Monday, March 28, 2011

Almost There; Best WDW Videos

So, I finally finished our WDW vacation photo album!  {Humbled bow before cheering crowd}  Thank you, thank you.  It didn't come without great sacrifice, however.  You see, I'm not the best multi-tasker.  I don't think my family got a decent meal for two and a half weeks, the dogs were largely ignored, and I hardly blogged at all.  If it makes any difference, I was in bed with pneumonia.  It was pretty much sleep, read, and sort digital pictures.

Once the "Order Now" button was pushed, I exhaled a nervous sigh of relief.  I had finished.  The book that I suspected would be around 80 pages turned out to be a challenge to fit in Shutterfly's 100 page limit.  {have I mentioned my LOVE for Shutterfly?!?}  But I did it.  And then there was this rush of, "Now what", like at the end of Finding Nemo when all the fish from the dentist's office escape in their plastic bags and are left floating on top of the ocean. 

What's a girl to do?  How about find some awesome Disney videos to share with you all!  The first video here is from one of my new favorite Disney blogs, Discover Epcot .  It is a series of over 5,000 still photos put together in a stop action video.  The result is a really fun tour of Epcot. 

After I watched that video for like, the 7th time, I found these other cool videos that Disney Parks had put together.  They're done in tilt-shift style photography, which makes real life scenes look like those miniatures that Aunt Bev used to collect(I've found that most everyone has an aunt who collects miniatures; quite often it's an Aunt Bev)   

Could you {feel} the Disney magic in the air?  Just watching those videos was like we were almost there!
*Just to be clear, I had no involvement with the production of any of the preceding videos, and credited them accordingly.  If you want to see more from Discover Epcot, click here.  For more Disney Parks on YouTube click here.*

Friday, March 11, 2011

Almost There; Vacation Albums

I am in Florida.  Well, actually I'm in my living room (unfortunately, it's not in Florida), on the same chair I've been sitting for the past three days.  This really should be called "Not Even Close : Vacation Albums ".  "Almost there" looks like a tiny spec on the horizon from where I sit tonight.  Eyes: bleary.  Behind: numb.  Brain-power: mush.  Cause: 72 hours of sorting digital photos in an attempt to produce an album for posterity commemorating our family vacation to Disney World this past fall.   Currently, I'm *almost* done with day two.  Of seventeen.  I think I'll make myself a snack.

I have to admit, I am enjoying seeing the pictures and reliving the smiling part of the vacation(Because let's face it, most family vacations are, in real time, not very much like the millisecond toothsome snapshots we capture).  In fact, the facade of the photos is inducing a longing in me to return.  Now.  I'd even take the hot, thirsty, grumpy parts of the trip over sitting here.  Sorting.  Squinting. Cropping. 
the monolith of past albums

I admire my friends who can whip up these artful, amazing, hand-made scrapbooks.  I have long since reconciled myself to the fact that I am not crafty.  I literally flunked "Snippins and Pastins" in Montessori School.  To this day, I cannot cut a straight line or a symmetric shape.  I was created to be a try, try again kind of person.  Which is why digital photo albums, word processors, and spell check are three of my very best friends.

My passive-aggressive nature shines brightly when it comes to projects.  Let a year of pictures accumulate; exclaim, "Jiminy Cricket"; spend three weeks in seclusion uploading, cropping, getting the red-eye out, and racing to complete my project before the Shutterfly coupon expires. 
{love, love, love shutterfly!}

Well, back to the digital photo board.  I've got my midnight snack and I'm ready to tackle a bit more.  I will have to write later and tell you about Universal Studios Orlando & Islands of Adventure - it is so different from our west coast Universal Studios.  We spent the first three days of our vacation there and I must say, Florida's parks have it in spades!  Looking at these pictures I am reminded of many surprises and delights from our trip.  It's like I'm almost there...

The view on the walk from the Doubletree to the parks.  Stellar.

Boats from Universal Resort Hotels to the parks.

Local Flora...

...and Fauna
(can you spot the gecko?)

The local, albeit campy cuisine.

Thank you, Bubba.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Almost There; When Life Gives You Oranges

I am not a cash-carrying mom.  Whenever we need currency for a last minute event, I borrow from my children. Oy Vey, I pay them back!  Usually my children are very understanding and obliging(and usually the cash necessity is for an event that benefits them, ie rollerskate night where they don't take debit) 

But with the affluence that the holidays and recent birthdays have brought, our children had their treasure in twenties.  I was in a jam, having just three minutes to get to the basketball practice that was seven minutes away, needing ten dollars for the team dad to contribute to the coaches gift, and seven-fifty for the coach who kindly paid up front for the trophies.  Not an easy denomination. 

I managed to dig a five out of my emergency gas $ in the truck(gotta replace that...) and my daughter very graciously gave me two ones she had from babysitting(thank you, honey, I still owe you!).  My husband said, "Just get the kids to practice, I'll dig for quarters in the junk drawer & stop at the store for cash back."  Hmm, that'll work.

Hubby met me at the game following practice with two envelopes, the appropriate cash in each, marked clearly to intended recipients and clearly stating from which child they came.  Wow.  I was both impressed and grateful(thanks a million, hon!) 

We were talking about oranges though, right?  After the game we made a warehouse grocery stop and came home.  As we had amassed enough yogurt, butter, and frozen blueberries to feed a family of thirteen for at least a month, we now needed to bring it all up the two flights of stairs into our kitchen.  Piling the goods onto the table I said, "When did we get Pop-Tarts?", and then,  "Huh.  Did we get oranges?" 

"Cash back"  was the reply.  Oh, yes.  Hubby and Nick went to the store and their grand purchase was a box of S'more Pop Tarts, a can of oil for squeaky door hinges, and 8 pounds of oranges.

As I unloaded the oranges to sort the softer ones for the fruit bowl and the rest for the crisper, I realized that most of the oranges had a spongy feel to them.  Everyone who buys produce in bulk is used to the obligatory rotten piece in every bag.  You throw it out right away so that it doesn't spread to the others.  (Hey, you still saved a bundle buying in quantity, right?) 

Well, unfortunately this bag was bursting with almost-gone citrus.  I cautiously sliced one in half.  It appeared to be fine.  I sliced another.  And another.  They looked okay, too.  I sliced off a small wedge.  Hmm, tastes okay.  Still, these would need to be used today.  Well, they say when life gives you lemons... I grabbed my handy and thoroughly underused juicer and began to juice.  The juice's color was the most vivid I'd ever seen.  More than simply 'orange'; this was liquid sunshine in a glass.

Can you almost taste it? 

Sixteen oranges later, we had four glasses of juice.  It was heavenly!  Hey, if you can't get to the Sunshine State, bring a little home in a bag.  It'll be like you're almost there.

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