Friday, April 30, 2010

Disney on the Cheap: Part 4

The only way our Disney trip was finacially possible in the first place, is that Nate's aunt and uncle graciously gave us their time share for just $300 for the entire week. The condo we stayed in was normally around three hundred a night, so this was quite a steal. The full kitchen and dining room allowed us to get through the entire week with only eating out for three meals. Nate's parents, my parents, and Nate and I all split the meals throughout the week, so this was very time and cost effective.

The condo was spacious and cozy, which allowed us to enjoy our time there when we were not at the pools or parks. We celebrated Easter and Layla's birthday with the comfort of feeling like we were at home. The resort had four different pool areas, which made for tons of fun for us and the kids. There were even beach entry pools that made it possible for Gunnar to get in on the pool action.

For additional free entertainment, we headed to the Animal Kingdom hotel to watch all the birds and animals that are right on the grounds there. The kids loved seeing the big beautiful hotel, too.

The kids loved the birds that came by every day. Our favorite was a heron we named "Charlie." He obviously was used to being around people and allowed us to feed him right from our hands. Our condo had a beautiful view of a pond and lake. Thank you Janet and Dick for giving us such a wonderful place for our family vacation!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

AJ and Phil's Wedding

So, AJ's wedding was wonderful, and unfortunately, most of our pictures turned out lousy! I don't even have a good picture of the bride and groom together. Nate and I definitely don't have the hang of our new camera. These are the only pictures that turned out good enough to post.

Nate and I at the rehearsal dinner at Claddagh's. Mmmm, the food was so good!

AJ was such a beautiful bride!

The kids came to the ceremony for two reasons. One, so they wouldn't go the entire day without seeing me. Two, my aunt and cousin couldn't babysit until 4 pm.

Nice to at least get a decent family picture.

Fun times at the reception.

AJ and I met our freshmen year in college and were instant friends. It's such a pleasure all these years later to still be her friend and take part in her wedding. Her new husband, Phil is the best. He is wonderful for her, and better yet, Nate and Phil enjoy each other's company, too. It's nice when your spouse likes your friend's spouse!

May God bless your marriage, AJ and Phil!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Love Me Some Neil Diamond

This morning, the kids and I were rockin' out to Neil Diamond's greatest hits as I cooked up some applesauce. Timeless. Some might think we are weird, but we love Neil Diamond. Even Gunnar was leaning against the fridge, bouncing up and down to the music.

On a side note, for baby journaling purposes, Gunnar was totally faking me out this morning while eating breakfast. He obviously didn't want his eggs, so he would pick them up, put them to his mouth, pretend to bite them and then pretended to chew up the non-existent food in his mouth. Oh the deception! Too funny. I let him know he wasn't fooling anybody. Layla, Julius and I all had a good laugh at his performance.

Saturday will mark one week on the GAPS introduction diet. I am too busy to blog about it now, but the book by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is amazingly interesting and Nate and I are definitely feeling better in the short time we have been on it.

Well, off to get some more things done. One of my best girlfriends, AJ is marrying her dream boy, Phil, this weekend and we have lots to do to get ready for the wedding. So if you don't see me around here this weekend, I'll be back Monday, hopefully with some pics of the wedding in all it's glory!

Enjoy the beautiful sunshine!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Disney on the Cheap: Part 3

Downtown Disney was a wonderful cheap way to get a "Disney" experience without paying the cost of park admissions. If you can manage to stay away from the sit down restaurants, you can enjoy the day with only spending a few bucks on rides.

Poor Gunnar was stuck in his stroller most of the day.
I am sure he will enjoy vacations more in the future when he can participate in more.

The train at Downtown Disney was fun for Layla and Julius and just cost a few bucks a kid. Thanks Grandpa Dave and Grandma Karen for the fun ride!

The carousel was also a fun, cheap ride!

Our main expense of the day was Layla's birthday meal at Rain Forest Cafe.

Layla was quite shocked when all the waiters came out to sing "Happy Birthday" to her. Because of her allergies, she got a free plate of french fries, instead of the standard ice cream. They stuck the birthday candle in a small cup of whipped cream. Too funny!

The kids were a bit scared of the occasional thunder storms.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Disney on the Cheap: Part 2

Blowing kisses to Minnie Mouse

Goofy acted crazy! Scared the baby a bit!

Autographs from all the characters. Thanks Beepaw and Damma for the books and pens.

Ears purchased at a nearby Walgreen's for $4.99 each

I loved the fresh orange juice and the kids loved the Mickey Mouse shaped waffles.

The characters all gave good hugs.

Minnie Mouse was Layla's favorite. In fact, I think she was all the kids favorite.
Gunnar "made out" with Minnie and wanted to keep sucking on her nose.

Gunnar was a bit scared of Pluto.

To keep this vacation as cheap as possible, we decided to only go to Magic Kingdom one day. To get a "Disney feel" on another day without paying hundreds of dollars (about $350) to get into a park, we booked a reservation at Chef Mickey were you get a full breakfast buffet and get personal interaction with the Disney characters all around $90 for our entire family. The kids were pleased too, because when we actually went to Magic Kingdom you had to wait in long lines to see any characters and they weren't as friendly and personable as the ones at the buffet.

After our meal, we jumped on the Disney tram for free and rode around looking at the views. I know this wouldn't pacify children of all ages, but our kids are young enough that they enjoyed these simple activities and it really saved us a lot of money.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Disney On The Cheap: Part One

We took the kids to Downtown Disney while in Florida. The kids had a blast at the Lego store. The best part was that it didn't cost anything!