remember calling my local Hallmark and having them hold a pair for me because I just had to have them for my hat collection.

Candlelight 2017 - Placeholder

I'll be doing a full write-up later, but here's a few of my favorite photos from Candlelight 2017. Chris Hemsworth (the actor who plays Thor) was the narrator this year. He did a wonderful job.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Lay's Flavor All-Stars, Thanksgiving Chips, Holiday Mtn Dew and Pepsi, and Pepperidge Farm cookies

I love trying all sorts of new chip flavors, but my brother Patrick might just love them a little more. On a recent visit to Colorado, he surprised me with 9 flavors to try!

Monday, November 20, 2017

WDW Monday, Magic Kingdom and Finally trying the Beaches and Cream Kitchen Sink

It's our last day of vacation here in Florida. Let's wrap this one up.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

WDW Sunday Dapper Day at Epcot

Digging back into the archives and continuing an old trip report. Back in November our whole family went out to Florida to visit Disney World.
It's hard to believe that it was just a week ago Theresa, Ian, Alli, and I were celebrating Dapper Day at Disneyland. Now we're in Florida celebrating again! My family is recycling our costumes from last week, bounding as Woody, Jessie, Buzz, and a Little Green Man. Continuing the Pixar theme, Jacob came as the evil emperor Zurg, the sworn enemy of the Galactic Alliance. My Mom and Dad are bounding as Luxo Jr and the Luxo Ball (Pixar Ball) from the Pixar Short Luxo Jr.

WDW Saturday Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom

I'm still catching up on some older trips. This is from our visit to Disney World in November.
Happy Saturday! Today we're spending our morning at Disney's Animal Kingdom. After getting into the park, our very first ride was the most excellent Kilimanjaro Safari.

Friday, November 17, 2017

WDW Friday and Whispering Canyon Cafe

After flying to Dallas Texas, driving to Mississippi and continuing onward to Florida, on Friday morning it was finally time to head into the Magic Kingdom! First stop was the parking lot of the Ticket and Transportation Center.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Traveling to Florida for Dapper Day

Time to head out on our next adventure. After having a fun Dapper Day at Disneyland just a couple weeks ago, the four of us headed to the airport to make our way out to Florida to celebrate Dapper Day out there too!

Gram and Pop Pop are joining us too! We're picking them up in Mississippi, so our travel is broken up into a few sections. First we're flying into Dallas and spending the night. The next morning, we'll driving to Mississippi. After a couple days there with family, we'll all drive to Orlando.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Happy Birthday Ian!

Happy Birthday Ian! Has it really been 4 years since you came to us? I'm amazed by all the stuff you're learning how to do, and I love that you love Disneyland!
Let's go there on your birthday!

2017 Festival of Holidays at Disneyland

Happy Holidays Everyone! Disneyland is celebrating their Festival of Holidays inside California Adventure, and for us, that means lots of tasty foods to try out! We went on Nov 11th, the 2nd official day of the festival, that runs until Jan 7th.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fall 2017 Dapper Day weekend - Monday

It's the last day of our Dapper weekend. I was really glad we extended it to Monday and didn't have to get everything ready to go during the middle of Dapper Day on Sunday.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Fall 2017 Dapper Day weekend - Saturday

The great part about being in the Grand Californian Hotel is that as soon as you wake up, you can walk right out the door at be inside Disney's California Adventure.
Ian really wants to be tall enough for "that water ride". Those tiptoes didn't fool the cast member though. Just a couple more inches buddy.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fall 2017 Dapper Day weekend - Friday

There's a few special events that go on at Disneyland that we try not to miss each year. One of those events is Dapper Day weekend!
We visit Disneyland almost every week and our strategy is usually always the same thing. Arrive early, leave by 2pm before all the crowds arrive. When it's the Dapper weekend though, everything changes. Because the organizers have so many people participating, they've been able to negotiate for the group rate at the Disney hotels. Our preferred hotel, the Grand Californian is nearly half off!
So, instead of just coming for a short day trip, we're spending the entire weekend at Disneyland!

Ian still remembers some of our past Dapper trips, and occasionally when we're inside the parks and walk by the hotel, he'll ask if we're sleeping there tonight. Both Ian and Alli were very excited to hear that we'd be sleeping at the hotel by Disneyland all weekend.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Weekend Disneyland visit

Happy Sunday and welcome to Disneyland!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Happy Birthday Celebration Alli and Ian!

With a birthday in October and a birthday in November, we split the difference and have a combined birthday party! And because it's so close to Halloween, I know what the theme is going to be!

Plus it's a costume party!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Erie Apple Orchard 2017

It's time to catch up on some old trips.
Back in October while we were in Michigan, we visited the Erie Apple Orchard.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Disneyland Halloween weekend #5 - with Gram and Pop Pop

It's the weekend and we've got visitors! Gram and Pop Pop are here!
They didn't want to change our normal routine so on Saturday we all headed to Disneyland!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Tanaka Farms 2017 - Pumpkin Patch

Welcome to Tanaka Farms!
Technically it's Fall, but you wouldn't know it based on the weather here. High 80s and no clouds in the sky. We'd originally planned to go to a pumpkin patch weeks ago, but the temps were in the high 90s!
A few of our neighbors took the 45 minute drive south with us.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Halloween Time at the Disney Resort, weekend #4 Goofy's Kitchen

Dinner time!
What better place to celebrate with kids than at Goofy's Kitchen! All-you-can-eat plus Disney characters? Yes please!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Halloween Time at the Disney Resort, weekend #4 with Family

Theresa has family in town this weekend. Her cousin and his family, plus her Aunt. They like Disney. We like Disney. Let's go to Disneyland!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Halloween Time at the Disney Resort, weekend #3

Do we ever get tired of going to Disneyland?
The kids certainly don't. During the week, they'll ask us "How many more days of work?" And when it gets to be just a couple, they'll ask how many more days until Disneyland. And the night before we go, they still get excited and tell each other "Tomorrow is Disneyland!"
Last night they were both still excited as they were going to sleep. T told them to think of other happy things, like rainbows and puppies. "And cows!" said Ian. "And Disneyland!" said Alli.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Halloween Time at the Disney Resort, weekend #2

Chip, Chip, Chip, and Dale (Rescue Rangers!)

It's the weekend, so it's time for another trip to Disneyland. They're still decorated for Halloween, so we were happy to come in fun hats again.
After seeing what all I had in my Disney hat bin, Ian decided that this week he wanted to go as Chip and Dale. "And I want to be Dale." Ian said. That works. I just so happen to have 3 (yes three) Chip hats. Mine actually came all the way from Disneyland Paris. It also gave me an excuse to wear my Chip and Dale t-shirt.
And of course on the drive to the park, we listened to the Rescue Rangers theme song.

Jolly Time Popcorn - new flavors!

Every once in a while when we're out shopping I'll find something unique that I know I'll have to sample. Today it was Jolly Time popcorn in three interesting flavors!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort

It's Halloween Time!
Actually it's still the middle of September, but at the Disneyland Resort, Halloween is in full swing, having officially kicked off the season on September 15th.
It's always fun to have something new to do at Disneyland and both kids were really excited to be celebrating Halloween already.

Monday, September 4, 2017

2017 Disneyland Half Marathon

Labor Day weekend means it's time for the Disneyland Half Marathon!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

2017 Disneyland Kids Race

It's Saturday morning and it's time for the Disneyland Kids Races!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

2017 Disneyland Half Marathon Race Expo

It's Labor Day weekend which means it must be time for the Disneyland Half Marathon! Yay!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

2017 Lays Vote for your Fave

It's the 2017 Lay's Vote for your Fave Flavor Contest, and this year we've got three interesting ones to try. There's Kettle Cooked Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese, Crispy Taco, and Wavy Fried Green Tomato.

Monday, August 21, 2017

After the Eclipse

After seeing the amazing eclipse and then chatting with the people parked next to us for half an hour it was time to head back home. Little did we know there was another fun adventure awaiting us.

Chasing the 2017 Eclipse

Monday, August 14th, 11pm.
T minus 6 days, 12 hours before the eclipse

Theresa - "We should go see the eclipse!"
Joe - "Sounds like fun!"

What followed next was a mad scramble to get flights booked, a rental car reserved, lodging figured out, plus whatever else we'd need for the trip. But whenever you give T a goal, you know she'll be amazing at figuring out how to make it all work.

First stop was the NASA Interactive Eclipse Tracker. What an awesome resource for helping us pick the best spot for viewing. So the path of totality (where the sun is completely covered by the moon) is going from east to west inside those two blue lines. The closer you get to the red line, the longer the total eclipse will last. The longest duration this time is 2 minutes and 40.2 seconds. Let's see how we are in Los Angeles!