Disneyland 101

December 22, 2016

Meeting Princess Tiana at Ariel's Grotto

Last year around this time, we were enjoying my oldest daughter’s first trip to Disneyland. She had turned 2 a few months before our trip – an age where some people might say it’s a waste of time to bring a toddler to Disneyland. But I love Disneyland and I had already learned from other amusement park trips that she absolutely loves dressed up characters, so I suspected she would have a great time…which she did. We then made several trips to Disneyland after that first vacation – up until right before she turned 3. I think the age 2-3 is perfect for kids to visit Disneyland, since their admission is free! I had a fabulous time on all those trips – and here is my list of things that helped make it an enjoyable time for all.

1) NO selfie sticks allowed! The parks will absolutely not allow them in, so don’t even try…

2) Check crowd calendars (many different websites have variations of these) to figure out the best time of year for you to go, considering the anticipated crowds. If you’re going at a busy time – be prepared for it to take a long time to get through the parks and be careful scheduling yourself for things that you might end up being late for because of time to get around the parks.

3) Disneyland app – the official Disneyland version is incredibly helpful. It provides info for both parks – Disneyland and California Adventure. Its many features include ride wait times AND the schedule and location of character appearances, as well as important ride information like height requirements. There are so many rides at both Disneyland and California Adventure that allows kids of all ages and heights, but a few do have height restrictions, so make sure to check before you stand in line.

4) Food/snacks – although the official park rules might not state this, you can usually bring in your own food and snacks. You can’t carry around a cooler, but bringing some of your own edible items into the park reduces some of the cost and time involved in purchasing all your food items from Disney.

5) Water – many restaurants will provide a free cup of ice and water if you ask for it- no additional purchase required.

Mr. Toad Photo Spot at Disneyland

6) Fast passes and single rider lines – definitely important to grab a fast pass for certain rides VERY early in the day; Radiator Springs Racers at California Adventure is one example. Single rider lines are also a great option to reduce your line wait time, if you are OK with your party being broken up and not going on the ride together. There are limits on how many fast passes you can have; here is a good run down of the rules.

7) Rides with consistently short lines – certain rides like Winnie the Pooh and the Little Mermaid usually have very short wait times and are a great way to enjoy a ride without waiting too long.

8) Playgrounds – a great place for kids to run around and burn off some energy. There are fabulous play areas in Mickey’s Toon Town in Disneyland and at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in California Adventure.

9) Photo Pass- even if you don’t purchase a Photo Pass, the photographers are usually more than happy to take a photo of your family if you hand them your camera or phone.

10) Meeting Mickey and Minnie – my favorite places for this are in Mickey’s House and Minnie’s House in Toon Town. The line for meeting each of them goes winds through their respective “houses” which features some fun interactive features for young kids.

11) Character meals – one of the most efficient ways of meeting characters! The characters come around to each table while you enjoy your meal. Kids under 3 eat free! I like to do the character breakfasts, as a nice way to start the day and by doing it in the morning, we don’t have to scramble mid-day to get to lunch or dinner reservations.

Meeting Belle at Ariel's Grotto

12) Quiet spots – whether it’s the adults or the kids in your group who need to get away from the crowds, it’s good to have an idea of places to go where there aren’t so many people. My favorite quieter and less crowded spots tend to be Critter Country and the Hungry Bear Restaurant at Disneyland (although the previous great view onto the river is gone because of Star Wars construction.) However, at Christmas time, Santa Clause can often be found in Critter Country – so it’s possible it could be a bit more crowded in that area than usual. There are also some indoor venues that can offer a bit of respite from outdoor crowds. These include the Animation building in California Adventure (also the spot to go see Turtle Talk with Crush- a great attraction!), and Star Wars Launch Bay at Disneyland (where often you can meet characters like Chewbacca.)

13) Ride selections – keep in mind that some rides do have height requirements and other rides like Snow White’s Scary Adventures can be a bit scary for some younger kids.

14) Must eat food – turkey legs, Dole Whips, beignets….the list goes on and on.

15) Mickey’s Fun Wheel- this is the beautiful ferris wheel at California Adventure, and it’s a great ride – but most people will want to choose the regular/stationary line, not the “swinging” line when going on this attraction. The swinging gondolas can make many people VERY queasy. The regular line provides a wonderful trip around the ferris wheel with great views of the parks.

16) Tower of Terror – still open at California Adventure through the end of December – absolute MUST do (for people who enjoy thrill rides), since the ride is being closed in January and re-vamped to a Guardians of the Galaxy theme. Best time to go on this attraction is at night, in my opinion!

17) Meeting characters – there are so many to meet at each park; be selective about which ones you want to stand in line for. If you’re asking for an autograph, make sure to have your pen and paper out and ready for the character when you are in the front of the line.

Captain America

Those are just a few of my tips for enjoying a fabulous trip to Disney. Have a great time!

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A Day in the Life

October 9, 2016

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Our days around here tend to be either very routine, OR very eventful. I take a lot of photos on those eventful days where we take trips to amusements parks, but I have to remember to take pictures of just our day to day routine. Our blog share this month is all about “A Day in the Life”, so I scrapbooked some photos of a typical routine on the weekend!

I love the color combination in this new Stampin’ Up! Project Life card collection – Good Vibes. Modern, but bright and fun.

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We spent the morning just running errands – Target, the nursery for new plants for the yards, a bit of lunch.

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My favorite thing about this day was the weather – it was the first day that actually felt like autumn had arrived. It was a bit cool – cool enough to pull my boots out of the closet for the first time this season. There were some gorgeous clouds in the sky and there was a brief shower in the afternoon; just enough to leave us with that fresh rain scent for the rest of the day.

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Check out the rest of the team’s pages for this month, to see their Day in the Life!

Julie Kettlewell – UK
Sandra Korten – The Netherlands
Delys Cram – New Zealand
Linda Dalke – Australia

Moments Like These

September 11, 2016

I’m focusing more and more lately on simplicity – and this relates to my scrapbooking as well. One strategy I’m using is to focus on Project Life cards and scrapbook papers that are neutral colors – so, a lot of black and white cards like in the Moments Like These collection.

I’m glad I documented the backyard a bit last year when it was full of grass, before I turned it into concrete!

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Some old photos from when Sofia was just barely a toddler.

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And these black and white cards go perfectly with a bit of color for some photos from last year’s Halloween! This is the fabulous thing about black and white cards- you can add a pop of color to tailor it to any color scheme.

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Our team has some great pages that you’ll be inspired by – make sure to check them out!

Julie Kettlewell

Constanze Wirtz

Tina Gillespie

Anna Pickering

Sandra Korten

Delys Cram

Linda Dalke

Allison Okamitsu

Yard Progress

September 2, 2016

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I have shared many photos on Instagram of my backyard and the work that’s been going on, but not a lot on this blog yet. But I am so excited as to how things are progressing, that I can’t help but share some photos even though we aren’t done yet!

Before and after:

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This home’s grass never was in great condition, but when the California water restrictions popped up a year or so ago, we struggled with what to do with the grass. Eventually the decision was made – get rid of the grass, and move on. This is what a yard of dead grass looks like!

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Finally, the work starts. I don’t think I could have pulled all this up myself.

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And the concrete work begins…

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And for the finished product….concrete and decomposed granite. I really didn’t do anything fancy. Just basic broom finished concrete and gray decomposed granite. But then I had lots of fun with decorating and choosing pieces of furniture and plant pots.

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The dining table set is from West Elm. The little plant pots are from CB2.

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I am so glad I chose these Acapulco chairs from CB2! They are so fun and actually very comfortable for lounging in. I can’t wait to use the firepit from Crate & Barrel to make s’mores. I’m still working on getting plants in the ground, but until then I’m enjoying the plants in the plant pots which are from CB2.

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If you like the look of the Acapulco chairs, here is another fabulous example of how this can be pulled together, from one of my favorite bloggers – Almost Makes Perfect.

Memory Keeping with Project Life by Stampin Up

May 8, 2016

Project Life by Stampin Up

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Welcome! This month’s blog hop is all about card collections that are retiring soon, so if you like what you see, grab these now while you can! I just recently ordered the Love Story card collection, and am so glad I ordered a few sets of them, since they are retiring this collection. The cards are absolutely gorgeous and I really think they can be used for many purposes besides romantic themes. I found a lot of uses for these cards when scrapbooking photos of my kids.

For the “bathtub” page above, I just stamped a small “so much fun” stamp from the “Happy Times” Stampin’ Up!- Project Life collection (also retiring) and stamped the month “January” on the calendar card. Super simple!

It’s tough finding Project Life cards with the color purple/perwinkle in them, like in my little one’s shirt in these photos…and black and white cards are a great option when you can’t find cards to match the colors in your photos. I really like the contrast of the black and white with the bright colors in her paint set.

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These pages really came together very quickly. I love how easy it is to put something together with neutral colors like black and white and gray!

Project Life

Project Life

Project Life

Make sure you check out the other blog posts from the team this month! And if you are interested in ordering the Love Story or any other card collection, check out my website Delys Cram
Tina Gillespie
Sandra Korten
Constanze Wirtz
Julie Kettlewell
Patty Bennett
Linda Dalke
Caroline van der Straaten
Janet Morrow Wakeland

Memory Keeping With Project Life

April 9, 2016

Project Life Stampin Up

Hi everyone! This month’s challenge was to use only black and white photos. I actually use black and white photos quite a bit, but I usually mix them up with color photos. I don’t often use solely black and white photos on a page, so this was a fun challenge for me!

I’d been wanting to play around with combining one of my favorite ink colors – Calypso Coral – with black and white for quite a while, so this was a great time to do it. The great thing about using black and white photos as well as black and white cards is that you can use your favorite color to add an extra “pop” to the layout.

I used a few Stampin’ Up’ Project Life stamp sets, too. All of the cards are from the Moments Like These collection (my favorite!) except for one of the cards which was just a plain white card.

Both of these pages were very simple. All I had to do was to stamp on two cards on this first page.

On the second page, I used the calendar stamp for the month and days and then circled the day that the photos were taken. I love this stamp!

Project Life Stampin Up

Project Life Stampin Up

Thanks for checking out my pages! Make sure to hop around to see what the rest of the team created this month.

Julie Kettlewell UK
Linda Dalke Australia
Constance Wirtz Germany
Anna Pickering UK
Sandra Korten Netherlands