Monday, March 25, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Pinned it, Made it: Mailable Birthday Cake Cards

I've professed before my love of mail.  I love sending it and getting it.  When it's not freezing outside one of my favorite things to do is check the mail.  It's generally full of junk and bills but still every now and then it's not.  And that's fun.  Getting mail is fun.  It's why I mail out birthday invitations and thank you cards to people who live 5 minutes from me and that I see on a regular basis.  Getting mail is more fun.  Cameron is convinced I'm trying to keep the USPS in business.

I always have good intentions of sending out birthday cards but let's face it Facebook has made us lazy and I honestly am not great at remembering dates.  However, early in January shutterfly was running a free calendar promotion.  So I made a personalized calendar and put everyone's faces on their birthdays and set a goal to send birthday cards out.  I figured with a big face on a date it would be easier for me to know and remember to go and get and send out a card.  Then I had a mom's morning out and went to a birthday card making workshop and made all the cards for the grown folks so that was one less step to making this a successful resolution.  But I wanted to do something cute for the kids too.  When I saw these mailable slices of cake I thought it was a great idea!  
How yummy does that look?

I posted that picture on facebook and people really thought it was chocolate cake so I'd say they are pretty realistic and yummy looking.  But it's actually a birthday card!  It's a sponge that we cut and spray painted.  Next we traced it on scrapbook paper and cut the scrapbook paper out and spray glued it to the back so we'd have a place to write the birthday message.  Then Chris piped on latex chaulk and I used a chopstick to swirl it around to look more realistic.  We made chocolate looking cakes for the boys and strawberry cakes for the girls.

Three days before Hayes' birthday, Sarah, Cody, and I set off to the post office to get it metered and mail it.  I was a little nervous walking in.  I thought the post lady was going to look at me like I was crazy and tell me I had to put it in an envelop or box.  So I just tried to sound upbeat and matter of fact as I put the cake card down and said, "hello, I need to weigh this and mail it please."  She stuck it on the scale and told me it would be $2.07 and then printed out the sticker.  I was a little worried because the sticker was bigger than stamps and so it didn't fit completely on the scrapbook paper.  I was afraid that the metered postage would come off and it wouldn't make it to it's intended target.  But I checked and it made it safely to the recipient.  I think I only annoyed the lovely post lady when I asked for it back so Sarah could go put it in the blue bin outside.  I'm pretty sure 10 minutes later she had to walk outside and pull it out of the blue bin.  

Sarah was very excited to mail the slice of cake!

In it goes!

After that we headed home and checked our mail.  When Sarah opened the mailbox she said, "Hey!  Where's the cake?"  So she doesn't quite get the mail process yet.  =)

Making the cake cards was pretty fun and I think it's a cool effect.  Perhaps next year I'll mail them to the adults on the birthday card list.  Or make white cakes for wedding congratulations, though most of my friends are married so I don't see sending that off in the near future.  Or I could send it as a just because slice of cake, as in, I sent this to you just because it's cool.  But first, I need to find some rectangular sponges to make it easier.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Cody's 18 Months Old

Cody my handsome little man!  You are 18 months old today.  This is a major accomplishment as it also means you can officially start going to nursery at church.  Wahoo!

Anyway, here's how you've grow.

* At your check up today you got a clean bill of health as usual thank goodness!  You are consistent on your growth line but I didn't catch all your measurements.  But I do remember that you are in the 10th percentile for your weight, 25th percentile for your head, and 50th percentile for you height.  
* Like I mentioned above you can officially go into the nursery at church.  You've been in a few times but now you get to go in whether you like it or not.  Daddy is in charge of getting you acclimated to nursery.  I think you'll like it, they have snacks.  =)
* You still aren't talking much but here are some words that you use consistently and clearly: daddy (comes out daaaddeeee!), mommy, drop, choo-choo, puppy, please (eeeaaase), boo boo, ouch (which it is absolutely adorable when you say that), poo poo (and you point at your bum), boobear (which we are pretty sure it means your blankey), NO!, and mine.
* If you get injured, run into something, bump any body part, you immediately put your hand our your head and say, "ooooouuuuuch".  It's hard to know where you actually got hurt because you only motion to your head.
* You love to sit in the rocking chairs both the big one and the kiddie one.  You've claimed the little one and get angry when Sarah sits in it.
* You love to play with Mr. Potato Head, blocks, and cars.  You got 2 trucks from your Auntie Cam at Christmas that you like to get out of the toy closet.
* You have a feisty attitude.  You yell and scream a lot and express tons of attitude on your face.  You are definitely assertive in what you want which is anything that Sarah currently has.
* You have a mischievous side which daddy says is just being a little brother.  You will steal a toy from Sarah and then throw an evil grin across your face and go running.
* You love to run and are trying to learn how to jump.  It's so cute watching you try to get air under your feet.
* Your favorite shows are Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Little Einsteins.  You are forced to watch Doc McStuffins and Sophia the First more than you probably would like.
* Your favorite books right now are Brown Bear, Goodnight Moon, and The Ear Book.
* You are so independent and stubborn.  Sometimes it drives me nuts, but it's so you that at other times I can't help but laugh at you.
* You're still a picky eater.  The only vegetable I can get you to eat is canned carrots.  You are hit and miss on fruits.  For example, Monday I gave you blue berries and you spit them out, Tuesday you shoveled them in by the handfuls, and Wednesday you were insulted I even put them on your plate.  I just can't figure you out. 
* You are a hitter.  We're working on it.  We've put you in timeout for it a few times and you cry like its the end of the world. 
* You are not overly snuggly but sometimes you do want to cuddle.  It is always with your blanket that you fell in love with while you battled Rotavirus last month.  You seemed to attach to your brown and blue stripped blanket.  It's cute that you have a lovey but it's also a problem.  After we were Rotavirus free it was time to wash EVERTHING.  You flipped out that your blanket had to be washed.  You cried so much that we eventually had to leave the house to distract you until the wash cycle was done.  Then you cried while it was in the dryer.  
* There's never a dull moment with you around little guy.  You are most definitely my handsome man, a daddy's boy, and Sarah's antagonistic shadow.  We love you!

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Schwartz's vs the Drive In Movie Night

I call it the perfect storm.  It doesn't happen very often but once in a great while we run out of pull ups, diapers, and wipes at the same time and have to pick them all up at Costco in one trip.  That check out pains me.  Then while the kids are napping I log all the worthless points into the system and put everything away in the closet.  After the kids got up from their naps I hadn't broken down the boxes yet so they, of course, started playing with them.  Because the greatest toy in the world is a cardboard box.  They both climbed in a box and not being able to resist I planted my big bottom in the only box that was left  (Sarah later had to push the box over for me so I could wiggle out) and we pretended like they were cars.  And mistakenly said out loud, "we should paint them to look like cars and then we can watch a movie in them."  That was a statement Sarah would NEVER forget.  So she talked about it the rest of that week and into the next one until it was Thursday the day daddy took off during his spring break to spend playing with us.  So we woke up, went to the gym, and then went to the store to buy supplies.  Sarah wanted a pink car with blue polk a dots and black wheels.  Cody just screamed until someone handed him a bottle of paint, which Chris took to mean he wanted a red car with flames.  After nap time we put on some of daddy's old shirts and set out to make our master pieces.  They kids were so excited.  It was adorable.

Sarah painting her car pink.

Cody heard us calling them brushes and did the only natural thing you do with a "brush".

Cody helping daddy get the paints ready for his car.

Cody helped a little.  He put a few strokes of yellow on his car, and on sisters car.  But since we kept telling him to "paint his car" he then kept running over to his cozy coup truck.  I don't think he really understood the assignment.  So he played with that for a while and then would come over and paint some more and then wander away again.  But he had a great time.

Sarah did a great job and was really focused on painting her car.  She even worked hard to keep the pink paint out of the wheel circles daddy drew for her.  She was patient and put on 3 coats of paint to make sure it was really pink.  

 One of the times Cody toddled back to paint on his car.

He got paint every where, even on his forehead.  Such a cute boy.

After we got the base coat on pink finished we stopped for a dinner break so her car could dry before she added her blue polk a dots.  

Chris helped her paint her blue polk a dots.  He was diligently working on one side while she did the other.  Then he peeked at her side and she says, "look daddy!  Do you like my caterpillar?"

She was so excited she couldn't wait to have our drive in movie night.  We explained to her we'd have movie night in "2 sleeps".  Annie taught me that way of counting time for kids.  So when she woke up Friday she told daddy, "one more sleep and then we get to watch a movie in our cars!"
We bought Wreck it Ralph for our movie night.  We hadn't seen it yet but heard good things so I'm glad we went ahead and purchased it.  Chris and I loved it.  Sarah watched it because she loves movies.  It was a nice change from the princess movies we normally watch.  Cody watched a lot of it, but he didn't get a nap so she started getting squirmy and was sent to bed.  

Sarah in her car.  She insisted on wearing her tiara.

Trying to get a picture but they are already glued to the screen.  Such little tv zombies I have.

Hello ladies, wanna ride in my car?

Chris put hoods on their car to make it "more realistic" I thought it was great because it was a built in snack tray.  The kids got to have popcorn and marshmallows.  Yum!  Cody eventually figured out the best way to get to the marshmallows was to dump the whole bowl out then pick the marshmallows up.  It made for quite a mess but I must admit it was pretty effective.

I saved the cars and put them away for another time.  They both really enjoyed it.  Cody climbed in willingly and sat in his car for quite a while until he got squirmy because he was tired.  Sarah stayed in her car until she was done with her snacks and Cody was in bed.  Then she wanted to get on the couch and cuddle with me.  She's my snuggle bug.  We still haven't seen Cars 2 yet.  And that seems like the perfect movie for a drive in night.  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Schwartz's vs the Sushi Dinner

Chris and I have apparently been craving Japanese cuisine and specifically sushi recently.  So since it was spring break and he didn't have to work late or go to school he really wanted to go out for dinner.  We've got a new place opening up sometime soon in Atoka that we're really looking forward too, but since it's not open yet we tried Kobe in Millington.  It was really good!  Shortly after we ordered they brought out the ginger salad and miso soup and also dropped off the chopsticks including a pair off modified kiddie chop sticks for Sarah.  She was so excited she picked them up right away and yelled, "Look mom!  Just like your favorite movie!"  I was pretty confused by that one and I had to look to Chris who mouthed "Mulan" to me.  "Oh yeah!  It is just like my favorite movie sweetie!"  I love how Sarah pays attention to little details like that.  She's so sweet.

The kiddie chop sticks were pretty awesome and she immediately started stealing lettuce from my salad with them.  And apparently I was feeding Cody too slowly because he started reaching for the big spoon to get the miso soup himself.  We ordered a couple of their speciality rolls and I gave Sarah one of the pieces.  She quickly told me she didn't like it.  But Cody on the other hand loved it!  He was eating every bit of sushi that we poked in his mouth.  Of course, when I got out the camera so we could document that momentous occasion of our 18 month old eating and enjoying sushi (it was a cooked roll don't worry) he got really mad and did not want to participate anymore.
Why you taking a picture of me while I'm eating?  I don't get the camera out every time you eat!

Sarah was a chopstick rock star.  And she was especially good at eating the rice with them.  She was having so much fun eating rice with chopsticks just like mommy's favorite movie that we actually had to bargain with her to get her to eat the chicken.  "Sarah, you need to eat a piece of chicken and then you can have 2 bites of rice with your chopsticks."  However, I was unable to bribe her into eating the zucchini.  And I offered the most coveted treat, ice cream.  She put one bite in her mouth and tried hard but she spit it out and just didn't want it.  Oh well, maybe one day.  

Like most kids ours can be pretty picky eaters.  And I definitely feed them the same things all the time.  So it's exciting when we try new things and they actually like it.  I would never have guessed Cody would have liked the miso soup or the sushi or that Sarah would have been so willing and successful at using chopsticks.  I know teriyaki chicken isn't too adventurous food wise but it wasn't something they had eaten before so they very quickly could have turned their noses up at it.  But they didn't and that makes me happy.  Plus now I know we can take our kids out to places like that and they'll actually eat and not throw a fit and that is a huge win!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Pinned it, Made it: Honey Parmesan Pork Roast

Well my crock pot has gotten a ton of use recently.  Chris made some lasagna in it last Sunday which he and the kids loved!  I was a little sad that I was still under the weather and didn't get to enjoy it.  And then this past week I made some beef tips in the crock and they were amazing!  Cody stuffed his face on those and they'll get their own post next time they come around on the meal calendar.

But this edition of Pinned it, Made it is about the Honey Parmesan Pork Roast that I found here: Six Sisters' Stuff.  I don't make pork very often generally because I don't really know what to do with it.  So this appealed to me because it's a mix a bunch of stuff together and dump it in a crock pot kind of recipe.  I can handle that.  I can even handle that on a Sunday morning of Spring Forward (the worst day of the year!)

Honey Parmesan Pork

Of course I encourage you to go to the original source bla bla bla, but for those of you who don't want to follow the link, I edit copied the directions.


1 (2-3 pound) boneless pork roast
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp dried basil
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place roast in slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, honey, soy sauce, basil, garlic, oil and salt; pour over pork. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160°.
Remove meat to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Slice roast; serve with gravy (I also made mashed potatoes and the gravy was delicious on them!).

When Chris was doing the grocery list he checked to make sure we in fact had all the ingredients, except the pork, but he didn't really look at how much we would need of certain things so as I'm scrambling to get this together before we left for church we discovered we didn't have enough honey.  Normally, I wouldn't care and would have just used what we had and moved on but we were missing half of the amount of honey we needed for the HONEY parmesan pork so I had to call Annie and run over there to get some honey.  That's right, on spring forward Sunday, trying to get the family together to make it to church on time I had to drive to a friends house for an ingredient.  But we did still make it on time.  Cause that's how we roll (yeah right, normally we're late for everything).  So that being said, I followed all the directions and made no modifications to this.

Before picture, about to run out the door for church

The Pros:
*This was a really easy meal to put together.  It took me about 10 minutes to make the sauce and get everything in to the crock.
*It's common ingredients that I have on hand so all we had to pick up was the pork.  (And apparently we'll need some more honey for next time.)
*Crock pot means I can be a rock star mom and have dinner ready by 9 am.  Love that!
*Pork was tender and juicy not dried out like it can sometimes get.
*Chris, Cody and I really loved it.
*Served it with a pasta box side dish.  
*Made plenty of left overs.  (Hopefully they'll reheat well tonight.)
* Gravy seemed like it was going to be complicated to make but it only took about 5 minutes.  So even though they said something scary like "skim the fat out of the cooking juices" they mean pull the hunks of floaters out before you make your gravy.  Not a big deal at all.  I used a slotted spoon.

The Cons:
* Sarah didn't like it.  What are you gonna do!

The Changes I Made/Would Make for Next Time:
* Just for full disclosure I didn't have any soy sauce in a bottle and I wasn't about to measure the packets we keep in the fridge so I dumped in 4 packets of soy sauce.  Not sure how much that was but I'm sure it was pretty close to the right amount.  And now you all know that I have a ton of soy sauce packets from take out chinese food in my fridge.  
* When I was making the meal calendar I forgot to put side dishes on this day so that's why we had it with a box of pasta.  I would make mashed potatoes next time.  The cooking juices make a fair bit of gravy and I think it would be yummy on top of potatoes like the person suggested.  
* Next time I'm also going to try it with some roasted zucchini

ta da! (Yes, I posted the same picture twice, it was good!)

Overall, would I make it again? Yes!  This was a quick, easy, and cheap meal to make.  Chris really liked it.  I liked it.  You'll like it.  Everyone likes it.  Well, except Sarah, but she's 3 and pretty much only wants to eat strawberry sandwiches and cheerios.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Schwartz's vs The Plague

 So what was this handsome man up to while we were gallivanting around FL?

Well, after dropping his sister off with Grandma and Grandpa Schwartz to drive to FL we headed over to Emily and David's new apartment for a little play date with Henry and to meet our new niece Allison.  Cody and Henry had a great time playing together.  And they shared pretty well.  Cody liked Henry's straw type sippy cups better than his take and toss, and Henry liked that Cody's cup had milk instead of water.  So since Em and I are both a little laid back with cup swapping kids we didn't care.  Oh, but we should have.  Because Henry was nice enough to share the Rotavirus with Cody.  Em mentioned that Henry had it, but neither of us knew quite how contagious it is.

So that's right, while we were in FL my poor mother was at home with Cody who was miserably sick and blowing out both ends.  Poor mom.  But she didn't complain.  I don't think it was the weekend she was looking for with her grandson but I was really glad she got the worst of it.  By the time I got home he was just down to terrible diarrhea.  He was pretty sick for about 5 or 6 days.  Then he started getting back to normal.  Now he's up and running and his old self again.  Except he's a little addicted to his pacifier and he's chosen a lovey now that he carries around the house all the time.  But we're glad he's feeling better.  And we only have a few more days to lysol the heck out of everything before we're sure it's clear out of the house.  Until we are diligently trying to make sure Sarah doesn't get it.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Disney...Again

Alright, we all know that I am a huge Disney nerd/Disney brat.  I accepted it a long time ago.  Disney is my happiest place on Earth.  When I'm stressed out and the kids are driving me nuts, I hop of the Disney website and faux plan a vacation.  When Chris's school schedule is killing me, I hop on the Disney website a plan our dream cruise we are taking in 5 years.  Yeah, that's right.  I plan vacations 5 years out in advance.  Usually, as soon as I get home from a trip I start dreaming about the next.  I feel absolutely terrible that Sarah has been 3 times and Cody hasn't been yet.  But that's life.  And honestly, my Disney trips have got to stop because we've got a lot on the horizon.  So we need to buckle down and get to May 2015.  Then I make no promises.  I mean, Chris might seriously have to walk across the stage on graduation day and straight to the car and drive this family to Disney because I am going to be JONESING for a trip.  

When I first signed up for the Princess Half Chris and I were just going to fly down, do the race and fly back.  And then I started feeling REALLY guilty about going to Disney without the kids.  Sarah is old enough now to truly enjoy it and well, you just can't leave Cody out.  Except we did.  Again.  Sorry Cody.  But you seriously are a terrible traveler.  I don't even like making the 3 hour drive to AR to visit my parents with you.  However, there is hope, soon you will become a little tv zombie like your sister and then you can travel anywhere.  Seriously.  Anywhere.  Sarah will drive without complaint for an exceedingly long time as long as she has her movies.  So I begged Grandma and Grandpa Schwartz to drive Sarah down with them (because I'm couldn't afford the air fare) and we picked her up from the wedding.  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Schwartz!  I'm really glad they were willing to do this for us. Sarah loves Disney World too.  And I think it's such a special place to be with family.  

And since my mom and I splurged and did our first character meals ever on my birthday trip this past summer I thought it would be nice to treat Chris to a character breakfast.  We booked a late breakfast time so it was more of a brunch and went after the princess expo.  And we choose the Grand Floridian's Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Breakfast.  It had a good menu selection, but also the time we were looking for, and new characters to meet.  (However, comparing this one to the Play and Dine at Hollywood and Vine over the summer, the Play and Dine is still a way better choice for preschoolers.)

So we started the day by stuffing our faces and meeting Winnie the Pooh.

 And Tigger too!

This is my new favorite picture of the 2 of them.  And I can't believe how much she has grown in the past 6 months.  Look back at my last Disney post to see.

Then we got to meet Alice for the first time.  She was wonderful and completely in character.  She even walked across some unused chairs as she went from from room to the next.  

Sarah and Alice are talking about her shirt and their favorite colors.  Sarah told her that her favorite color was pink and that she also likes blue.  But pink, that's her favorite color. 
Alice wished me luck in the race for the next day and said she'd be out there.  She also asked Sarah to look for her white rabbit while we were in the parks today.  Sadly we didn't see the white rabbit. 

Since this is the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Breakfast it is only fitting that none other than Mary Poppins should make an appearance.
 Sarah showed Mary her silly face and Mary told Sarah that she was a card just like Burt and that they'd get along grand.  She also said supercalifragilisticexpialidocious forwards and backwards for us.

The Mad Hatter also made his rounds and wished Sarah and Very Merry Unbirthday.

 Usually the characters only visit your table once.  But since we were there near the end of breakfast Tigger popped by, pulled up a chair and hung out for a while.  I guess he must have really liked Sarah. He let Sarah feed him some rice krispy treat.  And then he started snuggling with her bib.  He must have thought it was a lovey so I corrected him and he was so embarrassed.  Thankfully some kisses from Sarah and her bouncing with him made it all better.

Then it was time to ride the monorail and head over to Epcot.  Sarah has never been to Epcot and it's not traditionally my favorite park.  When we have only one day to spend we usually skip it.  We used it as a meeting place for dinner when I was growing up.  But it does have some cool things to look at and we wanted to take it kind of easy the day before the race so that's where we went. 

I'm sorry I wasn't as diligent about taking pictures this time.  I think it was because Chris took his backpack and the camera fit in there so it wasn't constantly around my neck reminding me to take pictures.  But we did ride the ride inside Spaceship Earth.  Sarah enjoyed the different scenes and thankfully didn't point out the animatronics were "just robots" again.  I need her to believe in the Disney magic.  And then she played a few of the games in the lobby afterwards and enjoyed those.  Then we headed over to Innovations East where she participated in the fire safety house.  Even though you were supposed to exit through the closest exit she kept climbing out the window and taking forever.  But it was still adorable.  And then she played the really cute money sense whatever activity while Daddy and Aunt Sarah held our place in line to meet some characters.  The money sense game (while completely over Sarah's head) was adorable and she got to carry a piggy bank from station to station and that was pretty neat.  I was really impressed with it.  Then it was our turn to get some one on one time with the Mouse!

Giving Minnie a big hug!

And I just barely missed it but she kissed Mickey on the nose.

Her first time meeting Goofy.

After that we headed over and doubled checked her height, still too short for Soarin' and Test Track.  Oh well, but we did ride the boat ride through the gardens (Living with the Land) before heading over to the Nemo Ride, the Living Seas.

Look who found Nemo.

We walked around the aquarium for a while and saw the big sea turtle who Aunt Sarah says doesn't swim around very often and the dolphins were swimming a bit.  

Then we walked over to the garden/carnival area they set up to promote the movie Oz.  Sarah got to play the ring toss and the bean bag throw and she won some marigold seeds and a movie button for trying.  And then played on the playground for a little bit.  She was being quite the stinker and would not let me take a picture of her.

So this is the best you get.

Then we headed over to the World Showcase to start finding the fun KidCot stops.  (Not as exciting as I thought they would be.)  But we managed to get our stamps from Canada, UK, France, Morocco, China, and Germany.  In Morocco and China they wrote Sarah's name in that language on the back of her Kidcot companion.  

They already had some of the fun topiaries set up for the Garden Festival that runs through March.

Sarah's big request this trip was to meet Jasmin.  She kept telling me how she has never met her.  (Not true, she met her when she was 1 but she doesn't remember that).  I know they pop up over by the Magic Carpet Ride in the Magic Kingdom but I didn't want to waste Grandma and Grandpa's time searching for characters when we'd only have a limited time in the park on Sunday after the race so we made sure to find them in Epcot.  It's actually easier I think to find certain characters there instead of in the MK.  Jasmin and Alladin are in Morocco, Belle is in France, Snow White is in Germany, etc, etc.  There is a sign that tells the time they come out.  And we just happened to miss them however someone told Chris to go ahead and get in line because they apparently have to turn people away each time since that line is so long and popular.  Sarah was thrilled to get to meet Jasmin!

Alladin is sad because we just told him Sarah's calls his movie "the Jasmin movie"

 Apparently Sarah still hasn't outgrown reading for Jasmin's inappropriate bling.  Jasmin had to hold her hand to keep them away.

And the person I wanted to meet this trip was Mulan.  I'm not sure where you can find her in the parks other than in Epcot's China.  So we made sure to head over there.

She told Mulan that she was her "mommy's favorite, but Rapunzel is mine".  Thankfully, Mulan took it in stride.  I'm sure they hear stuff like that a lot.

Mulan showed Sarah how to pose like a tough strong woman.

And Mulan wished me luck in the race.

Then the next day after the race we hit the Magic Kingdom with Grandma and Grandpa Schwartz.  And I did an even worse job taking pictures.  Again, I blame the backpack situation, and it was rainy, and I was tired.  

But I did remember to get a family shot in front of the Castle.

And Chris took a few pictures of the new fantasy land.
Beast's Castle in the mountains.

Prince Eric's castle.

We made sure to enjoy both the new attractions in Fantasy Land.  Enchanted Tales with Belle is super cute and Sarah got to play Chip the teacup in the little show.  She was so excited when they asked who wanted to play chip her hand shot right up.

And we rode the new Ariel ride Journey of the Little Mermaid which takes you through animatronic scenes of the movie.  She had big eyes every time we were able to see her.  It was one of those rides that was a sensory overload to only ride it once but the line gods were not with us this time so we weren't able to ride things back to back.  Oh well.  She still enjoyed it.  Sarah acted a little afraid in the Haunted Mansion.  She apparently hid her head the whole time.  And she keeps doing the laugh from that ride and telling me that's what the monster says.  

We didn't have all day in the park but we made sure to ride Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain with Grandpa and we even talked Grandma into riding the Barnstormer with Sarah before they had to leave.  I hope Grandma and Grandpa had a good time because I know Sarah did.  

After they left I was feeling pretty worn out so Chris and I went to go meet the princesses.  Why?  Because it's close to the front of the park and air conditioned.  =)  Plus I needed to show off my medal.

And then of course we wound up staying around until the fireworks.  It happens.  It wasn't in the plans but once you get there you just can't help but want to stick around for the fireworks over the castle.  Plus the new light show they put on the castle before the fireworks is amazing.  Jaw dropping, stunning, just amazing.  I'm glad we got a chance to see it.  

I'm really glad my family is so supportive and helped all my Disney run dreams come true this year.  But like I said, we've got big things coming up in the Schwartz family over the next couple of years so we need to buckle down and get it done.  But I do seriously hope to do a real Disney vacation with the kids after Chris graduates.  Even if it's only for a few days.