Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Disney Bucket List

My Disney Bucket List

Eat at Club 33
Spend a day looking for Hidden Mickey's
Be an Annual Pass holder
Ride in the Lilly Belle Car
Go on a Disney Cruise
Get a corn dog from the Little Red Wagon
Pilot the Mark Twain
Find the Mickey skull in Indiana Jones
Take a tour of the Pet Cemetery
Get a map of the jungle cruise and/or a death certificate from the Haunted Mansion 
Collect all the squished pennies
See the Eeyore Sign in Indiana Jones
Stay at a Disney hotel
Run a Disney Half Marathon
Go to Aulani
Ride Radiator Springs Racers at night

What is on your Disney Bucket List?



Quick Getaway

Jarrod needed to make a trip down to the valley for work, so we were able to squeeze in a mini vacation. And when you're short on time, but want maximum fun, there is only one place that I want to go... Disneyland!!!!


There are 3 places that if you asked me where I'd rather be (in no particular order), they would be Hawaii, New York and Disneyland.  

We are lucky that Disneyland is a relatively close to us. With careful planning, we can drive down to LA, have a nice dinner and a good nights sleep, and be at Disneyland when the open the following morning. And then it's back in the road the next day for the drive home. Easy peasy. 

It's safe to say that I love Disneyland. And I'm really lucky that Jarrod is also a Disney fan. There is just something about the park that is so magical. To me, it really is "the happiest place on earth". And don't even get me started on how magical it is during the holidays. I'm really happy that Shane's birthday is in Decemeber so that we can take him there as part of his birthday or Christmas present. 

Shane has been watching "Cars" (over and over) recently and he loves it. We've never been to California Adventure, just Disneyland, so we ponied up for the park hopper to check out Cars Land. We are so glad we did. True to Disney Magic, you feel like you're right there in Radiator Springs. 


One of the other awesome things that happened was that we were there right when California Adventure opened for the day. What made it so awesome? As we got off the trams, there were Disney Cast members wearing Mickey gloves giving everyone high fives and telling us to "have a great day" and other various statements of welcome. And then as we got passed through the gates into California Adventure, we were greeted by even more Cast members lining the streets in Carthay Circle. It gave me the warm fuzzies :) I made sure to give as many high fives as I could. 

We were able to ride California Screamin' with a short wait (maybe 15 minutes) once in the morning. I was surprised that we were able to get on the ride so quick. I was anticipating the wait time to be much longer. I guess I'm just used to the 60+ minute wait for Space Mountain.




After a quick tour around California Adventure, we headed over to Disneyland. It was a little bit of a bummer that there were so many rides that were down for refurbishment in Disneyland. But I can't be mad at them for wanting all the rides to be perfect for the Diamond Anniversary at the end of the month. That just means we will have to go back so that we can ride the Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, and the Matterhorn (wink wink). I almost had to add Space Mountain to that list. We tried twice to ride and it was temporarily closed :( Finally on our 3rd (and final attempt) it was open.



We were just going to snag a fast pass, but the wait was only twenty minutes, so we rode it twice. I've never in my life seen the wait time so short in my life. I think that makes up for it being down the other two times we tried to ride. We had good Disney kharma for sure.


If you're looking for the fastest tea cup, grab the purple one. I've heard that orange is also fast.


We finished up the day over at California Adventure. We lucked out with another short line for California Screamin'. This time we were better prepared for the picture.


The park wasn't super crowded, so we were able to squeeze in "Toy Story Mania" before our Fast Passes for "World of Color" opened. I think I'm not tall enough to fully enjoy the "World of Color" performance. I will have to do a little more investigating to find out where the best vantage point is. It was awesome, like the Bellagio fountains but with Disney flair. 


We finished out the night with another trip to Cars Land. I had to see "their neon". It is quite possible that I've watched "Cars" too many times. As we were walking around I was quoting a bunch of lines from the movie. I'm quite sure that "Cars" will be the first of many Disney movies that I will have memorized from start to finish.


What's are your must do's in Disneyland?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Podcasts

Part of my daily routine is to take Shane on a morning walk or run. For running, generally I will listen to Pandora or my own iTunes running mix. But when we are walking, I was finding that I didn't need to pumped up the same as when I'm out for a run. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy my Pentatonix, Broadway show tunes, and Pitbull Radio Stations on Pandora. But for a walk, I was craving something different. Something to go along with the relaxed pace of our walk.

When I was working, my commute was generally about a half an hour. When you spend an hour in the car every day, you quickly learn that a) the radio stations play the same songs over and over and b) there are a lot of commercials. And if you don't time your commute right, you might only hear one or two songs and then ten minutes of commercials. My solution to these problems was my trusty iPod. I could listen to the music I wanted, with no commercials, and if I wasn't in the mood for a particular song I could skip it. And if I wasn't in the mood for music, there were podcasts. At first I was skeptical, podcasting was just like talk radio right? Boy was I wrong. There is a show for whatever you are into (seriously, everything and anything you can think of). Do you like a particular comedian or actor? There is a good chance they have their own podcast or show up as a guest on someone else's. Favorite tv show? Most likely there is another super fan out who will break down the latest episode. 

My introduction into podcasting started with the Adam Corolla podcast . I had liked listening to him when he had his morning show on the radio. Due to a programming change, he was off the air and had started his own "radio network" in the form of a podcast. He was running his own show the way he wanted without any of the constraints of conventional radio. It was awesome to listen to someone I liked to listen to, talk about the things they like or talk with the people they wanted to talk to. 
 
So what am I listening to? I have a few different shows that I listen to on a regular basis. Here is my current podcast list. 
For the most part, I keep things light with the shows I listen to. The majority of what I listen to are on the comedy spectrum or have a comic/pop culture element to them. 
"Bizarre States" I discovered when I wanted to know what else was a part of the "Nerdist.com" universe. I had been a fan of Chris Hardwick and what he's done on TV lately with "The Talking Dead" and "After midnight" and everyone raves about his "Nerdist Podcast". "Bizarre States" is a worth a listen if you're into stories about urban legends and things that will give you goosebumps. I am not a fan of horror movies, but I love a good ghost story. 

If you like comedy, you should listen to "The Pauly Shore podcast show". I had no idea that his mom was the owner of  "The Comedy Store" so he's been around comics his whole life. It's interesting to get to "peek behind the curtain" and hear what goes on in the mind of a comic. And since he's Pauly Shore he's got a a great Rolodex of guests to choose from. I actually stumbled upon his show because he was a guest on Nerdist. He will also tell stories about his time with MTV.
 
Next are my Disney podcasts. There are tons out there but these are the two that I've really enjoyed. "Mousetalgia" talks all things Disney and Disneyland. "Tales from the Jungle Crews" is great because it looks at the history of Disney. They talk to former Disney cast members and Skippers. It's really interesting to hear about how Disneyland has evolved over the years.  

Back in my college days I would listen to "Loveline" with Adam and Dr. Drew. They have reunited once again for the "The Adam and Dr. Drew Show". Also on the Corolla Digital Network is Adam's wife, Lynette's show called "For Cying Out Loud". It's looks at the comical side of parenting, marriage, and pop culture. 
I then have my "serious" podcasts, which really aren't all that serious but fall under "talk radio" type shows. I rationalize my obsession with all things pop culture with "NPR pop culture happy hour". It may be pop culture, but it's smart pop culture. "This American Life" is probably the only public radio show that I have actually ever stopped the dial on if I'm station surfing in the car. 
 
I'm a big fan of Kevin Smith and his movies, so of course I had to check out "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old". I've seen comedy specials of Kevin Smith and he will tell these elaborate stories and the podcast is an extension of that. It is not family friendly, but neither are his movies. A lot of inappropriate humor, especially from Jay. It's pretty fantastic. 
 
Aisha Tyler is smart and funny and so is "girl on guy". It's another not "family friendly" show, but it's foul in a good way. Be forewarned, she likes to use big words.
I knew nothing about Marc Maron other than that he was a comedian. A popular comedian of who's body of work I'd never listened to. Many comedians will list him as an influence, but I had no clue who he was. I heard an episode of "Nerdist" where he was the guest and decided to check it out. Lots of comics and actors end up as guests on his show "WTF with Marc Maron". Lots of comedy and movie talk.

And then there is "Serial". For those of you who haven't heard of "Serial" listening to it is the equivalent of binge watching a show on Netflix. Once you start, you can't stop. I was late on the "serial" bandwagon, so I had the good fortune of being able to listen to all the episodes rather than wait for a new one each week. I originally told myself I'd only listen if I was out on a walk with Shane, and I found myself taking extra long walks so that I could keep listening. I'm really hoping a second season of "Serial" will happen soon. 

My only complaint with the podcasts that I listen to are the length. Generally, each episode is runs about an hour in length. Which means I can only listen to one show per walk or two on the days when I'm driving down to visit my parents.  Too many podcasts and not enough time  #firstworldproblems

I'd love to know what you listen to. If there is a show that you think I should give a listen, let me know and I'll check it out. 



Friday, April 3, 2015

DIY Baby Carrier Drool Pads

I baby wear. There I said it, I wear Shane in a soft structured carrier (SSC) and he loves it. I always knew that I would baby wear. I don't know when I decided that I would. I'm guessing sometime around college when I would see mom's carrying their kids in woven wraps and ring slings. When I was pregnant, Jarrod asked me "Are you going to get one of those Davis mom baby holders"? I love the feeling of having Shane close and getting the extra snuggle time. He is so happy when we are out shopping and he can look around at all the action. It's also nice to have an alternative to carrying him in my arms or having to lug the stroller around. I get so many compliments when I'm out and about. I know some of my fellow moms aren't so lucky to live in areas where baby wearing is as widely accepted as it is here in Northern California. Be proud and keep wearing your babies. And I promise if I see you in Target, I will "TITW" you. 
 


Other bit of information about Shane. He's part beaver (see above). This kid eats everything, well he bites everything. Not like in a mean way, he just takes a little nibble out of whatever he can. A few months back he had this funny little look on his face and his lips were pursed. When he opened his mouth, there were little bits of the padding of his crib rail. Which is funny considering that for actual food, he's got his special diet. When this kid is being worn, those should straps don't stand a chance. But what could I do to avoid having the straps of my Tula getting all nasty? I needed some drool pads ASAP. I bought a very cute pair when Shane was exhibiting his first signs of beaver-syndrome. They've lasted well, but I only had one pair. And with all the cute prints of Tulas out there, mama needs some coordinated accessories. 

After staring at my original pair of drool pads, I started to think "I might have enough sewing skill to make these myself". So I set down, trusty iPad on my lap and did some research. The Internet is flush with many different tutorials (like here, or here, or here) of how to make drool pads, so I studied a few and got to work. 

I hope you enjoy my tutorial on making drool pads and make yourself or a friend a pair. I'd love to see what you all come up with. 



Materials:
  • Fabric of your choice (or two if you'd like them to be reversible) cut to 10 in x 7in. For a set of pads you will need 4 separate 10"x7" pieces
  • Absorbent fabric (terry cloth, cotton, flannel, microfiber) also cut to 10"x7"
  • KAM (or similar) snaps or Velcro 

Directions:
 
 
Cut fabric to 7"x10" inches. I created a cardboard template to ensure that I had Mickey's in the center of my chew pads. 

 
Fabric pattern prior to cutting. I decided that I wanted each pad to have two Mickey's centered. 
 
 
Cut two pieces (one for the front and another for the back). I made it hard on myself and cut each piece individually. If I had planned better I would have cut the width of fabric (7 inches) and then the length (10 inches). Oh well, next time. That's the great thing about making something. You can find new and creative ways to make something work for yourself. I've never taken a formal sewing class. Everything I know I've learned from YouTube, blogs, friends and family.
 
 
Cut a  7"x10" piece of absorbent material for the lining. I used a cotton knit. 

 
Create a "sandwich" of your 2 print fabrics (right sides facing each other) and lay your middle layer fabric on top. Pin all the layers together. I'm not fancy enough to do ribbons, but this would be the step where you would add ribbon. For more details on how to add loops or ribbons, click here.

 
Using a 1/4 seam allowance, sew around the edges of your sandwich. 
 
 
Be sure to leave a section roughly 1-2 inches open so that you are able to turn your work right side out. Trim the corners off the edges of your work. Be sure not to get too excited and cut through the stitching. Trimming your corners will allow for more crisp edges when your piece is finished. 
 
 
Moment of truth. Time to turn your work right side out. To get those crisp corners, I take a chopstick and go around my inside seams and make sure the corners are fully pushed out. 
 
 
Whew, all the pieces were facing the right directions. Time to sew up the gap and add some decorative stitching.
 

For this particular fabric I thought a navy zigzag would look nice. Be wild and crazy and use a fun stitch. It'll be ok, I promise. My sewing machine came with a bunch of fun stitches. It would be a shame not to use them.
 
 
Time to add some snaps. Or Velcro. Or buttons. These are your drool pads so use whatever you'd like. I like the look of snaps, so I use snaps. Snap pliers are fun. I think everyone needs a pair. Plus, the sound of Velcro ripping is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I will use 3 sets of snaps for these pads. I eyeballed where I'd like to have the snaps. If you're super particular you can measure and punch. Just be sure to align the snaps correctly with one side being the cap and the other being the socket/stud piece. 
 
 
All done. Snaps are in the right places   Socket on the left side, cap on the right. This will also allow for my pads to be reversible. 

 
Repeat steps to complete your second drool pad. Make up a pair or two and dress up your favorite baby carrier. These would also be a great baby shower gift. 

Happy sewing. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Who doesn't love free stuff?

   Really, who doesn't love free stuff? Whenever I go to a fair or public event, I'm always scanning the booths looking for pens and other random freebies. About a month ago I was watching "Good Day Sacramento" and there was a company "Swaggable" that was doing a segment where if you went to their site you could get free baby products in exchange for writing a review. Sounded simple enough, try product and write review. I thought I could handle that and went online and signed up.       
 
 And lo and behold, about two weeks later my first product showed up. I got a sample of Babytime's playful baby wash. I won't bore you with my review but you can check it out if you'd like.
 
  Doing the reviews are fun and don't take up a great deal of time. I was going to give Shane a bath, so why not try out a new body wash. Currently we are trying some baby crackers. He liked the first pack, but I'm going to wait and see how he feels about the second pack.
 
  Swaggable has lots of different products that they are testing. You can do snacks, beverages, kids products, cosmetics & beauty, health & wellness, and even pet supplies. I urge you to check it out.

This wasn't a sponsored post, I'm just sharing with my fellow friends who also like free stuff.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Supper Planning Sunday's

   I've always been a planner. I love making lists and have a large collection of notepads and post-it's. One of the tasks I do weekly is figuring out our meals for the week. Generally, I do our grocery shopping on Sunday's. So on Sunday afternoons I take stock of what we've got in the fridge and I set to work. I have a large collection of cookbooks, a binder of recipes I've printed from the Internet or torn out of magazines, and of course my Pinterest boards. I'll do a scan of the weekly grocery ad, check for coupons, and get my list going.
   I've found that if I plan out our meals then I have less of those "I don't know what to make, let's just get takeout" nights. Jarrod has come to rely on knowing "what's for dinner" each day. Especially on taco night, he thinks about it all day at work. He loves himself some tacos. 
   To keep me accountable on our dinners, I created a chalkboard that we have up on the wall in the kitchen. It's nothing fancy, just a little board that I bought at Michael's that I decorated with some chalk pens. 

Here's what we are having this week.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Crack Bread

I love carbs. Rice, pasta, bread, cupcakes, pizza. I love it all. And when you can pair bread with my other love, cheese, then forget about it. I'm hooked. Like an addict. So when I saw this recipe on  Brown Eyed Baker I knew I had to test it out.

In college, when I wanted to be fancy and feel like an adult, I would attempt to make something that looked like a "home cooked" dinner. And given my limited culinary abilities at the time, it was most likely frozen ravioli with some jarred pasta sauce over the top. But I wouldn't skimp when it came to the bread. I would make this spread that I'd slather between slits cut in a round of sourdough bread. This bread was so epic that Jarrod still talks about it. There are many memories of college that are hazy, but he remembers this bread clear as day. I've tried over the years to recreate it, but alas it never tasted quite right and I gave up. Until now.

This spread is so simple, yet so delicious. You will eat it, and want more. And you will go back for seconds and thirds. You will find yourself planning what you should have for dinner so that you can make this bread again.

It's hard to resist. I dare you. Crack is whack, but crack bread is wonderful. 



Crack Bread
 
Ingredients
 
1 Baguette of Sourdough bread, halved lengthwise (I think ciabatta would be lovely as well)
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
 
Directions:
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix together butter, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, parsley, salt, and pepper until all ingredients are well incorporated.
    •  This recipe makes a generous amount of spread, so if you have leftovers, wrap it in saran wrap and store in the fridge. I had enough leftover to make a second batch of bread a couple days later.
  • Spread the garlic mixture over the halves of bread. I find to get the loaf to fit better in the oven, to cut the bread into two or three sections.
  • Wrap each section of bread in foil and bake on a cookie sheet for ten minutes. After ten minutes, unwrap the foil and placing the halves on the baking sheet spread side up and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Allow to cool slightly, slice and devour.
(Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Weekend Warriors

This winter has been unusually warm with no rain. This past weekend was no expection. On Saturday it was 80 degrees. Madness I tell you, simply madness. We decided to flee the heat and head for the hills. We loaded up the truck with our hiking gear and headed up to Auburn. 

Shane had never been hiking before. Sure we take lots of bike rides, go jogging, and general roaming around in the carrier but putting him in the hiking pack for an extended period of time? Were we asking too much of the little guy? Nope. In typical Shane fashion, with a giggle and a big smile we were off to explore the Auburn State Recrecation Area. 
 

Not wanting to push our luck, we kept the hike short. We had a great time. The flowers were starting to bloom and there were lots of butterflies. Shane loved hearing all the birds. Hopefully we can take more little family hikes like this and work our way up to his daddy's old stomping grounds of Yosemite.

Hiking is fun. So much fun, you just flop over and take a nap. 




Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wow, I'm really doing this. Wish me luck.


I'm Andrea and I do stuff. All kinds of stuff. I bake, crochet, run (not very fast or well ), play the flute, geek out over Disney related anything, quilt/sew, travel and take lots of pictures on my iPhone (I have 1362 of them right now). I use cloth diapers with my son, and I love it. I have been accused of being obsessed with it. I like to read books and watch TV. Take that back, I love TV. I watch a long list of reality shows. I keep up on celebrity gossip. I have quite an arsenal of random facts. I really enjoy wearing yoga pants.


I'm married to a wonderful guy who lets me be me. He goes along with my crazy hair brained schemes. He's my total opposite, but also  just like me. We think the same, which is incredibly frightening and awesome. I am very lucky that he loves the San Francisco Giants and Disney. Things would be really awkward if he didn't.








I'm also a mom to an incredibly handsome little guy who amazes me with his strength despite the
medical obstacles he's faced. He has crazy hair. And a fluffy butt. More on that to come.









Photo Credit: Snapshot Sisters


People have been telling me for awhile now that I should start a blog, have an Etsy shop, open a bakery, become an event planner.... the list goes on and on. I just like doing stuff. I like to do things for people. If something I can create will that brighten their day, then I want to do it.

As Walt Disney said "You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you". 2014 was a very challenging year for me. So many things happened both personally and professionally that tested my strength. But with the support of friends and family I made it through.

I'm going to do stuff. And it will be awesome.