Wordless Wednesday

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Complete Randomness…

Okay, now I’ve always watched the nightly news to find out what’s going on and such ever since I was younger, but since moving to Florida, I’m to the point I almost don’t want to watch the news.  The news down here is so crazy…or maybe it’s the Floridans that are the crazy ones!  I mean just the other day down in Miami there was a crazy naked man that attacked a homeless man and pretty much ate his face off…dead serious!  Witnesses said he was growling and ripping the flesh from the guys face….poor dude is in critical condition.  Now the zombie dude had to be shot to death just to get him to stop…took like 6 rounds….blah!  Gives me the Heebie the Jeebies!

As disturbing as that news story was…am I weird for being more upset about a guy that was on the news tonight that was watching his roommates for kittens while they were away and claimed he was depressed, so he decided to strangle one kitty to death…bite off another ones lip and burned its ears with a lighter and the other two are mysteriously missing?  PSYCHO!!  I just tend to sympathize for animals more than humans…call me crazy!  Maybe it’s the Floridian crazy rubbing off on me…lol.

I warned you that this post was complete randomness!

On a less disturbing front…also on the news…Chia Seeds.  Yep, the same things you spread on a Chia Pet, but don’t eat those because they are covered in pesticides and fertilizer.  Evidently they are the new and upcoming super food or something.  Has anyone tried them?  They say that a tablespoon is 60 calories and 5 grams of fiber and that they expand up to 12 times there size, which ultimately gives you the sensation of being full…total plus!  They showed them sprinkled in yogurt, mixed into smoothies or just to simply use as a thickening agent in soups and such.  They seem to create a gel type substance after they have sat in liquid for a little bit.  Anyways…I’m just curious if anyones tried them and how they liked them or how they eat them.  If you have…please leave a comment & let me know.

Okay…I think that’s enough randomness for this evening.  Hope everyone has a great rest of the week!

Cheers!

Jenn

Volunteering at Give the Kids the World Village

On Friday I had the opportunity to volunteer for Give Kids the World Village.  Luckily, I was all caught up in the office & it was during a slower time during the term, so as soon as I got the okay from the boss, I signed up immediately.

 Give Kids the World Village is located on 70+ acres in Kissimmee, FL.  It is a place for kids who are terminally ill to go for a week with their families & stay in a villa in the village & experience all there is to do on site, such as themed nights, dive-in movies at the pool, rides, mini golf & more.  Not only that, Give Kids the World sends each of those families to all of the area theme parks!  It’s a really AMAZING program & such a magical place.  They have a motto that they never say no, so if a ride isn’t up and running during the day because most families are at the parks, they just have to ask and they will get the ride up and going just for them!  It was truly an honor and a privilege to get a chance to volunteer for the wonderful organization for the afternoon!

As you walk through the village you will not see a single corporate logo or any sponsors logos, as it’s not about sponsors….it’s truly for the kids!  The buildings are bright and cheery, bursting with vibrant colors.  Each villa may look different on the outside, but they are all identical on the inside.  They have a huge pool area with a pirate ship, which the mast is the screen for those “Dive-In” movies I mentioned earlier.  There are buildings that look like huge cupcakes & mushrooms.  I think one of the favorite places in the village for the kiddos is the ice cream shoppe….ice cream is available any time they want it…yep…even for breakfast!

 If you’d like to read more about Give Kids the World Village, you can check them out online at www.gktw.org.  If you think you’d like to apply to volunteer, you can sign up on the website for that as well!  While I was there, we seen an older gentleman out delivering toys from villa to villa & were told he had the most volunteer hours at the village and had logged just over 20,000 hours!  Holy cow!  What a saint!

I’ll leave you with some pictures of our afternoon volunteering.  We didn’t get to work directly with the kids since we were there during the afternoon when most are out at the parks, so we helped a bit with the landscaping and help spread sand to fill in the spaces around the pavers on the walkways.  It was hot & sweaty work, but I think almost everyone would do it again, just because it’s for such a wonderful cause!

A Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom was the only park I had never had the chance of visiting, so last weekend my friend Stephanie & I decided to make a day of it.  The weather ended up being great, as it was only in the lower 70’s, although a bit chilly for a certain someone who broke down and bought a hoodie.  It would have been warmer if the sun was out, but we had an unusually cloudy day & then of course the sun decided to show itself the minute we left the parking lot later in the afternoon…go figure!

Since Animal Kingdom has two major rides that seem to get the most attention and typically get the longest lines, it’s a good idea to grab a fast pass for one and then head straight for the other.  That’s what we did.  We went straight to the Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition & grabbed a fast past and then headed straight for the roller coaster, Expedition Everest.  Luckily, we only had about a 15-20 minute wait.  It was a pretty interesting coaster…no upside down loops or anything, but I won’t spoil the fun & tell you what to expect if you’ve never been on it, but trust me…if you love coasters, you’ll want to make sure to go on this coaster!

After riding the coaster, we hit up a couple other attractions while we waited for our time to fast pass our way to the front of the line on the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride.  The safari ride is supposed to replicate the African savanna.  You get to ride in an open sided safari vehicle on a road throughout the savanna.  Every safari ride is unique, as you never know what animals you’ll encounter.  I loved getting to see the elephants, especially the babies…they were so adorable.  We also go to see so many other animals, from a sleeping warthog, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, lions chilling out under a tree, amongst many more animals.  The ride lasts a good 20 minutes and gives you plenty of opportunities for some great photos!

 

After that, we grabbed a quick lunch & then grabbed the train to the petting zoo area.  This is Stephanie’s favorite place in the park.  Give this girl a goat and she’s happy!  Besides goats, they also have sheep, the cutest little piggies, some mini donkeys that are super loud when they decide to belt out a “Hee-Haw” for you.  Made me giggle.

Throughout the day we had to chance to see many more animals in different parts of the park.  Two of my favorite animals of the day were the gorillas and the tigers.  The gorillas were hiding and kind of out of site when we were in the viewing area, but then everyone moved on since there was nothing to see, but we stayed behind & I’m so glad we did.  Mama gorilla was peeking through a tree while hiding behind a rock…papa gorilla came out and right up to the window to check us out.  And then out of nowhere, a silly little baby gorilla comes flying from around the corner, grabs hold of a barrel which took him for a roll.  It was so cute!

 

Now the tigers we got to see were awesome!  They were so beautiful with there deep orange coats with their gorgeous black stripes.  There were three of them in the area.  One of them was being ornery and pouncing about like a regular house cat.  He’d crouch down and then sneak attack the other two.  The other two weren’t to impressed by his antics and you could see some teeth being shown.  They put on quite a show.

Now onto my favorite part of the day….Finding Nemo-The Musical.  You HAVE to make sure you go to this show when you visit the park.  It’s put on several times throughout the day in a nice big air conditioned theater, so if you need a break from the heat, you’re set!  The show lasts about 45 minutes long & once you see it, it’ll leave you wishing it was longer.  It was truly magnificent & I’m surprised they don’t charge extra for the show….YES, it’s that good!  I’ve see some broadway musicals and this was just as good!  It’s visually stunning, it’ll make you laugh so hard and then all the bubbles coming down from the ceiling in the end is just magical!  Typical Disney….gotta love it!

Another great show, you’ll want to make sure to check out is located inside the tree of life!  Yep, there is actually a theater inside the tree!  I know…I couldn’t believe it.  It’s the cutest little 3-D show featuring the bugs from “A Bug’s Life” movie.  You’ll definitely want to check out this show.  You’ll love every minute of it!

Well, I’ll leave it at that for now.  I only touched on a few of the attractions that I really enjoyed, but there is a lot more to see than I mentioned here.  If you want to read more about Animal Kingdom, make sure to check them out online.  I hope I gave you some good insight on the park and hope that you’ll get a chance to go the next time you’re in the area.

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2012

If you’re lucky enough to be able to plan your Disney vacation between the months of March & May and Epcot is on your agenda, then you’ll get the chance to see the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival that happens every year during those months.  This year the festival is March 7, 2012 thru May 20, 2012.  You’ll get to see some awesome Disney character topiaries, live music & other events and programs scheduled throughout the duration of the festival.

This year was my first year to get to go to Epcot during the Flower & Garden Festival, so I was super excited to get a chance to go, since Disney had an awesome Florida resident deal this year, so you could buy a 3 day ticket for $99.  Couldn’t pass that up, now could I?!  When you first walk in you’ll be greeted by several topiaries right away, so this makes for some great photo opts! And if you’re with a group of people…don’t be shy to ask someone you don’t know to take your picture, as they will usually jump at the chance in hope you’ll do the same for them.

A good portion of the topiaries are actually located around the World Showcase, in which 11 different countries are represented & there are shops, restaurants and attractions that represent each country.  The World Showcase opens a little later than the rest of the park, so you have a couple hours to ride some rides and visits some of the different lands.  A couple of the most popular rides are Test Track and Soarin’, so it’s a good idea to grab Fast Passes for those rides right off the bat.  Unfortunately, I believe Test Track is temporarily closed for refurbishment at the moment and won’t be open again until this fall.  So definitely head for “Soarin”!  It’s an awesome ride.  My favorite part is that you can smell the orange orchard when you fly over it.  Trust me, it will not disappoint.

Then you’ve got to make sure you head over to “The Living Seas”.  The sign for this area cracks me up every time because they have the seagulls from “Finding Nemo” around it constantly yelling, “Mine, mine”!  It’s a hoot!  While in The Living Seas, you can see dolphins, sharks, various other fishes & my favorite….the manatees.  When I was there he was super playful and kept swimming back and forth doing barrel rolls…it was too cute!

After that, I would recommend heading over to “The Land” and hopping on that ride, which takes you through the Disney greenhouses where they grow all sorts of fruit and veggies from all over the world.  You’ll even see square watermelons!  It’s very informative and quite interesting.  I see things growing on the ground that I thought grew on trees and vice versa.

Around 11:00 you’ll be able to make your way into the World Showcase.  By that time, you may have worked up at appetite from all the walking, so you’ll have an abundance of choices.  We were hungry for some Chinese food, so we checked out the restaurant, but didn’t really feel like dining in, so we hit up the fast service counter and chowed down.  It was some good stuff, but we were stuffed by the time we were done and were glad we had a lot more to see, so we could walk it off.

It was cool, because they put the character topiaries in or near the country they most related to or took place.  For instance, Lady & the Tramp was in Italy, Beauty & the Beast was in France, they had a chinese dragon located in China, along with a topiary of some pandas.  It was all organized really well.  It’s so neat to see all of your favorite characters made out of flowers!  I think my top favorite topiaries I got to see where Lady & the Tramp, Lots-O-Huggin Bear from Toy Story 3, & Snow White & all 7 Dwarfs, which was kind of hard to get them all in one photo.

When you’ve seen all that you think you can handle & you’re ready to give your feet a rest, a good ride to go on is Spaceship Earth.  You can just kick back and relax for the 15-20 minute ride & it might give you that extra boost of energy that you decide to stay throughout the evening for the fireworks.  There’s no fireworks show, like a Disney one!  So it might be worth sticking around for if you can handle it.

Well, I hope I was able to give you a good glimpse of what you have to look forward to seeing if you’re able to attend the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.  For more information on Epcot & there different events throughout the year, check them out on their website at: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot.

Wild Willy’s Airboat Tours

What pops into your head when you think of Florida?  Besides the obvious answers of Disney, the ocean & palm trees.  Gators!  Yes, Florida has an abundance of gators!  I was once told that where ever there is a body of water…assume there is a gator in it.  I have yet to see any gators in any out of the ordinary places since I moved to Orlando a year and half ago.  I will tell you an awesome place to go to see gators though & it is definitely a memorable experience that will leave you wanting more!  If you’ve never been on an airboat tour, you must make sure you put it on your “To Do” list when you come to Kissimmee!  If you book one first thing in the morning, the ride usually lasts a good full hour & then you have the rest of the day to go play at other area attractions!

Upon a lot of research of all of the area airboat tour companies & compared prices, length of ride, type of airboat, I narrowed it down to Wild Willy’s Airboat Tours.  As an added bonus, they are far enough out, you won’t have any ugliness to look at, such as buildings & housing developments.  If you like to plan your vacation to a “T” and make reservations, you can do that right on Wild Willy’s Airboat Tours website.  It probably is a good idea to set up a reservation in advance, just to make sure you make the best out of your time.  But if you like to just see where the day takes you, you can always stop in and see if you can take a tour.  That’s what I did, I just stopped in one morning and it was about a 30 minute wait & then I was off on my airboat adventure!  And if you have to wait a little while on your tour to start, you can sit outside under the pavilion and soak up some good ‘ol vitamin D and beautiful scenery of the lake.  Then you can’t help but get excited when you hear the hum of the airboat coming in because you know you’re turn is coming up soon!

One of the great things at Wild Willy’s is that they have 6 passenger airboats, unlike some places that are big enough for 15 people or so, but when you only have 6 passengers aboard that means you can go a whole lot faster & the faster the better, right?!  These little boats are super loud, so you are provided with a set of ear muffs to block out the sound.  Don’t worry…Captain Mike will tell you when to put them on, so you don’t miss out, as he gives you a little history about the lake, as you head down the canal out into the open lake.  Then hang on to your hats, for a super fast & awesome ride!  The airboats feel like they just float across the water with such ease, you almost get the feeling that you’re flying.  Then when you look out and you have the area birds flying next to you…it’s a pretty cool feeling!

You will also get the chance to see several gators, as your captain will know all the good gator spots & knows what he’s looking for, so he can point out all the little baby gators in the area, bald eagles sitting in trees, turtles swimming beside the boat, big ‘ol water moccasins & other various wildlife.  Each ride is unique and you never know what you might get to see.  I loved the fact I got to see a huge turtle swimming along side of the boat. The boat will pull up, right next to the gators so you can get a chance to take plenty of photos.  Some gators will just sit there like statues, while others are a bit shy and will duck down in the water about as fast as your boat pulls up to them, so you’ve got to be quick to see some of them!  One of the cutest things I saw where all of the baby gators. Some are a bit hard to see because they are so tiny, but if you look close you can see them crawling around on the reeds and branches in the water.  Others are a little bit bigger & are easier to see.  It’s funny to see them scatter when your boat takes off.

Look Close & You'll See Several Baby Gators

Did you know airboats don’t need water to work?  In fact, they don’t even need much water.  Yep…they can go on land just as easy as in the water!  And if everyone aboard the airboat is game, Captain Mike might just take the boat and spin it around a few times for you!  Good times!  All I know is by the end of the trip I didn’t want to get off the boat as I could have spent the entire day out in the gorgeous weather and enjoying the lake, as I’m always happiest when I’m on, in or near the water!

One of my favorite parts of the day was getting to hold the baby gator…they had two & their names were Thunder & Lightning.  I’m not sure which one I got to hold be he sure was cute.  And they are a lot softer than you would think!  So don’t be afraid to hold one for a great photo opportunity!  Captain Mike even had him tell us bye, by tickling his belly a bit which cause him to give us a little wave…it was so cute!

So if you are looking for an awesome airboat tour, I can highly recommend that you go to Wild Willy’s Airboat Tours.  You can visit them on the web at www.wildwillysairboattours.com or you can call for reservations at 407-891-7955.  They are located at 4715 Kissimmee Park Rd., St. Cloud, FL  34772.  You can also e-mail them for more info at info@airboatwilly.com.  If you’re looking for the best airboat tour in the area…look no further!  This is the place you’ll want to make sure and go to!

Yummy Baked Cauliflower!

I was searching for new and interesting veggie recipes and ideas last week, as I was growing bored of just plain old veggies.  Then when I was searching allrecipes.com I came across the most fabulous recipe for baked cauliflower…yes, I said BAKED!

All you have to do is steam a whole head of cauliflower in some chicken broth to infused a good flavor and to cook it up so it’s pretty tender.  I’d say to let it steam in a pot for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, go ahead and preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Then in a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs, 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp salt & whatever other seasoning you’d like to add to the concoction.  In a small microwavable bowl, melt 1/4 cup of butter.

After your cauliflower has steamed for the 20 minutes and it’s tender when you poke it with a fork, you’ll want to move it from the pot to a baking sheet.  I usually put down a piece of parchment paper on the cookie sheet for easy clean up and so nothing sticks to my pan.  Anyways, once you have the head of cauliflower on the cookie sheet, go ahead and take a cooking brush and brush your melted but all over the cauliflower.  When you’ve got that all done, you’ll want to sprinkle or pat on the bread crumb mixture all over the head of cauliflower.  It should stick to the melted butter.  Once covered to your liking…pop that sucker in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  When all is said and done, you’ll take something that looks like this out of the oven…

Yummy Baked Cauliflower

 

Yes, it was delicious!  So good in fact…that was my dinner for the night!  Can’t wait to make this yummy goodness again!  It’s an awesome way to put a new spin on your plan old cauliflower!  I would have never thought to bake it until I came across this recipe & I’m sure glad I did!  I hope you try it if you haven’t….you’ll love it…pinky swear!

Bon Appetite!

Jenn

New Shower Curtain, Daydreams & Fresh Paint

Hey there, peeps!  Boy, I’ve really got to start blogging more!  Some days I have a ton of things I want to blog about, then other times I’m just not in zone & I end up posting once a week or wait two weeks, like this time.  I guess, like anything…I should start just writing when it’s on my mind and save it as a draft to post at another time.  It would certainly help me be a little more consistent at posting.

Anywho…enough about that!  Guess what was waiting on my doorstep when I got home today??

My brand new shower curtain I ordered from Mod Cloth!  Isn’t it adorable??  I just love it!  To top it all off, it had the same exact colors as my old striped, boring shower curtain, so I didn’t have to change my rugs or towels or anything!  SUH-WEET!

So what have you all been up to lately?  Not much here other than dreaming of all the places I’d like to vacation.  I need a money tree dammit!  I was born to travel & I haven’t had a travel fix in awhile.  In the meantime, I have to find blogs & experience all those fabulous destinations thru the eyes of those that are getting the chance to yuck it up and travel.  Lucky ducks!  I used to have mad skills at finding cheap flights, but I tell ya…lately it’s been practically impossible.  Airfares have just gone insanely high as of late.  If you have any tricks up your sleeves on how to find cheaper airfares, please let me know!  I may have a degree in travel & tourism, but I feel a bit out of sorts not being able to find any good deals lately!

Other than daydreaming of Greece, Italy, the west coast…I’ve been picking up my paint brush once again after taking a little break.  I love to paint…it’s so relaxing!  Now if I could just think of some more ideas to put on canvas that I think people would like.  Perhaps, after I get a few more things done, I’ll try my hand at opening up a storefront on etsy.com & put everything up for sale, just in case any of you out there may be interested.  My last run to the art store, I found the most adorable mini canvas’, so I grabbed a bunch to come home with me!  They were too cute to resist!  Don’t you think?

Told you!  The little square guys are 3×3 and the rectangular ones are 2×4.  It doesn’t take much to make me happy…fresh new paints, new canvas & paint brushes.  I’m like a kid in a candy store in an art supply store!  Lately I’ve been on a palm tree kick.  I don’t always plan it out that way, but sometimes when I’m just painting the background colors, so they are ready to paint on later…the colors just blend so perfectly…they turn into a whole new idea.  Lately, the colors have blended nicely for evening sky backgrounds and sky/ocean type setting.

After painting a few of theses suckers up, it came to me that they would make awesome magnets!  I mean who doesn’t like some awesome refrigerator art!  The magnets I bought were super strong & they ended up being stronger than the hot glue I originally used to hold the magnets in place.  I went to take one off the fridge one day and the magnets stayed put…lol.  After a little experimentation, I found that gorilla glue works wonders & seemed to do the trick!  Here are some the mini paintings I’ve done over the past week or two.  I know they are simple, but I love them!

I even had a special request from my BFF who LOVES the T.V. show, “Don’t Trust the B__ in Apt. 23”.  It’s a hilarious show if you haven’t seen it!  You should definitely watch it!  Anyways, the two characters are Chloe and June & some days she feels like one or the other…it’s a Gemini thing.  LOL.  Anyways, she can simply flip the magnet to the way she feels that day.  I thought it was a cute idea, so I did my best to come up with a cutesy idea.  How do you think it turned out?

Well, I guess I’d better wrap it up for now.  Hope you all have a great week!  It’s only Monday, but on the plus side…no work next Monday!  Woo-Hoo for three day weekends!!

Cheerio!

Jenn

Weekend Wrap-up

Hey there!  Well, I believe today wraps up my week of posting on the i.seekissimmee.com website.  It was great to be able to write up reviews that I would normally do and get them published on a tourism website.  Plus, to get paid for the gig on top of that…SCORE!  Hopefully, I can get on the calendar and review some more places next spring, since they like you to wait a year before being featured again.  I may go ahead and post everything over here on my blog now that the week is over, as well as stick them in my “Travel Review” section in case you want to find them easily in the future.  For now, you can check out all of my posts here.

Seeing my posts helped make my week.  It was a super busy week at work for me, so that had me down a bit.  Then on Thursday evening I came home and found out that my uncle that lived 5 miles down the road from me had passed away that morning, which was kind of unexpected.  Made me sad & guilty that I hadn’t called recently or been over to visit in a while….C’est la vie!

R.I.P. Uncle Dave – You’ll Be Missed!

So what did I do to end a rather crappy week…..I WENT TO DISNEY WORLD!  I was a bit nervous, since the weather was in the 90’s and it’s getting to that time of year the vacationers start piling in by the masses.  So I got up a lot earlier than normal and headed out the door, so I could be at the besties place by 8:00, so we could make a needed coffee run to Starbucks and then headed for the park.

When we got there & headed towards the line for the monorail, it was a bit insane, but I was told it was a lot worse last week.  I think we only waited like 10 minutes…the line looked worse than it really was.  Once in the park it was smooth sailing!  We went on every ride that we wanted to ride within a few hours and I don’t think we stood in line longer than 15 minutes for any ride…SCORE!  It made a not so great week a whole lot better, plus it’s pretty impossible not to have a great time with the BFF!  I think we left around 2:00 or so & then we decided to go for a late lunch at Olive Garden!  Yum! As for today….didn’t do much of anything.  Ran out to the local art store and wandered around a bit.  Then I went for a quick grocery run to pick up some greek yogurt and veggies.  Somehow a travel coffee thermos ended up in my basket….I think I’m kinda starting to like this coffee stuff!  Not sure if that’s a good thing or not…lol.  Anyways…time for a new week to start already. Blah!  I need to schedule a vacation! Cheers! Jenn

Red Red Wine, You Make Me Feel So Fine…

You keep me rocking’ all of the time!  Sing it!  You know you want too!  Alrighty peeps….now you know I LOVE Moscato wine, my favorite being Cupcake Moscato Di Asti & still is, BUT….did you know that there is RED Moscato??  I had no idea!  I’m not a wine snob or one of those people that has to sniff and swirl and swish there wine.  Nope, I just pick a bottle (usually picked by the cutest label) & I poor a glass and take a swig.  If I don’t like it…it goes down the sink.  If I do, I pass along a bottle to my bestie and blog about it in case there are people out there like me just looking for a good wine suggestion to try.  I typically sway towards white wines, while the bestie typically prefers red.  Well, she finally found me a red wine that I actually LOVE!  She happened to spot a RED Moscato on the shelf a couple weeks ago and tried it & she knows I’m a Moscato girl, so she picked me up a bottle and I picked her up a bottle of my favorite and we swapped.

After a crazy week at work…just busy, busy, busy & it’s only Wednesday….Ugh!  I came home tonight and decided to crack open that perfectly chilled bottle of Barefoot Red Moscato.  I was kind of hesitant to take a sip, since I have yet to find a red that I can stand…until tonight!  Holy smokes is that some good wine!  Its nice a sweet like a moscato and oh so smooth, but I was a good girl and just had one glass, as I’m trying to stick to the diet.  Was down about 7lbs. after the first week…Woo-Hoo!  Anyways, if you’re looking for an awesome red wine, definitely go out and get yourself a bottle of Barefoot Red Moscato!  If you are savvy of any other rocking’ wines out there or other colors of moscato I may like…leave me a comment!  Inquiring minds want to know!

Cheers,

Jenn