Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Another one?

I TOLD you I don’t go far without my iPhone. I even bring it into the kitchen with me… no really, I do. I have a speaker dock that lets me listen to my “cooking” playlist… It puts me in “the mood” to cook. And I have several kitchen related apps that I use on a weekly basis.  One of them is this little gem…


You know how sometimes you just get into ruts with cooking and you make the same things over and over each week? I tend to do that more in the winter, because I always want a soup, stew or chili.  This little baby has helped me out of so many ruts, it may as well be a tow-service. 

You know that big giant cookbook so many of us got as a wedding gift? That red and white checkerboard one? This app has all of those recipes built in :-)

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You can search in a few different ways, so you can either do the Surprise Me button and locate things that way, or if you have shrimp, you can put that it and it will pull up the recipes with that ingredient.

There is also a button to add a particular recipe to a favorites list, so if your family really enjoys it, it will be even easier to find the next time. And yes…. that is a margarita recipe on my favorites list…  Don’t be a hater, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! … and they are quite yummy…


Tonight I’m making the Sweet and Spicy Shrimp recipe…  and at the bottom of the recipe, there’s nutritional information in case you need to look at that as well…

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There is something completely satisfying for me in chopping, dicing, mincing, mixing, blending… even if I don’t always want to cook, it always feels great when I do.  Maybe it’s the knife in my hand… Hmmm … just kidding.

Here’s a preview of the veggies going into the shrimp tonight… go ahead, cook something up!


Destination Disney 2.0- GPS your way around

The name of this post should be “I have balls of steel” because this new app required me to update my iPhone.  Seriously folks. Balls. Of. Steel. So after several minutes of near heart attack level anxiety, I made it through my update. Unlike Hubs, who crashed his and was without a cell phone for 2 weeks. Maybe the title could be “Are you smarter than an Engineer” instead…  Nah… even I wont go that far…

See how much I love you? and Disney? and my iPhone? I’ll jump through hoops! Hoops I tell ya!

This is the GPS app that I think you’ll really love me for suggesting.  The icon on the far right that says WDW Maps… Now I have 4 apps on my “dedicated to Disney” page :-)


This little beauty has ALL of the parks (including the water parks), Downtown Disney, and even Orlando International Airport!!!!! That’s why I think it’s worth the $3.99 purchase price.  Anything to get us in the right direction at that airport…


Here’s a sample shot of the map… This one shows one of our favorite attractions at the Magic Kingdom. Mickey’s Philharmagic! It’s number 22 on the map… you just tap, and it pulls up what is located in that spot… The blue arrow takes you to a detailed information page where you can even plan your trip down to the attraction priority! (Not that I’d ever be that controlling and obsessive while at Disney…) You can see in the upper center portion of the pic that it also locates restrooms that are nearby. And we all know how important THAT is! Restaurant locations are also lettered on the map, AND you can see a brief description of what is on the menu and how much it’s gonna cost you. Neat, huh?


So now you see why I was so nuts about updating ye ole phone… and why I wanted this app.  Anything to make life at Disney more simple and orderly is always high on my list.  You can find yourself bogged down in maps, lists, and balloons… So why not pare down to just your phone and have plenty more room in your hands for more Tinkerbell balloons! (Which were about $12 last time I checked, so be prepared…. just sayin’…)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Destination Disney 2.0 – Apps to make your life magical!

I’ve tweeted and mentioned how much I am in love with my iPhone. My friends think it’s welded permanently to my hand, and that I need a 12-step program to ease the separation.  However, with as annoying as I am with my phone, I’ve found some pretty fun little apps to make your Disney planning easier and give you valuable information at the touch of your fingertips.

I’ve snapped a couple of screen shots to show you some of the features of these apps… to take a screen shot, hold down your “home” button (the round one on the bottom) and then press the power button to “snap” your picture.  


Counting Down:

The one my girls like the best happens to be the most simple one.  It’s just a basic count-down app, but they like to look at it anyway. And yes, those 327 days are from today… I told you I wasn’t a nice mommy telling them about the trip so early. 


WDW Dining:

This is one of my favorite Disney apps… It shows restaurant locations at all of the parks, Downtown Disney, and the resorts.  Now, let me remind you that at most of the sit down restaurants, you’ll need to make seating arrangements ahead of time. This app can help you plan, and even has a direct button to the WDW Dining Reservations phone line. Once you’re at Disney, and are looking for a quick service spot to have lunch, you can pop on and locate a place to dine.  This app has menus and prices, all in an effort to help you plan your meals and schedules.

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Another cool feature that I’m looking forward to using, once we hit that 180 day out mark, will be the Dining Schedule.  It holds your confirmation number (which I’ve only had to use a handful of times) and your meal date and time. You can even email your schedule once you’ve narrowed everything down.  Set up your schedule, email it to your travel partner (mine is my Hubs) and then they can have the schedule on their iPhone too! That way there’s no excuse to loose each other at lunch time :-)


WDW Times:

This little app basically takes the place of the paper times schedule available in the entrances of all the parks.  We stick that paper in a pocket or purse, and end up grabbing several during the day because we loose it a lot.  This app has the parade schedule, attraction updates, and opening and closing times for all of the parks.  Easy Peasy.


Wait Times:

The last app I want you to take a look at is the attraction (ride & show) Wait Time app.  This handy dandy little app will let you know if it’s worth the walk from Big Thunder Mountain to Buzz Lightyear.  If you do not have a Fast Pass for a ride or are waiting for your time to come up, this little jewel will help you save loads of time and lines.

By the way… doesn’t this screen shot make you want to be there, like right NOW… no waits!!! Ahhh… such is life…


I’ve also got a hankering to grab a GPS app with the Disney Park info built in.  Alas, that requires an iPhone update… which makes me skiddish, because when Hubs did it, he crashed his phone and was without one for 2 weeks… 2 WEEKS!!!!!! I just don’t know if it’s worth it…. We’ve been to the big D enough to know where most everything is without using a map… so we’ll see if I actually get the app I’m looking at. :-/


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Destination Disney 2.0 – The BIG tip…

Remember these posts?

Guess what time it is???

You got it! It’s time for another trip to Disney!!! Yahoo! Yippee! Woo Hoo! wait… don’t get your panties in a twist… You’ve got 11 months before the actual trip.


That was pretty much how the conversation went with my girls when we told them that it was time to plan our next trip.  Trust me, they were WAY more disappointed than you are about waiting :-) I’m a mean momma that way, because 1/2 the fun of going to Disney is the planning.  At least, for me it is.

This year, I have a tip so BIG, so GRAND, so stinkin’ FABULOUS that you are going to want to Tweet to the world about it.  Wanna know how to save 44% off of your hotel room? Maybe more, Maybe less? Depends on when you are going and where you are staying, but that’s how much I just saved on our room at Wilderness Lodge for Christmas this year.  Lemme explain…

 We decided long ago that having Christmas at Disney would be one of the ultimate trips to take our kids on… we waited until they were “old enough”… translate as- they are old enough to understand being somewhere on vacation during the holidays and all that will entail…

Hubs decided this year would be a good year for it because Abby will be 9 (yikes) and Jillian will be 6 1/2 (double yikes). 

As soon as he said “OK” I started planning… Where to stay, when to go, how long to stay, what to do???  We nailed down his vacation days and were able to squeeze out 9 days of time. 

I started plugging away at WaltDisneyWorld.com and was not loving the holiday prices of the Deluxe hotel rooms… People, with 2 adults nearing the 6 foot mark, and  2 girls who wrestle for covers, the Moderate and Value resorts have LONG been off our radar… We NEED the queen size beds.  I even *gasp* started looking at off-property hotels trying to save some dough… That nonsense quickly went away though… I love being in the Magic.  And during Christmas, there’s no better place than a Deluxe on-property resort. 


Giant gingerbread house at The Grand Floridian

Generally, Wilderness Lodge is the least expensive of the Deluxe category resorts (and happens to be our favorite).  However, at Christmas, they are all overpriced.  I started poking around the trusty Mousesavers.com.


Totum pole at The Wilderness Lodge

You know those signs they have advertising “The best kept secret at Disney” for the Disney Vacation Club timeshares? Guess what? That’s NOT the best kept secret…

The best kept secret at Disney, is that the owners of said vacation club points RENT OUT THEIR POINTS!!!!!!! I located MouseOwners.com , browsed around and found Barb. Barb is my newest best friend. Barb saved me $1600 on a room.  I’m renting 155 of Barb’s points to get into a Studio (same size as a standard room) at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge.  I may just be in love with Barb.

Disclaimer: It was very easy to locate someone willing to rent points. It’s not so easy to trust a stranger with your vacation $$$, so before you ship someone money to rent their points, ask for references, actually check the references, and do a little bit of investigation to see if you are comfortable with the person you will be renting points from. 

Barb made my reservation this morning and sent me the confirmation number and the name of the Member Services person she talked to.  Within a week or so, she will be sending me the paper confirmation.  Did I mention I love Barb?

So there you have it. The BIG tip. I’ve got several more posts, so keep your eye out.  Destination Disney 2.0 is well underway!

DSCN0402   Thanksgiving week decorations 2005

Spring is a big tease…

OK, so I know it’s not technically Spring yet,

but someone didn’t tell our maple tree that…



It’s a beautiful day here in Southeast Texas!

I hope you are able to get out and enjoy some sunshine today!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tech Nerd

I'm not sure how to say this... But I may just be a Tech Nerd. Either that, or my iPhone is leaching crack into my system.

I just loaded this new app, Blog Writer, to test the free version before I plunk down a couple of bucks on the full app. I figure with the amount of time I spend waiting on my girls at dance, tennis, and school car lines, maybe this is a way I can update a bit more...

Probably, this is just a by-product of my Tech addiction. Probably, I won't love it for very long. But hey, when that happens, I can just hit the app store and find something else to feed my need :-)