Thursday, October 20, 2016

I Win Again! Disney On Ice!

I had been wanting to take the kids to a Disney on Ice show for YEARS. I would literally go through the motions of buying the tickets online, selecting the seats, but only to close the browser at check-out because it was just way too expensive. Well, I am glad I waited because guess what? I WON AGAIN! AHHHHHHHH!! This time, a pack of 4 tickets to the opening night of Disney on Ice Follow Your Heart at Eagle Bank Arena at George Mason University. I don’t have much luck in anything else, but apparently pretty lucky when it comes to winning small things :)
^^Great seats, only 11 rows back!^^

I was psyched, the kids were psyched, Luke was meh about the whole thing but agreed to be our driver. I wanted the night to go smoothly that I even pulled Anna out of school early so she could take a nap and be well rested for the show. I told everyone about my winning, great expectations were bubbling up in my head, it was going to be a magical night. I chanted, “We couldn’t make it to Disney this year, but Disney is coming to me!!”

Well, I guess what they say is true that things don’t always live up to your expectation, because the show definitely didn’t. It was still good, but I expected a more visually stunning show with MORE lights, MORE props, and MORE special effects. Something that lived up to the name DISNEY :) My other beef...there was no coherent theme throughout the show. All we got was Disney characters ice skating to random storylines from various movies (the Fantasia act with Sorcerer Mickey and the magic brooms was especially a strange choice).
It wasn’t a total loss though. Anna was completely mesmerized by the show. She squealed in excitement as Ariel did her acrobatics while dangling on a rope from the ceiling, as well as when Belle (her all-time favorite princess) made her entrance. Will said his favorite part was the opening act from Inside Out. The last 20 minutes of the show was dedicated to Frozen, which was my favorite. I loved it when the snow started to fall! And I am not tired of "Let It Go" yet. As for Luke, he liked the scene with Olaf the most, but then he also said that he was actually starting to miss Disney a little, but now after the show he’s all Disney’ed again.
The show was just around two hours with a 15-minute intermission. I took Anna to get some water during intermission and snapped this photo.
^^What was more shocking? People buying.^^

Well, this was our first and likely our last Disney On Ice. But you know me, I will never stop entering in giveaways, and if I am lucky enough to win again, I will never turn down free :) Thank you Capital Moms for helping me taking the kids to see Disney On Ice! Sure, I wanted the show to be better, but we all still enjoyed it!

Few things I want to remember:
- Anna asking if we could bring chairs to the show because she thought we would just be standing around the rink. She got more excited after I told her that we would actually be sitting.
- Kids didn't ask for souvenirs or treats.
- Will was sick, lots of coughing and felt sluggish. Glad he made it though.
- My plan for the kids to nap worked out perfectly. They both slept until 4:45pm, then we had a lasagna dinner, then off to the show.
- Traffic was horrible, took us nearly 45 minute to drive 10 miles.
- Little girl behind me kicked me in the head and the parents didn't apologize. I am just glad she didn't hit Anna in the head with her wand.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Farm Harvest Days at Frying Pan Park (aka the one FREE event you should attend)

I like free events, but they are usually a bust, not worthy of a blog post. However, the Farm Harvest Days event we attended this weekend at Frying Pan Park was very nicely done that I am here to sing praises and to publicly endorse it :) If you are parents of young children, you won't be disappointed to take your kids there. Haha, I already told two people at work (both with young kids) to mark their calendars for next year. Yes, it was really that wonderful.
When we first got there, the kids begged to go on the carousel. I came prepared and brought along the courtesy passes we received from the Discovery Trail Map activity we did this summer. The kids have been on so many carousels, but never this one, so CHECK. I also knew that the kids would probably ask to go on the wagon ride, and they did. Luckily, more courtesy passes for the kids :) My mom and I paid $3 for the two of us (50% off because I had coupons from the library summer reading program). The wagon took us around the parameter of the farm and we saw some farm animals.

Anyway, as for the Fall Harvest Days activities itself, here is the roundup:

There was a demonstration on how apples get turned into cider...however, all the kiddos (all of them, not just mine) were only interested in throwing apples into the hopper, and less about learning the mechanics of an antique cider press. Luckily, there were barrels and barrels of apples to throw so the apples never ran out.
There was also this corn shucking machine that the kids loved.

(You can also see a display of farm machinery in the back.)
As they get older, it really is more fun (read: worthwhile) to take them out. I remember seeing corn shucking at another event when they were younger and both of them didn't want to try. Or maybe Anna did, but wasn't strong enough to crank it. Either way, they both did great this time around.

Next they tried their hands at peeling apples and turning them into long spirals.
Both of them refused to milk the cow, though.

(There was a small petting zoo (goats, bunnies) right next to the cow.)
In addition to Farm Harvest Days, if you look carefully in the first picture, you will see a carnival happening at the same time with all the usual fair rides. We skipped it, because I have had enough of those rides ;)
Oh, there was also a farm house tour, fresh applesauce tasting, a little market place selling food and merchandise, tractors to ride on. Lots of neat things to see and do. A perfect under 2-hour local outing. It was all very very good and I highly recommend it.

So, mark your calendars for next year!!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

NYC 2016! Part IV!

Day 4: Charging Bull, Statue of Liberty, Drive to Williamsburg
This is it, the last bit of our NYC trip that happened at the end of August. We went back and forth on whether or not to take the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. Due to various reasons, the only time we could make it work was on Saturday, the day that we were leaving NYC and driving all the way to Williamsburg. On one hand, we wanted to leave the city early to avoid traffic (which we wouldn't be able to do so if we go see the Lady Liberty), but on another hand, we knew that we wouldn't be back in New York for a long time and wanted to take advantage of it. In the end, we went :) We woke up early that morning and walked south from our hotel to Battery Park, through the Financial District. We didn't buy tickets in advance, but that wasn't a problem because it was still so early. We actually caught the first ferry that left for Liberty Island that day. I had read about security lines that take forever to go through, but it was very smooth for us. It pays to be early.
Tickets with "crown" access have to be reserved months in advance, nor the kids (both under 48") could climb to the top anyway. I have good memories of climbing it to the top with my family back in the early 90s, so it's still something I hope the kids will get to do one day. Tickets with "pedestal" access are more readily available, but unfortunately we couldn't get it either on the day-of, so all we did was walk the grounds of Liberty Island. That was more than fine with us though.

I tried my best to make it educational for the kids by spewing out interesting facts, like "Did you know that the thickness of the Statue of Liberty is like two pennies stacked together?" Or "Did you know the light green color is the result of natural weathering of copper?" I don't think they heard me.
We (read: I) saw fantastic views of Manhattan. (The kids saw their phones.)
At the gift shop, they each got a Statue of Liberty coin:
Because we were short on time, we didn't stay long, but unless you have "crown" or "pedestal" access, a max of one hour is all you need to see everything anyway. By the way, the ferry stopped at Ellis Island on the way back to Manhattan, but we didn't get off.
We walked back to the hotel (had our last meal at McDonald's) and said goodbye to NYC. And although we did get stuck in slow-moving traffic leaving the city, I am glad we made the pit stop to see this iconic statue. The kids had both learned about the Statue of Liberty at school previously, so it wasn't a complete foreign concept to them...hopefully now they will have a little memory of actually seeing it in person. If not, that's what picture are for :) 
^^Haha, Will's expression is hilarious to me.^^

This last minute trip to NYC was such a special treat for me and the kids, to stay right in the heart of Manhattan with so many sights to explore at our fingertips. I will be remembering this trip for a long time.

(Part I, II, and III)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, September 30, 2016

3 days of lunch notes

Opening my lunchbox every day at work just got 1000x better :)
lunch notes
Happy Friday everyone!!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, September 26, 2016

NYC 2016! Part III!

Day 3: The Met, Times Square, Chinatown, Battery Park City Esplanade
Day 3 was the last full day of our NYC trip. Luke was getting out of training earlier that day, so the plan was for me to do a quick activity in the morning with the kids, and then meet him back at the hotel around noon. I decided to take the kids to the Met. We didn't see many other little kids at the Met, which now I understand why, but they did love the fountains OUTSIDE of the museum and I know I loved going up to the rooftop and seeing the gorgeous view of the NYC skyline. With the donation-based entrance fee, I only paid five dollars so it was worth it for me. 
^^Obsessed with the fountain.^^
^^The Psycho house on the rooftop.^^

By this point of our trip, the kids were very comfortable riding the subway as I was taking them around using it. Many times we had to sit separately to get seats, and they were completely okay.
^^Like a real New Yorker.^^

Well, that night after the best noodles and dumplings at Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles and dessert (we got mango, lychee, green tea and (boring) strawberry) at The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, we spontaneously took the train to the loud and crazy...
Very good ice cream -- we got mango, lychee, green tea, and (boring) strawberry. 🍦
Times Square!!
The kids loved it because they got to play Pokémon Go. They caught so many Pokémons without even having to walk. But as expected, their reactions to the bright lights of Times Square were rather underwhelming.
We could have gone back to the hotel after Times Square, but it was our last night and we didn't want it to end. So spontaneously (yes again!) we took a walk along the Hudson River, where I saw many rich people and their fancy yachts. I dreamed about owning one some day, but then convinced myself that I would just get sea sick anyway, haha.
It was another great night of just hanging out with my people :)

Vacations are the best.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!