Resisting Impulse Buying (Disney)

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Disney Dollars (an old $10 Bill)

Disney Dollars

I am usually really good about not spending money, for instance, I don’t have tons of shoes, or designer bags, or fancy clothes. We kept the same TV for about 15 years because it was still “good”, basically a super heavy old-style 32″ Sony that lasted a really really long time. Most people were buying flat-screens back when they used to cost over $2,000. Not me.

My weakness is Disney stuff, I collect Christmas ornaments, kitchen and household items, Tsum Tsums, sometimes Disney pins, etc. Lately, I have just tried really hard to avoid buying anything from the Disney Store. I think what really woke me up, was that I was looking at my online order history,  I saw that I had ordered once a month for about 4 months!!

 

Mickey Mouse Advent Calendar

Mickey Mouse Advent Calendar

The advent calendar took me about 5 years to actually purchase, I didn’t want to spend that much money on it. I eventually got it on sale (25% off).  I usually don’t buy things at full price, and I usually will wait a while before making a purchase.  My main impulse buys are sale items, when something is discounted I tend to allow myself to buy it – justifying it because it has been deeply discounted.  That can add up.

Hallowreath (Halloween Wreath)

Hallowreath (Halloween Wreath)

Now, given that I had ordered about 4 months in a row, what did I have to show for it?  The Tsum Tsums just got stuck in the closet with the rest of the others, the Disney plates and bowls, just got stuck in the kitchen cabinets and aren’t getting used, and the Disney ornaments got put on a small tree in the closet for now.  So, I’m not really even enjoying these items.  I ordered a couple personalized towels, we’ve used those a few times, but all in all, I’m not really in need of anything else – even though I love Disney stuff. I was going gaga over the Alice in Wonderland and Star Wars Tsum Tsums – they were on clearance for $1.99 each, but I didn’t order anything.

It’s been good not spending the money, and it’s been nice not buying more clutter. I’d really like to set up a display area where I can set up my books, videos, DVDs, Disney toys, and items in a fun way, maybe get a corkboard for displaying pins. But for now, I’m going to keep resisting the urge to shop.

 

 

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Country Bear Jamboree – Magic Kingdom WDW

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Country Bear Jamboree

Country Bear Jamboree

Just wanted to share a photo I took at the Country Bear Jamboree show.  There is no flash photography allowed, but as you can see you can still get good photos without a flash.

It is a cute show, funny too. The songs are kinda ridiculous, but in a good way. It is really bizarre.  The song “Blood on the Saddle” that Big Al sings is especially odd, it was written by Tex Ritter, who is John Ritter’s father (John Ritter as you probably remember was Jack Tripper from Three’s Company), just a bit of useless trivia.

If you haven’t ever seen the show, you should check it out. This is a short clip of one of the characters.

McDonald Filet-O-Fish Comes with Only a 1/2 Slice of Cheese!

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So, I just discovered that there is only 1/2 a slice of cheese in the Filet-O-Fish sandwich!

I thought it was really weird so I looked it up, and it seems like it’s a legitimate spec.

Of all the photos online you can seem to discern the rectangular corners poking out. I’m just surprised that all across the world, McDonald’s are using 1/2 a slice of cheese on the Fish sandwich.

Anyways, I found this YouTube video of this guy complaining about it, which is kinda funny. I could see Fred Armisen playing this guy on Portlandia. #McDonalds #Filetofish #FredArmisen #Portlandia

Semolina Cake – A Mediterranean Delight

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Semolina Cake

Semolina Cake

It has been many years since I’ve made a Semolina Cake. I remember purchasing a mix for it at a middle eastern store and had made it at home.

This cake pictured above is from a restaurant.  It is one of my favorite Mediterranean desserts.  It has the same sweetness as baklava, and that’s because it is drenched in the same simple syrup.  They usually make a large pan of it, cut it into diamonds and place an almond in the center of each piece.

The consistency can be a bit grainy (like cornbread) but it is so delicious, the syrup makes it soft and moist.  If you want to try making one at home, you can search for semolina cake recipes online, they also call it Basbousa, Basboosa, Harissa, Harisa, Harisi, there are many variations on the name.  If you enjoy baklava, I’m sure you will love this.

 

Immaculate Baking Company Organic Fudge Brownie Mix

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Just baked a batch of Immaculate Baking Company’s Organic Fudge Brownies.  They came out really well.  The taste is rich and chocolaty, very sweet. The baking mix, which also contains tiny chocolate chips, only requires 1 stick of melted butter and 2 eggs to bring the mix together. (I think the box I had was an older version, the new directions say add 2 tablespoons of water as well).

It is a really thick batter, it actually formed a ball by the time I was done scraping the mix around the bowl.  I had to push the batter down into baking pan.  It had said on the box that you would have to push it into the pan.  I’m glad it said something because it was way thicker than most mixes.

This batch took about 30 minutes to finish in a 350 degree oven. The end pieces got a bit crunchy, the center stayed pretty moist. Some people like the crunchier ends. Overall, I was very satisfied with the end result. Brownie mixes can be hit or miss, even when you follow all the instructions properly.    It’s a good thing I didn’t cook it any longer, I think it would have really dried out.  If you decide to make these yourself, be sure to set your timer and recheck as needed. I set my timer for  22, checked it and it was still soft, and then reset timer again for 8 minutes and it was done.

I’m glad there is an organic option available on the market, I’d definitely buy this mix again.

 

Crockett’s Tavern – Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

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Tucked inside Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness, you will find Crockett’s Tavern. It’s a small bar that serves beer, wine, mixed drinks, as well as some food.  It is strictly bar seating, there are roughly 8 seats available if my memory serves. Their menu is limited, but it is a satisfying nonetheless. We enjoy their pizza and chicken wings, and we’ll come here just for pizza and beer sometimes.  They are open until about 10 pm each night. For Disney food their prices are pretty good, a large cheese pizza is about $15 before tax and tip.

The pizza itself has a thick crust, the dough is slightly biscuit-y, the sauce and cheese is good, and it’s really filling. I can usually only eat two slices. Their chicken wings are huge, they don’t separate the pieces, so you have a wing/leg combo.  Their blue cheese is really good. I’ve been known to dip my pizza crust (for families with dogs, this is often called a pizza bone) in blue cheese.

Crockett’s Tavern Menu:

Smoke-House Nachos – with Shredded Beef Brisket, House-blended Cheese, Salsa, Pickle Jalapeno, and Chive Sour Cream $11.49

Uncle John’s Taters – A blend of Fried Peppers, Onions, and Potato Skins tossed with Parmesan Cheese, and topped with Chive Sour Cream and Green Onions $11.99

Chicken Wings – with Celery Sticks and Blue Cheese Dressing served with your choice of Buffalo, Garlic-Parmesan, or Honey Barbecue Sauce $9.49

Smoked Cheese-stuffed Jalapeno – Wrapped in Campfire Bacon with Peach-Pepper Jelly $7.99

Cheese Pizza $13.99

Pepperoni Pizza $15.49

There have a couple beers on draft, usually a seasonal Sam Adams and Yuengling, other beers available in the bottle, and a full bar.

If bar food isn’t your thing, Trail’s End offers a full dinner buffet.

The Fort Wilderness settlement area is off the beaten path and surrounded by lovely pine trees. If you are there during the day, you can see some of the ponies over at Triple D Ranch, you can watch fireworks from the lakeside, you can also watch the Electric Water Pageant.  There are even wagon rides  (I believe adults wagon ride is about $8 each) and carriage rides available (I believe they are $45+).

Do you have a favorite restaurant or bar at Disney? A favorite comfort food?

Pressed Pennies – Affordable Disney Collectibles

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Pressed Pennies are a great affordable Disney collectible, there are many different designs, and many different machines located on Disney property.  The cost of a pressed penny souvenir is 51 cents. You will need two quarters and one penny, you’ll get the penny back once it is pressed.  These are great for adults and children alike, anyone who enjoys Disney collectibles.

Each machine usually offers three different designs, you may come across some machines that offer four designs.  Some machines have to be hand-cranked – and the selection of the design has to be pre-aligned to the one you want before you start cranking. If you are going to use the manual hand-cranked machine be sure to double check you have the right design at the arrow pointer before you insert your money and start cranking.  For the automatic style machines, like the one pictured above, you simply press the button for the design you want.

The variety of designs is amazing – you will be surprised at just how many different ones there are, and at about 50 cents each, it is the most affordable collectible Disney offers.

If you want to get fancy with it, Disney sells pressed penny books in their gift shops. With the book, you can organize and store your pennies.

I carry around an Altoids box in my purse that is filled with quarters and pennies in case I see something I want.  I’ve read that the newer pennies are silver colored when smashed, if you want a solid copper penny you should search through your pennies for something from 1984 and before – these were solid copper.  You can probably see the differences in penny colors from a few of them in my photo, some look streaked with silver.

Next time you visit Walt Disney World be sure to look around for these Penny Machines. Happy Collecting!

 

Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday Movie Review

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If you haven’t had a chance to watch Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday yet, it’s on Netflix instant streaming.  I’ve probably watched it 4 times already since they put it up.

I was really surprised by how much I instantly loved this movie.  It has a lot of that retro movie charm of classic 1980’s movies that I loved growing up. We have our familiar lovable Pee-Wee Herman in a brand new adventure. Paul Reubens looks terrific, and he just nails it, silly, funny, charming, plus Joe Manganiello was a perfect choice.

Of course you can’t take the movie too seriously, it’s Pee-Wee Herman! It’s just for laughs and entertainment. It’s full of jokes and gags, and just out and out ridiculousness. I’m no critic, but I know what I like. I’d say it would probably make my top 10 favorite list simply because if I was flipping through channels and this movie was on…I’d stop to watch it, and there are only a hand full of movies that I like that much.

Easy Pumpkin Muffins – Basic 3 ingredients (+toppings)

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Homemade Pumpkin Muffins

pumpkincake

Are you getting ready for fall? I’m looking forward to fall.  I’m not really a die-hard pumpkin fan, but I do like pumpkin pie, and who doesn’t like the smell of home cooked baked good wafting through the house.

I’ve been craving something sweet lately and was wondering what to make. I found a two ingredient recipe but thought it was missing something, so here is my version, I think a little milk helps in the mix and gives them a better rise.

Easy Pumpkin Muffins!

Healthy – low fat, no added vegetable oil or eggs. 

Ingredients:

1 can 15 oz. puree of pumpkin (I used an organic pumpkin puree, already had it in the pantry from last Thanksgiving!)

1 box cake mix – carrot cake or spice cake (I used carrot cake mix)

1/4 cup of milk – soy milk or almond milk is okay (I used organic soy milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix ingredients together in a medium/large bowl with a spatula or spoon until combined well.

Spoon approximately 3/4 full into cupcake molds or cupcake wrappers in a muffin/cupcake pan.

That’s it, really simple and easy.

I made 6 muffins and one small cake, I used a 9″ square Pyrex baking dish for the cake.

If you decide to make a cake or loaf, be sure to spray it with light cooking spray like canola or veggie oil (not olive oil flavor).

At this point you can add toppings, like shredded coconut, walnuts, almonds, dried fruit, cinnamon and sugar, brown sugar, oats, chocolate chips. If you have these items already then why not mix it up a little.  I’d recommend adding no more than about a teaspoon or tablespoon on top of the uncooked cups.  The batter is going to swell as it cooks and the topping may fall off if it is overloaded.

Put in the oven and set the timer to 15-18 minutes and check it, add time if needed and recheck.

My batch took about 20 minutes until they cooked through with no more wetness. You can use a toothpick or knife to check for done-ness. When the toothpick or knife comes out clean it is cooked all the way through.

I tried one and it was really delicious, can’t wait until tomorrow, it will be even better out of the fridge!

 

Bourbon Tasting at Walt Disney World

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My husband and I were in Orlando recently. We had eaten at a local restaurant for dinner and were thinking of what to do with the last couple hours of the evening, it was about 9 pm.  Our choices were go to Animal Kingdom theme park which was open until 11 pm, or go to Magic Kingdom which was open until Midnight, and then lastly choose a resort bar (which usually close at Midnight as well).  We decided on picking a bar, Sanaa seemed like a great choice.

Once we got there we checked the bar menu, it was still early enough to order food from the bar menu, but we were still full from dinner.  After a little consideration, we decided to try a bourbon flight.  They also offer a tequila flight, if you are a tequila aficionado.

For the bourbon tasting, you get three 3/4 ounce pours: the first one is the Maker’s Mark Wheated, then your choice of one Rye and one Straight bourbon.  Their choices for Straight: Knob Creek Disney Select Single Barrel and Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight. The choices for High Rye bourbon are the Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight.

We started with one flight which comes with the Maker’s Mark Wheated, and chose the Buffalo Trace and Knob Creek Disney Select, only available at Disney.  After we started tasting, we decided to just order another flight with the opposite choices so we’d be able to taste all 5 bourbons. The second flight had the Maker’s Mark again, plus the Angel’s Envy and Woodford Reserve.

Some observations…

The Angel’s Envy was the harshest, it reminded me of a young whiskey, I drink Jameson at home, and it reminded me of that, it numbs the taste buds a bit.

The Knob Creek Disney Select had a nice nose, pleasant and not too strong, the best nose of all the choices.  The taste was complex.

The Buffalo Trace was earthy and smokey smelling, tasted more mellow to than the Knob Creek.

The Woodford Reserve had the most overwhelming nose, very strong.

The Maker’s Mark Wheated was definitely the softest tasting, very nice, very smooth.

After straight tasting, we added a bit of cold water and a small ice cube to each selection.

The most improved by adding water was the Angel’s Envy, followed by the Woodford Reserve. It took away a bit of the harshness, definitely would recommend doing your own tasting to see what preferences you have, also try with a bit of water.

We spent about 2 hours just relaxing, it was really nice. Sanaa’s bar is open until midnight and it clears out after dinner ends, so you have a beautiful setting and not many people.

The cost per flight was $13.50 not including tax or tip. It was well worth the cost for the experience, I could imagine doing a tasting activity at the Food and Wine Festival and it would probably cost quite a bit more. If I were to buy a bottle of bourbon for home, I’d probably choose the Maker’s Mark Wheated. It was fun to sample them all, and I feel like I’ve learned a bit in the process.