Everything Else

Camping at Disney World

hac-fort-wilderness-disney-world.jpg

A couple of weeks ago, we took our 2nd trip to Disney with the girls. Last time the girls were 4 & 5 and it was such a special trip! It came at a time when our family REALLY needed to get away and just enjoy each other, stress free, and it was pure magic for our girls. You could see it in their little faces when they stood next to Snow White that they were in complete awe that they were MEETING SNOW WHITE(!!!!). We meet all the characters, rode rides until they parks closed or the girls crashed out in the stroller, ate all the yummy food. We went all out and it was worth it.

This time however, we wanted to keep things as modest as possible. We’re hoping to go to Hawaii next year, so this wasn’t to be a huge, blow-out vacation. Our goal was to go to Disney, have a blast, but not go over-board. Along the way, I figured out a few tricks you might find useful.

Our family loves to camp, and we’d heard wonderful things about Fort Wilderness — evening campfires, s’mores & singing with Chip & Dale, a full pool with slide, movies outdoors — plus a $55/a night price tag (at least when we went). . . It was an easy decision.

hac-fort-wilderness-disney-world-chip-and-dale.jpg

Things we did not consider when deciding to camp at Disney in September in a tent is the heat and the likelihood of rain. Oops. We were just aiming for as low of crowds as possible! I think next time we’ll look at late January or February.

We got lucky with the rain and dealt with very little of it. However, before we even left TN we decided we were going in with a sense of humor, flexible attitudes, and ponchos. It rains in Florida and you just have to deal. Plus, most showers pop up and blow right back out, so it wasn’t likely to ruin a whole day.

hac-disney-ferry-magic-kingdom.jpg

The heat on the other hand was very much present. While settling into the tent, I began to realize what a problem this could be at night if we weren’t able to get air moving for everyone as I knew it wasn’t going to cool off too much.

Luckily, we had brought a basic box fan, but I was worried it would only reach 1 or 2 of us, not all 4 of us, wishing there were a way to hang it from the ceiling, and suddenly an idea formed. In out tent there is a loop to hang an electric lantern or something, so using zip ties & rope, I was able to make us a ceiling fan! With the zip ties, I made loops at each corner to feed the rope through, made an X with the rope and clipped the part that crossed into the ceiling hook. Believe me, that fan saved the day . . . er, night. . . and even succeeding in making us a little cold, which was a nice change.

hac-magic-kingdom-disney-stitch.jpg

For breakfast, we’d eat either bacon or sausage links & eggs, but found that the sausage links were the big winner for keeping things easy, quick, & with minimal clean up.

Since we eat Paleo — or as nearly as we can on the go — food took some planning. Nate & I knew from experience 2 years ago when we tried buy gluten free food at the park that options are limited, expensive, and honestly, left us feeling like crap most of the time. The menus have gotten better since then, and I did create a cheat sheet for each Park of which restaurants offered gluten free options just in case we found ourselves in a pinch, but fortunately, we did not have to use it.

hac-magic-kingdom-disney-dumbo-ride.jpg

I knew we’d need sustaining foods that were convenient, quick, and portable. Admittedly, this meant that not everything was true Paleo, but we did ok. Nate stuck to a stricter Paleo diet than the girls and I did, so he didn’t eat everything we packed. We also wound up snacking all day rather than really sitting down and having a true “meal.” That way we could eat in line if there was a long wait, or grab some shade and take a break wherever needed.

Every morning, I would repack the cooler and backpack with that days food:

  • 2 Boar’s Head dry sausage (cut up & divided into 4 baggies for convenience)

  • 2 bags of carrot sticks

  • raisins

  • almonds

  • chips/crackers

  • hummus single snack packs (not paleo, but filling and kept well)

  • gogo squeez applesauce

  • Lara bars

  • fruit leather

  • 2 1/2 gallon water jugs

I wish we had just packed more of the dry sausage for a quick, light dinner. We had planned on making sandwiches, but decided at the last minute not to. Gluten free bread isn’t the sturdiest & we weren’t confident they’d hold up. :) Instead, we just took the deli meat. I wished we had realized that stopping for dinner wasn’t going to be our main priority (a perk of going with older kids!), planned for the quick meal, and then made hot sandwiches back at the campsite.

TIPS FOR THE PARKS:

  • Bring a small cooler and water jugs. Though they do have size limitations, Disney does let you bring these into the parks, as well as backpacks. (Universal, however, does not let you bring in a cooler any bigger than a lunchbox.) Even if you plan to eat at the park, you can easily bring in snacks and no sense paying 3.50 for a water bottle every time someone is thirsty! Plus, you can refill water jugs at any water fountain or restaurant beverage station.

  • RENT THE STROLLER!!! This was huge. We had planned on bringing our wagon before realizing the night before that they’re not allowed. Instead we rented a double stroller at the Parks to carry all our stuff. Disney has such great stroller parking, etc. that it kept our load light, and we had everything we needed.

  • If going during a rainy season, bring ponchos or rain jackets, and maybe even consider sandals/shoes that won’t ruin your day if they get wet. I put my Chaco’s to work on our trip! I think I packed them even on days I didn’t wear them. Plus, changing shoes halfway through the day felt good on my insanely sore feet!

GENERAL TIPS:

  • Paper plates and plastic silverware. We don’t usually do this when we camp as we don’t like the waste, but no one wants to do the dishes when the park is about to open.

  • Sausage links over bacon for breakfast. Faster & less clean up.

  • Stick with quick, easy meals with little or no prep. We had planned hamburgers, hobos, and chicken thighs a few nights, but didn’t make any of them. The only hot dinners we did were bratwursts or chicken sausages a couple of nights and toasting the bread and heating up the sandwich meat in a skillet we had planned to eat in the park, at the campsite instead. Unless you have many down days planned, it’s unlikely you’ll want to spend your time cooking.

  • Pack a couple of long extension cords and a power strip. Even if you’re in a tent, the site has electricity. Run the extension cord into the tent to power fans, phone charges, etc.

Have any additional Disney camping tips for me? Questions? Let me know!!

xoxo Lori

Taking it Slow

This past weekend I participated in my first show. And of course, I forgot to snap more than a couple of pictures. :)

I am honestly so proud of how Mr. Maker & I did at the show. We try look back on situations like this and be constructively critical of ourselves so that we can do better next time — but I just don't know what we could have done better. I know we'll learn and grow over time, but as far as this weekend goes, I wouldn't change things.

However, we will have bags next time. If I sent you home without one this weekend, I'm sorry. We'll fix that. :) Obviously, prepping for & executing a show takes a lot of work, so on Sunday, we took things nice and slow & got in some great creek stomping time with the girls. I love that we live so near to this tucked away haven. It's really good for the soul.

Please take note of how big this Mister is getting! 

What are you doing to enjoy these summer days and stay cool?

We Got a Dog

I have to be honest. I didn't want a dog. Remember?? I'm busy!! ;) I didn't want anything else to need something from me, because I really don't have much left over to give right now.

However, I have 2 girls. And they've been wanting a dog BADLY. And a husband, who has been wanting a dog a normal amount. So, Mr. Maker decided now was as good a time as any, and I finally caved. Meet Sven. And two incredibly happy girls. (. . .Nooo. . . we're not addicted to Frozen or anything. . .  )

blog_LoriDanelle_Meet-Sven_01.jpg

I think he's in danger of being over loved, if that's possible. Especially by Munchkin. As Mr. Maker said, Sven might be her Old Yeller. . . .Minus the rabies and sad ending.

blog_LoriDanelle_Meet-Sven_02.jpg

And I will admit, he's melting even my cold, frozen heart. ;)

A Very Serious Question.

Tonight, after lights were supposed to be out, I was in Munchkin's room rubbing her back. (Yes, Nate. I'm a push-over.) I've really come to love these late-night snuggles with her though. She's old enough to carry on a serious conversation & share what's truly on her mind.

Like tonight.
She had a doozy of a question:

I told her that I though most grown-ups get so busy with work and the things they have to do, that they just sort of forget. We talked about that for a little bit & then she offered up a bit of advice that I think we should all take to heart.

LoriDanelle_SeriousQuestion_02.jpg

Well said, Munchkin. Well said.

xoxo  Lori Danelle

A Long Weekend

Today, after being home with either one, or both of the girls for the almost 2 years, Mr. Maker started a new job. With Little Sister starting kindergarten in the fall, the timing is pretty perfect.

So, before Nate wouldn't be home during the day, I took an impromptu vacation and we made a long weekend of it, spending long afternoons at our neighborhood pool, going on a hike, eating ice cream, and doing a whole bunch of nothing-in-particular.

Can I just tell you, that was ridiculously hard for me.

I know, I know. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it. but I guess I'm so used to having so much to do that relaxing and hanging out with my family while at home feels like wasting time. Luckily, I KNOW better, but boy was it hard! And I might have whined a little bit — or a lot — on Saturday about my lack of productivity and having to go to the pool . . . again.

I had it rough, didn't I?

LoriDanelle_LongWeekend_09.jpg

In an effort to appease me, we purchased primer and paint for the kitchen chair re-do project I've been wanting to undertake for awhile now.

LoriDanelle_LongWeekend_08.jpg

I primed one chair by brush last night and have come to realize I won't be fully happy with the outcome unless I spray them.

But we don't have a spray gun.

LoriDanelle_LongWeekend_12.jpg

Yet. . .

Day Trip to Bell Buckle, TN

Have you ever heard of Bell Buckle, Tennessee?

Don't worry, I've lived in Nashville for over 10 years and just heard about it. But, before I continue, why BELL Buckle? I say Bell Buckle, but think Belt Buckle — so why not just name the town Belt Buckle??? What is a bell buckle anyway??? OK, weird name, wonderfully awesome cute town. I think it's made the list of places we could move to. But that's a ways out, so we'll see.

LoriDanelle_BellBuckle_01.jpg

Moving there could be quite dangerous to my wallet and my waistline though. It's a very small town, that has done a great job of keeping themselves appealing to visitors by staying small and having some AWESOME antique stores. And the Bell Buckle Cafe.

While being surrounded by store-after-store of antiques was wonderful, the highlight of my day might have been the chicken fried steak. I'm a country girl at heart. I can't help it. However, I think the Sisters would argue that ice cream from Bluebird Antiques & Ice Cream Parlor was even better.

Apparently quite a few artists live in Bell Buckle, including a mosaic artist, who provided this crazy crustacean for kids to climb on in the nearby town park.

LoriDanelle_BellBuckle_06.jpg

We came home with a good haul, too. I got a globe to go on top of my new lockers. I'll have pictures of what I did with those soon!

I have no idea how much people pay for soda crates elsewhere, but here in Nashville they tend to run $30+ easy. So when I found these RC crates for $12 each — I bought them all. The blue jars will be added to my collection above our kitchen cabinets.

LoriDanelle_BellBuckle_09.jpg

I do love living in Tennessee!! Such a fun day, we'll definitely be going back!

xoxo Lori Danelle

I Have Lockers!!

As an avid Thing-Maker & ReDo-er, I have a list of objects I would love to get my hands on at some point. Lockers have been high on that list for awhile now. Last week, while escaping work – I mean, taking my lunch break, I opted to peruse a nearby antique store for some mental refreshing and came across these fun lockers.

LoriDanelle_Lockers_01.jpg

As much as I wanted to take them home with me, the $350+ price tag kept them out of reach. And so, the fire was lit & the search began. Now, as I've said, lockers have been on my list for awhile. I have a habit of getting on Craig's list and searching for lockers — along with whatever I really came there for. I never find them. This week, I found 2 listings!!! (plus a couple of expensive 1-offs) The first seems to be a school that was getting rid of theirs. But no one returned my call.  :( Then 2 days later a batch of 50 sets popped up for half the price of the others! Which allowed me to bring home BOTH of these!!!

You can now picture me doing a happy dance. It's awkward & goofy, but full of joy. Now on to cleaning them (fyi — lockers from random factories get really dirty), adding shelves and moving them to their new home. I happen to like the color, so I won't be doing anything to the paint for awhile, at least. I kind of want to go back for another set. . . must exercise restraint!! I know one set will live up in my studio to store art supplies. I'm still debating on the other set, but am leaning towards dvd storage since ours are currently stacked in bins beside the TV — which I hate.

The only dilemma I have is this: Do I keep the "Made in the USA" sticker? or take it off???

xoxo Lori Danelle

The Tooth is Out!

Big Sister has lost her first tooth!!

lost tooth 01.jpg

Unfortunately, she did have to go to the dentist to have it pulled. Apparently, as the new tooth came up, only the back half of the baby tooth's roots were dissolved, leaving it still attached. So the only (safe) way to remove it was with a dentist visit.

lost tooth 02.jpg

So last night, I had my first opportunity to play Tooth Fairy! And I must say, I did this one right! Too often, my plans get way too extravagant and I'm not able to deliver, or it becomes a major stress, but not this time!

I can't wait to share it all with you! I'm finishing up the pattern and tutorial for the Tooth Fairy Pillow and I'll show you the special note & money the Tooth Fairy left. I'm pretty tickled with how it all turned out. :)

xoxo Lori Danelle

Please pardon the photos! They were taken with my phone.  :)