Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hotel del Coronado

When Bryce and I began planning our last leg of the trip into San Diego, we debated and debated where to stay.  My very first wish was to stay at the Hotel Del Coronado.  It's been on my bucket list of hotels for a long time, we love old hotels and it would give us some beach time.  I was worried that traffic on the bridge would be bad getting back into San Diego (it wasn't), that for the cost of a room the hotel wouldn't live up to expectations (it did) and that it would be too crowded with tourists looking at the hotel (it wasn't).

Coronado was absolutely lovely and from the moment we stepped out of the car I felt we had made the right decision.  It's simply a beautiful, grand old hotel.  From the cage elevator to the iconic red roofs to the old wavy glass in the windows it speaks to workmanship and a lifestyle from long ago.

As soon as we checked in the children received a bag with a map of the hotel, a magnifying glass and clues to each location.  Running around the hotel looking for clues was a great way to get familiar with the hotel!  The reward was ice cream in the ice cream shop!

Of course, the beach was a lovely part of our stay.  We watched the sunset on our first night and though it was cool for much of our stay we also got a gorgeous, warm day to relax in the sun.  It was perfect after being on the go for the first part of our vacation!

 Though we didn't eat every meal at the Hotel Del, we did have a few and they were delicious!  Sitting outside (with heaters on) by the ocean with a beautiful hotel in the background makes it hard not to enjoy yourself!  I also had the most delicious, and beautiful  drink- lavender lemonade.  It was so good, I have to try to replicate it!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Legoland and the Legoland Hotel

 After we left Disneyland we headed down to Carlsbad, California to visit Legoland!

We decided to stay at the Legoland Hotel for both convenience and novelty and it was unlike anything I've ever seen!  I can honestly say I'm not sure that I've ever stayed anywhere that is as dedicated to children as Legoland Hotel is.  There were children everywhere!  It was pretty great that the park is literally steps from the Hotel's backdoor.

I have to give credit to the hotel since they certainly made things easy for families.  The children had a separate area within our room to sleep in bunk-beds and, of course, this meant that we didn't all have to turn our lights out at the same time which is really a wonderful thing!  Also, they had a cafeteria that served breakfast every morning (and was included in the cost) and I believe dinner as well.  The children also enjoyed splashing around in the pool and playing with the giant Legos!

Legoland was also a really neat park.  I don't know that I recommend going directly after Disney as it is hard not to compare the two, and though Legoland is great it is not as well maintained or as organized as we found Disneyland to be!   I will also say that my thrill ride loving children were indeed on the very edge of the limit for the park.  Most of the rides were a little too tame for them (though they loved the Technic Test Track) especially considering that the lines were so long.  That said, we really enjoyed looking at the amazing Lego creations!    The figures, cities, and landscapes they built with Legos are mind-blowing!  We also went on the "factory tour" and it was fascinating to learn the history of these tiny little bricks.

seriously, all made out of Lego bricks!

After spending the day at Lego Land we showered and headed out to a delicious meal to celebrate Bryce's birthday!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Disneyland and California Adventure Park

Disney.  For years I've been dreading taking the children and have had a pretty poor attitude about it. We went fairly often as children (we lived within hours of Disney World) and though I remember it being fun, I also remember lots of crowds, lines, heat and humidity.  However, I had it in mind that Disneyland's smaller size and fantastic weather would make it bearable.  It was so much more than bearable, it was wonderful.  Count me as a convert.  

We loved our time at Disneyland and California Adventure Park.  I was astounded at how well the park is maintained (I mean they steam clean the streets every night!), how hard their "cast members" work to make it a magical experience and how perfect, down to the last detail, the whole park is!

We stayed on the park premises at the Disneyland Hotel and we loved how easy it made everything. At check-in we met Goofy, got a signed picture of the children's favorite characters and were thrilled to have a great view of Downtown Disney from our bedroom window.  In fact, one of my cherished memories is of sitting at that window watching fireworks in our pajamas!

Staying at the Hotel also made it easy to walk to the parks each morning and we took Nina's advise to eat all of our dinners in Downtown Disney (Catal being my favorite).  One of my favorite parts of visiting the parks was the "Magic Hour."  Guests staying on property get entrance to one of the parks an hour before it opens to the public.  We loved being there so early (it wasn't a problem to get up due to the time change!) and it felt as if we had the whole park to ourselves!

Both of the children are thrill ride lovers and they really enjoyed the bigger rides.  We didn't spend a whole lot of our time in lines due to everyone's advise to take advantage of the Fast Pass system.  We would get a Fast Pass for the bigger rides and do little ones while waiting.  I cannot comprehend why more parks don't do something like this because it made our days infinitely more enjoyable.  By the end of our time, everyone agreed that California Screamin was their favorite ride from both parks (we rode it 3 or 4 times!).

It was easy to find characters throughout the parks (thanks to your recommendations we did not do a character meal and it was the right call) and Grace was thrilled to find Tigger and Pooh!  

It really, truly was a special time spent together.  I think we were lucky in that we had perfect weather and the parks weren't crazy crowded while we were there.  Also, we didn't kill ourselves trying to fit every single thing in, and I'm sure that there was tons that we could have done but didn't.  However, we sure didn't feel like we missed out on anything!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Daffodils and Compost Pudding

Happy Friday!  Today's post is about two totally unrelated things but they are both pretty happy...

My daffodils are coming up and this little arrangement makes my heart flutter just a bit every time I look at it in the window.  Makes me want to plant about a million more daffodils.

Also, for Earth Day I made "compost pudding."  Funny story- Harris has been asking for pudding in his lunchbox, and when I told him we were going to make pudding for Earth Day he gently reminded me that he was talking about the pudding in the plastic cups that everyone else got in their lunches!  Ha! He did however admit that homemade pudding was way better (but would still like some plastic cup pudding in his lunch!).

Pudding + Gummy worms + crushed Oreo cookies= Compost Pudding

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Baskets

I loved the children's Easter baskets this year.  As always, they were themed and this year it was all about books and bunnies!

For Grace there were books, a silver bunny bookmark, a chocolate book, bookworms and a t-shirt of a favorite book (with bunnies on it!).

For Harris there were books, bookplates, a chocolate book, and bookworms.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Little Easter Breakfast Buffet

We arrived home on Saturday and with the time change and no prep time, I knew that I wanted to do something a little special for Easter breakfast, but it needed to be quick (I knew that everyone would want to sleep in and we had church to make) and easy (I wasn't yet in the groove of cooking again!).

I decided on a mini breakfast buffet of hard boiled eggs, make your own yogurt parfaits and bunny tails.  It was a hit and I would definitely do it again.

I got the idea for the doughnut bunny tails at Lark and Linen.  However, instead of making the doughnut holes from scratch, I bought pre-made doughnut holes, covered them in white chocolate and rolled them in coconut.  They were easy, tasty and darling!

We hard boiled eggs and drew fun faces on them which tickled the children to no end.

For the parfaits, I just put out yogurt, fruit and granola- I didn't even decant the yogurt!

Harris made a yogurt bunny using his bunny tail!  Sometimes simple is best...

Grace made a cute Easter card that added the perfect festive touch to our buffet!

Blogging tips