Monthly Archives: May 2013


The Princess and the Frog Snack: Beignets

While I enjoy baking, I wasn’t sure I could pull of Tiana’s signature recipe. So when I found out Bayou Bakery served Beignets, I asked Tom to bring home a few orders so we could snack like we were in New Orleans.




The “donuts” as the kids called them were delish! Light and fluffy dough with LOTS of powdered sugar. Mmm!



We even had some sugar to save for later 😉


Bayou Bakery – highly recommended!


The Princess and the Frog Activity: Frogs at Hidden Pond

Our next field trip for The Princess and the Frog week was to Hidden Pond Nature Center, a wonderland of amphibians.

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The Nature Center itself was closed, but the pond was available to explore.
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We saw turtles and bugs and played in the mud.
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The sound of frogs was super loud, but I wasn’t sure we would see any. Then we spotted one relaxing on a log in the water.
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It was a beautiful day for watching the animals and enjoying nature.
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It was also a great day to run over bridges to the playground!
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A lady walking the trail pointed out a snake in the water right before we left, though.
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There’s a snake in there somewhere!
Then it was time to play!

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It got very hot, so we left soon after to get ice pops. But Hidden Pond was a fun place to spend an afternoon. We will be back!


The Princess and the Frog Activity: Jazz Music & Sweet Frog

My mom and aunt came to visit over Memorial Day weekend, and we had tons of fun showing them around town.

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Scarlett Loves her Mimi
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Showing off for Mimi at the Playground

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At the Alexandria Waterfront
We spent Monday morning in Old Town Alexandria, and when our guests headed to the airport, we headed over to the Alexandria Memorial Day Jazz Festival.
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We listened to the smooth bass, soulful horn, and soothing rhythms.

It was a little too mellow for Luke. Scarlett fell asleep. But I thought it was rad.

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Luke said he took so many pictures with my mom that he had no smiles left, so this was the photo I got.

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After the concert, we went for frozen yogurt at sweetFrog (Scarlett woke up for that!)

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Luke had one more smile left.
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Both kids got gummy frogs on their sundaes. I asked Scarlett to kiss hers.

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She preferred biting its head off instead. Oh well!

Dinosaur and The Boneyard at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I had been to Animal Kingdom once in October of 2001 and I remembered the ride Dinosaur being super scary. Combining this memory with the fact that Luke was pretty frightened of lava and meteors at the time of our trip (and I really can’t blame him), we decided he would skip that ride. So I went over to ride Dinosaur while Tom brought the kids to The Boneyard, then we switched.


I did not remember the dino skeleton inside the Dinosaur ride. Pretty cool.


The ride was still scary. I don’t care if it’s animatronic, a Carnotaurus lunging at my head will always make me scream! Plus it’s super fast. Ahhh! But I really like the storyline on this ride. Time travel is fun!

I got Fast Passes to ride again, but it never happened. There’s just too much fun stuff to do in the ol’ Animal Kingdom. Oh well.

Meanwhile, back at The Boneyard, the kids were enjoying an excavation site playground. With lots of slides, yay!


As soon as I could locate Tom among the bones and stones, he headed to ride Dinosaur himself. The kids and I crossed the bridge from the playground to the digging area. Oh, the joy! The kids could’ve stayed all day. These kiddie playgrounds are one of the best parts of Disney for several of us.

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Most of the dinosaur was already uncovered, but Luke was content to dig elsewhere.

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Scarlett enjoyed filling and dumping and filling and dumping a pail.

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These tiny rocks were really neat to scoop.

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This was such an engaging playspace, I wondered if they kids would ever be willing to leave.

Luckily, Dad’s return was enough of a change to get everyone to move on to the next attraction: Finding Nemo, The Musical!


Dinoland U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

After our great experience on Kilimanjaro Safaris during Extra Magic Hours, it was still early and many rides hadn’t opened yet. We made our way across the park to Dinoland U.S.A. in search of breakfast and something fun to do.

Tom and the kids rode TriceraTop Spin while I looked for a place to eat.

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Turns out there weren’t any restaurants open for breakfast over by the dinos, so after the ride, our morning meal consisted of Mickey shaped cookies and rice krispie treats from Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures gift shop. Breakfast of Champions!

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We ate while Tom took a ride on Primeval Whirl. It looks cutesy but you have to be 48″ to ride this thrill ride.

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Finally, it was time for most of the attractions to open. Onward to The Boneyard, Dinosaur, and Finding Nemo: The Musical.


Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Our first stop at Animal Kingdom was Kilimanjaro Safaris. The animals are reportedly most active in the morning and we were in luck, arriving at the Harambe Wildlife Reserve at just 8:15am.

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Luke was super excited to be on a safari truck.

We saw animals right away.

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Nyala (I think)

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Nile Crocodile

The kids were fascinated. Luke chattered the whole time.

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The tour guide was looking for rhinos, but we never saw any. We did see lots of birds, though.

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Ostrich with Eggs

We also saw a warthog and some crazy cool gazelles!

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Look at that jump!

The coolest part, though, was the LIONS! They were lounging on some big rocks as we drove by.

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If that was the end of our day, it would have been worth it. It was that awesome.

But even awesomer was that it was ust the beginning of our day. Much more Animal Kingdom to come.


The Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Since Animal Kingdom closed earlier than the other Disney World Park during our visit, we took advantage of Extra Magic Hours and entered the park early at 8am.

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The kids were used to the parks by now and very excited to start the day.

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Trams are fun!

The crowds were very light, so we got some quick photos at the Tree of Life on our way to Africa for Kililmanjaro Safaris.

Good Morning from the Tree of Life!
Magic Shot with Baby Simba
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It was such a pretty morning and a wonderful start to what turned out to be a great day.


How Not to Visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios Part II

After a much needed afternoon break, we returned to Hollywood Studios in the evening for some more Star Tours, dinner and the Fantasmic! show during Extra Magic Hours. The kids wanted to go right back to Honey, I Shrunk the kids, but it was closed, and after our awkward morning, we had other things to do anyway.

Sorcerer’s Hat at Night

Our first attempt at doing something was getting dinner. I didn’t realize most restaurants would be closed by the time we got back. The only Quick Service place open was ABC Commissary and the lines were really long. I waited to order for about 30 minutes while Tom tried to keep the kids occupied with crayons at a table Finally, I got our food and we wolfed it down as fast as we could so we could get to another long line for Fantasmic. The line went all the way down Sunset Blvd, but luckily moved fairly quickly. We reached the  top of the hill, parked the stroller, and got good seats before the show started. Phew.

Glow Before the Show

This, of course, was before we knew the kids were scared of fireworks and pyrotechnics of all kinds. Both kids enjoyed the beginning of the show with Mickey and movie clips projected on water, but once it gof to the nightmare portion of the show, Luke was done. Too scared to watch anymore, he went with Tom to the concession stands until the finale. Scarlett and I stayed in our seats, but she spent most of the time covering her eyes or hiding her face in my sweatshirt.

As the only one who watched the whole thing, I thought it was really impressive!

Dwarfs, Mary Poppins and More on a boat!

After that debacle, we stopped by Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster to see what the wait time was. It was 20 minutes so Tom decided not to ride. Instead, we went back to Star Tours.

Tom and Luke rode while I watched Scarlett do gymnastics in the Tatooine Traders gift shop. 


When he was done with his ride, Luke got to make a custom Lightsaber. At only $21.99, it was a really fun souvenir.


With Lightsaber safely packed up, we made our way towards the exit of Hollywood Studios. In the end, we had an enjoyable day. It was just a day that fell short of my ambitions to ride more than three rides, my wish to meet the guys from Monsters Inc, and my desire for a Darth Vader cupcake.
This park needs a do-over for sure.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground

Just before we left Hollywood Studio for our mid-day break, we visited Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure.

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This was by far the highlight of the kids’ day.

I adored Honey, I Shrunk the Kids when I was little, and I rented the movie before we went on our trip so the kids would have some reference for the giant ant and stuff at this attraction.

We spent about an hour in here. Luke went off with Tom to explore (and put his hands up the giant dog nose) while I stayed with Scarlett, who spent almost the whole time sliding. She had never seen a roll of film before, so that element was lost on her, but it sure was fun!

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Scarlett also thought the giant Play-Doh can was pretty awesome – especially since it was pink!

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It was a really good time on an otherwise blah theme park day. 
See Part I and Part II for more of our Hollywood Studios trip.