Fun & Fantastic Stuff

Dizee’s Disney Tips!

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We have been back from Disney for over a month… sigh… I am already waiting to go back! Unfortunately, the play room is still the ‘Post-Disney-Disaster Site’ right now.


I have my work cut out for me… It always amazes me how quickly I can make a room a mess…


That being said, I thought I would share a few tips/tricks we picked up while we were in Disney:

1)     Stay on Disney Property


We stayed at the Art of Animation and it was love at first  sight.  The hotel was off the hook, the pool was amazing, the food court was stacked and the rooms came with a small kitchen with a microwave and refrigerator .  Pluses included a decent arcade and even a bar.  This is my kind of hotel.  No, this will not save you money in the long run, but it did contribute to the overall experience.

Or, maybe, I am just a Disney snob.

Actually, both are probably true.


2)      Shop before you get there


We rented a car because that is how we roll… get it, car… roll?  This stuff writes itself.

Moving on,  we were able to stop at Walmart and pick up some necessities (such as milk, yogurt and Oreos).  By far our best purchase was bottled water.  It seemed like Disney was pretty lenient with their food/water policy.   Every day we threw a few bottles into the stroller or our bags and we were able to save ourselves the cost of drinks.  We even brought water in to the Counter-Service restaurants.

Craig estimated we saved $75 by doing this (don’t worry, we spent that money elsewhere…).   I wished I thought to buy myself Diet Coke too… a 6-pack at the  hotel was going for over 9 dollars!


No thank you.  Even I have my limits.


We also fed the boys cereal and yogurt for breakfast (and occasionally for dinner) saving a few shekels there as well.

If you don’t have a car, there are services which will shop for you and bring the groceries to your hotel.  I think this would still be a win.


3)      Bring your own stroller (or even buy one in Florida). 


Kids get tired simply walking from the car to the entrance of the park (or atleast this is true for my boys) so I knew I would need a stroller.  A bunch of my friends recommended renting them through Disney, but at almost thirty dollars a day for a double stroller, we weren’t feeling it.  We picked up a $25 single-model at Walmart and “gifted” it to another family when we were leaving.  Over the course of a 7 night stay, the savings were substantial.

It also helped that our stroller looked different than the standard ‘Disney’ ones.  Stroller Parking can get a little  crazy.


4)      Dine in Italy



In Epcot, we ordered a large pizza in Via Napoli for the 5 of us and devoured the whole thing.  It was tasty, delicious and cost $30 less than our meal at T-Rex (a dinosaur-themed restaurant in Downtown Disney).

For the most part, excluding breakfast and table service restaurants, our meals cost approximately $10 per person.  (CK – you were right on the money… another clever pun… I am on fire!)


5)      Be over 40 inches tall –  Cooper was 38 ½ inches tall and wasn’t allowed on a bunch of rides… To say he was distraught was an understatement.  He tried everything to be ‘tall enough’ – he would stand on his tippy toes and plead with the cast members.  It was super sad….



6)      Pirate Savings 


Max wanted to be painted like a Skelton Pirate.  Honestly, I thought it was a waste of money and put him off for a day or two… However, he was adamant and even wanted to use his own money.

In the end, for thirty five bucks, he was decked out in pirate garb, made to take a pirate oath and given the grand treatment.   It was an hour and a half long experience.

I didn’t realize the purchase came with an eye patch, pirate’s bandana, earring, coin  necklace, sword and sheath.  All items we had purchased the previous day… #fail!  Max graciously gave Cooper all his previous ‘pirate loot’ and went on to become the handsome, undead swashbuckler you see above.

I wish I had thought ahead and purchased a pirate costume and brought it with us.  I saw them at the Disney Store for
$40 while the same one was going for $65-85 in Disney World…  And, if purchased after Halloween, I bet you could find a deep discount.


7)      Skip the Character Breakfast Buffett 

Did I just say that?

Yes, Yes I did.


Because it cost our little group of 5 almost two hundred dollars to eat at Chef Mickey’s.  I thought it would be the best way to see the elite characters – you know, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy.   Imagine my surprise when walking through Epcot, these same characters were hanging out, with only a 5 minute wait to see them!

It doesn’t help that we are not big breakfast people.  In fact, Cooper insisted on having an Multi-Grain bar.  I was a tad disgusted….



8)      Pack your own poncho – It is Florida.  It will rain.  Disney ponchos were $5-8 each.  I saw ones in Target for less than $2….  Doofy Dizee….


Anyone else planning a trip?  I can’t wait to go back.  I just love Disney. 

Move over Ben & Jerry’s – Snow Ice Cream

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“Do you want to build a snowman?” sings Anna

“No, I want to make snow ice cream!” replies Elsa.


Have you seen Frozen? Obviously, this is not how this song goes… but it would be if I was involved.


I equated Snow Ice Cream to the Abominable Snowman… something that was just a figment of an over active imitation.

However, I kept seeing it pop up on Facebook and on the internet. Finally, after 48 inches of the fluffy white stuff fell, I attempted my first pint of ‘snow cream’.


I followed this recipe from all recipes and let ‘er rip.  Obviously, since I can’t wait to make this again, it should now stop snowing in the North East….


Since it was ice cream – it needed a topping…. You see where I am going with this, right?



Large bowl of “clean” snow (yellow snow is NOT clean)

½ gallon of milk (I used whole milk)

½ cup white sugar

1 tablespoon of vanilla (I may have over done it a bit…. )



1. Wait for it to snow – a lot…

2. Fill a large bowl with ice cream and bring it in the house

3. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, sugar and vanilla until the sugar dissolves.

4. Stick your finger in the mix and make sure it tastes sweet

5. Add the snow by large cup fills, stirring to mix the contents

6. Taste liberally as you mix 7. Put a scoop in a bowl, add chips and call yourself done

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A Few of My Favorite Cruelty Free Products

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PS- (Can I add a PS when I just started a post??? I am not sure, but I am doing it anyways)  This isn’t a paid post – I just felt like sharing my love for this stuff…


One of my new resolutions is to use cruelty free products as often as possible.  Why?  Look at these faces!

I just can’t believe companies STILL test on animals.  (You can read more here… bring tissues….)


That being said, I can’t afford to spend a ton of cash on stuff… so, I am so excited to say I found shampoo, conditioner AND body wash that I love at a price I can stomach.


Let me introduce you to Organix.  As you can see, I have quite the selection –I love the way they work and smell.  Best
part – I got the smaller bottles for $4 and change on sale at STOP AND SHOP!  I have to do more research, but they
seem to run just under $6.  The big, ginormous bottle? That is a BJ’s purchase for $9.99…  Sometimes, I can even find coupons for the Organix line! It is almost too exciting.


I also love the Kiss my Face brand which I bought on Amazon using a gift card from my beloved sister-in-law (Thanks Melissa!!!!! ).   They each ran less then $6, although I had to buy  added enough stuff to my purchase so I didn’t have to pay for shipping and handling.  I guess Amazon had the last laugh there.


Either way, I am happy that my little purchases make a bit of difference.


I am looking for detergent now.  I am not a huge fan of the lavender scent I see Seventh Generation uses.  And my husband would have a cow if I bought the $12.99 bottle and brought it home.   Sadly, I had to let my Purex Crystals go…. They were my absolute favorite but since they still test on animals, I am out…. Which reminds me, I owe them an email.


Anyone else have cruelty free products they love?




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Opening Pandora’s Box (of Free Music!)

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Alright, it is my first post back on the bandwagon…. I am moving a little slow still.  Sorry!  I plan on two posts a week for the next few weeks – Let’s say Tuesday and Thursday?!


I took off the month of January to center myself, meditate on who I am and where I want to go, and really focus on being a better, kinder person.


Nah, I am just kidding.


I went to Disney, spent too much money and was harassed by a stomach virus that I thought was going to kill me.




Good Times… well, mostly.


One thing I discovered along the way was Pandora. (Thank you Myra!)  Am I the only one who didn’t knowthis?  It is like Sirus/XM radio but with commercials.   Oh, and it is free.


I got tired of listening to the same songs at work and noticed my pal was rocking out with her headphones on and toes-a-tapping.  (ok, not quite, but you get the picture).


Well, Myra told me about Pandora and there is no going back.  There are a million
stations to choose from (I am not above admitting that this NYC girl has been rocking the Today’s Country Radio channel).  You can also enter the name of the artist you like (let’s say Dave Matthews Band) and it will play music by the artist and similar musicians.


Lastly, unlike regular radio channels, you can ‘rate’ songs with a thumbs up or down for better future listening experiences.  And you can even skip a limited number of songs.


Simply head over to their website or download the app for your smartphone and start listening!


Now, if Pandora could clean my house while I listen to the music, life would be perfect….


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Christmas Labels – ALMOST in time for Christmas!

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Am I the only one who has NOT sent out her Christmas Cards out yet?




That being said, I have gotten so many wonderful Christmas cards where I have been totally envious of the return label.


Yes! I said it!  I love return labels that have a little something-something going on.  ( Teresa, yours was at the top of my envy-list!)


Since I had some time to kill waiting for my cards to actually arrive, I put these return address labels together.




Seeing as it is the season for giving, you can download the labels here so you can print them out yourself!  (It is an excel file)


All you need to do is replace your information for the generic info I included.  Oh, the  label size is 1” x 2 5/8” (I used the Avery Easy Peel ones… I know, FANCY!)


Sorry I waited for SEVEN DAYS before Christmas to send them out…. BAD DIZEE!

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Worst Christmas Tree… Ever

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So, as they say, this is the most wonderful time of the year!


However, I am harboring some guilt.




Because THIS is my 2013 Christmas tree .


Whop Whop.


With us leaving for Disney so soon after Christmas, I was worried about taking our massive tree down in time.  I worried the dogs would attack the tree while we were away, toppling it for our house sitter.  And, mostly, I was worried that with so much to do before we leave, the tree would just be an added burden.


Yes, call me Scrooge.  I have been called worse.


I honestly didn’t even feel guilty until I pulled this little tree out of the box.  I am not even sure how I was surprised – the box was only two feet long.  How big did I think the tree lurking in there was?




Either way, the kids and I had a great time making the decorations for the tree.  There are some out of play dough, some are blank cardboard ornaments from A.C. Moore that we dolled up and then we made these simple candy canes out of pipe cleaners.

The moral of the story – it isn’t about the size of your tree, it is about the love in your heart.


At least that is what I keep telling myself.


We will do it up right in 2014!



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Max’s Weekend with Mr. Monkey

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Ok, so I am (predictably) a bit behind this week.   Our Boston Market feast was suburb and we inhaled it so quickly that I forgot to get a picture.


Boo Dizee!


I also put away 8 loads of laundry (like actually placed them in the dresser instead of living out of laundry buckets) and we did a bit of holiday shopping….  At least I was productive!


A few weeks ago, Max was Friend of the Week at School.  He got to color and fill out a big page with his favorite interests (Drawing Monsters & Playing with Friends), list his favorite food (strawberries) and colors (This week is was Blue & Red).


He also got to hang with Mr. Monkey for the weekend.  This is much better than having to be in charge of an actual class animal for the weekend.  Although, I kept worrying that one of the dogs would behead him or rip his arm off.  I had nightmares of tufts of Mr. Monkey’s innards would be scattered around the house.


Each “Friend” of the week gets a chance to take home Mr. Monkey and write about all the adventures they experience that weekend.


We actually had a busy weekend and Mr. Monkey got to do a lot of fun things.   Also, it doesn’t help that Craig is uber competitive and wanted to have the best Mr. Monkey Experience of the class:


Mr. Monkey went to a party at Laser Bounce




Mr. Monkey also went to the Riverhead Aquarium and met a long-lost cousin





And no weekend would be complete without going to have Friendly’s!



What a lucky monkey.


When Mommy Needs a Break…

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Picture It.  Sicily, 1912…


Whoops!  What can I say?   I do love me some Golden Girls references….


Let’s start over.


Picture It.  It’s Snowing, the kids have been inside all day.  Tempers are starting to rise.  Nerves are starting to fray.  There is no wine in the house…


The horror!



Assuming there is power and internet in this scenario, I usually break out the lap top and head over  to Nick Jr.




Because sometimes Mommy (or Grandma or Auntie) needs a little break.


Their games are cute (and relatively easy, even for me), the videos are all available on demand (even Wow Wow Wubbzy which they removed from their lineup- BOOOO!) and there are even some enjoyable crafts and printables.  In fact, sometimes I print these out to use when we go out to dinner.


I appreciate that the content is safe and mostly educational.


Actually, back when Hurricane Irene hit, Max and I made some enjoyable no-sew crafts, including this Felt Boots


Ahhhhh- Good Times…. much better than Hurricane Sandy, at any rate.


The only negative is the excessive commercials…. But, since the site is free, I grin and bear it….



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