Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Almost There; What Is It with This Girl and Soap?

Two posts on soap in as many weeks?  Please don't stop visiting on account of that.  I couldn't resist this adorable Minnie Mouse pump soap my daughter spotted at Target:

Target, folks!  It smells really fresh, and pumps a much smaller amount of suds per pump - perfect for precious little grubby hands.  Also comes in Mickey!

Now just washing up for dinner can be like you're almost there!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Almost There; Zack's Vardøger

According to the {trustworthy} and {ever correct} site, Wikipedia, I have found the following definition:
The word vardøger is a Norwegian term defined as "a premonitory sound or sight of a person before he arrives"
It also states that it can be used in lieu of the more common German term, "doppelganger".  But I chose the Norwegian word for a reason.  If any of you are familiar with the Norway pavilion at Epcot, you will most likely have passed this beautiful mural as you board the Maelstom ride.

I had ridden this ride as a teenager on family vacations, and again as a young mom to Alex and Nick.  But nothing prepared me for the bizzarity of this most recent trip.  Our youngest son, Zack, had never been to Walt Disney World before.  At least not that we knew of.  While making our way through the Maelstrom line on our first day at Epcot, I grabbed my husband's arm in shock.  There was Zack.  As large as life, and... Norwegian!

Zack and a Lego creation, circa 2009

Zack doesn't see the likeness.  {Perhaps if had been something "cooler", like a Pirate from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride?}  But for me, just looking at my son it's like I'm almost there!  What do you think?  I really think there oughta be a way to share in the royalties or something...


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Almost There; Hotel Soaps

Who doesn't like hotel soaps & travel-ly things?  Is it just me, or do you come home from trips laden with the little goodies from the bathroom counter?  I don't travel enough for the novelty to have worn off.  Every time I stay in a hotel I'm like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, "My Precious!"  I don't use a shower cap.  Ever.  But I have about ten under my bathroom sink.  It's almost compulsory.  You visit a hotel, you take all the toiletries home and stash them under the sink for a decade or two.  Not to use, just to have.

Not so with Disney soaps & lotions!  I adore Disney Spa products.  On our recent trip to WDW in Orlando, we tried their H20 Aquatics line.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Most ordinary hotel shampoos make my hair wad up like I had used super-glue rather than a perfumed cleansing agent.  (Thus their 'home' under my sink.)  The H20 shampoo was heavenly.  I have never felt more like one of those flippy-haired women in the shampoo commercials.  It was seriously soft and floaty hair.  That alone is worth the price of admission.

Great news, I checked online and you can actually buy the full-size versions of the Walt Disney Resorts line!  And, they're quite reasonably priced.  The bath gel, of which I used up all my little bottles within the first two weeks of being home (made the best bubble baths!), is just $9.  Click here to go to the Disney section of H20's site.  I didn't recieve anything for saying that... I just really like the product.

Have you noticed that smells can take you back to a certain place or time?  For me, certain soaps and lotions tend to do that.  {It's like I'm almost there!}  One of my favorite Disney places is the Paradise Pier Hotel.  It is our hotel of choice when we visit Disneyland.  Just look how cute their bottles are!

Post-Script~ Actually, I have been much better (read: less Gollum-y) about my hotel soaps lately.  The change was sparked a couple of years ago some family friends got together and made give away bags for the homeless.  We put some water bottles & candy bars, hand sanitizer & miscellaneous personal care items into gallon-size ziplock bags.  Then, we'd keep several in our cars and if we came across someone in need, we'd have something to give.   {Warm, dry socks in the winter & chapstick/sunblock in the summer are especially nice.}

That got me thinking, if I found myself without a roof over my head, I probably wouldn't be carrying around full-size soaps.  So rather than hording my little travel trophies, I began packaging the soaps, shampoos, conditioners and lotions in sandwich-size ziplock bags, to go in the larger bags.  Easy-peasy and they're ready to share with someone who doesn't have a bathroom sink.  {But not the shower caps... those are still under my sink.}

Once, we stayed at a 'downtown' hotel which was, itself, very nice.  It was in a, shall we say, transitional part of town.  There was a mix-up at check in and as a reward for our patience we were upgraded to the honeymoon suite.  The toiletries there were fabulous!  They had everything under the sun... Bath & Body Works soaps & lotions, toothbrushes & toothpaste, dental floss & mouth wash, his and hers deodorant, sunblock, sewing kit & of course, shower cap! 

I remembered that on the walk from the gated parking lot to the lobby, there were several down-and-out folks on the other side of the fence.  Before checkout the next morning, we took all the countertop goodies, a couple of those wrapped, disposable plastic cups, and put them in the ice-bucket liners.  Voila!  Instant give away bag.


I don't presume to know what it is like to be homeless.  I don't know if receiving bags of stuff from strangers is truly helpful, or simply another reminder of the divide in our current situations in life.  I do know I like to be able to wash up, to drink clean water when I'm thirsty, and to have a piece of chocolate every now and then.  (Okay, more now than then...)

If, at the core, we're not all that different from one another, then perhaps there is appreciation in the offering.  It might not always feel like it with whatever stressors we may be dealing with at the moment, but to many people in the world our lives look like another day in paradise. {pier or otherwise}

Post-Post-Script~  I just choked on my bagel.  After reading this post to my family for constructive feedback, My husband said, "Or you could spend ten bucks to have your own cookie-cutter like stamp made, with your own logo for your new super-duper soap store, melt off the top layer of the hotel soap with their emblem, and then rebrand the soap with your own.  Wrap it up in fancy tissue paper or something, and you're in business." 

Then he said that last part reminded him of a Phil Collins song.  He thought it was a bit sappy.  Sorry. 


Monday, April 4, 2011

Almost There; Spring Break!

There's just something I love about a new month.  Especially with a dry-erase calendar.  All the old, cluttered appointments, playdates, and "have-to"s from the previous month wiped away with one swipe of paper towel & a little squirt of Windex.  The new month is fresh and clean and new.  It's full of possibilities!

This month, I especially love what's on the docket:  Spring Break!

We are going {drumroll please} absolutely nowhere.  Honestly, I'm thrilled.  I'm so looking forward to a week of nothing.  No school, no appointments, no travel that exerts so much energy that when you get home you require a vacation to get over your 'vacation'. 

This will be the first Spring Break we have taken during the actual, calendar Spring Break since we started homeschooling.  The flexibility of scheduling is one of the biggest perks of homeschooling.  We have been able to take all of our vacations or even day trips when everyone else was in school.  Of course, we've been doing school when all the neighborhood kids are outside playing in the street, laughing and having a fabulous time.  Try learning your multiplication tables while seeing and hearing that out the window! 

Even with my undying love for Disney vacations, I'd rather be a lot of other places during the heavily crowded, peak traffic seasons.  Don't get me wrong, if you have a window of opportunity to visit any one of the Parks that falls on a school holiday, go for it!  It's almost impossible to not have a good time.  But if there is flexibility in your schedule, look for that off-season sweet spot and prepare to skip a lot of otherwise long lines and crowds.

This week, though, will be an actual break.  I suppose there's still laundry & bills, but there's also {free time}.  Time to think, rest, plan, and... nap!  Whee!  And I suppose, time to dream of Disney.  Do you have a minute?  Close your eyes and it can be as if you're almost there!


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