Christmas Cookie Fun: White Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread

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26.jpgChristmas season is upon us and for many of us, that means cookies! I love baking. Every year, I take an entire weekend to bake dozens and dozens of cookies and treats to take to local fire departments, our vet, friends and more. I thought it would be fun to share one of my cookie recipes with you! This is is my white chocolate dipped gingerbread cookies. They are simple, can be altered to a variety of versions and are a delicious holiday treat.

4.jpgFirst up, preheat that oven! You are going to want to preheat to 350 degrees. If you have a double oven, go ahead and preheat both ovens if you want because this cookie recipe makes about twenty five cookies depending on the size of your cookie. I used a small ice cream scoop and was able to get twenty eight cookies when it was all said and done.

Also, be sure to pull out your egg and butter ahead of time because you want to have those at room temperature for use.

2Put butter and brown sugar into your mixer and mix it up until fluffy and completely combined, scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Next add the egg and mix for about fifteen or so seconds. Measure out your molasses and add that into the blender then add the vanilla.

6Pull out your sifter, I absolutely love my sifter. This gorgeous piece was my grandmother’s. My grandma loved to bake, we just lost her about a year ago now and I love using her recipes and her apron and her sifter; takes me back to baking with her and it brings me closer to her even now. If you don’t own a sifter, you should get one. Sifters are old school for sure and new recipes have gotten away from the sifter but I will tell you this, sift your dry ingredients. It makes your baking lighter and fluffier and is a cookie essential for me.

In fact, last weekend, I was meal prepping for the week and I usually forget to wear an apron but decided at the last second to put one on so that at the end of my cooking day, my pants weren’t completely covered in food as is usually the case.

11So, I pulled my grandma’s homemade apron out and put it on, as I was going about my day, I put one of my spoons in the apron and realized there was something in the pocket. At the bottom of one of the pockets was a hankerchief. Later on that day I realized that it was her birthday. The Lord works in mysterious ways let me tell you. Needless to say, I always know that my Grandma is cooking with me.

Back to cookies!

Sift your dry ingredients together; flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, salt and ginger then add the sifted ingredients, one cup at a time to your mixer on low speed.

Cover your bowl and refrigerate for at least fifteen minutes to slightly chill the dough.

9Place parchment paper on your cookie sheets, select your ice cream scoop and get a small bowl with sugar in it. I prefer to make these cookies smaller because they so spread and are really rich but you do you.

13Scoop out your cookies and roll them into balls, place the balls into the sugar and completely coat with sugar. Place on parchment paper well apart from each other because as mentioned these cookies spread.

Bake cookies for 8-11 minutes. You want the cookies to be soft and chewy. Allow cookies to cool completely.

17Get a wire rack set up with parchment underneath to catch any white chocolate that may slide off your cookies. I used Ghiradelli white chocolate melting wafers but you can use almond bark or white chocolate chips as well. These wafers melt perfectly in the microwave but you can also use a double boiler if you wish. Be sure not to burn the white chocolate, you want it just melted and smooth.

24Once cookies have completely cooled, dip half of the top of the cookie into the white chocolate and place on wire rack. After you get a few done, select the sprinkles you want and sprinkle that on top of the white chocolate before it is set. Allow white chocolate to set before putting in storage container… or eating. Enjoy!

26Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 to 2 cups white chocolate melting wafers (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Cream until fluffy.
  3. Add in egg and beat until smooth. Next add in the molasses and vanilla and mix until well combined.

  4. Put the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt into a sifter then add to the butter mixture one cup at a time. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Refrigerate dough 15-20 minutes.

  5. Using a medium cookie scoop (or about 1.5 Tablespoons), roll the cookie dough into a ball. Place granulated sugar into shallow bowl and then roll the dough into the sugar. Place on the baking sheet, about 2.5 inches apart.
  6. Bake 8-12 minutes and let cool on the pan 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Enjoy as is or dip in white chocolate.

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Disney and Non Disney November Favorites

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

90.jpgIt’s that time again! November has come and gone and it is time for my November favorites. I have some amazing things for you this month because I tried some great new stuff and I cannot wait to share these finds with you.

If you are loving the same products that I am or if you have tried one of the products I have spoken about in a previous post, please let me know because I would love to hear from you. I am really excited about this month’s lineup so let’s jump right in!

 

Food and Drink:

The Macro Barista!

91For many of you who follow us here on the blog and on various other platforms, you know that my husband and I follow a macronutrient lifestyle. We follow different plans and mine is more lax than his which works well because I like froufrou coffee drinks and my husband prefers black as tar cold brew.

What are macros? Macros are nutrients broken down into carbs, proteins and fats for daily consumption for desired results. Macros can be used to gain lean mass, lose fat, maintain and so much more.

I recently came across an amazing Instagram account called The Macro Barista. Alex, the gentlemen who runs the account is a barista out of Texas who is living his best macro life. He takes our favorite Starbucks concoctions and makes them macro friendly.

I have tried several of his recipes and I color me impressed. A typical gingerbread latte from Starbucks as I would order it would be a venti with coconut milk and no whipped cream. The macro breakdown for this beverage is 260 calories, 10 grams of fat, 42 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of protein.

Alex has concocted his own version of the Starbucks gingerbread latte. A cold brew served with one pump of gingerbread syrup, two pumps of sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup and coconut milk. The macro breakdown for this drink is 60 calories, 3 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbohydrates and 0 grams of protein.

Important for the macro lifestyle is not to drink your macros but to consume them through actual food. This macro friendly version of one of my favorite holiday drinks allows me to free up more numbers for actual food with nutrients instead of a coffee drink.

Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie!

I don’t love pie. I just don’t. If I am going to splurge on a dessert item, it is not going to be a pie of any sort. However, on Thanksgiving, some people like pie; some expect pie. I am on a mission to change this to a better dessert but until that time, I make pie.

pieHowever, I refuse to make boring pie and in my humble and not so professional opinion, pumpkin pie is boring. So, I jazzed it up. I found this recipe for a no bake marshmallow pumpkin pie and it went over like gangbusters. This pie was super simple to make and was incredibly tasty.

I will say, I don’t believe in store bought whipped cream. If you want cream, whip it, whip it real good. Get yourself some heavy whipping cream, a cold KitchenAid mixing bowl, some sugar and whip yourself some cream because that is the only way to do it.

Give this pie a shot for your next holiday gathering or just a fun dessert. Simple, yummy, festive, you can’t go wrong!

Clothing and Accessories:

Buffalo Plaid Fleece Shirt!

leeI was wandering around WalMart in search of two hundred Thanksgiving cards for the volunteers at work and I somehow ended up in the clothing section. I am a sucker for all things buffalo plaid and out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of this fleece shirt. The second I touched it, I knew I had to have it. The shirt is softer than soft and incredibly warm, perfect for a chilly winter day in Colorado.

This shirt is available in a variety of different plaid colors and patterns and at the time of publishing is only $13.74 at WalMart.

Custom Christmas Ears

61I love Mickey ears. They are my favorite Disney accessory, I say this time and time again. Last year when we were at Hollywood Studios during the Christmas season, I saw these Christmas decorations in the window along Hollywood Blvd and I absolutely loved them. I searched and searched for ears that were inspired by these amazing decorations but could find nothing.

I sent a photo to ElyssasEars on Etsy. She has done custom ears for me in the past and I absolutely love her work. She came up with an incredible design inspired by the decorations at Hollywood Studios. I cannot wait to wear these at Hollywood Studios. Be sure to check out Elyssas Ears for your ear needs and always ask for the stuffed bow because the bigger the bow, the better.

For the Home: 

Grove Collaborative!

groveI recently tried out Grove Collaborative and I am going to do a whole blog post about this company but spoiler alert, I love, love, love them. I am hooked and I cannot wait to receive my next order.

Grove is a company that sells naturally leaning products at a reasonable price. You can get Mrs. Meyers, Method, Grove’s own brand, Seventh Generation, Caldera and more all in one place for cheaper than most other stores.

I was convinced to try Grove after ads kept popping up for them on my Instagram. I clicked on the ad that enticingly told me, I would receive a free gift set and gave them a try. The products shipped quickly, were all reasonably priced and they work.

82For this post, I am going to focus on my three favorite items that I purchased from this past order. Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface cleaner in Basil scent. This scent is amazing. I find myself cleaning my kitchen and bathroom counters over and over again just so my rooms will smell like this scent. You can purchase Mrs. Meyer’s from other locations of course but I have not found it cheaper anywhere else and will be purchasing my Mrs. Meyer’s products from Grove from now on.

80My next favorite item from Grove is the Method Daily Shower Spray. I purchased this off of Grove for $2.99. We have a glass shower in our master bath and although we squeegee the shower daily to avoid water spots and grime on the glass, it is never completely clean. This shower spray is amazing. It smells of Eucalyptus and mint and it leaves your shower smelling like an amazing high end spa. Beyond the smell though, our shower has never been cleaner than it is now. A few sprays after each shower and that’s it; it could not be more simple.

calderaMy last favorite from Grove is the Caldera Countertop Spray in the scent Tangelo Palm Frond.  Blair Lamb from Blair Blogs, if you don’t follow her blogs already, be sure to check her out because she is a gem, she posted a weekly vlog saying she had just tried Grove Collaborative for the first time and she gave this product a try because supposedly it reminds people of Disney. It does! My husband thinks I’m crazy and it doesn’t remind him of Disney but I’ll tell you what, it takes me right there to our last Walt Disney World Vacation, I almost wonder if Disney uses this product (I have no idea, this is just an assumption) because I smell Disney in this bottle.

New Disney Christmas Castle Figurine!

figure.jpegOn Black Friday every year, I turn our house into a Christmas wonderland. I spend all day watching Christmas movies, listening to Christmas music and decking our halls. It is one of my most favorite days of the year. This year was no different, but I did move a lot of our decor around and try it out in new spots. I pulled a table from our second floor into our entryway and put all of our Disney Christmas figurines out. Bryson surprised me with a new one as well!

This new figurine is so cute. I adore Pluto’s little face on this. The details are amazing and it is the perfect addition to our collection. You can find this on Shop Disney for $74.99 at the time of publishing.

Those are my November favorites! I hope you enjoyed this post because I sure enjoyed writing it. I would love to know what some of your current favorite are so be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you are loving right now. Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

Pre-trip Land and Sea Adventure Haul

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

22We are about to head out on our first cruise! And of course it is a Disney cruise! We decided to make our first cruise a land and sea adventure and will first be stopping at Walt Disney World for a few days to celebrate the holiday season before heading out on a three night cruise on the Disney Dream!

Of course, we had to get some new gear for our holiday and cruise adventure and we want to show you some of the amazing things we got!

 

 

 

Kenzie’s Boutique

72Kenzie’s Boutique has super cute necklaces for various aspects of Disney. I purchased a Minnie Mouse one, a Mickey bar one and a Rapunzel high heel one. They are big and bright and bold and fun and perfect for Disney. You know that I am over the top and love bold Disney merch so these are perfect for me. Be sure to check out her Facebook page to support this small business and get a bold piece of Disney merch for yourself!

I cannot wait to wear my Mickey bar necklace with my snack goals shirt and my amazing Mickey bar ears. Couple that with an actual Mickey bar and those are the ultimate snack goals!

Elyssa’s Ears

62I approached Elyssa with an idea for a custom pair of ears because I absolutely trust her ear making abilities and love her ears each and every time. My idea? Well, have you ever been to Hollywood Studios at Christmastime? The most amazing Christmas decorations fill up some of the windows along Hollywood Boulevard and how incredible would it be to have Christmas ears inspired after these beauties!

73.jpgI sent her a photo and asked if she could create something that would do these justice but would eliminate the stripes because I wasn’t a real fan of the stripes and I didn’t want them to be exact replicas. Look at what she came up with! I cannot wait to wear these when we head to Hollywood Studios on our Christmas trip.

 

Creations With Love

75Creations with Love is my go to for character ears. She does amazing handmade ears and her shop is where I got my incredible Toy Story ears that featured Bullseye. She posted a pair of Christmas ears that had Daisy and Donald on them but I was hoping to get a custom pair that had our two favorite buds on there; Mickey and Donald. She agreed and came up with these. I am so thrilled with how they turned out and can’t wait to wear them to hang out with two of my favorite guys in Disney.

The Patchmaker Plus

65This being our first cruise, we were on the fence about Fish Extenders. We decided to go ahead and do it and are so excited about our gifts. I decided I wanted to make something with custom patches so I started searching on Etsy and I came across the Patchmaker Plus and she had a incredible collection of patches that she makes.

In our Fish Extender group, people posted about who their favorite Disney characters were. I tried to select patches that matched up with each person’s favorite and if they didn’t specify I found these amazing Disney cruise line Mickey and Minnie patches. I found plain tan tote bags on Amazon and then also some fleece throws at Walmart. My mom and I spent a few weekend afternoons, ironing them on and voila, one of our fish extender gifts was done and they are beyond cute!

Shop Emily G

76I love to add a little something extra to my Magic Bands. While we are in Disney, I never take my Magic Band off except to change it up to a different band so I love to have unique and fun decals added to my plain resort bands just to give them a little something extra. For our upcoming trip, I wanted to find a fun and festive Christmas decal to go over the plain green band that I had selected.

77If you are not familiar with Magic Bands; a Magic Band is what gives you access to your room if you stay on Walt Disney World property, it is also your park ticket, your Fast Pass ticket, you can purchase things anywhere on Disney property using your Magic Band if you attach it to a credit card. It truly is magic.

Whenever you book a stay at a Walt Disney World resort, you will receive a Magic Band prior to your stay in the mail and your band can continue to be used on future trips. I take several Magic Bands to Walt Disney World when we go and switch them out depending on where we are headed and what mood I am in; they are an essential Disney accessory for me.

I have gotten several Magic Band decals from Shop Emily G and decided on this sparkly Christmas one for our Christmas trip. They are easy to apply, stick really well, are water resistant and durable. Her products are great and are offered at a reasonable cost.

CoCoBeans Tees

67When we first booked our Disney cruise, I knew I wanted to get a special outfit for Pirate night. Pirate night on a Disney cruise is the night where characters dress in their pirate best, guests can do the same, there is a “Pirates In the Caribbean” fireworks show and a special pirate themed menu at the restaurants.

Some people go all out for Pirate night, dressing in full pirate outfits and that is what I wanted to do. Bryson was not so on board with that, so we agreed to get shirts. I have seen dozens and dozens of shirts that families wear for this occasion and they all looked the same to me. I wanted something unique. I looked for months, literally months, and I finally stumbled across CoCoBeans Tee on Etsy and they had this awesome shirt I had never seen before. The rest, as they say, is history, matey!

The Park Hop Shoppe

68Each year, for our Christmas card, we select a Disney picture from that year’s trip to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This year will be no different, and I always like to pick out fun shirts for us to wear, matching of course, for the event and the photo. Through yet another search on Etsy, I came across these incredible shirts from The Park Hop Shoppe, perfect for Christmas and for Disney. I love doing Raglans for Christmas, here’s to hoping it isn’t ninety degrees at party time this year like it was last year.

I always get nervous when we are looking at these types of shirts because the vinyl decals can be tacky if not done right. These are amazing! I am thrilled with how they turned out and would absolutely recommend this shop and this shirt to anyone looking for a Disney shirt that breaks the mold.

Shine Designs Tee – Plaid castle shirt

69I love buffalo plaid. In fact, as I write this, I am wearing a buffalo plaid shirt. Shine Designs Tee on Etsy has married Cinderella’s Castle with buffalo plaid for the holidays and I am obsessed. I snatched these shirts up right away, as soon as I came across them on Etsy. If you follow along on our blog, in my September Faves post, I highlighted another gem from this shop, the Holidays and Pumpkin Spice Disney shirt, I ordered that shirt in a tank top and the quality was amazing.

The plaid shirt, I ordered for our Christmas trip is amazing as well, I ordered this in a t shirt for both my husband and for me. This shirt comes in a tank, a raglan and a t shirt option and I am so excited to pair this with one or two of my amazing Christmas ears, and yes, a few of them have the buffalo plaid.

Hidden Lily Boutique – Magnets

70You have to have magnets for your door when you go on a Disney cruise right? Everyone we talk to and every vlog we have watched, everyone puts these cute little magnets on their doors when they cruise with Disney. I wanted to find us some that were, of course, a little unique and also fun. I found these adorable clothesline inspired Disney magnets from a great little shop on Etsy. We were able to customize the items on the “clothesline” to say our Disney name, For Love of Mouse.

I wasn’t interested in holiday magnets, though this shop does have a holiday version of the “clothesline” magnet which is really cute. I wanted to make sure we could use these on future cruises that maybe weren’t a merrytime cruise. We are so excited to use these, I think they will be fantastic for outside our door on our first Disney cruise!

Are we There Yet Designs

71We also got an additional magnet for our door. This one was a little more traditional but really cute, nonetheless and I think it will be a great addition to our door! This shop has a plethora of magnets, mugs and other Disney items to choose from so be sure to check them out on Etsy.

 

 

Fish Extender

74Last but not least, we made a fish extender. My mom and I looked up a number of ideas and ended up with an adorable fish extender. We used fabric from Wal Mart and Joann’s and patches from The Patchmaker Plus. The idea is to add patches each time we cruise so we were sure to leave plenty of room for future adventures. One of my favorite parts of our fish extender are the patches from The Patchmaker Plus that resemble Disney Cruise Line name tags personalized with our names.

That is it for our pre-trip haul. We have a whole host of other fun things that we received and are taking on our trip. For the full experience be sure to follow our adventures on Instagram and YouTube as we get ready to set sail on this fun-filled land and sea Disney adventure.

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

First Time Cruisers Questions Answered

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

dreamWe are about to embark on a brand new magical adventure for us. We are heading out on the Disney Cruise Line. Our first cruise will be a Very Merrytime Cruise and it will also be a land and sea adventure. This will be, as mentioned, our first cruise and our first Disney cruise so I thought, what a great opportunity to talk about cruise prep for first time cruisers.

One of the questions we had when we first booked our cruise was should we or could we have water shipped to the ship?

dreaminThe answer is you can not have water delivered to the ship but you can carry a case of water, unopened, in its original packaging. If you are doing a land and sea adventure, as we are, you can have Amazon deliver water or other essentials to your resort prior to your cruise and then take that on the cruise.

Is there Wi-Fi on the cruise?

castaswayYes! It is expensive and we are not going to be getting it but you can purchase Wi-Fi packages. Disney uses the Connect@Sea system which was developed by MTN Communications. There are several package levels offered. The medium package of 300 MB costs $39, or about 13 cents per MB, while the heavy-use package of 1 gigabyte costs $89, or 9 cents per MB.

One thing we want to make sure we share with you is something we discovered but would not have even thought of. If you take your phone out of airplane mode in an international port and it connects to a cell tower you will get charged international roaming rates unless you have an international package with your provider. You could come home to a hefty cell phone bill, which most providers will work with you on if you add an international plan after the fact, but it is a lot of work to do at that point.

unplugWe recommend unplugging. There are very few opportunities to unplug in this day and age. Enjoy your friends or family or yourself and live your vacation. There are phones on the ship that can be used to locate and communicate with other party members throughout the ship.

Should you take ears on your Disney cruise?

whositsFrom everything we have read and watched, it is up to you! This is your cruise, you do you! I, as you might have guessed will be taking ears! In fact, I have made two sets of ears for the cruise and purchased a third set and I will be rocking those throughout our entire cruise. I found these ears on Etsy at the shop whoozitsandwhatzits1!

 

When should you start taking sea sickness medication?

dramaI do not suffer from motion sickness, Bryson has more of an affinity to it but we will both be taking Dramamine and other precautions prior to boarding the ship to ensure that we are both good to go however. We will begin taking Dramamine 24 hours prior to boarding the ship. We will be in Disney and the day before we leave for our cruise, we will start taking Dramamine to ensure we are not suffering from sea sickness once we get on board.

What is rotational dining and how does it work? 

dadsguide
Photo Courtesy of Dadsguidetowdw.com

Rotational dining is the system of dining used on the cruise ships to ensure that everyone is able to eat at each of the main dining locations. These are the sit down restaurant experiences that are included with the cost of your cruise. We are sailing on the Disney Dream and the dining locations included in rotational dining are Animator’s Palate, Royal Palace and Enchanted Garden.

When you check in and get your key to the world card which gets you access to your room and so much more, it will have letters signifying your dining locations. For example, if your card says AER you will dine at Animator’s Palate, Enchanted Garden and Royal Palace in that order. Along with your rotational dining, you will have the same waitstaff throughout the duration of your cruise as long as you are dining in the locations indicated on your key to the world card.

cabanas
Photo Courtesy of DisneyFoodBlog.com

Other dining included in the cost of your cruise (at least on the Dream) is Cabanas, which is a buffet, Flo’s Cafe which is a snack bar type location and Room Service. Yep, that’s right, room service is included in the price of your cruise and you can order anything off of that room service menu including, warm cookies and milk, Mickey ice cream bars and the cake of the day from that menu, free of charge. Please remember though, tips are NOT included in that price for room service, so tip your room service host.

remy
Photo of Remy courtesy of Disneyparks.disney.go.com

In addition, there are other dining locations that are not included in the price of your cruise and that do cost extra to dine at or get treats at. Palo and Remy are upscale dining locations that are adults only and do cost extra. Because this is our first cruise and we are only going on a three night cruise, we decided against doing either of these dining experiences so that we could enjoy each of the rotational dining experiences. Should we cruise again, we will definitely take part in one of these because we do love these types of dining experiences.

Also worth noting, you can take items from Cabanas into the theatres to watch shows or movies but if you get items from Preludes, the snack bar outside of the theatre, that is extra. Really good to note because that’s where they will get you.

van
Photo courtesy of disneycruiselineblog.com

Other extra dining or snack experiences are the Senses Juice Bar which is located inside Senses Spa and Vanellope’s Sweet Shop which is the gelato, ice cream and candy shop on board the ship. Cove Cafe, the coffee shop on board is also not included, alcoholic beverages are not included but you can get the drink of the day at many places throughout the ship for $5.

Is there a dress code at the restaurants? 

21Palo and Remy do have dress codes. Those are more dressed up and formal restaurants and do require you to adhere to a nicer code of dress in order to dine. There is no dress code for the other restaurants but we have heard varying accounts from different friends and folks on YouTube and other that give different responses to this. According to some, a lot of people are more dressed up than you would expect especially at dinners. Yet others say that most people are in shorts and t shirts all day and at dinner.

Bryson will likely take his Tommy Bahama shirts that he loves and also lives in when we are in the parks and his nice shorts and I will be wearing casual beach wear such as my swim suit and a cover up romper during the day and then at night I will probably put a little sundress on. It is winter in Colorado and any opportunity to wear a sundress will be taken advantage of by me. I don’t plan on wearing anything other than flip flops throughout the duration of our cruise but were we dining at Palo or Remy I would be taking nice shoes for that occasion.

What is a land and sea adventure? 

16A land and sea adventure is when you go to a Disney park, in our case Walt Disney World, and then follow that up immediately with a cruise. For our trip, we will be doing a three day Walt Disney World vacation followed by our 3 night cruise. We will be taking Disney’s Magical Express, which is always how we travel from the airport to our resort when we stay on property and then we will also be taking Magical Express from our resort to Port Canaveral for our cruise.

A Few other tips!

casr
Photo courtesy disneyparks.disney.go.com

You do not have to get off the ship at each port. When we first booked the cruise, we didn’t know that it was a thing to not get off the ship at a port but the more we research and watch our friends’ vlogs, there is so much to do and see and enjoy on a Disney cruise that if you get to a port where nothing excites or jumps out at you, stay on the ship because there will be a plethora of fun to have on the ship!

images
Photo credit unknown

There are a number of character meet and greets throughout the ship and some you have to sign up for in advance and others you do not. As long as you are in line within fifteen minutes of a character arriving, you will be able to meet that character.

Fish extenders are a thing on Disney cruises. There are Facebook groups and fish extender groups on Facebook where you can follow along with fellow cruisers who will be joining you on your cruise and you can sign up to be in a fish extender group. These are groups of people who bring gifts for one another. You hang a cute little gift receiving fish extender outside your door and receive gifts from other cruisers in your group and give gifts to other cruisers in your group as well!

wdwinfoDownload the Disney cruise app so that you can follow along with the daily navigator, know what events are happening where and when and keep on top of all the fun happenings all over your cruise ship.

Pack a carry-on because you will be on the ship for several hours before your luggage gets to your room. Just as we do when we travel to Walt Disney World, we pack a backpack each of stuff we will want or need or possibly want or need before our luggage gets to us. Sunglasses, sunscreen, camera, swim suit, change of clothes, whatever you think you might need in the first couple of hours of your trip pack in your carry-on, something small that you can easily carry throughout the ship as you explore.

59Our last tip is something we would have never thought of but are happy to now know as we will not be getting off of the ship in Nassau. When the ship is at port, the stores are closed. That’s right, whether you are docked at Port Canaveral, Nassau or any other port, the ship’s merchandise stores are not open for business. That is really good to know for us because that is when we were planning on doing a lot of shopping because we figured everyone else would be out exploring Nassau. As soon as the ship pulls away from port the stores will open and the money spending can resume. It’s fine Disney, take all my money.

Don’t forget to decorate your door! Magnets are a fun and popular thing to decorate stateroom doors on a Disney cruise ship. The doors are magnetic and decorating the doors are quite the thing. You can make your own magnets or find absolutely adorable ones on Etsy! This is a great way to personalize your door and maybe even interact with some other guests with a white board or other interactive display on your door! Here are some cute magnets we found!

Hidden Lily Boutique

Goldeelox Creations 

Goldeelox Creations

AlsIkKanDesigns

What are some of your top tips for sailing the high sees with Mickey? Have you been on a Disney Cruise? Are you planning a Disney Cruise? We want to hear from you! We hope this helped answer some of your cruising questions. Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

Guide to Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

157.jpgThe Holidays have arrived at Walt Disney World and that means there is even more magic to be found. One of our favorite holiday traditions is the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. This amazing festival is returning to Epcot this year and will run from November 18 thru December 30.

The Festival of the Holidays is a delightful array of holiday traditions from around the world, food and music. One of the highlights for this event is the Candlelight Processional. We have done a full blog post on the Candlelight Processional in past years but will talk a little about it here as well as certain aspects do change each year.

Candlelight Processional is an incredible experience and we recommend it constantly. What is Candlelight Processional? A celebrity narrator tells the biblical story of Christmas and they are accompanied by an amazing choir and orchestra. It is truly beautiful and amazing. The narrators change each year but some return year after year and are incredibly popular. Here is a list of who is narrating for 2018:

  • Chita Rivera – November 22 to 23, 2018
  • NEW! Helen Hunt – November 24 to 25, 2018
  • NEW! Alfonso Ribeiro – November 26 to 27, 2018
  • Robby Benson – November 28 to 30, 2018
  • John Stamos – December 1 to 2, 2018
  • Neil Patrick Harris – December 3 to 6, 2018
  • Whoopi Goldberg – December 7 to 9, 2018
  • NEW! Bart Millard – December 10 to 12, 2018
  • Blair Underwood – December 13 to 14, 2018
  • Gary Sinise – December 15 to 17, 2018
  • Pat Sajak – December 18 to 20, 2018
  • NEW! Auli’i Cravalho – December 21 to 23, 2018
  • Edward James Olmos – December 24 to 25, 2018
  • Jodi Benson – December 26 to 27, 2018
  • Cal Ripken Jr. – December 28 to 30, 2018

Some of the more popular narrators include Pat Sajak, Whoopi Goldberg and Neil Patrick Harris. New this year is Auli’i Cravalho who voiced Moana in the Disney animated classic which is amazing and I wish we could be there for that!

152Some of the more popular narrators as well as those closer to Christmas will have standby lines that you won’t believe until you see it. If you want to guarantee a spot for the show without waiting in a massive line for standby that doesn’t guarantee you a seat, we suggest the Candlelight Processional Dining Package.

The dining package offers options for breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout Epcot including Biergarten, Chefs de France, Coral Reef, Rose and Crown, Garden Grill, Teppan Edo, Via Napoli and more. Prices vary depending on the restaurant and the meal. The dining package is the only way to guarantee a seat for one of the Candlelight Processional showings.

232You can also use the Disney Dining Plan for this package, it requires two table service dining credits for this. Even with booking the dining package, park tickets are required for admission into Epcot. For more information and to book your own dining package for the Candlelight Processional, click HERE!

One of the highlights of the International Festival of the Holidays are the food kitchens. This year’s festival has 12 kitchens featuring holiday favorites and traditions from different countries and cultures throughout the world.

A new kitchen this year is the L’Chaim which is featuring classic jewish dishes including pastrami on rye with house-made pickles and mustard, potato knish with herb sour cream (yum) and matzo ball soup.

151The American Holiday Table is a great kitchen! Located in the American pavilion, no matter the day, you can get yourself a traditional Holiday meal. At this kitchen you can partake in two holiday options. A slow-roasted turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans and cranberry sauce and/or hand-carved smoked ham with green beans and sweet potato casserole. For dessert, you can select a chocolate pecan tart with whipped cream and a whisky caramel sauce. Holiday libations include an Orange  Blossom Brewing cranberry kringle pilsner and a peppermint milk stout.

Over in the Germany pavilion, stop by the Bavarian Kitchen for a potato dumpling with mushroom sauce or cheese fondue in a bread bowl served with fresh veggies and potatoes. Top it off with black forest roulade served with cherry whip cream.

155Next head over to France and the Le Marche de Noel kitchen where you can experience traditional French dishes such as the bouchee a la Reine traditionelle which is turkey and mushrooms in a cream sauce served in puff pastry and dark chocolate and caramel buche de noel. Don’t forget the the spiced rum punch slush which is sure to be a hit at this festival.

Las Posadas holiday kitchen over in the Mexico pavilion is serving up a tamal de camaron; a traditional tamale stuffed with marinated shrimp. The Feast of the Three Kings kitchen offers two arepa options that sound absolutely amazing that you could pair with  tropical eggnog. Over at the Shanghai Holiday Kitchen, you can indulge in a mongolian beef bao bun and spicy mala chicken. The Yukon pavilion boasts one of our favorite returning items; the maple buche de noel.

20With so many delicious holiday treats to try don’t forget to take part in some of the traditional holiday festivities throughout World Showcase including hearing a story from Pere Noel and meeting Belle in her gorgeous Christmas dress.

This is a must do event for the holidays at Walt Disney World in our opinion and we hope you are able to check it out this holiday season. What is your favorite part of Festival of the Holidays if you have been before or what are you looking forward to most at Epcot this holiday season?

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

 

The Disnerd Guide to Etsy

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

22Etsy is the place for great, unique Disney stuff but it is really easy to get carried away and really easy to get sucked down a rabbit hole of shirts, decor and accessories.

In today’s blog, we are going to talk about weeding through Etsy product, finding good merch, questions to ask and not caving to pressure from the seller.

I am not sure if Etsy has a secret tier system for their customers but I will tell you that if they do, I am considered tier 1 and I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Between Disney, our wedding and home decor, I love all things Etsy but I’ve made good purchases and I’ve regretted purchases. The hard part, as with all online shopping is that you don’t know what you are going to get. You don’t know about the quality, the durability, the fabric etc.

41Even though you can see pictures, it is easy to make a picture look better than the reality of a product. I have sat with items in my cart, probably to the annoyance of the shop owner, for weeks. What am I doing during this time? Seeing if I can find a similar or the same product for cheaper, for better quality etc and reading the reviews.

First things first. What are you looking for? Have a clear idea of what you are looking for unless of course you are just browsing. Did you see a specific shirt you liked on Instagram? Do you know what shop it is from? Try to find that specific shirt and then go from there. I always like browse because I like to try to find unique items but I still try to have an idea of what I am looking for. Toy Story Mickey ears, Disney Christmas shirts, magic band decals, Buffalo Plaid Christmas decor, etc.

7Whenever I find something that I love on Etsy, I always go to the reviews. How have people reviewed this shop in the past? I also like to look to see how many orders do they have? If they don’t have a ton of orders, that should not turn you off, but if they have had a lot of orders and don’t have a lot of reviews or good reviews, that might be a time for you to pause.

Ask questions! Most Etsy sellers are amazing at answering questions. It is a must if you are a small shop because people will always remember good customer service. I ordered shirts for Bryson and I from a cute little shop and was so excited about them. Within minutes of Bryson putting the shirt on in Disney, the vinyl decal started peeling away from the shirt.

1In all honesty, I hate complaining to people about a product. But, just as this is a small shop and you want to support them and they put a lot of time and effort into making the products and that’s why you spend $25-$30 on a t shirt, you also have to remember that you worked hard to earn that money to buy the product and you deserve a good product. So, I reached out to her and sent her a picture of the shirt and explained the situation and she was just delightful. She was so apologetic and got a replacement shirt in the mail for us right away. With such great customer service, you better believe I will order from that shop again and recommend the products to others. So, if there is an issue with your shirt or what you ordered, say something.

6Inquire about customization. Did you find something you liked but it wasn’t exactly what you wanted? Ask a question! There is a button on Etsy that prompts you to ask a question about a product. If Bryson and I are getting custom shirts, I almost always want glitter on mine. I live for glitter; Bryson however, does not. So, I always ask if mine can have glitter and his can be glitter-less. Sometimes I ask for a different font, or to remove our names because we don’t usually want names on our shirts, that just isn’t our style. Don’t be afraid to ask for changes to something because you are spending quite a bit on a custom shirt or item so you should get what you want.

Don’t be afraid to walk away from a purchase. I have had things in my cart and when I thought more about it or continued to look around, I would find something that I just liked better but by this time I had asked a number of questions and changed things and had a custom listing made for me or some combination of that and I feel bad for causing the seller to answer my questions and all this, so I purchase the shirt or the item and I regret it.

94Don’t do this. Yes, was it probably a little annoying that you asked a lot of questions but if you find something better, you find something better. Don’t guilt yourself into making a purchase you don’t really want. Most Etsy sellers do not accept returns, especially on custom items so once you buy it, it is yours. Don’t make the mistake of buying something you don’t really want, especially if you found something else along the way, that you like better.

There is nothing wrong with changing your mind even if you have asked several questions and been what you might consider to be a bother. The seller doesn’t want you to purchase something you don’t really want either because if you aren’t happy with your purchase, you won’t come back.

Have a plan!

21For each trip we go on to Disney, there are certain things I want to get before we go. We enjoy wearing Disney shirts and we buy shirts at Disney but I am a big fan of having unique items so I make a list of specific items I want to see about getting months before a trip so I can purchase a few at a time and have enough time to search around.

For example, on our upcoming trip, we will be going for our Christmas trip and this will be a land and sea adventure so we will also be setting sail on our first cruise. We set out in search of a items that we really wanted and items that we kind of wanted for that trip.

Always remember that planning in advance works to your advantage when it comes to Etsy because these are small shops and many don’t have access to large production facilities; it takes a little longer for items to be made and shipped to you. On the flip side of that, you are getting something custom, made to order and you are supporting a small shop which is great!

95A typical turnaround time on Etsy is around 3-4 weeks so we don’t recommend waiting until the last minute to purchase your items, especially if you are customizing something.

The things I knew I wanted for our December trip was a new Christmas shirt for us to wear at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a pirate Mickey shirt for Pirate night on the cruise, Mickey door magnets for our room door on the cruise and then we were also on the lookout for fish extender gifts and gift ideas.

I would favorite items that I wanted to come back to and yes, I am one of those people who puts things in my cart and continues to come back and contemplate them before purchasing. If you are an Etsy shop owner, that probably drives you nuts, I apologize. I do it on every online shopping site. At this moment, I probably have items in carts on at least 15 different websites.

55.jpgAfter I have thoroughly exhausted my search for unique or eye catching designs for what I am looking for, then I will ask questions. Can the seller customize? Can mine be glitter or can we omit the glitter from Bryson’s?

A major turnoff for me, that has resulted in me, noting to never purchase from that seller is if the seller appears agitated or is cold in their response to me. Does that sound harsh? Here is my reasoning. These are small businesses, as I mentioned, I can find these same shirts for far cheaper elsewhere, if I am going to spend the time and money to purchase from a small business, I expect excellent customer service and I can find another seller who will make me the exact shirt, this shop is selling and who will provide me with that service.

Some of my favorite shops!

The Patchmaker Plus

Shop Emily G

Happy Cuts Studio

Elyssa’s Ears

ClEARly Magic

PreciousArtCreation

P and P Custom Creations

Sew My Ears

Shine Designs Tees

Cutie Cakes Studio

KathlenesCreations

57I am not a rep for any of these brands and have found them through searching and social media. Each of these shops, I have purchased items from and will purchase from again. I absolutely love each and every one of them and would highly recommend checking them out to bring your magical ideas to life!

A few more tips!

Use the favorites button. In the top right hand corner of each listing is a little heart button. Click the heart button to add the item to your favorites. That way, as you continue your search you can always refer back to the listings that you favorited.

Read the listing thoroughly. Generally, Etsy sellers are amazing at providing a ton of information about the items that they sell. The dimensions, exact color choices, various options that are available, shipping times and so much more. Reach each listing thoroughly before purchasing and asking a bunch of questions so that you are sure to receive what you want and there are no surprises in your order.

8Be aware of shipping times. I know that I already briefly mentioned this but be aware of the seller’s typical shipping and turnaround times. Many of these creations are handmade and turnaround times can be longer than many other online sites for that reason. Be sure that you look into the turnaround time for the shop so that you get your item in time. Don’t wait for last minute with Etsy; you want to plan ahead and order with plenty of time to spare.

40Write a review. These sellers work really hard to make their products and take a lot of pride, as they should, in the items that they sell. Leave them a review and you have an issue, give the seller a chance to make the situation right before you leave a poor review. Most times, sellers will go out of their way to make right any mistakes in the order. Sometimes shirts get damaged in transit or a mistake goes unseen before it is shipped. Sometimes, packages get lost.  These sellers are human, be mindful of that, and they work hard to make these products and get them to you. Be respectful and don’t give poor reviews without giving the seller a chance to make it right.

12Screen printed versus Vinyl. One thing I hear a lot of people talk about is that they order a shirt that has a big vinyl decal on the front and they thought that it was going to be screen printed on or embroidered. Be sure to check the listing to see what the decal is made out of. Some shops are able to use screen printing but many, that aren’t outsourced to a screen printing business are made in house with a vinyl iron on. Another important reason to carefully read the listing to ensure you are getting what you expect.

Etsy is a wonderful online marketplace to support small business and to find unique, customized, fun items. I highly recommend supporting these gems, and searching to find exactly what it is that you want!

That’s it for this post! What are your tips for shopping on Etsy? What are your favorite Etsy shops?

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

Deck The Disney Halls With Holiday Magic. Our Guide To Holidays in Disney

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

4.jpgAs soon as the last guest exits the parks on October 31, crews come in to remove the fall and Halloween decor and begin to deck the halls with miles and miles of garland; over a thousand Christmas trees and holiday decor. It is important to note that although much of the holiday decor goes up overnight in the parks, the resorts and the finishing touches for the holidays is not complete until mid-November.

We released a number of blog posts last year for the holiday season and will be doing so again this year. If you simply can’t wait for all of the holly jolly fun, head over to some of the posts from last year and get yourself into that holiday spirit early! You can view our guide to Must Do Holiday Events, and our tips for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Disney is already releasing information on holidays at Walt Disney World (WDW) and we are going to provide an overview of the magical holiday experiences coming to WDW this year.

6One of the best things about holidays at WDW is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) which is once again coming to Magic Kingdom. This popular extra ticketed event will happen on select nights at Magic Kingdom. A separate ticket is required for entry to this party and it is important to remember that a park hopper or regular park ticket will not get you access, the party does not happen each night and if you are wanting to attend the party, it is a good idea to purchase your tickets ahead of time as some of the parties will sell out.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will begin on November 8th and run on various nights through December 21. After December 21, the holiday parade and fireworks will continue nightly through December 29 but other party events do not extend to those dates.

9A couple of can’t miss items for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) include the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade where you will see toy soldiers, your favorite characters and princesses, and of course the big guy in the red suit! Holiday Wishes, the specialty fireworks display lights up the night sky with holiday favorites filling the air and amazing fireworks too! Don’t miss some of your favorite characters decked out in their adorable winter gear and even Goofy in his Santa outfit for some unforgettable character meet and greets.

21Holiday merchandise has already made its debut around Walt Disney World. You can find everything from holiday jewelry, ears, clothing for guys, girls and kids, ornaments, accessories, toys and other fun available at most merchandise shops now through New Years. If you are heading to MVMCP be sure to be on the lookout for exclusive party merchandise as well.

22.jpgAnother great part of the holidays is The International Festival of the Holidays which will be returning to Epcot in 2018. The Festival comes on the heels of the International Food and Wine Festival; big shoes to fill. This festival is so full of magic and fills World Showcase with the spirit of the holidays. Besides various holiday kitchen’s which highlight holiday vittles from around the world, you can also find presentations of holiday spirit and traditions from carious countries as well.

20Pere Noel is in France for example, telling the story of a little French girl and her families traditions. Another great highlight is Belle from Beauty and the Beast in her gorgeous red velvet gown does a meet in greet in the gazebo that is in the corner of the France pavilion.

This year in terms of food there will be a cookie stroll, you can find the various locations where you can buy cookies and get a passport stamp. Once you have completed five cookies along the stroll you can show your passport to a castmember at Holiday Sweets and Treats and receive an additional cookie!

Traditional holiday feast will be available in the American Pavilion, several yule log options will be on hand again this year at several kitchens including a maple version at the Yukon Holiday Kitchen in Canada. In addition to food selections you can imbibe in some holiday inspired beverages including an eggnog white porter that is available at several different kitchens, and an eggnog shake available at the Refreshment Port as well as a spice rum punch slush available in France.

12Additionally at Epcot is one of the highlights of our entire year. The Candlelight Processional. We have done a full blog post on just this event and you can find that HERE! We absolutely love this event and for us, it is an absolute must do. There are amazing narrators and a large choir and the entire program is the narrator telling the story of Christmas as told by the bible. It is gorgeous and moving and fantastic.

Dining packages are available for this event and that guarantees you a spot at your desired time and date for the Candlelight Processional. This is not always necessary but on certain days, with certain narrators, lines will be out of control to get into this event with standby. So, if you want to guarantee yourself a spot and not have to wait in line for it, go ahead and sign up for the dining package; that is what we always do because we don’t like lines.

3Over at Hollywood Studios you can experience Jingle Bell Jingle Bam a nighttime spectacular that will be coming back again this year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This event runs nightly from November 6 thru January 6 and includes some amazing state of the art projections.

 

 

15Resort hopping is one of our favorite things to do at Walt Disney World, especially during the holiday season. Each Disney resort decorates according to the theme of the resort and at several resorts, you can find breathtaking gingerbread displays.

11Each year at the Grand Floridian, a giant tree goes into the lobby area and also a lifesize gingerbread house is erected. The entire main building smells of fresh baked gingerbread and the house is actually a store. The staff members work inside the house and you can purchase gingerbread treats from it. It is amazing. Other displays can be found at Beach Club and Contemporary to name just a couple. We did a full review of Holiday Resort Hopping in 2017 so be sure to check that out for a guide on how to plan your resort hopping for 2018.

17Other noteworthy events around Disney include the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs. This is a fun trail with different themed Christmas trees. Each tree is themed towards a different Disney movie or item and it is pretty fun. The Christmas Tree Trail runs from November 8 thru January 6 and it is not the easiest thing to find. It is kind of tucked into a corner of Disney Springs but once you find it, it is fun to walk through it.

84This year Andy’s backyard will get some Christmas details as well. We are not exactly sure quite yet what that will entail but because Toy Story Land is amazing and you should definitely experience it regardless, we suggest heading over to check out what holiday cheer Disney has in store.

That is it for this post! We adore holidays in Walt Disney World and our Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a trip home because, after all, there is no place like home for the holidays! What is your favorite part about holidays at Walt Disney World? We would love to hear from you. Be sure to stay tuned for more details on holiday events at WDW.

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

Disney and Non Disney Faves for October

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

27.jpgWelcome to the second installment of my “Must Haves” series! I am so excited to be doing this series. I love trying new products and being recommended products other people enjoy. This is a mixture of Disney and non-Disney items and I’m excited to share them with you! Do you have a product you are loving? I would love to hear about it and give it a try so leave me a comment with what your current must have’s are.

 

 

Food and Drink:

Isopure Protein Drink, Apple Melon:

1First things first, if you read my Disney and Non-Disney Faves for September blog post, you know that with the lifestyle that we live, we consume a lot of protein so we are always looking for protein that doesn’t taste like chalk. We were at Costco and happened upon the Isopure Protein Drink in Apple Melon flavor. The bottle is 20 ounces and has 20 grams of protein and zero carb’s which is amazing. I refuse to drink any protein drinks with less than 20 grams of protein. You can also purchase on Amazon. I think the taste is delightful. I really enjoy it, if you like apple flavored Jolly Rancher’s you would most likely enjoy this. Bryson doesn’t love it, he thinks it has a weird aftertaste but I don’t think it has an after taste at all. Have you tried this product? What did you think?

Detoxwater:

48I am a big water drinker. I drink it all day every day. One thing I love is to make a “recipe” for detox water. I make it in a large pitcher and fill it for several days before replacing the ingredients. It sounds a little strange but it is incredibly refreshing and a great way to get your water intake in and keep that number up and switch it up a bit. Here’s what you will need:

A pitcher or large container HERE is the infusion pitcher that I use.

Strawberries (this particular pitcher only fits 3-4)

Cucumber slices (5-6 thin slices)

1 sliced lemon

small handful of cilantro

Stuff ingredients into infuser or place in pitcher and fill with water. Allow to infuse for several hours, I infuse for 24 hours and then enjoy!

Simple and yummy.

There are several recipes for detox water and really anything goes as long as you think that it tastes good. Do you have a good version that I should try? Let me know!

Coco Pina

2I love tropical fruits. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, I want to feel like I am sitting on a beach in Kauai or the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. On a recent trip to our local grocery store, I came across these delightful little cups of tropical amazingness. Coco Pina are by the brand Simple Truth, which is a Kroger brand. There are other similar options available that I have seen online and at Costco. This small cup of pineapple comes with sweetened coconut milk and water and I’m telling you what, it is absolutely delicious.

It is such a perfect mid-afternoon snack when I need something sweet but don’t want to splurge with chocolate or candy. I grab one of these and it’s absolutely perfect for me.

Clothing:

Knot Back Sweaters

4Two years ago, one of my favorite online boutiques, Pink Lily Boutique released a couple of these amazing sweaters. These knot back sweaters are adorable and the trend has absolutely exploded. I purchased two of these sweaters and they are absolutely amazing. Full coverage in the front and then a really cute open back knot design that just makes the whole outfit. I even wear these to work once in a while paired with a no yank tank from Duluth Trading Company. You can visit a variety of online retailers and find several styles of this sweater now. They have solids that are now coming in brighter colors like yellow, green and hot pink. Some great neutrals. Several retailers have embellished versions with pearls or multi-color versions as well. I absolutely love these and think that they are a definite must have as we head into sweater weather.

Flexpedition Pull on Boot-cut Pants

5There is a new Duluth Trading Company that just opened near us and I am obsessed. I absolutely love the comfort of their clothes and the sensibility. I work a lot on my feet, running up and down stairs, bending over, and then there are times when I just sit at my computer. At a recent trip to the store, I found these Flexpedition Pull On Boot-Cut Pants and they were on sale. I decided to give them a try and I love them. I wear them one day almost every single week. They are pull-on and stretchy. You can actually snap them to make them capri pants and there are plenty of pockets. Duluth has a variety of similar pants as well and their yoga pants are incredibly durable and comfortable. Be sure to check out their website or head over to one of their stores for some really comfy and still stylish gear!

Get in loser shirt

12.jpgOn our last trip to Walt Disney World, we were waiting to get onto Haunted Mansion and a shirt popped up on my Instagram. I burst out laughing and immediately purchased it. Talk about good marketing. The shirt is a t shirt or tank top from an amazing Etsy shop called The New Orleans Wear House and the shirt has the hitchhiking ghosts (that glow in the dark!) and says, “Get in loser, we’re going haunting”. You’re laughing right now, aren’t you. I know you are and that’s great because I own the shirt and I am still laughing. Now, I asked the seller if they could make the shirt a tank top and sure enough, they could. I got mine in purple and I LOVE it! What color are you getting?

Fall Disney Shirt

49I love a good Etsy shirt. Clearly! This is the second one I’m telling you about in this post alone. Glitter Dreams Inc is a super cute shop on Etsy. It is really easy to get sucked into a rabbit hole on Etsy. There are so many items, so many are similar so how do you know what to choose? I’m not going to lie, we have purchased things on Etsy that I regret. The quality is not there, and you are paying a pretty penny for items on Etsy. Glitter Dreams Inc has well made, high quality shirts. I love all things glitter and I love things that are a little bit different and this is a great place to find that.

13The fall home shirt is absolutely adorable. It’s Disney, but it isn’t over the top Disney. There is also a version that says “fall” instead of “home” and it is the same shirt with no Disney reference if that is more your style. Perfect for a Saturday when you are at not at Disney or any park day in the fall! This shop has 5 star reviews and I highly recommend checking it out on your search for fall, holiday or any day shirts!

I am working on several Etsy posts. How to find great stuff on Etsy, shops that I love and recommend and how to shop smart on Etsy and also a holiday gift guide and Holiday Disney guide for Etsy. Stay tuned for that coming soon! If you have an Etsy shop and would like me to check it out, please let me know and I would be happy to do so!

Accessories:

8I am not a huge Disney collector. I don’t collect pins or dolls or any of that but I do love Magic Bands. I love Magic Bands like I love Mickey ears. If you are looking for a fun, different Magic Band option, I highly recommend checking out Kathlene’s Creations. I have a Magic Band from her and I want them all. She covers them in amazing, durable glitter! I absolutely love mine, every time that I wear it in the parks, I get compliments on it. It’s unique and fun and extremely durable and high quality.

There are a couple options, when purchasing from this shop. You can supply your own Magic Band or she can supply the Magic Band. I chose the easier route and just had her supply the band and I love it. In addition to Magic Bands, she has other accessories, wristlets, shirts, pins, luggage tags and more. If you are looking for a standout, unique piece, be sure to head over to her website and check it out.

Home: 

9I suffer from anxiety and at times it can be severe. I also have a terrible time sleeping at night. I take melatonin every night to calm my nerves, to curb my nightmares and to relax. In addition, I take anxiety drops to help as well. I take them every morning when I wake up and before I go to bed and at times I also take them during the day.

Recently, Bryson ordered me an anxiety blanket. I had never heard of such a thing! It is a heavy, weighted blanket. The inner weighted layer is made of breathable cotton and comprised of compartments that are evenly distributed and evenly filled with hypo-allergenic, non toxic, odorless glass beads. The blanket is intended to help with anxiety. It’s great! It’s cool and actually also works as a cooling blanket, I’m assuming from the beads. The blanket weighs fifteen pounds and has provided me with deep sleep for which I am grateful. 

I still take my melatonin and I still take my anxiety drops but when I wake up, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I am able to quickly fall back to sleep and it is pure magic. If you have trouble sleeping, deal with anxiety or have trouble getting settled at night, I highly recommend a blanket of this nature, and this exact blanket. It comes in multiple sizes and it is not cheap but in my opinion, it is worth every penny.

Mrs. Meyers Basil cleaner

10I am not all about all-nautral products. If I find something that is natural, I will try it, I’m not opposed to it but when it comes to cleaning my house, I want bleach. I want something that picks up the germs, destroys the bacteria and makes my house smell good. I have never tried any Mrs. Meyers products but I was at the store the other day and my store was out of the coconut scented bleach that I am obsessed with and Mrs. Meyers was on sale so I thought, “sure, I’ll give it a try.” They had a basil scent so I snagged it and here is my review.

It smells amazing! It seems to clean quite well. I am not going to give up my bleach but I love the scent of this cleaner and it seems to remove particles and things from counters and also my lunch box quite well. What is your opinion of Mrs. Meyers? Do you think that it cleans as well as a bleach cleaner? Do you feel that it is removing the germs and bacteria? I would love to hear your thoughts because I do like it a lot and can see myself keeping it on hand. I like to keep a cleaner like this in our bathroom but am still on the fence about the kitchen. I would love to know your thoughts!

Other: 

“What is the best thing that happened to you today?”

11Recently, my work had our semi-annual staff retreat. I work at a non-profit that provides services to 363 days a year. The only two days that we close our doors are for these staff retreats. I generally don’t have high expectations for staff retreats and things of this nature. Just being honest, not much gets done. Problems are not going to be solved, a few people may feel as though needs are addressed but it’s still a day you are required to go to work and talk to people and it’s a day that your work isn’t getting done so inevitably you are behind when you show up at your desk the next day.

This was not that much different but I still show up, have hopes for learning something or finding a great nugget of info that I can take away. I found that nugget in one of the presenters speaking on the power of positive thinking; the power of hope and being accountable for your own decisions, your own thoughts and your own day.

40When we get home at night what do we say to people? How was your day? How was work? The next time you ask or are asked, think of what comes to your mind first. There is a high probability that the negative things that happened are the first thing you address. So, try this. Instead of asking those questions ask, “What was the best thing that happened to you today?” Regardless of how bad your day was, how much the negative sticks out, something good happened to you so dwell on that instead and see how it changes your day and your outlook.

This is powerful to me. I tend to be a realist and also a pessimist. I see things in a bad light sometimes and it is really important to me that I work on changing that. So I’m trying to focus on the good and the positive and not to dwell on the bad or the irritating. There will always be people at work who you don’t get along with; things that happen that you don’t agree with; bad things will happen but good things happen to and that’s what we should be focusing on instead of drowning in the bad, be uplifted by the good.

That is where we are going to leave it today. I hope you found a nugget of good in this list and I hope that you enjoyed reading about my current loves. I would love to hear from you if you have tried these items and what your thoughts were.

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, What we Did, What we Missed, What we Loved.

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

32.jpgOn our most recent trip to Walt Disney World we had a wonderful evening at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP). This is one of the extra ticketed events at Magic Kingdom. A fun night for kids of all ages to celebrate Halloween and fall, meet some amazing Disney characters that aren’t always out and about. There is a different fireworks show, special for Halloween called Hallowwishes, a special nighttime parade called the Boo to You Parade which is such a treat and so much more fun.

35The party for 2018 began in August. Typically in July, Disney announces the dates for that year’s MNSSHP and each year it seems, the party begins earlier. MNSSHP is not offered every night but it is an extra ticketed event so a ticket specific to the party must be purchased in order to remain in Magic Kingdom after the party begins. This year, the party begins at 7 pm. Guests can enter the park with their ticket to the party at 4 pm, those who are DVC members can enter at 2 pm. If you have an Annual Pass or a Park Hopper Ticket you can enter the party at any time throughout the day.

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At and after 4 pm, whether you are just entering the park or already in the park, you will be given a wristband once you have confirmed your ticket purchase for the party. This wristband is your lifeline to the park. Throughout the night, castmembers will be asking you to show your wristband, whether this is to get into a line for a character, for a ride, a trick of treat station, as you walk around the park, if you are found without a wristband, you will be kindly escorted from the park.

So, what is the fuss about for MNSSHP?

36It truly is a magical time. There are special shows including the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, which is a must see for many people, the Boo to You Parade which is by far one of the most exciting highlights of the party, characters in costume including Eeyore as a clown which gives me all of the feels.

40Going into MNSSHP this year there were a few things we really wanted to do. My number one was getting my photo with Eeyore, Pooh, Tigger and Piglet. I wanted this photo last year but we didn’t get it and this was something I told Bryson was my must do.

First thing I did when we got into the park was head straight for Winnie the Pooh. We got into the line before the party even started but it was really close to party time.

45If you are wanting to get some of the character opportunities out of the way, especially the more popular ones like the Seven Dwarfs and Jack and Sally, get in line by 5:30  pm or 6:00 pm. The line for Winnie the Pooh was already over an hour by the time that I got in line but I waited in line while others went to get other photos and ride some rides and get some candy.

After Bryson and my photo with Pooh and friends, we headed over to Storybook Circus where we got photos with Minnie Mouse which was really fun. Also in Storybook Circus, Goofy, Daisy and Donald and also the Seven Dwarfs.

41Other popular character meet and greets include Jack and Sally who are in the gazebo near the entrance to Liberty Square behind the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, Moana who is in the Tiki Room this year, Captain Jack Sparrow, Aladdin and Jasmine, Mickey Mouse in the Town Square Theatre where he always meets, Cruella De Vil, the Queen of Hearts and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Lotso and Elvis Stitch.

Since we were going on this trip with friends we wanted to make sure that they experienced the Boo to You Parade and HallowWishes the fireworks show.

This year, new elements were added to several rides. The teacups were given light effects and a new soundtrack, Space Mountain got blacked out for an extra spooky adventure and live actors were added to Pirates of the Caribbean.

Full disclosure, none of this really got me that excited but I can absolutely appreciate that appeal for some Disney goers!

30Each year for the season, Magic Kingdom (and all around Disney property) features seasonal treats. There are some treats available throughout the parks and resorts all throughout the day and night and some that are just available for the extra ticketed events.

28This year was no exception and I was really excited to give the Madame Leota tart a try during MNSSHP. This was one of the treats that was exclusive to the party. Every year, I pick one of the treats that I really want to try and every year, I am disappointed. Here is the deal with these treats. There is a lot of hype, they are usually very social media friendly and that’s where it ends. Not one treat, in my personal opinion, has ever been worth it in terms of taste. This year carried on that tradition for me. I gave the tart a try, it was size of my fist and was just okay; there was absolutely nothing special about it and there are treats all over the Kingdom that are more worth the price!

26This is the first year that we planned on and actually did Trick or Treating. Since the family that we went with had a little boy, we figured that he would want to do it and we were right! So, we hit up a lot of the trick or treating locations which was really fun and they dole out the candy at MNSSHP, by the handfuls. So, bring a big bag because the little one they give you might not cut it!

38There are so many amazing Photo Pass opportunities at MNSSHP and all of the time at Magic Kingdom and around WDW. The extra ticketed events offer amazing Magic Shots. What is a Magic Shot? Photos that include accents or characters or a fun video element added to the shot afterward.

43This is one of my favorite parts of an extra ticketed event or any day in Disney and I was so excited to take advantage of so many of them. Unfortunately, we only were able to take advantage of a couple but we did get the Headless Horseman picture which was my number 1 photo pass want for this party so that was exciting!

 

 

Here are my  must do’s for MNSSHP in my own humble opinion:

4) HalloWishes

3) Magic Shots

2) Character Meet and Greets in costume

1) Boo to you Parade

Explanation:

31I love HalloWishes but it is not my favorite nighttime spectacular. I think that it is a great show and should not be missed but it just isn’t my number one. The Magic Shots are fun for the whole family and it is always a really great time to see what shows up on your My Disney Experience app when the photos upload.

29Character meet and greets are a huge part of the party for me; I love the costumes and that it is a little different from the typical meet and greet the rest of the year; I also think it is a great opportunity to meet characters that aren’t out all of the time. The Boo to You Parade is my absolute favorite part of the party. If you can, wait for the second round of the parade because the crows will be thinner but we wary of that advice because if you are there on a busier party night, it really won’t make that much of a difference and you still want to show up early to get a prime spot.

My overrated list for MNSSHP in my own humble opinion:

3) Rides

2) Trick or Treating

1) The Specialty Treats

Explanation:

24I put rides on my overrated list for one simple reason; you can ride rides any time in the parks. There are so many amazing things offered during extra ticketed events that I think rides are a waste of time and money at these events. Again, this is my personal opinion and if rides are what you really enjoy doing, I think that’s wonderful and you should do that! This is your vacation just like my vacation is my vacation and we all have different things that make us happy!

44This thought process continues for Trick or Treating. If you are a local and this is how your kids trick or treat or if you have children or if you just really love candy and want to get candy, you go Glen Coco! We don’t eat a lot of candy and don’t have children so there are other things we want to do to fill our party time.

As for the treats, as I mentioned earlier, I get so excited for these treats and every year I am disappointed. My goal is to not even go for the treats next year but let’s all have a good laugh when next year rolls around and I am telling you how excited I am to try this or that specialty treat at MNSSHP.

That’s it for this post! What are you most excited about for MNSSHP or what was your favorite part? I would love to hear from you! Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

In My Disney Bag

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

6We are just getting back from our most recent trip home and I thought it would be a great idea to do a post on what is in my Disney bag! For a couple who travels to Disney multiple times a year, in various seasons, we have some staples in our park backpack that I always carry with us, day in and day out in the parks and I think that is very valuable information to share with you!

First, I want to answer a few questions we get frequently from people planning their trips or just wanting additional information.

Bags on Rides!

Yes! On almost every Disney ride, you can take a backpack. Also, on almost every Disney ride, you can either wear your sunglasses, ears and other accessories or there is a pouch for you to place them in.

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9.jpgThe only exceptions to this that we have really found are at Flight of Passage in Pandora, World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom, where you stow all of your gear behind you in the ride chamber in large bins and on Soarin’. Soarin’ offers a pouch underneath the seat for purses, small bags, ears etc. but for my backpack, I always ask a castmember where they would like me to stow it. Most of the time, it is to the right of the row of chairs where we are sitting but once in a while, a castmember will tell me to put it at my feet or to the left, so I always like to check.

Taking a stroller, should you leave your backpack with the stroller when going on rides?

7No! Absolutely not, under any circumstances, should you leave important items in your stroller when leaving it unattended for any period of time. We love Disney, we believe Disney is the happiest place on earth. That being said, shady people still visit the happiest place on earth. Anytime you leave your stroller, scooter or wheelchair unattended, take every single thing you value with you. Nine times out of ten, your things will still be where you left them, when you return, but that one time, you leave your wallet or your purchases in that stroller or other vessel, it will get stolen and your happy vacation will not be so happy after that. Always, always, always, take your things with you when you.

Now, what’s in my bag?

Let’s start with the backpack. Carrying a backpack is not for everyone. My backpack gets heavy because I carry all of our camera equipment and vlogging materials but we are planners and carrying a backpack is like a security blanket for me and I couldn’t imagine a day in Disney without it.

89Bryson actually asked me on the last day of our most recent trip, if we lived in Disney, would I still have to carry the backpack. The honest answer to that is yes. I absolutely would still have to carry a backpack especially for the various vlogging equipment we take and our giant water bottles. Even if we were just going to Disney for the day, I would still need those things and that is the bulk of the weight in the backpack anyway.

10Other options would be a fanny pack (check out this adorable option from Etsy) or a mini-backpack. We carry a full-size backpack and the one that I carry is one that you can typically purchase in the parks at several of the larger merchandise shops. It is a generic Mickey Disney backpack. Here are some other cute options available at Walt Disney World, including the one I really want which is the Black and White Sequin Minnie Bag.

13.jpgI am also really loving this adorable Castle Backpack I recently came across on Etsy, these customized Polka Dot Backpacks as well and this cute Mini Backpack from Shop Disney!

 

Stay hydrated!

11If you follow our blogs and vlogs you  know that we are really big on staying hydrated. If I could give you only one piece of advice for Disney, I would tell you to drink water, drink water, drink water. Anytime you go to a quick service food stop, you can ask for a cup of water and they will give you one. I’m not saying they will give you a giant cup of water but they will give you a cup of water.

12That is not enough for us. I don’t mind carrying a lot of weight in my backpack so we carry two fifty ounce water bottles in our backpack and we refill them four to five times a day, everyday.  We purchased our water bottles from Target and they are the CamelBak Chute Mag and we purchased customized decals from Etsy or this Darth Vader Disney option to spruce them up a bit. Coming from Colorado, we get so dehydrated in Orlando, because of the humidity so we drink a ton of water.

72You may have noticed that the water in Orlando isn’t delicious. It tastes like sulfur. There are, however several places where you can find good or at least decent tasting water. If you are at Epcot and are a DVC member, the DVC member lounge has great water; although they do discourage you from filling up your large water bottles when it is busy. Over by Norway there is a restroom and the water fountain over there has good water as well. Additionally, over by Test Track and Mission Space there is a restroom on the walk over that way from World Showcase and that water is good as well.

14At Magic Kingdom, over by the Tangled restrooms the water tastes like sulfur but it is less of a strong smell and taste from those fountains. If you are staying on property, the best water is from the drink dispensers that are available in the quick service dining locations. That water is filtered. Bottom line is, drink water.

Ponchos!

95No matter what time of the year you are visiting Walt Disney World, there is a good chance, it will rain. Storms roll in and our of Orlando and central Florida almost everyday. They are quick (usually) and they can pour down a monumental amount of rain in a very short period of time. We keep disposable ponchos on us because we can whip them out, toss them and don’t have to fold them up and put them soaking wet, back into our backpack. You can find the ponchos that we purchase HERE! and it is important to note that Disney does sell ponchos and for a family of five you will be spending about $60 on plastic if you don’t bring your own and get caught in one of these frequent storms.

Hand Sanitizer!

14I always carry hand sanitizer with me at Disney. There are a ton of people, some of them are sick, some don’t wash their hands and I work at a nonprofit where I go through hand sanitizer like it is going out of style and that carries over to Disney. We buy a big box of them on Amazon because they are cheaper that way but you can find incredibly cute Disney themed ones in the parks that are great as well, just a little pricier. You can find the ones we purchase HERE! and more information about the Disney versions can be found HERE!

Lotion!

15All that hand sanitizer you are using, you might want some lotion. I always keep a travel sized lotion in the backpack that I can use throughout the day! Some of my favorites include The Body Shop offerings, I just love the smell of those!

 

 

Hair brush!

1.jpgMy hair stays down for about an hour everyday because with the humidity in Orlando, I just can’t deal but I still try almost everyday to keep my hair down for as long as possible because I like pictures of my hair down more than up and we take a lot of pictures and as vain as that is; it is what it is. My hair is not used to the humidity so I like to brush it out for the hour before it goes up in a pineapple on top of my head.

Lip Balm!

16I always have lip balm on me. In Florida, you need it less than in a dry climate like Colorado but I still like to keep it on me and always have one in my bag. Some of my favorites include Burt’s Bees and Sun Bum.

 

 

 

Sunglasses!

I do not buy expensive sunglasses. There are quite a few reasons for this; one is because I always lose them or sit on them within about a month of getting them. But, you have to have sunglasses in Disney. I wear eyeglasses as well and it is quite a juggling act for me to always be switching back from my prescription eyeglasses to my cheap sunglasses. I don’t buy prescription sunglasses because with my prescription, they are insanely expensive so I go back and forth between my eyeglasses and my sunglasses all day long. It’s actually quite entertaining to watch or so I have been told.

Mints!

17If you have ever been to Walt Disney World, or the Orlando International Airport (MCO), you may have noticed that there is no gum to be found! That’s right, nowhere on Disney property or at MCO is there any chewing gum to be purchased. People don’t throw gum away. I will never understand it and if you do this, yes, I am judging you, with my judging face, but people can’t seem to make it into a trash can. They drop it on the floor, leave it on walls, throw it in water, but it just can’t seem to make it into a trash can.

So, Disney does not sell it anywhere on property, and they encourage people not to chew it. In fact, Disney went so far as to make a deal with MCO that they would not sell gum either. Nowhere at either of these places will you be able to purchase chewing gum and how awesome is it that you can experience Walt Disney World, without stepping on someone’s chewed gum every five steps!

I have no problem being a part of this solution and not the problem and we take mints instead. 3 Hour Mints are my absolute favorite so I always keep a pack in my bag for a trip.

Fuel Rod!

19.jpgAll throughout Walt Disney World and MCO, you will find Fuel Rod stations. Fuel Rods are portable charger packs that come with a variety of adapters for your device and charge it up while you walk around the parks. We are constantly using a Fuel Rod and we also have a charging port as well that we carry in the bag. We probably use more battery than some because we also use our phones for filming when we aren’t using our large camera and tripod but we also take a ton of photos like everyone one.

The charging port that we use is a great deal on Amazon and typically charges for multiple days before we have to charge it. Both of these items are lifesavers for our vlogs and photos we take for Instagram, the blog and other social media.

Tide Pen!

20Bryson and I eat a lot in Disney and sometimes, like during festival season we are literally rushing from kitchen to kitchen ordering food, gobbling it down and then off to the next kitchen so that we can get as much tasty food in as possible to give a full review. Often this means, spills. I always carry a Tide Pen in the backpack so that when messes happen, we can clean them up and be on our way, ready to film and take pictures!

Ibuprofen!

58I always carry a small bottle of Ibuprofen or Tylenol in my bag. We go hard in Disney and there are bound to be headaches, body aches etc. So I always keep a small bottle on me.

There are other things that I keep in my bag sometimes or most of the time but what I put in this post are what I always, always, have in my bag. Anytime you see me in a park, it is a guarantee that I have all of these things in my bag. If you are a frequent Disney traveler, what do you always have in your bag? We’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Fall Y’all! And I’m Sharing my Fall Decor With You!

Hey Disney family! Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

2.jpgFall is in full swing and we are dabbling into winter here in Colorado. The leaves are changing and have actually already passed their peak and are now making a mess on the ground. We got our first snow on the Colorado front range this past weekend.

I am a big decorator. I love being festive, I love to decorate our house to match the season and although my fall decor is quite subdued compared to the explosion that is Christmas in our house, I absolutely love the warm colors, the leaves, the coziness of fall decor and I thought that it would be fun to share that with you.

5I pull out the fall decor on Labor Day; not because I am over summer but because I want to get those fall smells going in our house. One of the first things that I do every year is find some great smelling fall candles. Fall and winter is the time for candle burning in our house and this year I took myself over to Bath and Body Works (not sponsored but… hey Bath and Body Works hit me up) and boy oh boy was I in heaven. Bath and Body Works has the most amazing and strong fall and winter scents.

3I am a big fan of strong scents. I don’t light a candle for a faint wisp of scent that maybe wafts your way once in a while. I light candles because I  want my house to be overcome with the scents of the season. We bought three candles to be put in our kitchen and living room. Two Harvest Gathering scents and one Pumpkin Pecan Waffle flavor. The Pumpkin Pecan Waffle scent is absolutely incredible and is way stronger than the Harvest Gathering scent.

So that began our fall takeover.

I ventured to the basement and began pulling out the boxes of fall. Our spring/summer decor is out for the longest time; I put out spring decor in February for several reasons. By February, I am over winter and am ready to launch headfirst into flip flops, tan lines and outdoor adventures. I see no reason to prolong the dark, cold, misery that I view as winter (after February 1) and when I come home, I want to be welcomed with summer scents and summer decor so we go straight from Christmas to spring, there is no in between in our house.

But, it is not time for spring/summer decor, it is time for fall and that is what we are talking about so let’s get back to it.

75One of the main focal points in our house is our mantle. Our mantle is the center of our living space. We spend more time in the TV or family room and kitchen than any other space in our house. Our mantle is decorated year round and fall is no exception.

78I pull our the leaf garland and wrap that around all of the decor. I found these adorable Mickey and Minnie scarecrow decorations at Hobby Lobby. I did look on the Hobby Lobby website but was unable to find if they were still available online. I highly recommend heading over to your local Hobby Lobby if you are interested in these cuties because when I was there last week at one of our local stores, they still had several of each.

76I first had these on the ground, on either side of our mantle, which houses our television and fireplace. But, I decided to place them up on the mantle because I think they are more noticeable up there. I placed them on the ends of the mantle, purchased a little wooden crate with handles and some plastic gourds to go inside. I enjoy going with the more earth toned gourds, cream, burgundy, brown, darker orange etc. Then I found some leaf and fall accents to go along with that. On the mantle, I tipped the crate onto its side and spilled the pumpkins and other fall accessories out of the crate onto the mantle.

Last year, I purchased two pumpkin tea candle holders in a bronze color and I placed those among the leaves and in between photos that we leave up most of the year.

77On our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, we picked up this adorable Mickey pumpkin tea candle holder. If you follow us on any social media, you know my obsession with Mickey pumpkins is real. If Disney or anyone else sold (realistic) replicas of the gorgeous Mickey pumpkin wreaths that flank Main Street USA, I would be all over that and our entire house and yard would be consumed with them.

91Until then, I will settle for the Mickey pumpkin merch that I can get my hands on. I also found this adorable tractor at Hobby Lobby (of course). Both Bryson and I have farmer’s in our family heritage, so it is always fun to pay homage to that in our decor. We love rustic, country decor.

That is it for the mantle, and yes, it’s quite a bit of stuff. I’m over the top, what can I say.

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Also in our TV or family room, we have several shelves against the back wall that we keep photos on. I picked up a couple of small fall items to put on there. Hobby Lobby had these great fall pumpkins in several different colors with a little bit of sparkle detail and then I picked up a couple of cute littler ceramic chipmunks as well. Nothing too crazy, just simple.

89We have several signs that I have picked up that I believe may be meant for outside but we are unable to hang any signs on the front of our house, trust me, we have tried. So, they go inside instead. We have several cute ones and I think they add a nice little touch to our first floor.

85I move them around every year but I do keep the “Welcome” sign close to the front door where people can see it when they come in for obvious reasons.

Speaking of the front door, I have, of course, the Mickey wreath that I made on our front door. If you are interested in learning how to make your own Mickey wreath, I made a vlog that is up on our YouTube channel all about how I made this one!

Once you walk in the door, we have our formal living room. Our formal living room is rarely used but the first thing people see when they come into our house so, I like to have it decorated.

84We have several large shelves against the largest wall in the room. I have some little fall themed ceramic pieces and some fall themed florals in a wrought iron boot vase that I got at Hobby Lobby for our wedding. We have several of these vases around our house and I use them year round.

80On our coffee table I have a cute fall themed table runner with leaves and owls on it. Sitting on the runner, I have a cute little pumpkin scarecrow from, you guessed it, Hobby Lobby. To accent that piece, I set down some little corn pieces in various colors.

83The last part of that room is the end table in the corner. I love this little table. Since we never use this room, the table is completely useless for anything other than decorating. For fall, I have used another of the boot vases, I also have a silver pitcher filled with fall florals. To accent it, I have a cute little blue apple truck which I just love and think it gives a great pop of color. There is a little porcupine made of straw (I believe) and also a raccoon made of the same material. I love them and they are neutral colors so they go with everything.

82Last but not least for the fall decor, I moved the wreath that I made last year for the front door inside to the staircase and wrapped leaf garland around the railing leading up to the second story. To top it off, I strung a banner across the top of the staircase that said “Blessings”.

88Here is my thing about decorating. I like to add things every year and I like to change it up. Last year, I didn’t do anything to the banisters and I added my Mickey wreath and the Mickey and Minnie scarecrows.

For each season, I add to my decorations. Now, I am running out of places to put Christmas things but don’t you worry, I will find spots.

 

Do you decorate for fall? I would love to know where you get your favorite decorations and what your favorite time of year to decorate is!

That’s it for this post. Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.

 

 

 

Upping the Lunch Box Game With Woody’s Lunch Box

Hey Howdy Hey Disney family!

Welcome to our blog! We talk all things Disney World and beyond and we are excited that you could join us! Be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse.

58We are venturing back to Andy’s backyard today to get the full Woody’s Lunch Box experience. As you know, we love to eat and we love Disney food. We were really looking forward to trying this place. We rarely eat in Hollywood Studios and as we mention often, there is currently a lot to be desired when it comes to food options in this park. So, for Hollywood Studios to open a new land, we had high expectations; especially after Pandora and the opening of Satul’i Canteen; we had high hopes.

61Woody’s Lunch Box did not disappoint. There are two different menus; a breakfast menu and a lunch/dinner menu. This dining location is a counter service location which has the option for mobile ordering.

10This is an outdoor quick service location. The line is outside, the seating is outside although there are umbrellas over the tables to provide cover from the sun and weather elements. I will say, in the heat of Orlando, there could have been more cover provided but I understand why Disney decided against it. If you provide more shade in a land where shade is sparse, people will find the shade and camp out in the shade.

73Let’s get into the menu. For breakfast, one of the most talked about items is the S’mores French Toast Sandwich. We tried it and it is great. We heard some feedback from others who had tried it, that there was not enough marshmallow filling but that was not our experience at all. There was plenty of marshmallow, plenty of chocolate hazelnut spread, and the bread was soft with a crispy outside with plenty of cinnamon and sugar.

toy story bowl
Picture courtesy of disneyworld.disney.go.com

Additionally, there is a Breakfast Bowl that is packed with great breakfast flavor. This is a bowl of potato barrels (tater tots) with scrambled eggs, cheese, sausage gravy and green onions. Hubby got this and it was great! My recommendation would be to get these and split them. You get sweet and savory in one swoop!

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photo courtesy of disneyparks.disney.go.com

If you like parfait’s be sure to give the Banana Split Parfait a try. This option includes creamy vanilla yogurt layered with pineapple, banana and strawberry and is topped with granola for crunch, honey and dark chocolate chips. We have not tried this yet but if you have we would love to hear from you in the comments. This is on our must try list for the next time we are at Woody’s Lunch Box for breakfast.

70In my personal opinion, the absolute best things at Woody’s Lunch Box are the Lunch Box Tarts. They are amazing! You will never want a regular Pop Tart again. These blow the Pop Tarts we grew up with and still indulge in once in a while, out of the water. There are two flavors available (for now?); raspberry and chocolate-hazelnut. We really enjoyed both, but I will say, Disney, if you are reading this, put more filling inside these little beauties.

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You can also get Joffrey’s coffee, hot cocoa, orange juice and soft drinks for breakfast along with the Mystic Portal Punch which is the specialty non-alcoholic drink at Woody’s Lunch Box. Full disclosure, it is boring and not worth the price, it tastes like Powerade and nothing more.

For lunch, you can still get those lunch box tarts folks! Get em’, get ’em both! Maybe two! Oh my gosh they are so good.

69We have tried everything on the lunch/dinner menu from Woody’s Lunch Box. The BBQ Brisket melt and the Grilled Cheese were both absolutely amazing sandwiches. The BBQ sauce that comes with the BBQ Brisket Sandwich is tangy and has a vinegar kick which I really appreciated because I love the more tangy sauce as opposed to a sweet, thick, hearty sauce. I will say the sandwich could have used more pickles, but that is just a personal preference from one pickle lover.

65In terms of the Grilled Cheese, if you are a strong cheese lover, you will really enjoy this. It isn’t just some American cheese or processed cheese product slapped between a couple pieces of bread. This sandwich brings the cheese and several times of cheese for that matter. Definitely give this one a try if you are looking for a little comfort food and it does go really well with the Tomato Basil Soup side.

The Smoked Turkey Sandwich was the most underwhelming option in our opinion. But, it’s a turkey sandwich. If you had a plain eater or someone who doesn’t want anything too exciting, this would be a great choice for them.

62Last but not least, the Totchos! These are potato barrels (tater tots) made like nachos! So, they are covered in beef and bean chili, queso, shredded cheese, tomatoes, corn chips, sour cream and green onions. This was a really good option and one of the most filling on the menu. I am of the belief that you can never have too many toppings so of course, I could have gone for more sour cream, queso and chili but it was a great dish. Simple but yummy.

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As for the sides, there Tomato Basil Soup which is a good option to accompany the Grilled Cheese, I will say, both times we have had it, the soup was not hot. I will also say, both times we had it, it was nine hundred degrees outside so hot soup wasn’t exactly on the top of my priority list so lukewarm soup satisfied me just fine. There is also Potato Barrels which is the default side if you don’t specify.

57The Vegetable Macaroni Salad was good, I love macaroni salad and this was good. It was oily but I don’t know how you avoid that because the main ingredient in an Italian dressing based pasta salad dressing is oil. The taste was good, it had olives, which makes it a winner in my book. Another side option is the Mini Babybel Snack Cheese. Babybel is the sponsor of Woody’s Lunch Box and this is a great snack. Although for $3.49 you could probably buy a whole pack of them from the grocery store.

You can also get a side of Cheese Sauce. I would assume this would be for the Totchos or Potato Barrels. Full disclosure, I would absolutely dip my Brisket Sandwich in the Cheese Sauce.

64The same drink options are offered for lunch/dinner as are offered for breakfast. You can get a Root Beer Float off of the lunch/dinner menu as well. There are also alcoholic beverages offered on these menu’s. A Grown-Up Lemonade featuring Three Olives Cherry Vodka, Blue Moon Belgian White Ale (Yay Colorado Beers!), Bud Light and Angry Orchard Apple Cider.

66Important to note, breakfast is served from park opening until 10:30 am. At 10:30 am, they switch to the lunch/dinner menu. Mobile ordering is offered at Woody’s Lunch Box and is highly recommended. If you are not familiar with Mobile Ordering, be sure to download the My Disney Experience App and sign up on that. From that, you can click on Order Food under My Plans. There are a number of restaurants throughout Disney property that offer Mobile Ordering and it allows you to skip the line and get your food quicker. We love Mobile Ordering and use it quite frequently.

86If you are at Hollywood Studios for a Moonlight Magic event, Woody’s Lunch Box has not been open for these events at the time of this blog post being published. We completely understand why. In our opinion, Woody’s Lunch Box is one of the top dining options at Hollywood Studios. It is, for us, hands down, the top quick service dining location at this park.

Have you tried Woody’s Lunch Box? What did you think? We would love to hear from you!

Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse!