Thursday, June 28, 2012

4th of July Fireworks in Central Florida

I love fireworks shows.  It's one of the many things I love about Disney- we know how to do great fireworks shows year round.  Twice a year we put on amazing shows, Fourth of July is one of those days.  Here are just some of fun places around Central Florida that are putting on July 4th firework shows. All firework shows at the theme parks are included in the regular park admission. 

 -Walt Disney World:  
     *Magic Kingdom is doing Disney's Celebrate America! - A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky at 9pm (They are also doing a show on July 3rd at 9pm like in years past.)
     *Epcot is doing a special holiday (ie longer) showing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at 10pm.  
     *Disney's Hollywood Studios will be doing a super special (in my opinion anytime DHS does fireworks it's super special because they only do fireworks on July 4th and New Year's Eve) firework display at 9:45pm. 

-SeaWorld Orlando: SeaWorld is doing a Fourth of July Reflections show after their regular show. Reflections starts at 9:45pm with the 4th fireworks right after. 

-Universal Studios Orlando: Universal is doing a fireworks & fountain show this year. 

-Downtown Orlando is holding Fireworks at the Fountain at Lake Eola Park. Fireworks are at 9:20pm, with festivities from 4pm-10pm.

-Celebration will be doing A Salute to Cinema, an event with DJs, costume contest, celebrities and of course an awesome fireworks show starting at 9:30pm. Outside of WDW, this is my favorite fireworks location. They always put on a spectacular show!

St Cloud

-My second favorite outside of WDW, and not because I live down the street from the festivities.  St Cloud may be small, but we can put on a nice party!  From 3pm until 10pm there will be food and merchandise vendors all down the street, along with music, games and fun! The fireworks will be on East Lake Toho. I'll probably end up at this one this year with Cole for his first 4th of July! :) 

-Kissimmee will be hosting a festival at Lake Toho, with food, music, vendors and more.  Festivities run from 5pm until 9:30pm with fireworks at 9:10pm. 

Altamonte Springs:

-Crane's Roost Park is hosting xl 106.7 Red Hot and Boom on July 3rd.  It's a huge music fest during the day and an even bigger fireworks show at night! Cobra StarshipJo Jo, Karmin, Neon HitchOutasightA Rocket To the Moon, and Chris Rene Neon are some of the performers this year! The event runs from 4pm-11pm this year.

-Star Spangled Sanford: July 4th on the Riverfront will have fireworks on the Lake Monroe Riverfront at 9pm.  Family activities start at 4pm and go until the fireworks. 

Where is your favorite place in Central Florida to watch fireworks?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

3x5 Folded Card

Sweet Gallery Boy Thank You Card
Say "Thanks," with personalized thank you notes from Shutterfly.
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Friday, June 22, 2012

2012 Candlelight Processional Narrators


The much anticipated 2012 Candlelight Processional Narrators have been announced (well, most of them anyway):

November 23 - 25Geena Davis
November 26 - 29Neil Patrick Harris
November 30 - December 1Whoopi Goldberg
December 2 - 4Andy Garcia
December 5 - 7TBA
December 8 - 10James Denton
December 11 - 13Jodi Benson
December 14 - 16Olivia Newton John
December 17 - 19TBA
December 20 -22Trace Adkins
December 23 - 25Gary Sinise
December 26 - 28Amy Grant
December 29 - 30Marlee Matlin / Jack Jason

Definitely some great narrators this year!  I really want to see Jodi Benson.

 Candlelight Processional runs from November 23rd through December 30th this year. Shows are in the American Gardens Theatre at 5pm, 6:45pm & 8:15pm  

For those who have never seen the Candlelight Processional, I highly recommend it.  It is the telling of the Christmas story by one of the above celebrity narrators, accompanied by a 50 piece orchestrand a huge mass choir made up of Walt Disney World Cast Members and guest choirs from all around the world.  It's truly a magical part of the season! 

One of my many performances in the Cast Choir - 12/7/9 with Anika Noni Rose

Monday, June 18, 2012

Flying While Breastfeeding

I don't tend to fly much when I travel, so I'm not quite up to date on all the TSA rules and regulations. I just got back from Cedar Rapids, IA where I was a bridesmaid for my best friend's wedding. Unfortunately my 10 week old baby who is breastfed could not make the trip with me. This meant I was going to have a few extra items to pack for this trip (along with all the wedding items!). The main thing was my breast pump, this trip was about three and a half days and there is no way I could go that long without either my baby or the pump. I did several searches about traveling with a breast pump and milk without having your little one and came up with very little information. The TSA website does have info, but I wanted more first hand information rather just a blurb on it.  Hopefully this will help someone in the same situation I was in.

We flew out of the Orlando/Sanford Airport in Florida. On the way up I only had to worry about my pump and its pieces. I have a Medela Pump in Style Advance with the metro bag, (i also have the same pump with the shoulder bag, but because it was doubling as my carry on, and the pump is separate from the bag i took the metro bag) it's a pretty discreet bag, black with creme piping and interior, and held everything I needed and it wasn't too big to carry on. The one thing I was able to find was to alert the TSA agents at the scanner that you have a pump and/or milk BEFORE it gets scanned. When I went through the TSA line the agent was great and asked to take the pump out of my metro bag and set it in the tray with the metro bag. Nothing too different than what I have with my netbook. Because the pump comes out of the bag and is portable, it has a little cover with a carrying handle, in a nondescript black.

The pump in it's carrying case.
On the way home we flew out of the Moline/Quad Cities Airport. This time it was going to be a little more complicated because I was going to be gone so long, there was no way I was going to waste all that milk (I did dump anything from the rehearsal dinner and wedding day/morning after because there was drinking involved & I was running out of room in my cooler bag) so I would be bringing pumped milk home; which, obviously, is a liquid. Pumped milk is part of a special category (it's considered liquid medication) so you don't have to adhere to the 3.4 oz liquids rule; included are the ice packs needed to keep it cold.  This time I was ready with my pump out of the metro bag and in the tray next to my metro bag. When I told the TSA agent, he asked for me to remove the cooler bag of milk and put it with the pump in a separate tray and put it in front of any other trays I had as the liquid takes longer to process through the scanner. When my items were out of the scanner one of the agents handed me the pump back and explained that he was going to do to a swab over the outside of the cooler bag (similar to what they do on the handles of suitcases) and after that was checked he would do a swab of my hands. It added a few extra minutes to the process but it wasn't too bad.
Small cooler pack
The worst part was repacking the metro bag so that everything fit correctly. I had the pump at the bottom of my bag because it's a compact square and helped keep the bottom of the bag open/not squished. The cooler bag with the milk and freezer packs is rectangular so it was at the bottom too, and I had the mesh bag with the breastshields and bottles on top of them along with my wristlet. Basically little things that fell to the bottom and got in the way of repacking.
My fully packed Pump in Style Advance metro bag

All in all it was an easy process both times and all the agents I encountered at both airports were knowledgeable, helpful and friendly about everything. My helpful tips would be:

-let the agents know you have a pump and/or pumped milk
-when you pack, keep your pump and milk towards the top of your bag were it is easier to get to
-put them in their own tray, at the beginning of your items
-relax and don't worry about it, the agents are helpful :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Brave Highland Games!

The Brave Highland Games have arrived at Epcot! From June 1st until July 8th you can experience four tournament games that make you feel like part of the movie. The Highland Games are open from 11am until 7pm over in the Future World West walkway. I went with Kirk, Cole, and my friend Sarah and we had so much fun!

Before you start the games, you get to spin the clan wheel. The wheel has the four main clans from the movie -MACINTOSH, DINGWALL, MACGUFFIN & DUNBROCH. Whatever clan the wheel lands on is the clan that you will represent (by wearing their button) for the games.

Spin the Clan Wheel
Two of the four Clan buttons.

The first game is archery! Who doesn't love archery? This one was my favorite of the games! They give you a bow and arrow and have the chance to make it into the bullseye hole (because this is Disney and safe for the family: the arrow isn't sharp, it's weighted on the end and there is a big hole were the bullseye is on the target.). None of us made it in, but we all came close!

Kirk getting an archery refresher.
Next up was the haggis flip, not as disgusting as it sounds! Three people can play at one time. Each player gets three haggis to flip off the launcher with a mallet into one of the three baskets in front of you. It's harder than it looked, but still fun!

Haggis Flip
After the haggis flip comes the cake toss with the Triplets. Cake toss really is corn hole or bean bag toss. There are three boards that each have three holes to aim your cakes at. You get three cake to toss. Somehow everyone get cakes in the holes but me lol

Cake Toss
Last, but certainly not least, is the mini caber toss! My second favorite of the games. There are enough cabers for three (I'm sensing a pattern) people to toss at a time. The cabers are heavier than they look, but definitely still light enough for kids to play. They feel like a foam rubber with a weight inside of them, all inside a cover than is wood grain fabric. The goal of this one is to throw it, have it flip end over end and land in front of you. I'm not sure if any of us did it, we were having too much fun laughing!

Kirk, me, & Sarah doing the Mini Caber Toss.
As you are leaving the Highland Games field, there is a Cast Member giving out crayons and paper do you can do a character rubbing (like they had in the Fairy Garden during Flower & Garden Festival.), one for each clan. They also have a postcard pack- 6 cards with different characters on the front and activities on the back.

That's not all they have set up! There is a playground (recommended for children ages 2 through 12) set up across the way that looked like a lot of fun! The best part of the playground is the adults area- tents with chairs and free wi-fi! Yup, that's right, free wi-fi in the park!

We had a lot of fun, and I highly recommend you check it out if you have the chance! I'll definitely be back before it closes July 8th!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Family Friendly Restaurant!

Let me start this post off with this: you are a very lucky person if you've never experienced a new born going through a growth spurt. Goodness, it's rough! They are loud and it's very hard to make then comfortable and happy. Unfortunately they go through several of these growth spurts during the first couple of months. Cole is a very good baby, minimal crying outside of the obvious feed me or change my diaper, until he hits a growth spurt. Poor thing feeds constantly, hardly sleeps, gets overtired, and cries (or screams until he turns red or purple) his little head off. This was his 6 week growth spurt.

Poor baby.
My friend Tracey and I wanted to get together for lunch, because we haven't seen each other since Christmas and she hadn't met the baby yet. We decided on Chimento's Spaghetti House in downtown St Cloud. For those of you who don't have the pleasure of dining in downtown, we have several charming family owned restaurants in the area. Chimento's is a homemade Italian place with delicious food at great prices! I have yet to get something that I didn't like there.

This trip was different because I had Cole with me and I didn't have Kirk to help me if Cole decided he was done with sleeping or watching other people eat. Sadly Cole already wasn't happy as we walked in. It wasn't full on shrieking but he was crying. I was trying to calm him as we waited to order, but he wasn't having anything to do with it. I was greeted at the register by one of the owners saying "don't worry, babies cry. We're a family friendly restaurant and if anyone has a problem with him, they can leave." That immediately made me feel better. Tracey has the magic Cole touch and kept him quiet through a lot of lunch. We had some looks but they were more "aww a little baby" and a few "how old is he" comments but that was it. She handed him back so she could eat, he was getting fussier so I got up to go change his diaper. As I was leaving the dining area, the owner hurried to catch up with me. He thought I was leaving because Cole was crying, "Don't worry about it, babies cry. Don't leave." I had to reassure him it was just a diaper and we would be right back. that meant a lot that he was so concerned about us.

I already liked Chimento's, but now I really like them and I'll definitely be back (with Cole!). I'll also be singing their praises to everyone. It's nice to know I have a place I can go eat with the baby and not have to feel like we arent welcome, and not be forced to stay at home all the time. Thanks Chimento's!!

Link from Chimento's Spaghetti House on Urbanspoon

 **This post is 100% my own opinion. I was not compensated in any way shape or form for this post. I just really liked the service I received and wanted to share with my readers.**