Monday, December 17, 2018

Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights and Santa comes to visit

In what has become an annual Christmas tradition, this season we had to find time to go see the lights at Sleepy Hollow in Torrance CA. Just like last year, my brother was able to make it down for it, along with Jacob and Ryan.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Friday, December 14, 2018

Making Figgy Pudding for Christmas

You've heard it sung about hundreds of times.
Now bring us some Figgy Pudding, Now bring us some Figgy Pudding, Now bring us some Figgy Pudding, and bring some right here.  
Have you ever had Figgy Pudding though? I never have.

Every year since 2014, I've challenged myself to make a Christmas treat that I've never made before. It started with Gingerbread Men (2014), Homemade Candy Canes (2015), Fudge (2016), and Peppermint Marshmallows (2017).
2018 will be the year of Figgy Pudding!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2018 Flowers' Family Christmas Lights

It's the Christmas season, so it's time for the annual decorating of the house. Ever since owning a home, I've liked to go big with lights. Every year I try to add a little something more, so it's constantly growing. Check out what's new this year.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Celebrating Sophie's birthday at Disneyland

What's cuter than 2 Prep and Landing Christmas elves?
How about 4 Prep and Landing Christmas elves?
So it's not the cutest picture, but they were getting big smiles and comments all day.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

2018 Disneyland Candlelight Processional - Chris Pratt - Part 2 - The Processional

Well out of all the Candlelight Processionals we've been to, tonight's was definitely the most recent.

All kidding aside, Theresa and I have been coming to watch Candlelight for a long time.

2008 - John Stamos
2009 - Jon Voight
2010 - Tom Skerritt
2011 - Gary Sinise
2012 - Kurt Russell, Edward James Olmos, Dick Van Dyke, John Stamos
2014 - Beau Bridges
2015 - Geena Davis
2016 - Ginnifer Goodwin
2017 - Chris Hemsworth

Looking back, I wasn't all that verbose in my early reports.

2018 Disneyland Candlelight Processional - Chris Pratt - Part 1 Leading up to Candlelight

Today is a special day at the Disneyland Resort. It's the first Saturday of December, which means it's the day of the Candlelight Processional. Since 1958, some form of this event has been going on at Disneyland. 

2018 Disneyland Candlelight Processional - Chris Pratt

Just got back from Candlelight 2018. This will be a placeholder until I can get more photos processed and written up. This is year number 11 for us to attend Candlelight.

Monday, November 26, 2018

A Michigan Thanksgiving visit and a trip to Frankenmuth 11/19/2018

Happy Thanksgiving week! To celebrate, we're flying out to Michigan to visit family. Our first day was packed with a trip to Frankenmuth, visiting Bronners (the largest Christmas shop in the world), Zehnders (for a chicken dinner), and the Frankenmuth Cheese House.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Disney's Aulani Day 12 Part 2 - Our last day at Aulani - 2017/04/10

Today's our last day at Aulani. It's been really fun so far, and I'm sad we're having to leave already. Two days isn't enough time here.
Hi Stitch! Alli just loves Stitch.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Disney's Aulani Day 12 Part 1 - A Tour of Aulani with a former Aulani Disney Ambassador - 2017/04/10

Today is our last day in Hawaii. It's sad. I know. But my friend Craig set up something very special for us.
The Disney Ambassador program has existed back at Disneyland since 1965. Walt Disney, being overwhelmed with requests for his time, appointed Julie Reihm as the first Disney Ambassador. The Ambassador is tasked with being the official spokesperson of all cast members and represents Disney everywhere. In the past, we've seen Disney Ambassadors every year at Minnie's Moonlit Madness introducing charities and presenting them with checks.
Aulani opened back in 2011 and in 2014, for the first time ever, an Ambassador was chosen to represent Disney at Aulani. That Ambassador was Janelle Sanqui. And Craig arranged it such that we'd get a private tour of the resort with her!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Disney's Aulani Day 11 Part 2 Making Leis and Exploring Aulani - 2017/04/09

When we last left off with the Aulani trip, the boys and I were just finishing up a Menehune hunt.
Hi Stitch! Just a random Disney character wandering around.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Disney's Aulani Day 10 - 2017/04/08

Sometimes it just takes a long time to get a post written up... Like, a really long time. So much that we've already been back to Hawaii since.

So, continuing this write-up from April 2017, the Flowers family got to visit Disney's Aulani!
 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Meeting Santa at Disneyland - 11/17/2018

This week we're back at Disneyland celebrating the holiday and visiting Santa.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Happy 90th Birthday Mickey Mouse!

It's Mickey's 90th Birthday!
Last Sunday, ABC aired a celebration of Mickey titled Mickey's 90th Spectacular. I also made sure to pick up a bag of the new Mickey Mouse Birthday Cake Oreos to celebrate. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Happy Birthday Ian! Celebrating at Disneyland!

Happy Birthday Ian! There's no better place to spend it I think than at Disneyland.
Today's hats are all about birthdays. My pink birthday Mickey hat came from Disneyland Paris. Ian's came from Disneyland a few years ago and the candles light up yellow. Alli's is from Walt Disney World and the candles light up red. Theresa's hat is from Disneyland looks like colorful confetti.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Happy Birthday Kids! 11/3/2018

Happy Birthday Alli and Ian!
Splitting the October and November birthdays, for now they're happy having a combined birthday celebration. After a tasty lunch of bbq ribs, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, and hawaiian rolls, the kids were eager to dig into their cake.
It's hard to beat a $19 Costco cake that can serve 48 people. And it's so tasty too.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Alli gets her first Disneyland Pass!

Today is a big day for Alli! This is our first trip to Disneyland now that she's turned 3, the age which you are no longer free to get into Disneyland. She finally gets her own pass!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween 2018!

Happy Halloween! Boy have the kids been excited for this day to finally come.
This year, all the talk has been about candy.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sampling lots of Post Cereals. Oreos, S'mores, Chips Ahoy, Nutter Butter, Nilla Wafer, and Golden Oreos

We seem to be on a cereal kick lately don't we. Today we're sampling a new offering from Post. It started innocently enough. While perusing the aisles of Target, I ran across a box of Honey Maid S'mores cereal. I'm always looking out for something new, so I picked up a box. Separately my brother found a box of Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding cereal and mailed it to me. I was content to try two new boxes of cereal and that was that.

Then I looked at the back of the box of the Nilla Wafers. Whoa! There's 6 different kinds of cereal in this new lineup. I've got to track down a few more flavors.
My neighborhood Vons and Ralphs had the Oreo O's, Chips Ahoy, and Nutter Butters. I never did find another box of Nilla Wafer cereal. And that one remaining box of Golden Oreo O's remained completely elusive. Tasting all these cereals would feel incomplete if I was missing one.
Luckily my brother was quick to offer to look for it, found it where he lived, and I had the last remaining flavor in pretty short order. Let's taste them!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Dippin Dots Cereal

Dippin' Dots cereal? Yum! Your favorite frozen treat is now a cereal!
My brother from Colorado found these for me and sent them out for me and the family to sample.
First of all, I think Dippin' Dots ice cream is excellent. Super cold like an ice cream should be, and my favorite out of all the flavors is Mint Chocolate Chip. I have fond memories of stopping by the Dippin' Dots shop in the mall during high school. Let's see how the cereal measures up!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Spooky Halloween M&Ms

One of the great things about this time of year are all the specialty flavors that come out. Earlier this year we sampled 17 different M&M flavors. For Halloween, M&M has introduced 3 flavors. I know Candy Corn is a returning flavor because we sampled it back in 2016. New to me this year are Cookies and Screeem and Pumpkin Pie.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Halloween Time at Disneyland

Happy Halloween Time at Disneyland! Today we're joined by our neighbors and starting the day at DCA.
Going into my hat collection, and yes I have even more Halloween hats. From left to right. My Devil Mickey top-hat came from Disneyland Paris. Alli's Witch Minnie Mouse is a 2016 Disneyland find. The leafy Mickey top-hat comes by way of Tokyo Disneyland. Pumpkin Jack was at Disneyland in 2017. And Ian's Winnie the Pooh bat hat is part of the same hat series as my hat and also from Disneyland Paris. Theresa is wearing a Zero headband today.

Halloween Pump-"cake" Patch at the Grand Californian - All 13 Hidden Mickeys

A couple weeks ago, while visiting Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, we discovered a giant cake Oogie Boogie pumpkin in the lobby. They claimed there were 13 Hidden Mickeys, but boy did we have a hard time finding them. Today we were back at Disneyland and determined to cross a few more off the list. Now that there's a few more, I'll start counting to see if we can make it all the way up to 13.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Fall Foliage - Viewing the Aspens in Colorado

It's always fun to head outside and see the beauty in the world around us. Theresa's favorite season has to be Fall, and one of the reasons has to be leaves changing colors. We've taken multiple trips to see fall foliage. We visited Vermont back in 2008 (among the first of my blog write-ups), and Gatlinburg Tennessee in 2012 BC (Before Children).
As fortune would have it, both Theresa and I were in Colorado for work, and it lined up perfectly with the peak viewing time of the Aspens changing colors.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Celebrating Pumpkins and wearing Pumpkin hats at Disneyland

Happy Saturday! In the spirit of Halloween Time, this week's theme is pumpkins! And when you're celebrating pumpkins, of course you have to get a photo by the giant pumpkin on Main Street.
Our hats are all pumpkins this week too. From left to right, My Pumpkin and Maize Goofy hat came from Walt Disney World. The Wizard Pumpkin Mickey came from Tokyo Disneyland. Pumpkin Mickey is from Walt Disney World. Theresa's Pumpkin Mickey hat is new in 2018 to the Disneyland Resort. It quickly sold out and I was fortunate enough to get one before it did.

Halloween Pump-"cake" Patch at the Grand Californian - Where are the Hidden Mickeys?

In the Grand Californian lobby is a giant 4 foot pumpkin made out of cake! I think it's awesome when limited time things like this make their way to Disneyland. There's just one thing that I'm having a hard time figuring out. Where are the hidden Mickeys?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Alli takes on more 40" rides at Disneyland

It's been a full weekend already, spending 2 days in Oak Glen California visiting apple orchards, but we're not done yet. Weekends are perfect for a Disneyland visit. I love seeing all the different Halloween decorations, plus Alli just turned 40" tall so she's got lots of brand new things she can ride.
Hats this week continue the Nightmare Before Christmas theme from last week. From left to right, we've got a Jack Skellington style top-hat from Disneyland years ago. Next is Jack Skellington bursting out of a pumpkin which I think was offered last year at Disneyland. Then there's a Scary Teddy hat, followed by a Santa Jack hat complete with beard.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Oak Glen Apple Farms - Part 2

Good morning! Happy Saturday! Ready to head to the apple orchards?
By staying overnight nearby, we were able to get an early start to the day and arrive right when the orchards opened on Saturday. The drive in to Oak Glen was quiet and peaceful. There was even one stretch were we saw deer amongst the apple trees eating their breakfast.

Having read multiple reviews ahead of time, it was clear that this was going to be a madhouse later in the day. According to everything I read, Oak Tree Village opened up at 8am. I thought getting there around 8:30am would give everyone a little time to get set up. But when we arrived, it was like a ghost town.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Oak Glen Apple Farms - Part 1

It's the weekend! This year we're not going to get the chance to fly to Michigan to visit the apple orchards there. Theresa was still really wanting to go and the kids have been getting really excited about picking apples so Theresa found a place relatively close by and made it happen!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

HalloweenTime at Disneyland and Alli turns 40! - Part 2

After spending a fun morning at Disneyland, it was time now to head over to California Adventure.

HalloweenTime at Disneyland and Alli turns 40! - Part 1

It's been a few weeks since our last trip to Disneyland and look what they've done since we've been gone! It's HalloweenTime at Disneyland! We love Halloween!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Lays Tastes of America - Trying 12 unique chip flavors

I love it when companies do things like this. Lay's has been great in the past for coming out with new unique flavors. Every year since at least 2013, they'll showcase 3-4 unique flavors in some sort of contest, and only have them around for a limited time.

In 2013 there was Chicken and Waffle, Sriracha, and Cheesy Garlic Bread.
2014 brought Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Cappuccino, Mango Salsa, and Wasabi Ginger.
2015 had West Coast Truffle Fries, New York Reuben, Greektown Gyro, and Southern Biscuits and Gravy.
2016 showcased Chinese Szechaun Chicken, Brazilian Picanha, Greek Tzatziki, and Indian Tikka Masala.
2017 had Everything Bagel with cream cheese, Crispy Taco, Smoked Gouda and Honey, and Avocado Toast.

Now in 2018, Lay's is stepping up their game and offering 12 special flavors, with 8 of those flavors being brand new. This year chip flavors are inspired by different regions of America.

From west to east, this years flavors are: West Coast Truffle Fries (returning), Thai Sweet Chili, Chile Con Queso, Fried Pickles with Ranch, Bacon Wrapped Jalepeno Popper (returning), Fried Green Tomatoes (returning), Deep Dish Pizza, Cajun Spice, Ketchup (returning), Pimento Cheese, Chesapeake Bay Crab Spice, and New England Lobster Roll.

However, a major obstacle to trying them all is that many of the flavors are only offered in the region they represent. So out here in California I'm sure to find West Coast Truffle Fries, but won't be able to get Deep Dish Pizza or New England Lobster Roll.
Thankfully for those of us who are completists, Lays offers a sampler pack online with all the different flavors...

Or at least they were supposed to. Demand was pretty overwhelming and despite checking in the days leading up to, and the day they were released, I didn't have any luck getting a sampler box.

I'm lucky to have a brother who is watching out for me on things like this. He was online at 6am, saw they were available and ordered one to ship to me. Thanks Patrick!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Touring the Jelly Belly Factory

It's been years since we've toured the Jelly Belly factory. Ian was a toddler and Alli wasn't even born the last time we were here, so I was really happy there was time to visit on this trip.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Apple Taste testing with Theresa

I love doing taste tests. Chips, cookies, Kit Kats, and even cereal. It's fun to get lots of different kinds together and try them all. While walking around the Napa Farmers Market, Theresa discovered a booth with a bunch of different apple varieties. Let's do a taste test!

Ian was helpful picking out all the best apples and was excited to help out.

Friday, August 31, 2018

A Labor Day weekend with family

For the last 12 years, I've always known where I was going to be for Labor Day. The Disneyland Half Marathon has been going for 12 years and I've participated in every single one of them. This year however, with new construction happening at the resort, the race had to be postponed.
Theresa was happy to finally have her Labor Day weekend free to make travel plans. Let's head up north and see my brother!
Ian's getting some practice carrying a bag. It's huge compared to him! Luckily it's filled with treats that we'll be sampling a little later.

Friday, August 24, 2018

A visit to Splitsville, 85C, the beach, Downtown Disney, and a Korean restaurant

Well that's certainly a busy Friday isn't it. We've had plenty of visitors come see us this summer. It's been great! School is starting very soon though and there's only time for one more trip. Rita and Aubrey came all the way from Michigan to see us one last time. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Celebrating Dwarfs at Disneyland and finally getting walked off a ride

Today we're celebrating Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Disneyland. Since taking Ian on Snow White's Scary Adventures a couple weeks ago, any time we pass by he wants to ride it.
The hats this week all match the theme of course. The Doc and Dopey hats are both courtesy of Disneyland Paris. Grumpy certainly looks to be in the same style but came from Disney World. Alli's princess hat came from Walt Disney World.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Sampling 4 new Oreo flavors and 3 Chips Ahoy cookies

Didn't Oreo just release some new flavors for us to try? Yes, yes they did. Just 2 months ago in May they offered Cherry Cola, Kettle Corn, and PiƱa Colada flavored Oreos.

Despite that, the good folks at Nabisco released another 4 flavors in stores a short time later. Flavors like Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, Rocky Road Trip, Pistachio, and Strawberry Shortcake.
I had a hard time finding these where I live. Thankfully my brother is always looking out for me and bought and shipped me the flavors I couldn't find. Thanks!

And not content to just stick to Oreo, Nabisco has also started throwing in new flavors of Chewy Chips Ahoy cookies. I saw more than this at the store, but today I'm starting with Reese's, S'mores, and Red Velvet.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Disneyland - How's my hair?

Every week I'm trying to do something different with hat themes. This week's theme can best be described as Hair Hats. I typically collect plush style hats, but every once in a while, one of these hair hats stands out.
From left to right, I'm wearing a punk rocker Goofy hat with a blue and green mohawk. Each ear has both a gold and bronze earring. Ian's wearing what he called a "racing Mickey" hat with orange hair. Alli just loves her Rapunzel princess hat with a long braid of blonde hair. Theresa is wearing a jamaican inspired Mickey hat with black braids. Jacob is sporting a green Mickey ear visor with a wild rainbow afro.

Friday, August 10, 2018

The North Pole - Santa's Workshop

Everyone knows that Santa's workshop is at the North Pole, but did you know that the North Pole isn't in the Arctic? The North Pole along with Santa's Workshop is actually just west of Colorado Springs at the base of Pikes Peak!
Today as a special treat, the grandparents (Gram, Pop Pop, and Grandpa) are taking Ian, Alli, and their cousin. My kids were excited when I told them where they were going. Ian especially was excited to meet Santa.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Visiting Colorado

For the past week, the Flowers were visiting Colorado! And everyone is coming with!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Journey into Disney California Adventure with Figment

Today we're bringing a little Figment of our imagination into Disney's California Adventure. Of course Figment is a resident of Epcot out at Walt Disney World in Florida, but we're going to see what we can do to find him here in California.
Of course the hats are all from Florida. Mine is a classic hat from the 90s. Alli's is more recent (from my last visit to WDW). Ian has a full body Figment on his head. And since that's the end of my Figment hats, Theresa is carrying the kid's stuffed Figment plush.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Birthday celebrations plus Mickey and Friends

It's my birthday weekend! And I'm lucky enough to have my family here to celebrate with me!