October 2022 Goals

September felt really busy. We started the month with a college visit and it just kept rolling from there. We are officially back to all the activities, and I find myself thinking wistfully about the time we weren’t so busy. I am loving seeing all of our friends, though! I just need more down time than I used to, I think.

Last month I tried to scale back my goals a little bit, so let’s see how I did for the month.

  • Figure out photography and previews for my TpT products and add them to 20 products – I did not do this.
  • Add 10 new Fall products on TpT – for the first month since I started my shop, I did not add any new products on TpT.
  • Write one time Public Speaking classes for Outschool to covers ages 3-18 – I wrote 2 classes to cover ages 3-7 and so far they are crickets…
  • Write a series of craft classes – live and flex – I wrote Fall and Halloween FLEX craft classes, and have drafts started for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Finish organizing my classroom and the front room – my office is done and front room is 75% done.
  • Figure out how to set up my classroom for live sewing classes – I did not do this.
  • Make 5 blog posts, 20 Instagram posts/reels, 20 Facebook posts/reels, and 31 Pinterest pins – I wrote 2 blog posts, 12 Instagram posts, 14 Facebook posts, and no Pinterest pins.
  • Make dinner at home 15 times – I probably cooked 5 times.
  • Hike 6 times – I hiked 3 times.
  • Do 8 strength training workouts to start building some muscles – this didn’t happen either.

This was obviously a down month – I’m giving myself 3/10 and that feels generous. I am a little surprised because I felt like I was accomplishing things, but I see that I was accomplishing things for my volunteer obligations as I was neglecting my actual tasks to move the needle in my businesses. I costumed a show, sized kids for choir attire, measured and organized our costume plan for our high school fall play, sent sponsor and donor letters and also created a budget for our performing arts boosters. I was definitely busy and productive. But I was not focused on these goals.

Last week, I signed up to also teach on Allschool. I have yet to create any classes, but I am hopeful that I will be able to get a little traction there at times that don’t seem to be working for Outschool. With all of this in mind, here are my October goals:

  • Figure out photography and previews for 10 TpT products.
  • Add 10 new TpT products.
  • Create an Outschool and Allschool schedule that feels doable.
  • Finish organizing our front room.
  • Hang blinds in my office.
  • Figure out classroom set up for live sewing classes.
  • Make 4 blog posts, 20 Instagram posts, 20 Facebook posts, and 20 Pinterest pins.
  • Make dinner 10 times.
  • Hike 6 times.
  • Do 6 strength training workouts.

I think this looks like a list I can stick to. I just need to hang it in my office and check it when planning my days. Hopefully this will be the month that I get to say I did it all – wish me luck!

What are your goals for this month? Let me know in the comments so we can cheer each other on! 🙂

September 2022 Create Date – uPaint Pottery Studio

September felt really busy friends – did you feel that as well? By the time we would get to talk about a create date for the month, the option was full or canceled or our schedule changed. So, this was the month that I had no choice – the month I made Keith paint pottery with me. My wonderful husband has tried so many new things with me, but he really, really doesn’t like painting pottery. And his job is stressful right now, so that stress is bleeding over into other areas as well. I would love to say that this was a pleasant time for both of us, but that would be a lie. I did really like the people at uPaint Pottery Studio and thought they did a great job explaining things to us. I thought they were missing detail work brushes which made some of the things we wanted to do really hard. Maybe we just didn’t ask. Maybe it was because we were at literally the last table they had. Who’s to say? Regardless, we were there on a create date mission.

We each picked a pumpkin themed project and a fall leaf. Keith’s had a spooky face on one side and was a plain pumpkin on the other, so we figured we could just turn it around after Halloween and leave it up through Thanksgiving. I picked a fun pumpkin dish and decided to use the special writer paints they had to write the season/my name. Here are some before shots:

In the second photo, you can see we used quite a few sponges to “erase” mistakes. We will most likely just be displaying a plain pumpkin all fall – the jack-o-lantern face did not go as planned. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked everything up, though – it all turned out pretty well.

Could I list all the mistakes we made. Yes, yes I could. Am I really happy to add these to our fall decorations anyway? Also yes. I love that the leaves are our wedding colors – we wanted a fall wedding and used leaves as our inspiration even though our date was in August. Would I take someone else to paint pottery with me at uPaint Pottery Studio? Definitely. I loved their selection of projects and their wide array of colors to use. I love that they had special paint writers.

Have you ever painted pottery? Where did you go? What did you paint? Let us know in the comments!

September 2022 Adventure Date – Hocking Hills Old Man’s Cave Lower Falls and Chapel Cave

This past weekend, three of us were able to get away to Hocking Hills for the day. Living only about an hour away from Hocking Hills has been so wonderful – we try to make it to the park at least a couple times each year. My favorite time to be in the woods is Fall with all the beautiful colors, followed closely by Winter when everything in white and frozen. It is still very much Summer, but we have to go when we have the time. I’m hoping for another trip this Fall, but we will have to wait and see.

We started out at Old Man’s Cave. The new Welcome Center has been standing for a few years now, but with COVID restrictions, it was never open when we were there. So, we were excited to check it out before hiking. We did not wander the whole place, but we did enjoy the upstairs space, and I am sure we will be back to check out the gift shop soon. It is a really beautiful building and I love the enormous map on the wall by the help desk.

We have been to Old Man’s Cave recently, but we’ve stuck to the upper falls area for the past several years. So, we decided the time had come to return to the lower part of the area. It was super crowded and there were so many people on the trail until it split – most people went to the actual cave part of the trail, so we decided very quickly to take the other way. We continued on down to the lower falls where it was actually not too hard to get photos without people for a change. It might be because it was a bit cooler (although still really humid), so no one was swimming under the falls. I know that I sound like an old “keep those kids off my lawn” stick in the mud, but I believe in following trail signs. If it says no wading or swimming, I stay out of the water. If it says stop, no hiking beyond this point, I stop. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun, but I also want these parks to be open to the public for everyone’s enjoyment for a long time to come.

After we had that hike under our belts, we headed to a completely new-to-us area of the park – the Rock Climbing and Rappelling Area. It is very near to Conkle’s Hollow – one of my favorite parts of the Hocking Hills Area. The area is not well marked, especially if you are coming from inside – the signs all point the other direction, so we ended up having to turn around and back track. Once we parked in the gravel lot, we did not cross the street to get to the actual Rock Climbing and Rappelling area, we instead followed the bridle trail located at the far end the parking lot. Being that it was a bridle trail, we had to constantly be watching where we stepped – the horses in Hocking Hills are apparently very well fed. Keith and Charlotte wished they had put on bug spray, but I did not have any problems. We did encounter A LOT of mud, and we had to do some creek crossings, so waterproof hiking boots are a must if you choose to do this hike. I did not take photos of the worst parts of the trail, but here are a few photos of the not so bad parts.

We followed the orange blazes and then the white blazes. Pretty soon, we saw a sign that said “No horses beyond this point.” I took that as a sign that we were supposed to take the trail up, but it turned out that it was a more difficult and roundabout way that would have led to a double waterfall if there was more water in the creeks. Keith has pretty much told me he will not hike this again (he hates mud and mess), so we will not be seeing the Twin Falls near Chapel Cave. We did eventually come to the cave, though. When we arrived there was a group of people on horseback in the cave, so we communicated with them about where we should be to make their horses feel safe. This cave is also called 21 Horse Cave because you could supposedly fit 21 horses in it, so it was kind of cool to get to see horses here.

After we explored the inside of the cave, it was time to head back. On the way back, we accidentally took a different path through one of the really, really muddy parts and Charlotte ended up stuck in pretty deep mud – not quite over her boots. I found a path around to help pull her out, and thankfully her boots stayed on her feet. She waded in the water a bit to clean off the mud, but then her socks and boots were pretty wet. So, we headed for the car as quick as we could to get her cleaned off a bit. Thankful for wet wipes and napkins and a stash of plastic bags in the back of the car! Obviously this put an end to our hiking for the day, but we were all pretty ready to go home and shower anyway.

Our reviews of this one were a little mixed. I loved the hike because it was challenging. Keith hated the mud and bugs. Charlotte loved the adventure and was happy until the wet boots at the end. I am going to give it an 8/10 just because I can see how it is not the perfect hike for everyone.

Have you ever been to Hocking Hills? What is your favorite area of the park? Have you been to Chapel Falls? Let us know in the comments! 🙂

September 2022 Goals

I know I say this every month, but I can’t believe that August is over. It was a wonderful month – full of amazing moments and definitely core memories. Our baby started her senior year of high school, our oldest started working on her new degree path in college, and we celebrated our 23rd anniversary with a magical trip. So much to be thankful for, and so much to look forward to. Before we can look forward, though, we need to look back at August and see how my goals for the month went. So, without further ado, here goes.

  • Add 20 TpT products to my store – I added 18 new products, bringing me to 101 products! I am counting this as complete.
  • Write a sticker club class for Outschool – This did not get done. I think this is a sign that it is not really in my heart to do it, so I am scrapping this goal.
  • Write a series of Public Speaking classes for Outschool that covers ages 3-18 – I wrote a series of classes that goes to 9 – so far no sign ups, so I am in the process of adding one time options. This one gets half credit.
  • Write a series of craft classes – live and flex – This one is still being developed in my head – I am going to start with some one time Fall/Halloween craft classes and see where it goes. But I did not do it this month.
  • Set my fall schedule on Outschool – I have done this and continue to revise it as I go.
  • Finish organizing my classroom and the front room – This one is still in progress. I have this week off, so maybe it will happen.
  • Make 10 blog posts, 20 Instagram posts/reels, 20 Facebook posts/reels, and 31 Pinterest pins – I made 13 total blog posts, 6 Instagram posts, 15 Facebook posts, and 11 Pinterest pins. I am going to give myself a 70% here, but I really hope to be more consistent in September.
  • Make dinner at home 15 times – Definitely did this. It was really nice to know what we were eating. I am hoping to do even more meal planning in September.
  • Hike 8 times (we are headed to Disney for 3 days, so I know I can hit this if I count each day as a hike) – I did this! Not completely caught up on 52 Hike Challenge, but so close!
  • Do 6 strength training workouts to start building some muscles – This did not happen, but we did walk A LOT – both at Disney and at home.

When I look at it by the numbers, I get a 5/10 for August. Not great, but not terrible, either. I need a change in my business, and I am really hopeful that September will be filled with just the right amount of change and motivation. I really can’t wait for the change in seasons – I put out some of our Fall/Halloween decorations already and I am hopeful the rest will be out by the end of the week. Cooler air, beautiful leaves, campfires – bring it on! Here are my goals for this month:

  • Figure out photography and previews for my TpT products and add them to 20 products.
  • Add 10 new Fall products on TpT.
  • Write one time Public Speaking classes for Outschool to covers ages 3-18.
  • Write a series of craft classes – live and flex.
  • Finish organizing my classroom and the front room.
  • Figure out how to set up my classroom for live sewing classes.
  • Make 5 blog posts, 20 Instagram posts/reels, 20 Facebook posts/reels, and 31 Pinterest pins.
  • Make dinner at home 15 times.
  • Hike 6 times.
  • Do 8 strength training workouts to start building some muscles.

I am excited to get in there and learning to do new things in classes and with my products. Hoping to gain more learners and customers this month. If I can build enough momentum, it should carry me into the fourth quarter and through the end of the year – there’s still time to make some great strides towards my 2022 goals.

What are your goals this month? What new things will you be trying? I can’t wait to hear all about it in the comments. 🙂

August 2022 Adventure Date 3 – Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Another really fortuitous thing about our trip is that they have stretched out the Epcot Food and Wine Festival for several months this year, so we were able to participate in some food/drink tasting. That was not our sole focus, however, as we had several rides we wanted to ride and a reservation on Teppan Edo for lunch. I had bought Genie + for the day on the way home from the Halloween Party the night before, so we were good to go with that when I woke up the next morning. I logged into the My Disney Experience App at 6:55 and opened the Virtual Queue section. I clicked Join Virtual Queue button and then at 6:59 I kept repeatedly refreshing the page until I got the button to join the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind. We ended up in Boarding Group 83 – that’s how quick it goes. I felt very lucky! I was then able to book us into an 11:45 lightning lane for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Then I tried to go back to sleep for a bit before ultimately just getting up and taking a shower. Keith took one the night before, so he was able to get up and get ready when I got out. I also applied our Magic Your Band skins to our magic bands – I had cute daisies and Keith had a Tron themed one. Both were glow-in-the-dark and so much fun. Also really easy to apply. Here’s what they looked like thanks to a very random thought by a PhotoPass photographer.

We arrived at the park before 9 and immediately went to get our Remy’s Hide and Squeak gameboards. Because we asked if they had all 4 cups available and the lady had to check the back for the Remy cups, she ended up signing our boards and giving us our cups then and there. We chose the Remy and Tiana cups as our “prizes.” Next, we headed to get some food. Although it was Food and Wine Festival, not much was open so early, so we ended up eating a Mickey Pretzel and a Fruit and Cheese tray as breakfast. It was actually pretty filling and tasty. We sat at tables in Sunshine Seasons and then decided to walk on Living With the Land as our first attraction of the day. We also caught Soarin’ Around the World while we were there. We really enjoyed both and we waited in line very little time, so it was a great start to the day.

Our next stop was Spaceship Earth – we were trying to do all of our front of the park things before heading to World Showcase, but that didn’t really work out. While we were in line, I snagged lightning lanes for Frozen Ever After for after lunch. Spaceship earth was great – I love the new narration by Dame Judy Dench and the new ending where you answer questions and then get some animations was pretty fun. Definitely would ride again every time we are at Epcot.

At this point, we were pretty thirsty, so we headed to World Showcase to try some Food and Wine Festival drinks on our way to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. I started with a Frozen Rose from The Alps and Keith got the Copperpoint Brewing Company Key Lime Kolsch from Refreshment Outpost. The Rose was refreshing and just a bit sweet – we both liked it. The Key Line Kolsch was a little bitter – it was nice to try, but being that I am not really a beer drinker and Keith prefers stout beers, it was not our favorite beverage. At that point, it was time for our Remy lightning lane, so we headed towards France. You can’t really get photos on the ride, but I thought the rat cars were super cute. 🙂

After we got off Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (which was the best new Disney Imagineering we have witnessed in quite a while – Wow!), we headed straight to the Japanese Pavilion and Teppan Edo. Somehow, both of us were expecting a fancy sit down restaurant, so when it was a hibachi restaurant we were momentarily unsure. But we were also hungry, and it ended up being the best hibachi show and the best food we have had from a hibachi grill. I quite frequently walk away from hibachi food feeling very full and slightly queasy, but this time we felt great! We did a bit of shopping while in the Japanese Pavilion and then headed back to the front of the park because our boarding group was called to come get in line for Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind.

The queue for Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind is all inside and it was nice to be out of the sun. We got to see some fun models of settlements and ships and there was a funny interview show happening that you could watch. Disney does a really good job of making sure you are never too bored when you have to wait in line. The ride was amazing! I absolutely loved it, and we got the Earth Wind and Fire song September which was perfect. We had so much fun dancing to the music while we rode and tried to understand the plot of what was happening. I admit, I was a bit lost, but it was still super fun! I did not, however, enjoy going up and down steps immediately after getting off the ride. Truth be told, I was quite dizzy for about 15 minutes afterwards, and really had to hold the hand rails and take another Dramamine. I would take the second Dramamine before the ride next time. Still, no regrets, 10/10 would do again!

After Cosmic Rewind, it was once again time to hit the World Showcase. We headed to Norway for our Frozen Ever After lightning lane. It was a pretty cute ride, but I am also glad we did not wait in a long line for it. Definitely gave us Maelstrom vibes, but we appreciated the updates. 🙂

Now that we were finished with our lightning lanes, we headed back to the Food and Wine Festival fare. We got an Italian Red Sangria to sip and it was so good we forgot to take a photo. Our next drink was the Hana Fuji Apple Sake from the Japanese Pavilion. This is our top pick from everything we tried – very smooth and refreshing. Probably dangerous because you want to keep drinking it. After we were finished sipping, we headed to France. We were really wanting to try crepes from La Creparie de Paris and we were also intrigued by the Strawberry Rose Mimosa from the France Booth. We decided to divide and conquer since both places had such long lines. We had separate adventures – I spotted lizards with the little girl in the stroller in front of me (that mom asked for straight champagne in her Mimosa, lol) while Keith made new friends with a bachelor party participant trying to win a bet. It was a fun time. Keith did get a free Merlot out of it, so that was something. We also got to try amazing crepes – Sugar and Red Berry – and sip Mimosa and Merlot whilst watching the Skyliner glide by – it was quite lovely actually. Made me feel almost like we were at a French cafe. 🙂

We could feel the weather brewing up a storm as we ate, so we decided our next stop would be shopping and then heading to the indoor Appleseed Orchard booth located in the Canada Pavilion. We decided to try the Apple Crumble Tart and the Frozen Apple Pie, thus making this the only Food and Wine booth where we ended up buying food. I’m as surprised as you are about that one. We really liked the tart but the drink was just okay – it was hard to drink with the crumbles on top and we ended up with apple pie filling sludge at the bottom which was not super enjoyable.

At this point, we donned our rain ponchos and tried to head out to Journey Into Imagination With Figment. It was closed due to technical difficulties, however, so we grabbed a lightning lane for Turtle Talk with Crush and headed into The Seas with Nemo & Friends. We basically walked from one to the other and it was an enjoyable way to spend time when it was raining. We especially liked Turtle Talk with Crush – our group had some really funny kids. ❤

When we emerged, we spent some time shopping and then split up for drinks. Keith got a Guinness Baileys Coffee Shake from the Ireland booth and I ended up getting a Starbucks Green Tea with no sweetener because I just needed an unsweet iced tea. It is my favorite and near impossible to find in Florida. We met up to watch the fireworks show, and then immediately decided that we did not want to stay and headed towards the front of the park. (I was struggling bad after 2 days of 12+ miles of walking with my heel spurs and several blisters. I am not happy that my feet were letting me down, but it’s the truth.) We were able to catch some great photos of Spaceship Earth and the fountain on our way out.

Now I must tell you a cautionary tale. Do not, under any circumstances, think that it will be faster to take a monorail to Magic Kingdom during fireworks and take a bus from there. This play is faulty because you have to change monorails at the TTC and that means you arrive at Magic Kingdom just as fireworks are ending. Also, there is a change of shift for bus drivers at around 10 – yes, we just have super luck. Do not be like us. Just get in line for the bus at Epcot. Trust me.

We made it back to our resort in time to get some beignets, so that was wonderful. Make sure you check your order before going all the way back to your room, though. We had to trek back down to the cafe to get the other half of our beignets. My feet were not pleased, but my tastebuds sure were. Yum! I personally liked the strawberry sauce, but Keith had the chocolate cherry sauce and it was also pretty good. In case you wondered, we also got kids meals from the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory to make it not quite dessert for dinner. 😉

If you have made it this far, thank you for reading! I am really enjoying sharing our trip with you. Have you ever been to Epcot Food and Wine Festival? What is your favorite thing from the booths? Let me know in the comments.

August 2022 Adventure Date 2 – Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Shortly after we decided to book our Disney trip, the dates for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party were released. We attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 18 years ago when we took Maddie for her first trip (I was 6 months pregnant with Charlotte, so technically she was also there ;)), but the Halloween party was not offered this early in August the year we took both kids right before school started. I immediately started researching and joining Facebook groups to make sure we could make the most of our party time. Our priorities were rides, parade, fireworks, and some photos. We thought about getting in line for Jack and Sally since we do love that movie, but in the end decided that it wasn’t worth the time we would lose.

We spent the morning and early afternoon at Animal Kingdom, then caught a bus to Port Orleans French Quarter to pick up our luggage (it was transferred for us) and get checked into our room. We took quick showers to take off the first layer of sunscreen and sweat, got our party outfits on, and caught a bus to Magic Kingdom. It should be noted that bus drivers have a shift change between 2 and 3 (at least at Animal Kingdom) and if one doesn’t show up on time, it can definitely make the wait to get to your resort longer. I’m just sharing in case that planning info is helpful for others. It really didn’t impact our timeline too badly.

We got to Magic Kingdom without further incidence by a little after 4. There was a pretty big line to enter, but it moved pretty quickly. After that, we got our wristbands and were sent to the right to get our treat bags and first treat station – full size Crunchy Sugar Cookie M&Ms. After that, we rode a couple of rides that Keith had never been on before – Carousel of Progress and the People Mover. We also used our Genie+ to book lightning lanes for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and then Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

When we were in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the weather took a pretty drastic turn. We were in the queue and would have been on the second train to arrive when the ride shut down. It was raining sideways and there was quite a bit of lightning and thunder, so we understood. We ended up hanging out for about an hour until the storm lightened up a bit. The radar and weather app showed that it was supposed to continue storming through 10 pm, however, so we were concerned. We made the decision, which we somewhat regret in hindsight, to go and see if they were issuing refunds for weather. We stood in line for a bit and were helped by some very kind and patient people that encouraged us to give it a go and see if the weather held.

With our ponchos firmly over our clothing and backpacks, we headed back out determined to enjoy the evening. We headed back to Tomorrowland on our way to Fantasyland and the Mad Tea Party ride. I have had vertigo since about 2 months after we got married – not a fun surprise to wake up and think you have had a stroke, but I have developed strategies to avoid it flaring up. One strategy is to avoid spinning rides. But we wanted to experience the Halloween overlays on most of the rides (we had no interest in completely black Space Mountain). So, I took a second Dramamine pill and made Keith promise not to spin us. I am super glad to know that I can handle them as long as the others in my cup are kind. We were also treated to a fantastic sunset while in line for the Mad Tea Party – almost like the universe was apologizing for the weather. 🙂

Our next stop was Pirates of the Caribbean to experience the live actors. There were a couple that were interacting with people in line, and then a couple on one of the bridges inside the ride. It was a fun addition to the atmosphere and made the line seem to move faster. I believe that this was the longest line we waited in – about a half hour.

After Pirates, it was time to find a spot to watch the Parade and all pre-parade activities. We found a spot right behind a very kind family from the UK and spent all of our waiting time talking to them. That was lovely! While we waited, we got a couple of photos in front of the castle – including a party exclusive magic shot with Oogie Boogie. We were also very excited that the Headless Horseman was able to ride that night – even with the rain earlier – and we even got a glimpse of Max dressed as Powerline, although we were too far down Main Street USA to really have a good view. I walked down a bit to try to get closer, but it was pretty packed. We really enjoyed the parade itself, and I had an awesome interaction with Edna Mole – she pointed right at me! Definitely one of my favorite Disney Parades I have seen.

After the Boo to You Parade, we moved down the street a bit to have a good view of the castle. We did not try to get close enough to see Jack Skellington, but we probably could have. This was probably the most uncomfortable I was the whole time – people squeezed in around us giving us absolutely no personal space or room to move at all. The fireworks and projections were amazing, though. We thoroughly enjoyed it!

After fireworks, we went with a lot of the crowd around us to the Haunted Mansion. We basically walked straight into the stretch room – one of my favorite parts of the whole ride. I just love the trapeze girl! It was fun to ride at a Halloween party, but they live actors did not appear outside for us – maybe they had a parade to attend? Maybe the weather scared them off? Who’s to say?

After the Haunted Mansion, we made our way back to Fantasyland to knock out a lot of the movie-themed rides that generally have long lines. We rode Peter Pan’s Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid before deciding to call it a night and head back to our room. It was a very long, but very amazing day!

Have you ever attended a Disney after hours party? Which one? What was your favorite part? Let us know in the comments – I think I enjoyed the short lines and the fireworks show the most. 🙂

August 2022 Create Date – Animation Experience at Conservation Station

As soon as we decided to go to Disney World for our Anniversary, I knew that I wanted to do the Animation Experience while we were at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as our Create Date for August. I knew we both wanted to see the new Pandora section and all the new rides, so it was an easy addition to make to that plan. We took the Wilderness Train to Conservation Station and got in the queue. I was really happy to see we would be drawing Pua – I have always loved pigs. Keith has not, but even he admits that Pua is cute. The area of the class is amazing – there are sketches and paintings of animals and characters all over the walls. It was nice to have something to look at while we waited for the class before ours to finish. They drew Shere Kahn from the Jungle Book which was cool to see as well.

When it was our turn, we grabbed a golf pencil, a guide sheet, and a lap board to work on. There were long rows of seats, so we were actually not able to see the animator that was doing the demonstration very well, but they had big monitors set up so that everyone could see his hands as he drew. Here are some set up and in progress shots.

So far, so good. The ears, though. That is the tricky part. The part that made you really wish that golf pencils had erasers… We will probably go back and add some finishing touches to these, but this is what our drawings looked at when we finished the class.

As a side note, the animator shared with us that the pig they used for inspiration for Pua is actually named Charlotte Mae, and she is actually a deaf pig that lives in the petting zoo at Conservation Station. How cute is that?!

Have you ever done the Animation Experience at Animal Kingdom? If so, what did you draw? If not, what character would you want to draw? I think if I could choose any Disney animal character, I may have wanted to draw Tod or Copper from The Fox and the Hound, but Pua was definitely just fine with me. 🙂

August 2022 Adventure Date 1 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom

This month we celebrated our 23rd anniversary, but we have actually been together for 26 years now. When we started talking about taking a trip to celebrate, we were drawn to Disney and their 50th anniversary celebration. You see, we were at Disney for a day during their 25th anniversary. We have photos (somewhere, safely packed away) of the giant pink birthday cake castle. In the end, we decided that Disney deserved redemption for that horrible design idea and we went about booking a whirlwind, adults only weekend at Disney World.

We knew our flight would be getting in pretty late, so our awesome travel agent suggested that we stay at the All Star Sports Resort just for that night and then transfer to our other resort for the rest of the stay. Since there is really only one hotel near the Orlando airport (actually, in the airport) and it is pretty expensive, this worked out really well. We arrived around midnight and then caught a Mears bus to our resort. We had to sit and wait for people for a half hour, but eventually we were on our way to the resort. While we waited, I bought our Genie + for our first day since it was after midnight. We know it is controversial to get it for every park, but we also knew we were headed into a sold out weekend, so we decided it was worth it.

We arrived and got ourselves into our room (checking in on the app and being able to go straight to the room is amazing!) and ready for bed by 2. At 6:30, I got up and around so I could get our first Lightning Lane booked at 7 (Na’vi River Journey) and also book Individual Lightning Lanes for Avatar Flight of Passage since we knew we were leaving the park around 2 and wouldn’t have a lot of time to stand in lines. We then dropped our luggage off to be transferred to our next resort and hopped on the bus to Animal Kingdom. There are no photos from our arrival – my contact solution takes 6 hours to neutralize, so I had to wait until 8 to put my contacts in. I ended up putting them in while we were in line for our first ride of the day, Kilimanjaro Safaris – not ideal, but my glasses are about 3 prescriptions behind and I really wanted to be able to see… The safari was excellent first thing – we saw a lot of the animals and even to got to hear the lions “talking” to each other. Here are some of my favorite photos.

After the safari, we headed to Avatar Flight of Passage to get in the Lightning Lane line. Oh my goodness! – it was amazing! I was really glad I took Dramamine that morning, but it was such a beautiful adventure – highly recommended! Here are photos from inside the ride just before they have you empty your pockets.

Here are photos from outside the ride for your viewing enjoyment – Disney does such an amazing job of setting the scene.

We also paid for the PhotoPass, so we got lots of pictures of us together – I would definitely do this every time just to get photos with our whole group in them. They can also add some fun effects, called magic shots. We really enjoyed discovering exactly why we made those faces for the photographer.

After Avatar Flight of Passage, we headed straight to Festival of the Lion King since we knew it was starting soon. We saw this when we visited almost 18 years ago, so we were really happy to see that it was fully back in time for our trip. While we waited for the show to start, I booked our next lightning lane. I wanted to get Expedition Everest, but it ended up being down for the whole day (and half of the next we later found out). So, I booked us to meet Mickey and Minnie at Adventurer’s Outpost as our final attraction before leaving the park that afternoon. We also scheduled a mobile order for Satu’li Canteen to be picked up after Na’vi River Journey. Here are some photos from Festival of the Lion King.

After enjoying Festival of the Lion King, we had time to get a few photos before heading to Na’vi River Journey at our designated time. It was a beautiful ride full of surprises and amazing scenery. Here are a few examples of what you will see – although photos do not do it justice.

We headed straight to Satu’li Canteen to pick up our mobile order and it was pretty easy to navigate. I had the Cheeseburger Pods and they were really good. Keith had a rice bowl which was also pretty tasty. Here are photos of our food and also shots from a boat cavalcade we saw while walking between attractions.

Our next stop was the Wildlife Express Train to Conservation Station. We did the Animation Experience, but that is a whole separate blog post as it was our Create Date for August. Look for it very soon!

When we finished at Conservation Station, we had some time to shop and get photos, and then it was our turn to meet Mickey and Minnie! It was wonderful – they were quite impressed with our pins that said Celebrating 23 Years. And they gave the best hugs!

After meeting our favorite mouse and his gal, we had to head back to get checked in at our resort – Port Orleans French Quarter – and get ready for our next adventure – Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. But that’s a separate post.

Have you ever been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom? What was your favorite attraction? What animals were you excited to see? Let us know in the comments below. 🙂

July 2022 Create Date: Starting a Photo Collage Wall

When we arrived home from Seattle it was July 28th. I knew that I wanted to create the start of a photo collage wall with some of our trip photos, so we immediately started trying to narrow down our choices. If you have read all of my July Adventure Date blogs, you know that we had some gorgeous photos – and the best ones weren’t the ones I posted here from my phone. I knew it was going to be a struggle, but I did not foresee my husband testing positive for COVID two days later. That definitely stalled our date opportunities. We did, finally, narrow our choices down to 3 photos that represented the core of our trip. Our first choice is this beauty that has Chihuly and The Space Needle both represented.

Our second choice was this shot of an Orca from our FRS Skipper Whale Watching Tour.

Rounding out our pics is this gorgeous shot of Mount Rainier with some tiny rapids and waterfalls in front from our time in Paradise.

We added our bicycle spin art to the wall as well – might as well make it about as many Create Dates as we can, right? We also added a little painting that we bought with 2 ladybugs because it reminds us of a story Keith used to tell the girls when they were younger. I LOVE how it turned out and I can’t wait to continue adding to it. We may go back and add some things from previous trips, or we may wait to add new adventures to it. Only time will tell. 🙂

Do you ever display photographs from trips? Do you have a photo wall? I would love to see and hear about it in the comments! 🙂

July 2022 Adventure Date 6: Seattle Art Museum

Our last adventure for the month of July was a trip to the Seattle Art Museum. We had some extra time our last afternoon in Seattle, so 3 of us decided to use that time to explore the Seattle Art Museum. It was a really cool place and we wish we had more time to spend there.

After we bought our tickets and checked our bags, we headed up the escalator. The first exhibit we entered was Frisson: The Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis Collection. I’m not sure I would have liked to live with all of their art, but it was interesting to look at and read about. Here is our favorite view from that collection – my husband says this is exactly how sunflowers feel to him, and I just found it very striking.

Our next exploration took place up the next set of escalators. We were greeted with an amazing site at the top – so many masks! They were from many cultures around the world, and I was completely in love with the displays. Here are some favorites.

We went on to explore a few more areas of the museum. I really enjoyed the Porcelain Room and the Italian Room in particular.

By the time we made it through most of the collections it was time for a very brief stop in the gift shop and then heading out for a snack at Pike Place Market. I would definitely go back another time to explore what we may have missed. Definitely happy with the experience.

Have you ever been to the Seattle Art Musuem? What were your favorite parts? Let us know in the comments! 🙂