Thursday, April 6, 2017

LEGOLAND Orlando Fun and Review

As part of our "Family Anniversary" this year, we decided to take the kids to LEGOLAND. My 6 year old son is pretty much obsessed with all forms of Legos, so this was a no brainier. My 8 year old daughter likes them as well, so we knew this would be a hit. We stayed at the LegoLand Hotel the night previous to our park visit, keep an eye out for my complete review of the resort soon, so we were able to get in early to the park and walk directly from our room to the park entrance. The amount of Lego sculptures throughout the park is astounding, and my kids couldn't get enough! In fact, they asked for a picture next to almost every sculpture we passed, so be ready to take lots of pictures. Miniland USA was filled with cities and famous buildings made out of, you guessed it, Legos! They also had some pretty awesome Star Wars scenes and characters as well. This was a family favorite, as we are definitely Star Wars fans.

 I was told by some people that the park is more geared towards little children, so I must admit that I was worried about my daughter and husband having a good time. This was NEVER an issue. Yes, there were some tamer rides for little ones, but we also enjoyed the more "wild" ones as well. The whole family's favorite ride was Mia's Riding Adventure, even my husband who is a die-hard roller coaster fan screamed on this ride!! I do see how some would say this park is more for little ones, but there is truly something for everyone in the family. They have coasters, carousels, and even a little jeep safari ride. There are different "Lands" set up throughout the park with different themes. This was fun and enjoyable to explore.

They have a water park area, but because we visited in November, it was closed. We were able to see the Pirate's Cove Live Water Ski Show, and it was fun! The kids loved the dancing Lego men, and all the ski tricks they were doing on the water. The show was silly and entertaining. Don't sit in the splash zone unless you want to get wet!!

We decided to eat at the park, as there isn't much around in the area outside the park, and it was pretty much what you would expect to pay at a theme park for food. It was good and kept us going. There is a lot of construction for things coming soon, so that is something to look forward to in the future. After going and experiencing the park first hand, I do believe we have a few more years to enjoy this park with our children. I don't see them loving it as much when they are teens, but we will definitely return soon so they can enjoy it now!

Although I was given tickets for my family in return for my HONEST review, I aim to always give my thoughts, both negative and positive, in every experience.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure Experience and Review (Orlando)

My family, well my 6 year old son and 8 year old daughter that is, loves pirates! So, when the chance to see the show in Orlando came up, we were so excited. My husband and I were celebrating our 12 year wedding anniversary and due to ill family and friends not being able to help out with the kiddos, we decided to do a "family anniversary!" We surprised the kids with the news that we were going to the show the night before, and they couldn't have been more excited. When you drive up, you cannot miss the big pirate ship out in front, the kids spotted it immediately. This was a great place to take some photos!  Along with some extra pirate details throughout the front of the building.

When we arrived we gave our reservation name and were given our color for our seating section. We were the green section. Once we entered the venue we were asked to take a photo, they provided pirate hats and posed us around a ship's wheel. The picture came out amazing, and we couldn't help but to purchase it at the end of the night. We took along our own pirate costumes, which is encouraged, and I did a little face painting at the hotel with makeup. I was not aware that this was actually an option at the venue, they had a face painting area in the main waiting area.  Also in the main waiting area was a gift shop and bar.

You are encouraged to come at least 90 minutes early to the show, as seating is first come first served and there is pre-show entertainment and appetizers served. I will say we were disappointed in the appetizers, it was fried mac n cheese bites and fried mozzarella sticks, which were tasty. However, we were never approached with the appetizers in our area and had to run to flag down one of the servers to try one. By the time we reached one, there was only 1-2 left, so we all 4 split the two we managed to get.

The entertainment before the show was good, it set the story and mood for the rest of the show. The gentleman who played Mr. Magee the night we were there was hilarious and made our whole family laugh the entire night. He was the one that came out and called each seating area by color to enter the main auditorium. When your pirate was called you would follow him in. Once inside our pirate started to pick "volunteers" for different jobs throughout the show. I was chosen, and no, I did NOT volunteer, he picked myself and 3 other women to help out with different tasks. I was our sections "cheerleader" and had to wave our color flag and get our section loud and cheering. I was also in charge of tossing loot bags during a fast paced game during the show. It was nerve wracking but ultimately fun. Oh, and we WON!!! :) My husband and children were also chosen at different parts of the show. It was nice because everyone in our family got to participate at some point.

The show itself was fun and entertaining. There was a good story, acrobatic acts, and singing. They even invited all the children in the audience onto the ship during the show. Imagine our surprise when all the children exited the ship and our two were the only ones left standing up there! They were in full costume, so they were used in a funny little joke with the Capt. After exiting the stage, all children received a Pirate Certificate. My kids loved that detail!

The food was delicious. We were served a salad or soup to start. I chose soup and the rest of my family had salad. The soup was a delicious tortilla soup, and my daughter polished off 2 plates of salad (her brother didn't want his). This was followed by the main course. We chose chicken, but you can also choose pot roast. The chicken was well seasoned and served with mashed potatoes and green beans. The kids had chicken nuggets and mac n cheese. We all enjoyed dinner very much, and my son can be kind of picky about his mac n cheese. :) After dinner we were served a delightful sponge cake with ice cream. It was rich, so I couldn't finish my whole desert. We all had sprite, except for my husband who was enjoying his complementary beer.

After the show there is a Pirate's Bash Dance Party which is held right outside the auditorium where you wait before the show. Here the pirates dance with the young and old alike. My daughter loved dancing next to Treasure, the main female pirate. Overall, we had a great night with tons of action and entertainment! My kids can't wait to go back.

Although I was given tickets to the show in exchange for my HONEST review, I always write the good, bad, and ugly of my experiences. We truly enjoyed the show and look forward to taking our extended family in the future.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Ninja Coffee Bar Review

To say that I love coffee is an understatement! But as a stay at home mom, homeschool teacher, and one income family, I simply cannot afford to indulge my coffee addiction by frequenting the big chain coffee houses and paying about $5 per cup! Our family is no stranger to the different coffee machines available. We have tried so many, from Kuerig to Tassimo, and while we enjoy the ease of use and quick nature of these types of machines, the costs for the pods and cups was becoming pricey for us "multiple cups a day" drinkers. So, when I had the oppurtunity to test out the new Ninja Coffee Bar, I jumped at the chance! So, here goes, what I really think about the Ninja Coffee Bar.

First of all, upon receiving my Coffee Bar and unboxing it, I couldn't help but notice all the extras that came with it! Not only do you get the machine itself, but also a carafe, tumbler, coffee measuring scoop, milk frother, and a recipe book filled with so many yummy coffee creations!

The set up and getting started were super simple, and I loved how easy it was to read the directions and manual.

Now let us talk about the features and performance of this machine. You can brew a cup, travel mug, half carafe, and full carafe, all by the twist of the dial on the front of the machine! So easy! I love this function, because I can control how much or how little coffee I make, and can make enough for company or just myself. All you need to do is lower the attached "stand" for mugs, and then fold it up when you want to use a travel mug or carafe. Another feature that I love, and that you wont find in many of the other pod/cup type machines, is the "drip stop" button. This allows you to stop the machine mid brew, even if only brewing a cup. Which was great for me because I didn't know quite what to expect from the first cup I brewed and needed a larger mug, so I simply used the stop drip function and was able to replace the mug and continue brewing with no problems. And this machine is fast. Did I mention it is fast? Because it is, and to coffee lovers like me, that is priceless!  

This machine also offers a variety of brewing options. There is Classic Brew which gives a smooth rich flavor, Rich Brew which is richer than the Classic and gives more intense flavor so you can add you favorite flavorings or milk and not lose the flavor of the coffee. Then you have Over Ice Brew which gives even more richness by increasing the coffee concentration to make up for melting ice so you don't get that watered down iced coffee mess! And lastly you have the Specialty Brew setting which gives the highest concentration of coffee. It is like a coffee extract that you can use much like espresso to make layered drinks like the coffee house ones. My favorite is the Rich Brew, and this tends to be my daily brewing setting. I find it is the perfect amount of boldness to match with my cream and sugar without being overly bitter or strong.

Another feature is the Delay Brew setting. This allows you to set a time for your machine to brew and is perfect if you are short on time in the mornings. You just load it with the necessary amount of ground coffee and set the timer, that's it! It will be ready for you when you programmed it for. And the Stay Warm function keeps the bottom plate warm for the carafe so that your coffee stays warm until you can get to it. 

So, what is my favorite feature of this machine? The fact that I can use my favorite ground coffee and still have quick, easy, delicious coffee! No more wasted money on pods and cups that can only be used for their designated machine. Not to mention the amount of waste I am saving from the pods and cups that are left over. This machine has truly made my mornings quicker, more time efficient, and yummier!!! I recommend this Ninja Coffee Bar to anyone who likes quick and delicious coffee!

And while I received this product for free in exchange for my HONEST review, that does not change any of my opinions of this machine. I have enjoyed this machine, and look forward to using the book of recipes to make some awesome "coffee house" inspired drinks!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

DIY Jewelry Holder Out of a Salad Bowl!!

When I got the chance to try the new Spicy Southwest Salad from Chick-fil-A I was excited because I LOVE spicy food! This salad was the perfect combo of spicy, crunchy, tangy, and just plain satisfying! I actually had to split the salad with my husband because it was so substantial. But, this post is NOT about that amazing salad! I want to show you how I upcycled the salad container into a "snazzy" jewelry holder/tower. I started out with the container and a paper towel roll that I cut in half.

I started by hot gluing the half of the paper towel tube to the bottom inside of the bottom of the bowl in the center. Then, I hot glued the lid upside down to the top of the tube, trying to get it as close to center as I could. After that, I sprayed the entire thing with white spray paint. I added some embellishments with white ribbon around the tube and crystal beads along the bottom of the tube. I also took the other half of the paper towel tube and cut it in half length wise to have a rounded area to display my bracelets. I hot glued that into the center of the "Chick-fil-A" square on the lid. I painted this part gold and also the rims of both the bottom and top. I also added gold and pearl/crystal bead embellishments along the top and bottom parts of the bowl. Then, I just filled it with my favorite jewelry, draping the bracelets on top of the new display and hanging my long earrings on the outer rim of the lid. This is a fun and functional way to personalize and organize your jewelry! I hope you enjoyed my DIY! :) #chickfilamomsDIY

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Medieval Times Orlando

When I was given the opportunity to attend the Medieval Times dinner show in Orlando, Fl I was ecstatic! My husband and I were celebrating our 11th anniversary and our first ever weekend away from our two small children. I have had a love for dinner shows and theater my whole life, so to be able to share this type of experience with my husband was priceless! I am going to take you through my whole experience, beginning to end, so you can experience it with me. But don't worry, I wont give away all the surprises!

On arriving to the location of the show, you can't help but be overwhelmed with excitement at the sight of the castle themed building:

Inside the castle is just as unique and true to theme as the outside! We arrived about an hour and a half early, as suggested, and were able to move freely around and look at all the beautiful decor without too much crowd.

Also upon arrival, you check in and find out where you are sitting, which is determined by a specific color. That is also the color of the knight you will be cheering for. At check in they will also give you a paper crown to represent your color and knight. Most were happy to wear their crown with pride, which we absolutely did!! We were in the green section, so you guessed it, we were cheering for the Green Knight!

After check in you can have your picture taken with some of the characters, which they will take for you. We opted not to purchase that picture because we chose a different photo later in the night, which I will show you soon.

Another reason to arrive early is to take advantage of the village outside the back of the castle. Here you will find a Torture Museum, as well as many rooms and buildings set up to replicate the Medieval era.

One last advantage to being early is to watch the Knighting Ceremony. People with special events or occasions can arrange to be "knighted" by the King himself!

Now, lets go into the main arena!! They will call in each section by color, and when yours is announced you go to your seat. It is set up by color and in rows:

At your seat you will see a place setting with a plate, bowl, and cup. 

That is it, there is NO SILVERWARE! But don't let that scare you, it is actually fun to eat with your hands, and surprisingly easy with the food they serve! I was too excited and forgot to snap a picture of the food, but I will tell you it was very good!  Here is a pic from their site to give you an idea:

The King's feast included garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, roasted chicken, sweet buttered corn, herb-basted potato, pastry of the Castle (which was an apple turnover) and beverages. The food is brought out to you in "waves," first the soup then the bread and so on. The amount of food was surprising and we actually couldn't finish all of it.

While enjoying the feast, you will experience almost two hours of jousting, swordsmanship, thrilling hand-to-hand combat, displays of extraordinary horsemanship and falconry as part of an exciting story.  Remember to cheer loudly for your knight, it is encouraged! 

I wont give all the surprises of the show away, just know you will be very entertained! This was so much fun for my husband and I, so we decided to purchase the photo they took during the show (they come around and snap a photo at your seat) to remember it forever!

We cannot wait to take our kids the next time we go, they will LOVE it! 

OH, I almost forgot to tell you, OUR KNIGHT WON!!! 

I received the tickets to Medieval Times Tournament for free in exchange for my HONEST opinion. All thoughts are my own, and I really had an amazing time!