SciFi Mama

Adventures in raising a geeky child

Disney Picture Overload December 27, 2010

Filed under: fun,Grammy,Holidays,Mommy,Paige,pics,vacation — scifimama @ 5:48 am

We spent 3 1/2 days in Disney World.  Honestly, I could have stayed longer.  Our trip in September was just one day.  And it was perfect.  Crowds were almost nonexistent, and Paige had a wonderful time there.  I was a bit worried that a longer trip would be too much and I would turn into one of those parents.  The kind that doesn’t bother removing the hands covering their head as they yell at the kids.  There’s only so much stress one parent can take.  I’m happy to report I wasn’t one of those. We did have to have a chat one evening.  I took Paige into the bathroom of the Chef Mickey dinner and talked to her about her behavior.  On the way back I apologized to another Mom for having to overhear our chat.  She said she applauded me for doing it in a quiet place and  she wishes more parents would do the same.  She had about had her fill of the parents who were just yelling at their kids and not really doing anything about the kids bad behavior.

There was lots of fun at character meals.  We had lunch with Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, and Special Agent Oso.  There was a breakfast with the Princesses (Cinderella, Ariel, Snow White, Belle and Jasmine).  And my favorite, dinner with Chef Mickey (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy).  The food was really good and we had a blast singing and dancing with the characters.  I think my favorite part of the trip was Extra Magic Hours in the Magic Kingdom.  Those are hours where the park is open only to guests of the Disney hotels.  One day the park was fine in the morning, but by just after lunch it was so crowded we could hardly move.  All three of us were miserable.  After speaking to a cast member, we took his advice and went back to the hotel for a nap.  We got back to the park just in time for the Electric Light Parade followed by the fireworks.  At that point, most of the people left the park.  Over the next two hours we managed to ride: Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Aladdin’s Carpets, Tea Cups, Winnie the Pooh and It’s a Small World.  We also had pictures taken with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy and Donald.  The lines were almost completely gone.  In order to get on a ride you had to show your room key.  In those two hours we rode the rides that Paige wanted to ride and had an absolute blast.  It was cold and late, but we had fun.  And now for the picture overload.

Chasing Storm Troopers around Endor.

Visiting Wurzburg where I lived in Germany.

I really do love Coke.

Paige said good morning and good night to Ariel every day.

The Beast was very nice.

Goofy around 1:45 AM

Tea Cups around 1:30

The Castle at 2 AM and about 30 degrees.  I loved my hat that night.

The castle was beautiful.

And finally, Belle meet Belle.


We’re Back! December 23, 2010

Filed under: Holidays — scifimama @ 10:32 pm

The past week and a half has been very hectic.  Before we could leave for the trip I had to have everything finished for Christmas and the vacation.  We had left Saturday morning for the drive.  We had a fantastic time!  The parks were super crowded of course.  We took advantage of the Extra Magic Hours one evening in the Magic Kingdom.  Wait times went from an hour to 2 minutes.  Cinderella’s castle was beautiful with the Christmas lights.  I could go on and on, once again, about what a great time Disney World is.  I’ll probably do a post on that.  I do have an Eating My Way Through Disney post planned.  I ate more than you could imagine, and I have the pictures to prove it.  I’ve also planned a post on travel tips I’ve come across these past few months as we’ve traveled with a 4 year old.

Mostly, this post is to let you know I’m still alive.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.  Please don’t forget you can track Santa with Norad. I love watching on this site.  Some of the people tracking Santa are people I was stationed with when I was in the Army.  And if you leave out cookies and Coke for Santa don’t forget the reindeer!  Toss some oatmeal with glitter or cupcake sprinkles for “magic” and leave the bowl by the door or spread on the ground outside.  Reindeer get hungry too.


Busy season has arrived December 10, 2010

Filed under: Holidays — scifimama @ 7:00 am

December has always been a busy month for us.  Between Christmas parties, Christmas preparation, and family stuff we spend December house and party hopping it seems like.  It’s definitely already hit us, having two gatherings this week already.  Tuesday was a friends birthday and we were able to meet up with him and a few others at Chili’s for dinner.  Thursday evening was a Christmas meal at the Mason Lodge.  Then Saturday is my office Christmas party.

I have been working on teacher gifts slowly since last weekend.  I’m making a gift for Paige to give, plus a couple of my coworkers needed gifts for their kids to take to school.  I enjoy doing the crafts, so I volunteered to do it for them.  Besides the gifts, there’s chocolate covered pretzels that aren’t going to make themselves.  The schools are having Christmas parties this coming Thursday, so I need to finish those up pretty fast.  That may be how I spend a majority of my weekend is finishing up all of that.  Or, in the case of the pretzels, starting.

I have finished my Christmas shopping, which is the good news.  Almost everything is wrapped and under the tree, but not quite.  Ronnie’s present is still in the box from Walmart sitting here next to the couch.  I’m so glad he’s good about not peaking, otherwise I would be in big trouble here.  Christmas cards have been mailed even.  I haven’t even started thinking of what to pack for our vacation, but I’m thinking I should start pretty soon.  We leave in a week so I may want to decide what to take.  I do think Disney requires that we actually wear clothing while we’re there.  Hopefully I’ll have some time to relax before the start of the new year.


Christmas Craft December 1, 2010

Filed under: crafts,Holidays — scifimama @ 5:44 am

Do you remember the candy cane ornaments you made as a kid?  The ones with the red and white tri beads on pipe cleaners?  Excuse me, I mean chenille stems.  You can buy a kit, like this, or you can make them yourself.  They are very easy to make, and more importantly, easy for 4 year olds to do as well.

Stop by your favorite craft supply store and pick up some tri corner beads in red and clear or white.  Grab a package of white chenille stems. You’ll need 15 clear and 14 red beads per candy cane.  Cut each chenille stem in half.  I did a small bowl for Paige, putting the exact number of beads in each bowl.  I would start each ornament for her, then let her do the rest.  I made one ornament for her to see the pattern of white/clear, red, white/clear.

To start each ornament, put a clear bead at the end of a stem, leaving a small amount of room at the very bottom.  Wrap the small piece of stem up and over the bead, pressing it closed as well as you can.  Then alternate colors until you get to the end.  You’ll probably have plenty of stem left over at this point.  Wrap a portion down around the top bead just like you did the bottom bead.  Snip off the remaining stem.  Then bend to shape into a candy cane.

These are cute ornaments that will look great on your tree.  They’ll also make good gifts to give out to family members and to other friends your child’s age.  We all had them as kids, and probably remember making them.  Giving them to a family member will probably make them smile thinking of the ones they made, or maybe the ones you gave them as gifts as a child.  Quick, easy, cheap craft that can double as a gift.


Halloween, 2010 November 2, 2010

Filed under: Daddy,Holidays,Mommy,Paige,pics — scifimama @ 5:30 am

First, I need to brag on Ronnie.  He made Paige’s costume.  Between work, playing, tae kwon do, and everything else we do, it took him about 5 days to make it.  It would have been cheaper and easier to buy one from Walmart, but this one is so much better!  

He even made that rose!  Yes, I’m very impressed.

Paige was adorable in the costume.  And think how amazing it’s going to be: she gets to have lunch with Belle at Disney World, and she can wear Belle’s dress!  Paige is going to love that as soon as we tell her.

We take the easy way when decorating pumpkins.  A few years ago I started buying the Hasbro Mr. Potato Head pumpkin pieces.  I think they’ve stopped making them.  I know that my first kit, the Diva, was recalled just after I purchased it.  No, I didn’t return it.  It was recalled because it wasn’t properly labeled “small parts, not suitable for children under age 3.”  I feel I have been properly warned to not let my child eat the pumpkin pieces.  Paige picked out the pieces she wanted to use, and decorated the pumpkins.  Our pumpkin is the pirate. Daddy’s pumpkin is the monster girly one.

Finally it was time for trick or treating; we had a great time!  Some friends came over to go with us.  Their two girls dressed up as Pocahontas and Ariel, so with Paige’s Belle we had three princesses to escort.  The Belle hair and tiara finished off Daddy’s dress perfectly.

We got more candy than we can eat any time soon.  I’m thinking some of this may be going to work to replenish the candy dish there.  It was a lot of fun, even if I didn’t get too into the Halloween spirit this year.


Almost Halloween? October 27, 2010

Filed under: Holidays — scifimama @ 5:03 am

Really?  It is?  I know.  I’m very well aware of the fact that Halloween will be here before I know it.  Ronnie is putting in a lot of time making a Belle dress.  Yes, we could have spent $19 at Walmart and bought one.  It would have been cheaper and faster.  But it wouldn’t have been nearly as nice.  Ronnie’s put a lot of work into it and it’s looking great.  When he finished it I’ll blog about it.

I’ve bought two pumpkins.  Now if I could only remember we still need to decorate them.  Decorations?  I got the box down from the attic, does that count?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  I’m up to my ears in Halloween cookies.  I started decorating the cookies last night for the first bouquet.  I’ll spend tonight decorating the rest and putting together the baskets, and baking the cookies for my office party on Friday.

Halloween is Ronnie’s favorite holiday.  Last year we went all out with a huge party.  This year, I’ve barely remembered that Halloween is on a Sunday.  I’m not sure why I’m not as into it this year, but I’m just not.  I do have a costume: that cute dress from Think Geek.  Ronnie ordered a matching shirt from them as well.  Maybe I just have too much on my mind.  I’ve been trying to organize vacations, plan out Christmas gifts, clean the house.  Things that shouldn’t take up all my time and attention but somehow manage to anyway.  We have friends coming over to trick or treat Sunday night.  I’m sure we’ll have a blast.  And the Belle dress will be gorgeous!


Halloween Cookie Bouquet October 25, 2010

Filed under: food,Holidays — scifimama @ 5:29 am

Do you have your favorite sugar cookie recipe ready?  Good.  My recipe called for the dough to chill for 2 hours prior to rolling out and cutting into shapes.  It makes the dough more firm.  Even if your recipe doesn’t call for this, you may still want to try it.  I have it on good authority that it really does help with your dough.  Paige and I made the dough Friday night and went to bake it Saturday morning.  It didn’t work.  Either the dough was in the fridge too long, even though it says it can be stored overnight, or it was that high glutton flour Ronnie gave me to use.  I’m guessing it was the flour.  That batch went into the trash.  Yesterday we started over.  I made the dough and baked the cookies as Paige was napping.

Make your dough and let it get firm in the fridge.  Spread flour on your kitchen counter & put flour on your rolling pin.  If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a smooth drinking glass.  No kidding, I know it works, because it’s the same “rolling pin” my Mom always used when making biscuits.  Grab your favorite cookie cutters.  They don’t have to be Halloween either.  I’m making these Halloween, but the same idea applies to any type of cookie bouquet you may want to make.

I used lots of different cookie cutters.  The first big thing is how you place them on cookie sheets to bake.  You’ll need to get candy sticks from Michael’s or another craft store.  Roll your cookies out to about 1/4 of an inch thick or maybe a bit thicker.  Not sure how thick that is?  The cookie should be as thick as the stick.  Cut out your cookie and place on the edge of the cookie sheet.  Hold the stick in one hand, place your hand on top of the cookie.  Slowly twist the stick into place at the bottom of the cookie.  The stick should go into the cookie by at least half an inch, maybe more depending on the size of the cookie.  Bake the cookies according to your recipe.  Don’t worry about the sticks.  I baked my cookies at 350 and they were just fine.

When the cookies are done leave them on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes.  After the 2 minutes are up, place them on wax paper.  The cookies are still soft at this point.  If you put them on wire racks to cool, the sticks will probably come out of the cookie.  Putting them on wax paper to cool allows them to cool with the sticks firmly in place.  If you leave them on the cookie sheet for longer than a couple of minutes they’ll stick too well to the cookie sheet and be hard to get off without damaging the cookie.  I found that by using a large spatula and placing it under the cookie where the stick was inserted it was easiest to shift the cookie to wax paper without damage.

My book came with a glaze recipe that can be put on the cookie to keep it fresh for up to two weeks.  Since the cookies turned out nice and the first party isn’t until Thursday, I glazed the cookies for storage.  I did make a batch of icing and iced a cookie for tasting purpose.  Google royal icing for sugar cookies.  That’s the recipe I have in the book.  It makes a nice, thick icing for spreading on the cookies that doesn’t slide off.  Before you put the icing on the cookie make sure it’s completely cooled.

I worked on this project off and on all day.  The steadiest I worked on any of it was the actual baking.  My recipe made 27 cookies.  Not too bad since some of the cookie cutters were small and some were larger.  I was able to place five cookies at a time on my cookie sheets, better recognizable as extremely large pizza pans.  Please do not ask how I got two extra large pizza pans from Pizza Hut.  Although, I do think the statue of limitations has expired, Ronnie hasn’t worked there since high school.  Anyway, I was able to place five cookies on the sheet at a time with the sticks.  I used three pizza pans at a time.  I was able to have one baking, one cooling, and another to place the cookies on as I cut them out.  Once that part was over, the rest of it was done here and there as I had time.

I do plan on putting the bouquet together Wednesday night.  I found some cute trick or treat buckets at Dollar Tree.  They’re shaped like a witches cauldron.  I bought two so I would have enough room for all the cookies.  There’s 18 kids in the class, but I’ll take in all the cookies I made.  Usually the teachers like whatever goodies we bring in.  There’s 26 cookies left.  I was worried about the bouquet looking too crowded with only one cauldron.  I also bought a fresh package of tissue paper.  I’ll include step by step directions on putting the actual basket together Thursday so you can see exactly how it was done.


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