Friday, November 1, 2013

Food & Wine Festival Mistakes

This post is a reminder to myself as I'm planning for next year's visit to Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  There are about ten days left in this year's festival, and I'm wondering if I can get an early flight and leave the same day on a super late flight to try and catch a few of the things I missed.  I stayed at Saratoga Springs for two nights, and that simply was not enough time to ingest all of the awesomeness at this year's festival! When you plan your trip, learn from my mistakes.  I certainly have!

Friday, October 18, 2013


For the past 16 months, I've been leading the board of Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint through a very lengthy and thorough strategic planning process.  As Board President, I've seen a lot happen during my tenure, and even took over the job of Executive Director while a search was conducted to find a replacement.  This planning process, with the board, new Executive Director and staff, was very important in making sure the future of our organization is secure.

Today was the last day of our final planning retreat before the plan is presented and voted on at our next board meeting, and I had trouble focusing.  Emails informing Disney Parks Mom's Panel Hopefuls of their round two status had gone out. I was trying desperately to display commitment to our cause and not touch my smart phone, which grew increasingly more difficult as the four o'clock hour approached. Sometimes being a leader sucks.

3:58...No sign of a break anytime soon?

4:05...I'm the President. I should just demand everyone go get some fresh air.

4:07...Didn't Shirley order snacks? Why aren't they here?

4:10...I can't take it anymore.  I'm calling for a break as soon as the consultants finish this topic.

4:11...Thank you, consultants for calling a break!

I don't think I have ever reached for my phone so fast.  My thumbs flashed back and forth across the screen like lightening.  I opened the email and read the first word, "Congratulations..."  In disbelief, I shoved the phone into the hands of our Executive Director who quickly read it and gave me the loudest hi-five ever.  The entire room looked our direction.

"I made it to round two," came out a wink higher than a whisper.  "I've got to go call my husband," I said while rushing out of the room, leaving our Executive Director alone to explain to the confused crowd.

After three years of trying, I had finally made it to round two.  Even though I wasn't at home to hear my computer play "Soarin'" when the email came in, it still felt totally magical to have so much pixie dust flying my way.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Everywhere But Here...

Seems like I've got a lot of posts popping up everywhere but here!  Lately, there's been recipes shared on The Disney Gals, clothes and games talked about on WDW Fan Zone and I shared with readers why we cloth diaper on the Cloth Diaper Whisperer.

Don't worry, I'll get back into the fray soon enough with more chit chat about eating cleaner, right after I break most of my food rules indulging at this year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.  I'm signed up for culinary demonstrations, planning to catch a couple of concerts and have the opportunity to test out Magic Bands and Fast Pass+.  Lots to talk about when I return, including a review of my daughter's virtually free birthday party with newspaper decorations and my latest natural hair experiments involving honey, egg and coconut oil.  Follow me on Instagram, @CrunchyDisneyMa, to see pictures of all of the above.

See ya real soon!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cloth Diapering At Disney...Vacation Home Edition

Cute sundresses & matching diapers are the way to go!

Our last family visit to Disney World was a couple months ago and we had a blast staying in a vacation home with my friend and her family.  I did a quick review of the property and staying off-site in a vacation home as a guest author on

Of course, we continued to cloth diaper our littlest family member, who was celebrating her first birthday.  Using cloth was tons easier at a rental home because we had a washer and dryer right there.  We brought our own detergent, EcoNuts, which was used for all of our laundry.  The biggest advantage here was not having to trek across a resort to laundry facilities and wait for the machines to finish.  The washer and dryer were available, whenever we were.  Late night/early morning washing was a breeze.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Songs to Play While Applying for the Disney Parks Mom's Panel

There has not been a "Top 15" list posted here in a while.  Considering today is the first day the application for the Disney Mom's Panel is live, I figured it was time for another one.  While my application isn't in yet, it will be soon!  Here's what I'll be jamming to while I share a bit of my own pixie dust with the folks at Disney.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wheat Junkie

At one point in our lives, we didn't even want to have children and now people tell me that I make crunchy parenting look easy, and that they always knew we would be great parents.  Looks can be deceiving.  What some think is effortless is a constant struggle.  I've been a foodie much longer than I've been crunchy.  My family owned fresh fish markets and restaurants that we grew up working in.  It was there that I watched my grandmother and great aunt fry fish, prepare collard greens and bake sweet potato pies that made the most dignified men eat with their hands and lick their fingers clean.  My appreciation for buying local, supporting small business and using fresh ingredients come from my upbringing.  We grew our own veggies, ate fresh farm raised fish and even caught and cleaned our own.  I remember my grandfather regularly telling us that he was “going to see a man about a chicken” and returning with said chicken, alive and well, clucking about before being killed, plucked, cleaned and fried for dinner.  There’s nothing like fresh, locally sourced, pesticide free food.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

GMOs are G.O.N.E.

Genetically Modified Food (GMOs) have been a hot topic in the food community lately.  Scientists have found ways to genetically modify food to enhance the taste, prevent disease, increase quantity and shelf life, improve resistance to pests, or even to require fewer resources to produce the item.  Almost every area of food production in the last five years has been expanded to include some sort of genetic mutation or modification of crops.  Genetically modified crops fed to beef and chicken means that the qualities of the genetically modified crops are passed on to you through eggs, milk, beef and chicken.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Where Am I Standing Wednesdays - 7/17/13

Remember, don't answer what this is, but where I am standing when the photo was taken.  This week is a bit more difficult than last...

Monday, July 15, 2013

What We Eat

Since I've been on a rampage against artificial colors lately, I've been asked by a few people what our family actually eats.  That is a question with a very long answer.  If you look at our diets, I guess you could call me Marginally Crunchy Disney Ma, because I’m definitely a foodie and there are some items I’m not ready to part with for the sake of “being crunchy.” My husband has a long list of allergies and an even longer list of food he simply refuses to eat, and our oldest daughter is turning out just like him, sans the allergies. 

Regardless of the family member at the table, we do not eat anything with artificial colors, limit artificial flavors and GMOs (foods produced by genetically modifying its origins).  The short story is this; we usually do not eat processed or fast food.  We’re a very busy family, so there are those extremely rare days when a stop at a fast food restaurant may happen, but even then we try to make better choices, Wendy’s over McDonald’s and Burger King.  Super sizing is never an option.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Where Am I Standing Wednesdays - 7/10/13

Here's a twist on Wordless Wednesdays...Can you tell me where I was standing when I took this picture?  This week is easy, I'll be a bit more tricky next week.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monsters University Vinylmation Giveaway!

Want to win a Vinylmation Monsters University 3" Collectible Figure and an official Crunchy Disney Ma yellowbow? Enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 24, 2013

Letting Go of Eggo

I really like to cook, but sometimes, things get hectic and I have to rely on convenience foods.   A busy morning sometimes means that we have to put a couple of Eggo waffles in the toaster on the way out of the door.  While I don’t like it, food is needed, so we just dealt with it. 

Those mornings are a treat for our oldest daughter who loves Eggo waffles, specifically the blueberry ones.  Since we decided to remove foods from our diets that include artificial colors, we would have to do the opposite of their catchy slogan and let go of our Eggos.

When I wrote to Kellogg’s to ask why they included artificial coloring in all of their waffles, even the plain ones, here was their response:

“Currently, some of our products use added colors to enhance their visual characteristics. Studies have shown that appearance is an important factor in the overall appeal of food. We use only approved colors in the smallest amount needed to achieve the desired appearance. These are always listed in the ingredient statement so that you can make choices appropriate for you or your family. We will continue to follow the scientific discussion and consumer preference on the topic of food colorings.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - 6/19/13

The top photo is one I took at Disney's Animal Kingdom in May 2013.  The bottom is my uncle's pastel drawing of the photo...he is amazing!  Check him out,

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Guardian Angel Gained

Not sure how to handle things, so for now I’ll just write
You’re gone before I could meet you and that doesn't seem right
But, God has a plan that I can’t see with my limited sight
And He thought it best that your little soul take flight

Now I’m hurting real bad, but soon will be alright
Will cry a few more tears, and have another sleepless night
With help from our family, I’ll hold my head upright
I’m stronger than I think and will carry on in spite

What started as sadness and terrible fright
Is beginning to get easier and a little more bright
For now, our family plans we’ll have to rewrite
And pray that the Lord answers another baby invite

I’ll see you again, can’t wait for the sight 
I bet your little wings are adorable, fluffy and white
Until then, you’ll shine as my bright inner light
Your sisters will feel you when I hold them tight

I’ll think of you and smile whenever I fly a kite
Place a hand over my lips when watching fireworks at night
Sit at the Thanksgiving dinner that will never be quite right
I’ll always remember you, never out of mind out of sight

So, wherever you are in heaven tonight
Eat all of your peas, and please be polite
Keep your wings very fluffy and your halo bright
Be the voice that reminds your sisters to act right
Help daddy protect us and hold him tight
And always be mommy’s little beam of light

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Zero Waste Trip: Part Three

Day three of my Zero Waste trip was spent at the Magic Kingdom, after spending part of the day at the Orlando World Marriott for Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s national conference.  All conference attendees were given a one day park hopper, very generous of Disney! 

No plate, just paper!
Zero waste was much easier at the Magic Kingdom than I had expected.  Lunch was at Sleepy Hollow, the sweet and spicy chicken waffle sandwich, which they were happy to give me without the paper container, just wrapped in the thin, very compostable, paper that usually lines the serving container.  It was raining and I had to stand, since all the seats in the area were taken, so it was a bit harder to eat this way.  Still every bit as delicious as I hoped!

Lines weren't too bad, so again, I skipped using Fast Passes this day.  Also, I skipped having a Dole Whip Float, as the containers cannot be recycled or composted. That made me quite sad, especially since that was the first time I’d ever seen no line at Aloha Isle.  Typically, I have popcorn, a Mickey Ice Cream Bar, and sometimes a turkey leg, but since some part of the waste would end up in a landfill, I skipped all of these.  (Side note: I did get back to MK later on in the week and couldn't bear skipping my precious Dole Whip Float) 

I can't believe I didn't take advantage of a zero wait here!
I did not skip all the snacks.  I enjoyed a churro (without sauce, plastic containers are not zero waste friendly), pretzel, and a meal from Casey’s Corner, among a few other things.  At Casey’s they looked at me like I was crazy when I asked that they just put everything on the tray and skip the hot dog and fry containers.  The tray is made recycled paper and is compost friendly, the other containers are not.  No picture of my messy tray; I forgot to take one as I was helping a gentleman who fell off the bleachers get help from a cast member.  (He was fine, I’m sure his knees were pretty bruised the next day, though)  Believe it or not, that was my first visit to Casey’s, and it’s going to take a while for this Michigander to get used to all that stuff on a hot dog.

My husband is really into Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom, so I had to stop by The Emporium to get him a couple of booster packs. He’s still looking for a binder, which has proven to be elusive, except for the double priced ones on eBay.  I picked up a couple of scarves for myself and some things for the children, too.  As previously stated, all receipts and tags would be recycled and bags would be refused.  The wrapper for the SOTMK cards would be reused.

No reclaimed water here...
The companion bathrooms in New Fantasyland, near Gaston’s Tavern, have signs that say the water there is reclaimed.  I was hoping the same would be true for the new Rapunzel restrooms, but did not see any signage stating so.  If I wanted to go one step further in my quest, I would have only used the bathrooms with reclaimed water, but I wasn't running my pregnant self all the way there from Frontierland, or anywhere else.  Hopefully, more reclaimed water toilets will be available in all the parks in the near future.

So far, two out of three parks isn't bad. Come back next week to see how I did at Hollywood Studios!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Zero Waste Trip: Part Two

Quick recap…a self imposed challenge on this last trip was zero waste, meaning, nothing I touched while on vacation would end up in a landfill.  The first day was an epic failure.  There was so much food that I wanted to try at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival and much of it was not served in compost friendly containers.  That day I gave up on the challenge, hoping that Disney truly composts 80% of their waste as reported.

In case you’re wondering, zero waste even included to personal care items.  Since we typically replace everyday items with homemade options, this wasn't difficult at all.  Baking soda in place of toothpaste, homemade soap, and coconut oil or shea butter in bulk for moisturizer, were all in reusable containers.  Nothing works better than Secret, so no natural alternatives for deodorant yet, and I still rely on Bausch & Lomb for contact lens solution.  The larger the bottle, the easier it is to reuse. Remember, recycle, refuse or reuse = zero waste!

Gen. Colin Powell at the BGCA National Conference
Day two was spent partly at the conference I was in town attending at the Orlando World Center Marriott.  They had lots of neat items to minimize waste including a QR code that when scanned downloaded the conference app to your phone.  Any room or schedule changes were automatically updated.  We also had bar codes on the back of our conference credentials.  When visiting vendor tables, the bar codes could be scanned and your information captured, rather than leaving business cards or filling out slips of paper.  Genius!

This day, I found myself saving items that would be typically thrown away.   Because I had no knowledge of the hotel’s recycling and composting procedures, I found myself clearing pockets of empty sugar packets, muffin wrappers, orange peels and apple cores when I got on Disney property, because I knew it would be composted.  Gross, huh?  I would do anything to not repeat the previous day’s defeat.

Meerkat on sentry duty! Check out this and other great
pics on my Facebook page.
After the conference activities, I headed over to Animal Kingdom.  The last few trips, we’d opted to spend extra time at the Magic Kingdom and skipped Animal Kingdom, so it was great to be back under the shade of The Tree of Life.  Due to the conservation efforts and policies in place to help protect the animals, zero waste was much easier here.   Drinks are served without lids and the straws are paper.  I was pretty disappointed that the Shrimp Po’ Boy was no longer on the menu at Restaurantosaurus, so I snacked most of the day instead of having an actual meal.  There would be a huge welcome dinner that evening back at the hotel, so I wasn’t worried about being as hungry as I was the previous day.

The best snack of the day was the Cotton Top Tamarind Cupcake from Kusafiri Coffee and Bake shop.  My favorite is the White Chocolate Elephant cupcake.  Since there was only a five minute wait for Kilimanjaro Safaris, I postponed my cupcake.  Afterwards, there were no more available.  Being forced to try something new isn't so bad, especially when it’s a cupcake.  I refused the plate it was served on, since it isn't compost friendly, which was probably a bad idea because I immediately dropped my cute little chocolate monkey.  No worries, though.  He's completely compost friendly.  Luckily someone was nice enough to let me photograph their treat.

No souvenirs purchased this day.  The items I wanted were unavailable.  All drink and snack purchases were in compost friendly containers.  Wait times were short, so Fast Passes were not needed, either.   

Danced off all my calories with Burudika
Reflections for the day? It could be a bit of a stretch to say day two was zero waste since all of my large meals were eaten at the off-property conference hotel.  Those could have easily been swapped for meals at Tusker House or Yak and Yeti, and the same would have been accomplished. There’s no waste involved in taking pictures, enjoying attractions, dancing with the band in the streets of Harambee and window shopping.  Though it rained most of the day, I still had a fabulous time!

Day three was the Magic Kingdom.  Zero waste nirvana achieved! Find out how next week.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Zero Waste Trip: Part One

If you've been following me on Twitter, @CrunchyDisneyMa, you know how much I've talked about a Zero Waste trip to Disney World.  Zero Waste means that nothing I touch would end up in a landfill.  I would refuse it, reuse it, or recycle it.  Did I achieve that? Sort of.  Zero Waste is very hard to pull off while on vacation, even harder when you aren't in one specific location.  This is the first part of a series that discussed the results of my Zero Waste solo trip.

I traveled to Orlando for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Conference.  About half of my day was spent at the conference, while the other half was spent closing down the parks; a tiring feat in itself, especially with a baby on the way.  My flight came in the morning before the conference, so I had an entire day to explore the Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot.  Zero Waste during my first day was an epic failure.  The local airport did not support electronic boarding passes and while I brought my own snacks in reusable containers, they did nothing curb my cravings for orange juice and cookies, both of which weren't served in compost friendly containers.  All boarding passes, car rental information, hotel and restaurant receipts, and other papers were saved and recycled when I returned home.  What I didn't account for was waste from others.  My slightly OCD nature wouldn't allow me to sit in a seat on the plane where a previous passenger left trash; I had to throw it away, or it would haunt me the entire flight.

My favorite dish of the festival was
served in an eco-friendly container!
For me, the largest amount of waste usually comes from food.  My plan was to eat at Table Service restaurants while visiting Epcot, so there was no plastic or coated paper products to throw away, just dishes to wash.  With the addition of food kiosks at the 20th anniversary of the Flower & Garden Festival, that wasn't happening.  There were just too many food items that I needed to try.  While my favorite, the Shrimp and Stone Grits with Andouille Sausage from the Florida Fresh kiosks was served in a cardboard container (I ate that twice), many of the others were not.  I even asked at most of the kiosks whether or not I could get items served on my own containers. 
Least favorite was the lobster & asparagus and it wasn't my
least favorite because it was served on styrofoam.
Several items were premade and pre-plated, like the frushi, and others indicated that it was against policy to serve items on in my personal containers due to risks of contamination.  (My dishes were clean, but they didn't know that!)  All of the drinks I purchased were served in plastic with plastic straws.  I've read that Disney composts 80% of all waste, so I had to trust that as much waste that could be composted was.  

Water bottles with filters and reusable ice cubes were still in the suitcase, so I relied on water fountains when available.  I did stop by Club Cool for a drink.  Club Cool is a must-do for me.  I love people watching here and stand right next to the Beverly.  I wonder how the thousands of tiny wax covered paper cups are disposed of?  Unless they’re coated in beeswax, they aren't compostable. 

Rose blush lemonade

Just a few notes on some random items…I did make a couple of souvenir purchases.  Both were put in my backpack, rather than taking the bags usually given with merchandise.  I keep receipts to total purchases while on vacation, ensuring that I stay on budget.  Those were recycled after I returned home.  After washing my hands, they were air dried instead of dried with paper.  I didn't use Fast Passes at all this day, and opted to use a smartphone app to check wait times instead. 

Over at the Odyssey building, my paper annual passes were exchanged for plastic passes.  I’m excited about the next switch to the MagicBands.  Those will cut down on the number of paper and plastic passes being sent to landfills.  I even witnessed a cast member with a few magic bands doing some testing at Journey into Imagination.  We can’t wait to get our very own! 

The next day was spent at Animal Kingdom.  With so much attention given to conservation and protection of the animals that live there, zero waste was easily accomplished!  Check back next week for details on how I was able to pull that off. 

Do you have questions about something I may have missed?  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom is 15!

It's Earth Day and the fifteenth anniversary of the opening of Disney's Animal Kingdom!  I remember traveling there in 1999 with my boyfriend, who I was hoping would use the opportunity to propose.  In fifteen years a lot has changed, with us and with this wonderful park.  It is awesome to look back and see how much your life has changed over fifteen years; we've gotten married, finished college, moved twice, and now have a third baby on the way.  Sprinkled in there are numerous trips to Disney World, with several spots at Animal Kingdom.  Here are our fifteen DAK favorites...

15. Discovery River Taxi/Radio Disney River Cruise
This attraction has been closed since 1999 because it wasn't too popular.  I loved it and hope they are running the boats for today's anniversary.  Maybe for the 20th?

14.White Chocolate Elephant Cupcake
Kusafiri Coffee and Bake Shop easily rivals some of the more popular bakeries on property, including Starring Rolls at Hollywood Studios and Main Street Bakery at the Magic Kingdom and this cupcake is giant proof.  The huge, molded white chocolate elephant on the top is just the beginning of one of the best cupcakes around.  I'll be sure to take a picture before eating it next time.

13. Yak & Yeti
We love the food and the ornate surroundings at this table service restaurant.  Yum!
Shaoxing Steak and Shrimp

12. Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade
I'm not big on Disney parades, but we never miss this one.

11. Tree of Life
This should probably be up higher on the list because of its sheer magnitude, beauty and attention to detail.  I still can't believe there is an oil rig under there!

10. Wildlife Express Train
I find this train ride relaxing and a perfect opportunity to nurse the baby.

9. Restaurantasaurus
Most people just run in and out of this quick service dining location.  Next time you go, stop and check out the detail in the surroundings.  No where in the park is Disney's attention to detail more prevalent than it is here.  I could spend hours there, eating Shrimp Po' Boys and laughing at the jokes.

8. Kali River Rapids
I admit it...I am a chicken and wear a poncho on this attraction.  I do love it, I just don't like walking around wet afterwards.

7. It's Tough To Be A Bug
My arachnophobia always makes me cringe when the spiders appear, but I deal with it to feel the bugs leaving the auditorium before the guests.  That gets me every time!

6. Finding Nemo - The Musical
An amazing show!  This was the first one we took CDB#1 to see and she didn't move from my lap the entire time.

5. Flame Tree Barbecue
Best quick service dining spot on property...period!

4. Exploration Trails
I like all the trails; can't pick a favorite.  Some of the best photos I've ever taken are of animals on these trails.
Can you spot DiVine?

3. Park closes early
Yes, we love that this park closes early.  It gives us an opportunity to catch a movie at Fork & Screen, or just go back to the resort pool and chill.  If it stayed open as late as the other parks, we'd be forced to stay until they closed, too.

2. Kilimanjaro Safaris
I take more photos on this attraction than any others on Disney property.  Hop in the back row and get out your telephoto lens!

1. Expedition Everest
Disco Yeti aside, we love this coaster.  We were raised on the "faster, higher, steeper" coasters at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH and Expedition Everest still ranks in my top 10 greatest coasters of all time.  Shutting down this coaster to fix Disney's largest animatronic ever would mean closing this very popular ride for quite a long time, but I think it's worth it.  Splash Mountain was closed and restored to original greatness, so Animal Kingdom should "take one for the team" to shut down Everest and fix it.  I just hope it's closed when I don't have a trip planned.

I took this picture while riding EE. Can you spot my husband in the dark blue shirt?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Waste Not...

While I won't be in the parks on Earth Day, I will be there before the end of the month.  In honor of Earth Day, I've decided to not waste anything this trip.  Everything will be recycled, reused or refused...absolutely everything.  This task will be a lot easier this trip because I am traveling solo; would be dang near impossible with two small children.  Beside the standards I hope everyone follows, such as reusing towels, using the in-room and park recycle bins, turning off lights and adjusting temperature appropriately before leaving the room, here are a few ideas on how I plan to leave the smallest footprint of any human being ever while at Disney World.

  • Plane Tickets - Super easy...will use electronic ticketing on my phone.
  • Luggage Tags - Another easy one.  These always go in the scrapbook created for every trip, or recycled.
  • Drinks & Snacks on the plane - I'll pack my own snacks in reusable containers and fill filtered water bottles after I get past security. Prepackaged items given out on the plane will be refused.
  • Resort Information given at check-in - I'll kindly refuse these or recycle it.
  • Food - This will be tough, since any items that come in contact with food generally cannot be recycled (paper plates, cups, forks, etc).  Although Disney composts up to 80% of its waste, some of the paper plates used at Quick Service restaurants are coated and cannot be composted.  I'll also have to skip prepackaged snacks like Mickey Ice Cream Bars.  This means I'm restricted to Table Service restaurants, Quick Service spots with plates that can be composted, and snacks that could be eaten without coated packaging (pretzels, churros, turkey legs).  By far, this will be the hardest part of the challenge because I love to eat ALL Disney food!
This container can be composted
This container is composting here
Note: I am by no means an expert on composting, but my research shows that paper coated with plastic is not compostable.  Paper products coated in clay are compostable.  I do not know what Disney's food containers, plates, etc., are coated with.  Maybe I'll bring a few back home and run some tests to see how the containers do in a compost bin.
  • Drinks - Refillable resort mugs without straws and my trusty water bottle with attached filter and reusable ice cubes will keep me hydrated.  Maybe I'll pick up a couple of extra paper straws from Animal Kingdom for use during the rest of the trip.  Dios Mio! Does this mean I'll have to skip enjoying my precious Dole Whip float? 
  • Maps - I think I can walk through the parks with my eyes closed and get to where I want.  In the slim chance I need to see a map, I can use the Disney Parks app on my phone or ask a Cast Member for directions.
  • Purchases - Even though the bags are made of 100% recycled materials, I'll refuse them when I make purchases and just put items in my backpack.  Tags and receipts will be recycled.

Anyone else up to the challenge?  With a little planning, I think anyone could do it.  We'll see how this goes and try to replicate as much as I can when we head back with the kids this summer.  Did I forget anything?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Back in Action...Almost

I've spent the past four months serving as the interim Executive Director for a local non profit.  While I absolutely loved the work, I am looking forward to spending my days at home with the children, especially since summer is on the way.

So I don't keep you on baited breath, waiting for the topic of my next awesomely crunchy post, here's a sneak preview of some things to come.  If I've left something out that you'd love more information on, please leave a comment!

  • Since my first post on breastfeeding at Disney Parks, our family has returned twice and I've learned quite a bit that I'd like to share with you about making sure your little nursling is happy while visiting Mickey.  
  • My favorite topic is cloth diapering!  For those of you who already cloth diaper on vacation, I've got some more tips to keep you sane and your little love muffin dry.
  • I took the children to the parks by myself in February.  It was certainly hard work, but I'd do it all over again.  I'll share what worked for us and what did not.
  • Do you think you can go through an entire Disney vacation without wasting a single thing?  This is the challenge for my solo trip at the end of this month.
  • Pregnant and travelling to the parks?  Join me as we figure out together the best way to navigate the parks during the first, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy.
I'll be a SAHM mom again after next week, so expect a few more surprises when I'm finally off the clock!

Until then, stay crunchy, friends!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Good Grief, Girl!

Right after our last Disney vacation, my husband and I decided that we would take some time to travel alone.  He would plan a trip to San Diego for a Comic Convention and I would get a weekend at Disney World.  Sounds like a good idea, right?  The problem is, I wanted to go for a weekend in February and our youngest would still be my little nursling.  She would have to go with me.  Our precocious preschooler began talking of nothing else more than she would talk about going back to Disney World.  Every day, she wakes up and asks to put on one of many Disney princess dresses she's collected.  With a purse on her arm and a crown on her head, she insists that she needs to go back to the parks.  How could I look at that little face and refuse?

How can I say no to this face?
Today I am a month away from a weekend trip to my favorite place on the planet, but I'll be travelling alone with two small children.  This is one of the first times since I've adopted crunchy living that I'm concerned I may not be able to keep it up while on vacation.  How will I wash cloth diapers with no one to keep an eye on the kids back in our room?  Is it possible to make my own baby food while away from home?  Who will help me run back and forth to the buffet at Chef Mickey's for extra Mickey waffles and syrup?  How will I handle a double stroller on Disney transportation, while carrying two kids?  Will I make it across Atlanta's massive airport during the super short, 45-minute layover?  Wait...those last few questions have nothing to do with being crunchy, but point out the fact that I haven't entirely thought this through.  Good grief!

Since I'm back to work full time, I've got less time to daydream about creative ways to plan a smooth trip.    At one point in your life, were you as crazy as I am and you have tips you care to share?  In 35 days, I'll be an expert on this subject, but right now I am lost and concerned and a little jealous that my husband gets the weekend at home alone.  Regardless of the outcome, I am certain this will be an awesome trip and I will proudly flaunt the fact that we had Mickey waffles and he didn't!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013: Resolve To Be Green

It’s resolution time! Did you resolve to be more eco-friendly in 2013? Some of us crunchy folks are kinda nuts and take things to extremes.  Maybe you aren’t ready for that just yet and desire to embark on a sane, thoughtful approach to using the earth’s resources more efficiently.  Maybe you are like me, and the decision was made based on the well being of a child or because you are cheap frugal.

Here are some tips to help you get things started…
Start recycling, especially if your municipality offers curbside pickup.  Each locale has their own guidelines as to what can be left curbside and how it should be left. 

Replace old appliances with energy efficient ones.  Heavy use appliances like washers, dryers, water heaters, furnaces, dish washers and heaters are great places to start.  You’ll also save money in the long run.

Plant trees on the west side of your house.  Not only will the landscaping be gorgeous, but it helps with heating and cooling costs.  How?  Well, in the summer, the foliage from the trees provides blockage from the sun, keeping your home cooler.  In the winter months, the absence of those same leaves lets the sun through, helping to warm your house.

Upcycle!  Upcycling is great, especially if you are crafty.  Instead of throwing out items, find ways to repurpose them.  If you still don’t know what I mean, google it, or if you are on Pinterest there are tons of upcycling boards you can get awesome ideas from. 

Start using rechargeable batteries.  We use rechargeable batteries for so many things in our house, we’ve lost track!  Video game controllers, toys, keyboards and mice, and other electronics all use rechargeables.  Not only has it saved us a lot of money, but those dead batteries don’t end up in a landfill somewhere.  The initial investment, if you are purchasing a larger set can be costly, but is worth it in return on investment.

Reduce the amount of water used.  Consider purchasing low flow shower heads, low flow toilets and faucets.  Again, initial investment here can be costly, but the return is really worth it.  We left one of our showerheads “regular” for hair washing purposes.  We have yet to find a low flow shower head that will give enough water for the amount of fluffy hair residing in our home.  Also consider reducing the amount of times you use your dishwasher per week.  While it is very convenient, dishwashers use a ton of water; much more than conventional washing would.

There are all sorts of ways you can save resources and money.  Let this be a resolution you actually keep, your wallet and the earth with thank you!