Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Christmas in Orlando

November 28, 2007

A friend and I are taking our 2-year-olds to do some Christmas stuff around town next month and it got me thinking of how much there is to do in Orlando this time of year. I did some research and came up with a list of my favorite things that I’ve either reported on as an Orlando travel editor, or that I want to do now that I have a kid. Most of the events on my list don’t require theme park admission because I like to do things on the cheap, but I do include a few that do. Here goes:

ICE — The Gaylord Palms resort hosts a cool (HA!) event every year, that I have yet to attend, but am planning on taking my son to this year. They bring in 2,000,000 (that’s two million) pounds of ice sculptures and keep them at 9 degrees (that’s cold for Floridians!). Read the resort’s blog, Behind the Scenes of ICE!

Disney hotels — They are all decorated to the hilt. Your kid won’t need to go to a theme park. We usually park at Disney’s boardwalk and go into one or two of the hotels there, then walk around the boardwalk to see the other sights.

Snow in Celebration — The town that Disney built near Orlando has a “snow fall” every evening (really just bubbles that blow every hour) with carolers, Santa, the “Celebration Express” and horse drawn carriage rides. The snow falls hourly from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Mall at Millenia Santa — He’s the best in the world. Really. He’s the real deal. I call him, “old-fashioned Santa.” Prepare to wait in line, unless you get there on a weekday, early in the morning.

Theme parks:

There’s a ton to do at the theme parks this time of year, but I’ll mention two of the ones that I know most about:

Islands of Adventure — I love, love, love what they do at IOA during the holidays. Suessville comes to life with The Grinch and all the Who’s from Whooville. It is truly a magical place to be and the kids love all the singing and action.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights (Disney-MGM Studios) — I haven’t been to this event, but I hear raves about it every year. If you are at Disney this season it’s a must stop.

Grinch at Universal Orlando

Photo courtesy: Universal Orlando Resort

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Giving Thanks

November 22, 2007

I was emailing back and forth with a friend of mine this week, talking about what we were planning for Thanksgiving. At the end of her last note, she said “we have a lot to be thankful for.” And, we do. We both have kids the same age and are going to see our family this holiday. There’s nothing in the world more important.

So, I’ll be spending the day with my family so my son will get some good family time. We’re making two turkeys, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie and Grandma Ople’s apple pie.

Whatever you do today, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

Turkey Hot Line and Apple Pie — MMM-MMM Good!

November 14, 2007

What is happening to the month of November? Thanksgiving is next week. NEXT WEEK! It’s early this year, which means the Christmas season starts a week early too. Already, a house on my street is decorated for the holidays: green garland is up on the porch railings and the lights are strung around the roof of the house. Wasn’t it just Halloween? Don’t people take the time to celebrate Thanksgiving?

I’ll be making my Grandma Ople’s apple pie this Thanksgiving, even though I have no idea who Grandma Ople is! Several years ago I found the recipe on my favorite recipe Web site: Allrecipes.com. I made the pie and it’s amazing. It drips with caramel sauce so silky that your mouth waters just looking at the finished pie. So, this year, for the first time, I’m going to make it for my entire family. Here’s a link to the recipe so you can try it too.

If you are like me, you don’t know a lot about making a turkey; Butterball turkey company started a hotline for people like us. Every year on Thanksgiving (and Christmas) Butterball opens a “Turkey Talk-Line” for newbie turkey cookers to call when in a turkey crisis. You can imagine the types of questions they get; Associated Content decodes three of the most unusual calls the company has had.

Related content:

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Oversheduled Families Need to Prioritize

October 29, 2007

Fall brings not only cool temperatures, falling leaves, pumpkins and hay rides, but lots of social activities. In every town there is surely a “Fall Festival” of some sort. Not to mention trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and household decorating. And this is only the beginning. With the other major holidays approaching our families’ social calendars are going to fill up, fast. I’m tired already, and it’s not even Halloween.

Time to find the balance.

We accidentally bought my son two Halloween costumes this year. I got one and my husband bought one. We decided to keep both of them knowing that he’d have several occasions to wear them this month. Then, I got to thinking … we’re trying to do to much. I opted out of one Halloween party and limited our other Halloween activities to the ones that are most important to us as a family.

Take a moment today to step back and see to what you are committed. What is most important? Can you subtract one event from your calendar?

Excuse me while I return that extra Halloween costume.

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Getting The Most Out of Family Time

October 22, 2007

Saturday was “Family Yard Day” at my house. Everyone (me, my husband and our nearly 2-year-old) is to work in the backyard for a few hours. Raking, spreading mulch, pulling weeds, cutting down overgrown bushes. You know what it’s like — not necessarily fun, but necessary. We decided to put it on the calendar and make an official “day” out of it.

Saturday morning arrives, Family Yard Day is to begin — after breakfast and coffee, of course. We look outside; it’s raining. Pouring, actually. HMM. I let my husband sleep in, thinking that we can’t possibly work in the yard when it’s raining.

He eventually gets up, eats an English muffin and drinks his cup of coffee, but it’s still raining outside. After awhile, however, it finally stops. Decision time. Do we still go out there? We’re laying on the sofas, covered with afghans, reading books and magazines, listening to music. We’ve moved on to our second (maybe third) cup of Joe. Toddler Boy is quietly playing with his cars in the living room while we relax. We can’t possibly go outside to work now!

All I keep thinking is that I want to do nothing. I want to do nothing. Together. As a family. Does that even make sense? I want a day where we can just be. No work, no school, no errands, no commitments, no obligations. Just be.

We decide that it is just too muddy outside to effectively commit to Family Yard Day, so we spend a few quality hours together cleaning out a room in the house. Purging possessions is good. Makes you feel good, which is all I was looking for in the day anyway.

I’m sure we’ll recommit to Family Yard Day, probably this Saturday — hey, I think the weather report calls for rain.