Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Disney around the World - Day 5 Part 2 - Morning at Shanghai Disneyland 2018-10-18

Welcome to Shanghai Disneyland! After getting through security and picking up our tickets, we entered the park right around 8:30am, about 30 minutes after the park officially opened. 

As soon as we entered the park, we saw Duffy the Disney Bear in an adorable Halloween outfit! Alli told him that she has a Duffy bear too! 

Monday, August 28, 2023

Disney around the World - Day 5 Part 1 - Early morning at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel 2018-10-18

Good morning from Shanghai! It's 4:20am and Ian is wide awake! Like I've done the previous days, when the kids got up early, I took them out of the room so the rest of the family could sleep. 

Ian asked if we could go to the pool! I told him it was super early and I didn't think it was open, but we could try. I had him change into his swimsuit and we left to explore. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Disney around the World - Day 4 Part 3 - It's Day 1 of Shanghai Disneyland - evening! 2018-10-17

When we last left off, Theresa, Ruston, Ian and Alli were enjoying the new Toy Story Land at Shanghai Disneyland. Where did Jacob and I run off to? 


Friday, August 18, 2023

Disney around the World - Day 4 Part 2 - It's Day 1 of Shanghai Disneyland! 2018-10-17

Let's continue our story from last time where we're just getting to Shanghai Disneyland!

Friday, August 11, 2023

Disney around the World - Day 4 Part 1 - Flying to Shanghai China 2018-10-17

Ian - Daddy, when are you going to stop writing about taste tests and write up our big Disney trip? 

I know, I know. That one has gotten away from me. I'm already behind on writing up other travels, and this one is super daunting, knowing there's Shanghai Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland still to go. And after that, Paris Disneyland too! But the kids really want to see the pictures and hear the stories, so, here we go again!

Where were we? What's this trip all about anyway? Well years ago now, Theresa, Ruston, Jacob and I thought it would be awesome to do a trip to all the Disney parks in the world! We held back until Shanghai opened, then waited a little bit for them to get all the kinks settled out. By that time, Theresa and I had kids! Why not go ahead and bring them along! So, we decided to travel to Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Japan all in one massive trip to visit all the Disney parks, plus a little bonus travel. 

I've previously written up our 3 days of travels around Korea, but stopped before we got any further. Now it's time to continue our journey as we fly into China to visit Shanghai Disneyland! And just a reminder that during this trip Alli had just turned 3 the day before this, and Ian was 4 years old.

The kid had both fallen asleep super quick the night before. It had been a busy day exploring the Korea, visiting Namsangol Village, and Lotte World. But the time change is still something they're adjusting to. Ian was awake at 3:30am and Alli wasn't far behind at 5am. Since we had 2 separate rooms, I went over to play with them while T got a little more sleep. If you look, those pencils spell out ALLI. Nice work girl! 

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Saturday Morning Cereals - French Toast Frosted Flakes taste test comparison

We love all sorts of cereals, but Frosted Flakes is a favorite. We've tried lots of different flavors including Strawberry Milkshake, Chocolate with marshmallows, Cinnamon, Banana Creme, Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice, Honey Nut, Regular Frosted Flakes, and Frosted Flakes with marshmallows

Today we get to try Cinnamon French Toast Frosted Flakes. 

And lucky us, we're in Washington and Jess knows a great recipe for French Toast! Perfect!

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Creamy Spread taste test comparison

Cinnamon Toast Crunch with another new item? I mean, we've tried so many different ones before, we've got to try one more! So so much Cinnamon Toast Crunch things

And whenever the need arises, I like to bake a fresh loaf of bread to go along with it. If we're having Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, freshly baked bread with cinnamon sugar is going to be perfect! 
But today instead of cinnamon sugar, Cinnamon Toast Crunch has given us a Creamy Cinnamon Spread to go on top!

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Saturday Morning Cereals - Captain Crunch Birthday Crunch Cereal taste test comparison

It's Captain Crunch's 60th birthday? Happy Birthday Captain!

And the day I'm posting this happens to be my birthday too! Happy Birthday to me! 

Seems fitting that I should do a post about Birthday Cake cereal!

Friday, July 28, 2023

Doritos Dips and Chips taste test comparison

We love our Doritos Chips. There was even a taste test where we tried 11 different flavors at the same time in an effort to find our favorite! Today though, we're moving away from the Doritos Chips and trying the new Doritos Dips!

There are two different flavors of Doritos Dips. Doritos Dip Spicy Nacho and Doritos Dip Cool Ranch Jalapeno. We'll be tasting those with tortilla chips, but for comparison we'll be having Doritos Chips. 

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Starburst Cotton Candy FaveREDs - Cherry and Strawberry - taste test comparison

While visiting Michigan, Aubrey and Jared took the family out to a store that specialized in importing unique snacks and drinks from other countries. They knew I'd love it. I'll have pictures of all that in a post in the future, but for now, let's look at some of the treats that I got from there! 

Starburst Cotton Candy! We love just about everything coming from Starburst, and this is something new! The last thing we had were those Starburst Airs and Starburst Gummies, so hopefully this can provide some sort of redemption. And they have included my favorite flavor! Strawberry Starburst! 

This is Starburst Cotton Candy FaveREDs so they've included Cherry and Strawberry. To go along with it, I bought a Sharing Size bag of Starburst FaveREDs from the local grocery store. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Milkis Korean Soda Beverage taste test - all 6 flavors compared

Today we are having a giant Milkis beverage taste test! The kids are certainly excited to try all the flavors!

There's 6 different flavors we'll be sampling. Original, Strawberry, Peach, Apple, Melon, and Banana! 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Moon Pie Cotton Candy taste test comparison

Moon Pie Cotton Candy? I'm always up for trying something new! 

Growing up in the south, Amy and Richard were both big fans of the original Moon Pie. Will a Moon Pie Cotton Candy be able to take its place? Let's find out!

It's like they knew people would want to do the comparison. On top of each container of cotton candy, they included two small Moon Pies! Thanks for doing my job for me! 

Monday, July 24, 2023

The Story of Ian and His Big Heart

My son Ian has a beautiful heart. He's a really thoughtful and caring kid. Ready to help out whenever anyone needs it, and regularly puts others needs before his own. 

But that's not what this story is about. This story has to do with his physical heart. It's a Flowers Tale I wasn't sure I'd ever write up, but Ian has asked me to do it a few times now and he wants to read about a big time in his life. 

So in a post that's going to bring back a lot of memories for Theresa, myself, and the rest of the family, here's The Story of Ian and His Big Heart!

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Hawaiian Punch Drink Mix taste test comparison

How about a nice Hawaiian Punch? 
I found 4 different Hawaiian Punch drink mix packets and figured we'd have to try them all! 

There's Hawaiian Punch Lemon Berry Squeeze, Fruit Juicy Red, Berry Blue Typhoon, and Wild Purple Smash. 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Hot Tamales Cotton Candy taste test comparison

Hot Tamale Cotton Candy? I love Hot Tamale candies! They are one of my favorite movie snacks! But, can that spicy goodness be captured by a cotton candy? We'll find out! 

The Hot Tamales candies are a bright red color, while the Hot Tamales Cotton Candy is definitely not. It's the standard pink color that we're used to seeing. I think the bag is maybe exaggerating the color of the cotton candy. It's nowhere close to that color. 
Theresa - Can you imagine how much red dye would be in that if they did? 
Theresa - This is going to be a love/hate relationship. My favorite candy and my least favorite candy. 
She does not like the texture of cotton candy at all. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Nespresso machine coffee taste test

Today we are testing out 3 different Nespresso coffee machines. It just so happened that while we were in Colorado, we had 3 different versions of coffee makers that all used the same Nespresso coffee pods.  When an opportunity like that comes along, we like to compare them. 

Way back when, Theresa and I had a Starbucks habit that was getting to be expensive. Looking for another option for quick coffee in the mornings, we turned to Nespresso and their coffee pods. 
And all three of these were ours at some point in their lifecycle. 
First there's the Nespresso Essenza Mini by Breville (~$170). This is our latest purchase and is hopefully going to be just the right size for the RV. 
Second is the Nespresso Lattissima by De'Longhi (~$300). This was actually our first Nespresso purchase and we've had it for over 10 years now. It has the benefit of a removable milk frother than can be refrigerated when not in use. This has since become my mother's coffee maker. 
Last is the Nespresso Lattissima Pro by De'Longhi (~$500). It's a step up the from the regular model, including a larger milk frother and bonus hot water dispenser. This is what we've been carrying around in the RV with us, and it's time to let it go. 

Monday, July 17, 2023

Minecraft Suspicious Stew Pringles taste test comparison

Minecraft? Pringles? Two things that the kids just happen to love! 

A longtime reader of the blog sent me a link to these Suspicious Stew Minecraft Pringles, letting me know about them and suggesting we make a stew to try along with them. That definitely sounds like our kind of taste test! Thank you for sending it to us!
But, despite all my efforts, I could not find these Minecraft Pringles in stores anywhere! Luckily, my brother Patrick keeps an eye out for these sorts of things too, and grabbed a canister for us. Thank you!
So, we've got to make a stew now. I know just who to ask to help. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Tabasco Pipcorn Popcorn and Cheese Balls taste test

While perusing a Market World, I found a snack I've been wanting to try for a while! Pipcorn! 
I first saw this brand of popcorn on Shark Tank years ago (like 2019). Back then, you could only order it online, and when I went to place an order, they were overwhelmed by the Shark Tank success and had sold out. I hadn't thought about them much until I saw these again in stores years later. Tabasco flavored popcorn and cheese balls! Yum!

I had first tried a licensed Tabasco popcorn while visit my brother in Texas during his flight school. It was some of the most delicious popcorn I've ever tried and I've been trying to find something like it again ever since. Will this Tabasco Pipcorn satisfy my spicy popcorn cravings? Read on and see!

Monday, July 10, 2023

Pop Pop's Homemade Raisins

Homemade raisins? I knew it was possible, but I never really thought about trying it. My dad was given a grocery bag full of grapes and knowing there was no way he could possibly eat them all before they went bad, he set off to make homemade raisins!

And thought it would be fun if we did a taste test with them. One of these came from the store, the other is homemade. We'll taste them blind and see what we think! Which one will be better? Let's find out!

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Kit Kat Churro taste test comparison

A new Kit Kat flavor! We love trying all the different Kit Kat flavors

Walking through a local 7/11, Megan saw these at the counter. 
Megan - Joe, do you want to get them? 
Knowing how many taste test things I still have waiting to do, can you believe I actually said "No thank you."
Well, Megan wasn't about to let me slide and went ahead and bought one. Then the next day she went back and bought 2 more! Okay then, let's do a Kit Kat Churro taste test!

There are times when I would make my own churros to go with it, but in this case, Patrick and Megan picked up churros from Costco before coming over. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July! We had a great time at Patrick and Megan’s.

Megan and Patrick invited us over to have dinner and watch fireworks from their porch. We've got burgers, steaks, and more!

July 4th Manitou Incline Hike

 It’s a beautiful day to hike on America’s Mountain! Today I got up early to hike the Manitou Incline with my dad Mickey and brother Patrick. 

Monday, July 3, 2023

Dr Pepper Baked Beans taste test comparison

What's my favorite soda? It's got to be Dr. Pepper. In the 1880s, when Charles Alderton combined those 23 unique flavors into a carbonated beverage, he definitely had a winner. 

And when I saw that Dr. Pepper was teaming up with the Serious Bean Co. to make Dr Pepper Baked Beans, I knew I had to try them! 

But not just try them alone. Is Dr Pepper Baked Beans something I can make myself? Let's find out!

Sunday, July 2, 2023

July 4th Ribeye Steak Taste Test - Cooked 4 ways - Air Fryer, Stovetop, Grill, and Smoker

It's the Fourth of July weekend and as we were trying to figure out meals together, having steak was at the top of the list. But how should we cook it? There's so many options. Megan and Theresa both thought it would be a great idea for a taste test! And so today we'll be trying out ribeye steaks cooked four different ways! 

Air fryer, Stovetop, Propane Grill, and Pellet Smoker. Yum! 
With 4 different cooking methods, Megan, Theresa, Patrick and I are all in charge of cooking 2 steaks each. Let's jump right in!

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

Happy Fourth of July weekend! My brother and SIL's community had bike parade, free hot dog cookout, and more!

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Getting to Florida - 2023/10/27

Time to finish our long summer journey (from 2022) and make it home to Florida!

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Starburst Airs, Starburst Gummies, and Starburst Taste Test Comparison

Since we've got everyone together, let's do a taste test! 

For weeks, my FaceBook ads have been showing me this new variety of Starbursts called Starburst Airs Gummies. I guess they know my spending habits. They say that it's like being on Cloud 9 if you're eating it and that they're Inflated with Flavor. Let's try it out! 

I've known that regular Starburst Gummies were a thing too, so would these Starburst Airs be that much different from them? I grabbed a large bag of Starburst, the regular Starburst Airs, the Sour Tropical Starburst Airs, regular Starburst Gummies, and Sour Starburst Gummies. Today we taste them all!
And if you like reading about Starburst Taste Tests, check out some of our other ones where we try Starburst Yogurt, Starburst Gum, Starburst Fruit by the Foot, Starburst Strawberry Sorbet bars, Starburst Drink Mix, and Starburst Gelatin both Regular Flavor and Starburst Duos Gelatin

Sunday, June 25, 2023

More Mississippi Family at McClain Lodge - 2022/10/23

Jumping back a bit in time, last October we were working our way back to Florida in the RV. Stopping in Mississippi we got to visit with family, including my Aunt Kim and Uncle Mark! 

Saturday, June 24, 2023

2023 Pasadena Chalk Festival Time Lapse

I love to get videos of the "work in progress" to show how a mural comes together. 

The first is the Splash Mountain mural by Ruston and I. I'm using a cheap YiLite camera that I picked up on Amazon. I love the camera, but they haven't updated their app in years. I have had to keep an old cracked iPhone 6 still running a very old version of the IOS around in order to connect to it. This phone must never be updated! 

Seeing as how there's now 2 teams participating, of course I had to have a second camera running to pick up Theresa, Ian, and Alli as they drew the National Park Service emblem. Despite being plugged into a battery pack, the GoPro decided to quit after an hour, so most of this video is from the wide angle shot of the YiLite camera. 

And since it's a wide angle shot, I also happened to get a time lapse of my chalk neighbor KDaze Karla Navarro. Not the best video, but still fun to watch. 

Friday, June 23, 2023

All the chalk murals from the 2023 Pasadena Chalk Festival

Fair warning, the Pasadena Chalk Festival has previously made the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest chalk festival in the world. By my count, this year there were 170+ artists drawing, so this page is going to be really really long. I won't be commenting much. 

The day after the chalk festival, Monday morning, the sky was overcast and the crowds were gone. I got up early to visit the festival grounds before everything is cleaned up. With no weird shadows and no crowds, I was able to meander through all the murals, taking pictures as I went. I think I got them all, and where possible I included the artist's name. 

Please enjoy!

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Pasadena Chalk Festival 2023 Day 2

We're having a blast at the Pasadena Chalk Festival! We've been so busy though getting our own murals completed that we haven't had much time to go around and see everyone else's chalk art! 

Now that we're wrapped up though, let's go explore the rest of the festival. 
Note, this isn't meant to be a complete look at every picture (that'll be a separate post).

Monday, June 19, 2023

The Pasadena Chalk Festival 2023 - Day 2 - National Park Emblem and Splash Mountain

It's late at night, but I wanted to get a post up about the Pasadena Chalk Festival and our awesome time there. This year we have two murals! Ruston and I are doing the poster for Splash Mountain, and Theresa and the kids are promoting the National Park Service by drawing their emblem!

There's plenty of other amazing chalk artists at the festival, but this post is mostly about us. I'll be covering everyone else in a separate write-up.