Friday, November 29, 2013

General Mills Cereal Includes Star Wars Pens

Last week, I shared with you the exciting news that select General Mills Big G cereals were going to have a Star Wars pen inside the box!  Our family was fortunate enough to get a package from General Mills complete with a 2 boxes of cereal, Trix and Lucky Charms, and all 8 of the Star Wars Collector Pens!   
We got our 2 boxes of cereal along with a "gift" that contained 7 of the 8 pens.  My son was disappointed when we didn't get the Clone Trooper in the package.  But, when we opened the boxes of cereal, we found the Clone Trooper in the Lucky Charms and a second Yoda in the Trix!  Our set was complete and we had one happy boy in our house!  Yes, all 8, 9 pens now reside in his bedroom and we are not allowed to use them.

In addition to the pens, we were excited about the actual cereal boxes. There are three different "backs" to the cereal boxes.  When you collect all three, you can put them together to complete a cockpit and use one of your pens as your copilot! On the back of the boxes we received we have box 1 & 2.  Now we need box 3!  


Thanks General Mills for including us in this promotion.  We look forward to eating lots of Big G cereals in the next month, because as C-man says, "We NEED more Star Wars pens!"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Thanksgiving






So thankful this Thanksgiving for my boys, big and small!  And for the wonderful life Maggie had with us.

Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Interrupted for #MeaningfulBeauty

I know I blog about Disney almost 100% of the time, but sometimes there will be interruptions that are not Disney related.  Today, I'm bringing you one of these interruptions!
Last week I was sent a sample of Cindy Crawford's Meaningful Beauty Creme de Serum to try.  I've been using it for 5 days now and I love it!  I apply it each night before bed and when I wake up in the morning, my skin is still just as soft and smooth as it was the night before.  I really like the feel and smell of this product.  It's light weight, smooth and creamy.  I have noticed my skin feeling more smooth, firm and uniform in color.  Maybe it's just my mind, but I think I can credit it to the Creme de Serum, since that is the only thing that has changed in the past week!

I'm anxious to try some of the other products Meaningful Beauty has to offer.  If you have had any experience with this product, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.

Disney Classics CD Review #Spon


On November 12, Walt Disney Records released the all new Disney Classics Box Set.  This set features 94 original recordings from Disney and Disney-Pixar movies, Disney television shows and Disney theme parks which celebrate almost 90 years of Disney music.  I was fortunate enough to receive my own copy of this box set from Disney for review.  

The box set comes with 4 volumes of CDs.  The 4 volumes are- Disney Modern Classics, Disney Timeless Classics, Disney Theme Park Classics and Disney Television Classics.  This box set provides Disney favorites for all generations!  

The "Modern Classics" feature 23 songs from the more recent Disney and Disney Pixar movies: The Little Mermaid, Toy Story 1, 2 & 3, A Bug's Life, Tangled, Pocahontas, The Lion King and more.  The "Timeless Classics" have 25 songs from the early Disney movies such as The Parent Trap, Mary Poppins, Pete's Dragon, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Lady and the Tramp, Dumbo and more.  My favorite are the 21 songs from "Theme Park Classics."  This CD features songs from Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Soarin' Over California, Food Rocks, Carousel of Progress, Fantasmic!, and more.  When I heard these songs, it instantly took me to my happy place!!  The last CD, "Television Classics" features 25 songs from old and new Disney shows such as Mickey Mouse March, Theme of Zorro, The Ballad of Davy Crocket, Gummi Bears Theme, Theme to Lizzie McGuire, Cheetah Sisters, What Time is It, Hot Dog! and more.  You can see a complete list of the songs over at The Disney Parks Blog.

I knew all the songs on the "Modern Classics" and "Theme Park Classics" CDs.  What surprised me is there were several songs on the "Timeless Classics" and "Television Classics" that were new to me!  There were some older movies and more recent TV shows that I was not familiar with.  

Randy Thornton, Disney Music Group's resident music historian and 
Grammy®-winning producer, compiled the box set.  Thornton said, 
"From the Studio’s earliest days, music has always been an integral part of the Disney creative process. But when ‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf’ debuted in 1933, it began a musical legacy that remains unmatched to this day – probably the most recognizable and beloved song catalog in the world. Even though the musical styles range from inspiring ballads, novelty songs, folk, rock, to Broadway show-tunes, Disney Music is a genre in and of itself."

Over the past few days, I have enjoyed sharing these songs with my youngest boys, ages 4 and 1.  We have been able to sing along with many songs we already know and we've started learning some new ones.  I've been able to introduce some 'new to the boys', yet 'old to me', Disney Classics to my boys.  It's so exciting to be able to listen to these songs and be instantly taken back to a special place in time.  That is just part of the Disney magic found through music!
For more information on the box set visit YouTube.  
For more information on Walt Disney Records’ releases, please visit: Disney.com/music
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*I received the above mentioned CDs for review purposes through the Entertainment New Media Network, however all opinions are my own.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Magical Blogorail Green: Thanksgiving Dinner at Walt Disney World

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Green. Enjoy the ride as we share what Disney restaurant we would love to dine in on Thanksgiving.

After thinking about all the great restaurants at Walt Disney World, especially the ones that serve turkey, I finally decided on the restaurant I'd like to dine at on Thanksgiving Day (if I were really going to be down there!).

'Ohana.  
While I've only eaten at 'Ohana, in the Polynesian Resort, once, it quickly became one of my all time favorites at Walt Disney World.  The food was delicious, the atmosphere was nice and romantic, yet fun and family friendly, the service was spectacular and the view of Cinderella Castle was beautiful!  

When we ate at 'Ohana in February of 2010, it was just me and my husband.  Since I was 10 weeks pregnant with "Big E" at the time, I had quite the appetite.  After spending several days touring the parks and having a pregnant appetite, this was the perfect spot for us to dine.  As soon as I started getting full, they would bring out another dish for us to eat!  And since my appetite was so big that night, I continued to eat.  After dinner, we were both stuffed and ready for bed.  The same feeling I have on Thanksgiving evening at my mom's house after eating turkey, dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, baked fruit, rolls and dessert!  Full.  Happy.  Ready for bed.
The food at 'Ohana is amazing!  I really believe there is something for everyone here.  At 'Ohana, you are seated at your table and the server comes with the food.  You can eat until you want to stop- they keep bringing more.  First comes the "Welcome bread" and Mixed Greens with a honey-lime dressing.  Next are the appetizers: Honey Coriander Chicken Wings and Pork Fried Dumplings.  For the main dish, waiters come around with Skewers of meat which are prepared over an oak fire: Grilled Chicken, Char-Sui Pork Loin, Marinated Sirloin Steak and Spicy Grilled Peel -n- Eat Shrimp.  The sides to go with your meat are Stir Fried Vegetables (we had broccoli) and Egg Noodles tossed in a Teriyaki Sauce with Fresh Vegetables.  To finish out your meal, as if you haven't had enough, is the "to die for" 'Ohana Bread Pudding served a la mode with Bananas Caramel Sauce.

If you haven't been to 'Ohana on a trip to Walt Disney World I highly suggest it!  When I asked my husband where he would eat dinner at Walt Disney World if we were down on Thanksgiving Day, he said without hesitation, "'Ohana.  Where else?"

So, I'll ask you the same question, "Where would you eat dinner at Walt Disney World if you were down on Thanksgiving Day?"

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney Living.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:


2nd Stop ~ Disney Living

3rd Stop ~ Mouse on the Mind



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Star Wars Pens from General Mills Big G Cereals


GENERAL MILLS BIG G CEREALS BRING “THE FORCE” TO THE BREAKFAST TABLE WITH COLLECTIBLE STAR WARS™ CHARACTER PENS, FOR A LIMITED TIME

Star Wars and Cereal Fans Alike Are Asked to Bring Out Their Inner Force and Share Their Favorite Star Wars Moments to Be Re-Created Into a “Cereal Wars” Vine or Instagram Video

Minneapolis (Nov. 19, 2013) – May the Force be with you … at the breakfast table, that is. Back by popular demand, select General Mills Big G cereals now include eight collectible figure pens featuring various characters from the iconic Star Wars episodes from now until the end of the year. To kick off the promotion, Big G is creating Star Wars-inspired episodes using the pens and calling on fans to share their favorite scenes for a chance to be re-created into Vine and Instagram “Cereal Wars” videos.

“When you combine an iconic franchise like Star Wars and a beloved brand like Big G cereals, you have the chance to create an incredible amount of pop culture love,” says Lisa Tomassen, integrated communication manager at General Mills. “We’re excited about this unique opportunity to connect with both fan bases and can’t wait to share the inspiration that ensues.”

Fans and cereal enthusiasts can visit the Cereal Wars Tumblr page at biggcerealwars.tumblr.com to view Star Wars-inspired videos and submit their video requests by sharing their most memorable movie scenes, quotes or character battle scenarios. Each week, one or more fan-inspired videos will be turned into Vine and Instagram episodes and shared on the “Cereal Wars” feed.

In addition to the Cereal Wars content, three Star Wars fan sites will host a giveaway of collector’s items from the Lucasfilm archives. Fans who submit their video requests on the site are eligible to win, and winners will be chosen through a random sweepstakes process. Links to those fan pages are located on the Tumblr page.

The collectible pen characters include Darth Vader, Yoda, Chewbacca, Clone Trooper, Mace Windu, Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Jango Fett. Fans can look for the collectible pens in specially marked Big G cereals starting now and until supplies last (end of December 2013). Participating brands include Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Reese’s Puffs, Golden Grahams, Cocoa Puffs, Trix and Lucky Charms. Big G cereals can be found at all mass grocery retailers across the country.

To find Big G cereals near you, please visit http://www.generalmills.com/ProductLocator.aspx.

About General MillsGeneral Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries around the world. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki, and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., USA, General Mills had fiscal 2013 worldwide sales of US $17.8 billion.

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort at Magical Mouse Schoolhouse


Magical Mouse SchoolhouseToday I have the pleasure of guest posting today at Magical Mouse Schoolhouse!  Visit Jodi's site to learn more about Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Disney Qs

I had a hard time with Q this time.  I hated to use the same ones: Quasimodo and Queen of Hearts.  So, this time I'm going with adjectives!

Queasy at Disney after a ride on Expedition Everest!

Quiet!  It's nap time at Disney!

Focused on the Magic

Sheriff Callie's Wild West on Disney Junior


Sweet Sassafras!  There's a new sheriff in town!  

On Sunday, November 24, Disney Junior will debut the animated series "Sheriff Callie's Wild West" on WATCHDisneyJunior.com and the WATCH Disney Junior app for smartphones and tablets.  

Callie, voiced by Mandy Moore from Disney's "Tangled," is a lovable Calico cat sheriff who keeps the peace in her frontier town of Nice and Friendly Corners. Peck, a woodpecker voiced by Lucas Grabeel from Disney's "High School Musical", is Callie's trusted deputy. In "Sheriff Callie's Wild West," Callie always comes to the aid of her townsfolk and in the process, imparts lessons about good morals, manners and social ethics for kids age 2-7.
This series will premiere on Disney Junior channels and programming blocks around the world in 2014.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"The View" live from #Disneyland!

Set your DVRs!!  Monday November 18 to Friday Nov 22 on ABC - 11am Eastern Time- the ladies from "The View" will be broadcasting LIVE from Disneyland!


Check out the blurb from DisneyParks Blog

“We’re thrilled to welcome ‘The View’ and their fans to the Disneyland Resort, and we can’t wait to see how they show off their ‘Disney side,’” said Michael Colglazier, President, Disneyland Resort. “What better way to showcase the magic and energy of the ‘Happiest Place on Earth,’ than through a live broadcast of one of America’s favorite daytime TV shows.” 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

New Frozen Products from Disney Store

Disney's Frozen chronicles the epic quest of fearless optimist Anna as she teams up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.

Just in time for the holiday season and the release of the highly-anticipated Walt Disney Animation Studios film, Frozen, Disney Consumer Products has launched a new product collection of role-play items, plush stuffed animals, dolls, apparel, home décor, books and more that capture the family, adventure and fun from the movie at mass retailers nationwide, Disney Store and DisneyStore.com.

· Disney Frozen Musical Magic Elsa and Anna Dolls by Mattel (MSRP $29.99 each): Not only do these dolls feature glittery and glamorous gowns, but when you hold their hands, (or when they hold each other's hands), the dolls will magically light up and play enchanting music.
· Disney Frozen Pull Apart and Talkin' Olaf by Just Play (MSRP $17.99):Everyone's favorite snowman comes to life in this adorable pull-apart plush. Olaf's nose, head and torso all temporarily separate and then safely rejoin, recreating memorable moments from the film. Olaf also speaks, with funny phrases from the movie.
· Disney Frozen Castle and Ice Palace Playset by Mattel (MSRP $99.99): This expandable set is double the storytelling fun with two gorgeous homes- Anna's castle and Elsa's Ice Palace. Children can enjoy all the movie-inspired furniture and play pieces, including a throne, bed, chaise, vanities, mountain slide and an Olaf figure.

· Frozen Anna & Elsa Singing Dolls by Disney Store ($39.95): Melt the heart of every Frozen fan with these interactive Anna & Elsa Singing Dolls. With a simple wave of your hand, Anna the Ice Princess and Elsa the Snow Queen sing and magically light up in a frosted icy blue glow.

· Anna Costume Collection for Girls by Disney Store ($14.95-$49.95): Send her imagination off to a wintry Frozen world of wonder in this Anna Costume Collection, including finely detailed costume with colorful layers of satin and organza covering a black velvet ''bodice'' decorated in flowers, matching boots and golden tiara, each sold separately.

· Elsa Costume for Girls by Disney Store ($14.95-$49.95): She'll be the icy enchantress of any masquerade ball in our Elsa Costume Collection inspired by Disney's Frozen, including beautifully detailed, glittering costume, matching light-up shoes and silvery tiara, plus wig featuring glittering iridescent highlights and flashing light-up accents, each sold separately.



About Frozen
Walt Disney Animation Studios, the studio behind "Tangled" and "Wreck-It Ralph," presents "Frozen," a stunning big-screen comedy adventure. Fearless optimist Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) sets off on an epic journey—teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven—to find her sister Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf (voice of Josh Gad), Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom. The film is directed by Chris Buck ("Tarzan," "Surf's Up") and Jennifer Lee (screenwriter, "Wreck-It Ralph"), who also wrote the screenplay. It is produced by Peter Del Vecho ("Winnie the Pooh," "The Princess and the Frog"). Featuring original songs from Kristen Anderson-Lopez ("In Transit," "Winnie the Pooh") and Tony® winner Robert Lopez ("The Book of Mormon," "Avenue Q"), and an original score by Christophe Beck ("The Muppets," Oscar®-winning short "Paperman"), "Frozen" hits theaters in 3D on Nov. 27, 2013. For more information, check out Disney.com/Frozen, like us on Facebook: facebook.com/DisneyFrozenand follow us on Twitter: Twitter.com/DisneyAnimation.

About Disney Consumer Products Disney Consumer Products (DCP) is the business segment of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) that delivers innovative and engaging product experiences across thousands of categories from toys and apparel to books and fine art. As the world's largest licensor, DCP inspires the imaginations of people around the world by bringing the magic of Disney into consumers' homes with products they can enjoy year-round. DCP is comprised of three business units: Licensing, Publishing and Disney Store. The Licensing business is aligned around five strategic brand priorities: Disney Media, Classics & Entertainment, Disney & Pixar Animation Studios, Disney Princess & Disney Fairies, Lucasfilm and Marvel. Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) is the world's largest publisher of children's books, magazines, and digital products and also includes an English language learning business, consisting of over 40 Disney English learning centers across China and a supplemental learning book program. DPW's growing library of digital products includes best-selling eBook titles and original apps that leverage Disney content in innovative ways. The Disney Store retail chain operates across North America, Europe and Japan with more than 350 stores worldwide and is known for providing consumers with high-quality, unique products. Disney's official shopping portals online are www.DisneyStore.com and www.DisneyStore.co.uk. For more information, please visit Disney Consumer Products www.DisneyConsumerProducts.com or follow us at www.YouTube.com/DisneyLiving, www.Facebook.com/DisneyLiving,www.Twitter.com/DisneyLiving and www.Pinterest.com/DisneyLiving.

About Disney Publishing Worldwide Disney Publishing Worldwide is the world's largest publisher of children's books and magazines with over 700 million products sold each year. DPW consists of an extensive worldwide licensing structure as well as vertically integrated publishing imprints, including Disney Book Group in the U.S., Disney Libri in Italy, and Disney Libros in Spain. DPW publishes a range of children's magazines globally, as well as Disney kids magazines in the U.S. Disney English is DPW's English language learning business, which includes Disney English learning centers in China and a worldwide retail-licensing program. DPW's digital products include bestselling eBook titles as well as original apps. Headquartered in Glendale, California, DPW publishes books, magazines, and digital products in 85 countries in 75 languages.

Friday, November 15, 2013

How to Pack 7 Days Worth in an American Tourister Carry-On Bag!

Let me start by saying if you are packing for a week long trip in a warm climate, it's easy to pack 7 days worth of clothes in a carry on bag! If you're going somewhere cold, I doubt anyone could pack that way, but I could be wrong!

This summer, I traveled to New York City and Washington DC for 7 days and only packed in a carry on bag and my 1 personal item for the flight- which was a backpack filled to the brim!  When I received my American Tourister Colora Bag to review, I immediately wondered if I could pack for a week long Walt Disney World vacation in just this carry on bag.  So guess what I did!?  I started packing just to see if I could do it!

The first thing I do prior to packing is lay all my things out on the bed by outfit.  Above you can see what I planned to pack:
  • 9 pair of underwear and 4 bras
  • 7 pair of socks
  • 3 pj sets- t-shirt and pj pants
  • long sleeve t-shirt
  • zip up hoodie
  • fleece sweatshirt
  • tennis shoes
  • flip flops
  • swim suit and cover up
  • toiletries and make up
  • 7 t-shirts
  • 4 shorts
  • 3 capri pants
When we go to Disney, we keep it very casual.  I did not feel the need to pack a dress or anything too cutesy!  Basically, all Disney themed t-shirts with shorts or black capri pants.  If you do need to pack nicer things, consider packing items that can be mixed and matched along with accessories to change up the looks!  You can search Pinterest all night long for tips on these topics!

Once I have all my items out on my bed, I sort the clothes by items.  I make a stack of all the t-shirts, shorts, pants, pjs, etc.  Next, I lay all the 'like' clothes on top of each other.  With shirts I fold the sleeves in and alternate the direction they are laying.  With the pants and shorts, I fold them in half and start by laying the longest pair of pants on bottom and work my way up.  I also alternate the direction the pants are laying.  The long sleeved items are laid flat and only have the arms folded in.   Once all the clothes are laying in piles, I stuff my shoes with the socks and underwear.  Any that would not fit in the shoes would later be used to fill in gaps in the packed suitcase!  Finally I start rolling the clothes as tightly as I can.  



You can see the final product above!  I started with the tennis shoes (stuffed with socks and underwear) at the bottom of the bag closest to the wheels.  Some people even wrap their shoes in plastic shower caps to keep shoe grime off their clothing.  Next I added the rolls of shirts, pants/ shorts and pjs.  These all fit nicely next to the shoes.  In the space below the rolled items, I was able to fit the bulkier long sleeved items that were rolled together in a longer roll.  Extra underwear was stuffed in the gaps!  In the mesh zipper pocket, I was able to add my swim suit, cover up and bras.  The flip flops and toiletry bags could easily lay on top of the rolled clothes.  And I still had room to spare!  I could have easily added a few more outfits.

Tips for traveling:

  • Wear your bulkiest clothes while traveling along with bulky shoes.
  • If flying, keep all liquids in a quart sized zip lock bag and easily accessible!  Remember the 3-1-1 rule.
  • If it's at the hotel, plan to use it instead of pack it! (shampoo, hairdryers, towels, etc.)
  • If things come in solids or wipes instead of liquids, pack it. (deodorant, make up remover wipes, insect repellant wipes, hand sanitizer wipes, etc)
  • Get all your toiletries in trial size.
  • Know the size and weight limit for carry on bags for your airline PRIOR to flying!  You don't want to find out at the check in counter that your bag is too heavy to carry on, even if it's the right size.
  • Take full advantage of your "personal item" when traveling by plane!  There is no weight limit for this, so pack your heaviest things in your personal item and not your carry on (even though you are carrying on both!)  Just remember this "personal item" must be able to go underneath the seat in front of you.
  • You can always buy some things once you get to your destination! :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kill, Refurb, Marry- Crescent Lake Restaurants


Estelle from This Happy Place Blog and Melissa from Mouse on the Mind decided to take the popular game of "Kill, Do, Marry" and turn it into a WDW game of "Kill, Refurb, Marry."  I have lots of memories of playing "Kill, Do, Marry" with friends over the years, so this hop will be fun for me! :)

This week's topic is "Crescent Lake Restaurants."  I'll be
honest. I've only eaten at three restaurants along Crescent Lake, so this "game" will be pretty easy for me!  

Kill: Pizza Window
I don't even have a picture of this restaurant!  It's literally a window you walk up to and order pizza by the slice or pie on the Boardwalk.    I don't like cheese.  I know.  I'm a freak.  I'm not lactose intolerant   I just don't like cheese.  So when I can't custom order a pizza without cheese, I'm not always happy!  One plus to this window is the beer!

Refurb: Beaches & Cream 
Beaches & Cream is one of my favorite restaurants.  I first thought about "marrying" it, but decided to definitely refurb it... for size alone!   While the food, service and location are wonderful, it's just to dang small.  They have the tables set close together to try to fit more people in the restaurant which means you are just sitting that much closer to the other guests.  You also can't make reservations so there is always a wait.  Maybe if the restaurant was larger, the wait would be shorter!

Marry: ESPN Club
I would absolutely marry the ESPN Club!  Burgers, Beer and Sports.  What more can you want!  My hubby and I love all three so we're in heaven at this restaurant.  There is nothing I would kill or refurb about this!

Wordless Wednesday My #DisneySide


Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cranberry Harvest at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2013

Yesterday, Epcot's Food & Wine Festival came to a close for 2013. From what I have heard, it was a huge success and those who visited had a wonderful time. Hopefully, our family will be able to experience this event in 2014.  

Back in late September, I shared some information about the Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog at Epcot's Food & Wine Festival.  This week, I received answers from an email interview with some Cranberry specialists!  I hope you enjoy learning more about Ocean Spray and Epcot's Cranberry Bog! 
image from Ocean Spray
Kristen Borsari, Director of Marketing at Ocean Spray

1. When is cranberry season?

a. The North American Cranberry season begins mid-September and continues through early November. However, some cranberries are grown in the southern hemisphere (Chile, specifically), so those are harvested between March and May, when it’s autumn there. While much of the fruit is frozen and used to create a variety of products such as cranberry juice, sauce and Craisins® Dried Cranberries, it’s that special time of year when fresh cranberries are available for the holiday season from mid-October through December.
image from Ocean Spray
2. Where are cranberry bogs located in the US?

a. Ocean Spray is a vibrant agricultural cooperative owned by over 700 cranberry and grapefruit growers who preserved the family farming way of life for generations. Since cranberries require unique conditions in which to thrive, regions best suited for cranberry farming within the US includes Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. Internationally, they’re located in parts of British Columbia, Quebec, and Chile.
image from Ocean Spray
3. How big is the Epcot bog?

a. Ocean Spray’s Cranberry Bog Exhibit at the Epcot® International Food and Wine Festival is 1,300 square feet and filled with 1,000 lbs. of fresh, floating cranberries.

4. How long has Ocean Spray had a bog at the Food & Wine Festival?

a. Ocean Spray has been bringing the beauty of the cranberry harvest to the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival since 2011. The exhibit remains throughout the duration of the festival where visitors can learn more about the taste, health and heritage of this beloved fall fruit.

5. What is your favorite part of the Food & Wine Festival?

a. My favorite part of the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival is being able to showcase the cranberries ultimate versatility throughout a wide variety of culinary specialties incorporated in cuisine from every corner of the world, from China to Mexico, the UK to Canada!
Todd May, 3rd generation cranberry grower-owner from British Columbia 
image from Ocean Spray
1. How big is a cranberry bog?

a. The size, shape and depth of a cranberry bog depends on the land. Put together, all the cranberry bogs in North America would be 47 square miles, equal to the size of Nantucket in Massachusetts.
image from Ocean Spray
2. How are cranberries harvested?

a. Cranberries can be harvested either with a dry method or the wet method. However the most popular method is wet harvesting where the growers flood the bogs with about a foot and a half of water, and use “water reels” to loosen the cranberries from the vines they grow on. Four tiny air chambers inside each cranberry allow them to float to the top of the water, where they’re collected by the growers. So contrary to popular belief, cranberries don’t grow in water! To see how it’s done, check out this birds-eye-view of a cranberry harvest: http://bit.ly/1bToyzN

b. In the dry method, growers use a machine with metal teeth to comb the berries off their vines and collect them – this technique is used for fresh berries specifically!

3. How is a real bog different from the Epcot bog?
a. For starters, cranberries are not native to warm climates like central Florida! Cranberries thrive in cooler climates with more acidic soil. Other than that, it’s quite similar, actually! The bog display at the Epcot® International Food & Wine festival replicates a wet harvest, specifically the one to two day period during which the cranberry bogs are flooded to harvest the fruit.
image from Ocean Spray
4. What is your favorite cranberry recipe?
a. My family’s favorite cranberry recipe is this Roast Beef Tenderloin with Cranberry Red Wine Sauce:http://bit.ly/HJgQOH


Thank you to Kristen and Todd for answering these questions and helping us gain a better understanding of cranberries!  I look forward to hopefully seeing you next year at the Food & Wine Festival!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

American Tourister Colora Review #SP



Last month when I received my American Tourister Colora suitcase I was so excited!  I had recently donated my former luggage because on my last flight, it was ripped, a wheel fell off and the handle broke.  No, it wasn't American Tourister!!  Growing up, I remember using Samsonite and American Tourister.  We never had these issues while traveling.  I'm hoping my new Colora luggage will be just as durable as it was 25+ years ago!


After spending some time unzipping, spinning and exploring my new luggage I couldn't wait to see exactly what all I could pack in it.  I immediately told my 4 year old we were going to pack for a pretend trip to Walt Disney World just to see how much I could fit into this bag.  I was amazed to find that I could pack all my clothing, shoes and toiletries for a 7 day trip to Disney!  




Other features I love about my new American Tourister Colora bag:

  • The four rolling dual spinner wheels.  This feature made it super easy to wheel the bag behind or beside me or push it ahead of me.  My 4 year old was even able to wheel this bag around easily.
  • The zipper compartments.  I'm a sucker for compartments to help organize my stuff!  There are 2 outside pockets (one large and one smaller) to hold items or documents that you need to easily access.  Snapped to the inside is a small clear bag that is perfect for toiletries you don't want leaking on your clothing or a wet swim suit.
  • The handles.  There are top and side handles that allow you to grab it with ease and comfort.  In addition to carrying the luggage by the handles, the retractable handle makes it very easy to maneuver.  This handle locks in place in the fully extended position or the stored position.  
  • It's carry on sized!  We decided several trips ago we would never check luggage again. This bag (20.0" x 14.5" x 8.5") weighs only 8 pounds and is designed to fit in most airline overhead compartments.  However, it may not conform to some airlines carry-on standards.  
  • It has a 10 year warranty!  WOW!  Enough said.  
  • The color.  If I do ever need to check this luggage at the airport, it will be easy to spot on the carrousel.  And, being a bright lime green color means my husband will not want to carry it!  It's ALL MINE!  That's the only negative thing I found about this luggage.  I don't know many men who would want to carry lime green, raspberry or orange luggage.  This Colora line seems to be marketed more to children, teen girls and women.


You can shop for you own American Tourister luggage here where products are always on sale and shipping is currently FREE on orders over $150! 

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween 2013~ Star Wars Style


Halloween 2013 is in the books.  It didn't end up being the same Halloween 2013 I had planned in my little brain.  We woke up on October 31 with a sick "Yoda."  He missed trick or treating with his class and his class Halloween party.  I was able to get ready and meet "Luke" for trick or treating with his class while daddy stayed home with "Yoda."  Since "Yoda" was sick, we all missed trick or treating at City Hall.  Then, JAG had basketball practice, it was raining and "Yoda" still wasn't 100%, so we didn't trick or treat in the neighborhood.  Instead, we stayed inside watching the Halloween shows on Disney Junior, passing out candy to the few trick or treaters in the rain, ate pizza and had birthday ice cream cake for JAG's 13th birthday.

Overall, it was a fun night, but not what I had planned.  Since our Halloween didn't allow for group pictures, we got dressed up again today and took pictures outside! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Favorite Food Friday: The Kitchen Sink


What: "The Famous" Kitchen Sink 
Where: "Beaches & Cream" at the Beach Club Resort
Cost: $23.99
Serves: Four... HAHA!  We had 4 adults and 1 child eating this dessert and we barely ate half of it!

According to the menu you get:
"Scoops of Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Coffee, and Mint Chocolate Chip smothered in every Topping we have."  And by 'every topping we have' they mean, brownie pieces, cake pieces, sprinkles, fudge, caramel, cherries, whipped cream, candy pieces, Oreos, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and more!

Come hungry and bring your best friends!  You won't be disappointed! :)