Friday, May 2, 2014

How We Met Anna and Elsa at Disneyland

We went to Disneyland last week.  There were two top attractions that we considered investing time in to see.  One of them was the Anna and Elsa meet and greet in Disneyland.  The other was the Radiator Springs ride in California Adventure.   We didn't have the option of doing both because of timing.

Like any good strategy planning session, we evaluated our audience.   2 girls, ages 4 and 6.  We can't get them to watch the Cars movie, but we've seen Frozen at least 15 times.  The meet and greet it was going to be.

The second strategy was to determine how we minimize time away from the ride time (tea cups, Dumbo, carousel, big thunder railroad, you get the idea).  This meant we had to get there early by investing wait time before the park opened..

This is what worked for us:

The park opened at 9am that day.  There was not a Magic Morning for anyone.  This is important.  If you are up against people who get to the park an hour before you, by the time you get to the Anna and Elsa line, the wait will be over 4 hours.

Steve took a cab from the hotel to the park at 7am.  He was one of the first in line at the park entrance.

When he was let into the park, he quickly went to the next line.  This is the rope line at the end of main street.  He was one of the first in line there too.

Around 8:45am, my mom and I arrived at the park with the kids.  We were about 30 feet behind where my husband was standing.  Let me tell you, that 30 feet makes a big difference.

When the park officially opened at 9am, Steve very quickly went to the Anna and Elsa line.  He was 10 people back from the front of the line, which translated to a 20 minute wait for the meet and greet.

By the time my mom and I met up with him, about 5 minutes after 9am, the Anna and Elsa line wait time was over 4 hours.  Yes, in the matter of 5 minutes the wait went from 0 to 4 hours.

Steve wins dad of the year.  The girls were absolutely thrilled to meet Anna and Elsa.  Did those two play their charters perfectly.  Anna was spunky and quirky and Elsa was classy and proper.

A couple hours later we had lunch at Ariel's Grotto and they met even more princesses.  Abby told me is was the best day ever.

Here are a few pictures from our meet and greet:

Emily showing Elsa the braid in her hair.  We did a special Elsa braid that morning for her.

Abby talking to Anna, she was so happy.

The official picture from the meet and greet.  Look at those smiles.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mommy Guilt - A Way to Ease the Guilt

"My name is Susan and I experience mommy guilt on a daily basis."

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to diminish the importance of 12 steps programs (my dad when through one when I was in my late teens).  Mommy guilt is my daily struggle.

I've been struggling with the mommy guilt a lot recently.  Both of my kids have been sick and on some days I had to put my grown up panties on and go to work.  I left the care and nurturing of my children to someone else, someone who was not their mommy.  Ouch, it really hurts on those days when I get in the car and drive away.

This is the first time in a long time that I have felt my employer values what I do.  Being appreciated for what I do at work brings me joy and satisfaction.  Being away from my kids when they are sick brings me sadness and a heavy heart.  How can I have my cake and eat it too?

I came across this post on the Working Mom's Against Guilt blog earlier today.  It talks about A Simple Solution for Mommy Guilt.  It was perfect timing!  The post encouraged me to ask my kids "what do you like to do with Mommy?".  Here are their answers from tonight:

Emily (4 years old):
Cuddle with you
Play with my toys with you
Spend time with you

Abby (6 years old):
Spend time with you
(then went into a silly giggle fit)

Seriously, they don't put my handcrafted valentine's for they classmates at the top of the list?  They don't like the fact the kitchen counters are free of clutter (well, they are never really free of clutter) or the fact I tracked 950 boxes of girl scout cookies for their troop?  They don't value the fact I keep their clothes organized in their closets or get creative with what they eat?  Hmmm, I need to rethink my priorities!

Talk to your kids, ask them what they like best about being with you.  The answers are simple and humbling.  Time to cuddle more and worry less about a stack of mail on the counter.  


Friday, January 31, 2014

Best Guacamole Recipe Ever!

I was looking for a guacamole recipe recently.  I wanted something a little different, but that also still had some of the regular guacamole ingredients (red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, etc). 

The Grilled Corn Guacamole from The Pioneer Woman is the recipe I wanted to try.

It was super yummy!  I loved the sweetness the corn added.


Rounding Up Healthy Recipes and Snacks

I'm currently participating in a 60 day Body, Mind, Soul challenge with numerous other people.  It's a fun, competitive points based program that lasts 8 weeks.  On the last round I lost 11 pounds.  This time around my goal is lose more, 15-20 pounds.

I'm rounding up some of my favorite recipes to share with other challengers and anyone else interested in easy, healthy recipes.

Even my husband loves this one!  Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp from  We serve this one with brown rice and add red bell peppers for a little more veggie punch.

Pad Tai using brown rice pad thai noodles from Annie Chun's.  I love Pad Thai and I almost think I'm cheating eating this.

I've been looking high and low for an overnight oatmeal recipe that does not use greek yogurt.  No matter what I try, I can't eat greek yogurt.  This recipe for Overnight Oats in a Jar from calls for almond milk and is super tasty.  I feel great and energized after eating it!  I've been using walnuts for the topping and a small dose of vanilla extract instead of sweetener.

This past weekend I made a big pot of Split Pea Soup in our slow cooker.  I've used this recipe from Whole Foods several times and it never disappoints.

I just stumbled across these today and I think I'll give it a try.  A cookie with positive or neutral ingredients, who knew this existed?  Scroll down to the Interception Cookie.

We are subscribed to Nature Box monthly snack delivery service.  They have a lot of healthy options and allow you to pick what you want delivered.  I highly recommend them if you are tempted to try a subscription service (they are a very popular trend right now).  I also made their Quinoa, Kale and Chickpea Salad recently.  It's so light and fresh tasting!  They have great recipes on their blog.

I'm not a fan of mayo, so finding a tuna recipe without mayo can be difficult.  I came across this Tuna Salad Recipe from Framed Cooks that I love!  No mayo, has lot fresh herbs, capers, tuna, etc..

A lot of the recipes I come across call for panko bread crumbs.  I refuse to pay an arm and a leg for whole grain panko bread crumbs when I can actually find them in stores, so I make my own.  I find the healthiest, tastiest whole grain bread and use this recipe from How Sweet It Is and make my own whole grain panko bread crumbs.

These aren't recipes, but some of my other favorite foods that help me adhere to the challenge positive foods list and healthier eating.

--Low Sodium V8 juice when I need those extra veggie points at the end of the day
--Kind Almond Walnut Macadamia with Peanuts + Protein Snack Bar
--Roasted unsalted almonds and cashews from Trader Joe's
--Crunchmaster crackers (thanks April for the lead on this from the last challenge) with peanut or almond butter
--Lesley Stowe Gluten Free Crackers - super yummy with some burrata cheese (a neutral) drizzled with olive oil!
--And of course any fresh fruits and veggies I can get my hands on at our local year round farmers markets.

Best of luck to everyone on the challenge this round!  I'm on team In It to Thin It with a group of 3 other amazing women!