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 Piña 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!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Hunting Lions at Disneyland

Today at Disneyland we're celebrating The Lion King! And because we're lions today, we're going to hunt for other lions at the park.
For hats, there's Ian sporting his Young Simba hat from Disneyland Paris. My Simba hat (which we're calling Mufasa today) came from Disney World. Alli has a rare Nala hat which I think was released around the time of the movie.
And you can see in the background, the banners are sporting lions on their banners. Lion Count - 1.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Florida - Magic Kingdom - Day 3 Part 2 2018-06-01

After a fun start to the day at the Animal Kingdom, everyone headed to Epcot to finish our trip.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Quick Disneyland Visit

Today was just a quick visit over to Disneyland. Both parks opened up at 8am today, but we had a slow morning getting ready and didn't leave the house until late. That meant we didn't get to the parks until 9:30am.
Our hats today are classic Disney character ball caps. Some version of Goofy and Pluto has been around for years and years. Goofy, Pluto and Donald can all still be found around the parks. Mickey however is unique, in that I can't remember seeing another one. He's definitely part of the set though. He's winking just like Pluto.

Florida - Magic Kingdom - Day 3 Part 1 2018-06-01

It's our last day at the parks in Florida, and we're rounding out our trip with a visit to the Animal Kingdom.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

104° at Disneyland so we're celebrating Snowmen

Southern California is currently going through a heat wave and Anaheim hit 104º today! I know of one snowman at least that loves the idea of summer, and sun, and all things hot. So maybe all snowmen love summer, right? In order to "stay cool" we're going with a snowman theme today.
For hats, I've got a Mickey Snowman from Walt Disney World. Alli couldn't be talked out of her princess Rapunzel hat. Ian has a snowman Mickey from Disneyland Paris. Theresa is sporting Winnie the Pooh from Disneyland Paris. And Jacob has our buddy Olaf from here at Disneyland.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy July 4th!

Happy July 4th! Everyone is celebrating today!
Ian has been so excited for July 4th.
Ian - "We're celebrating America's birthday! I'm going to go down the water slide. And throw water balloons. And ride in the bike parade!"
All that excitement meant he was talking to Alli about all these things well after he was supposed to be asleep. And he woke up early in anticipation.
With him up and everyone else getting up, we got an early start on breakfast and had our fill of all types of pancakes, meats, eggs, and hash browns at the Original Pancake House.

And we got the house all decorated for the neighborhood block party. Now's a great time to bring out my Lego Mickey Mouse mosaic.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

#myOreoCreation contest, tasting different Oreo flavors

I love tasting unique flavored foods, so when my brother (who lets me know about so many new foods) told me about the #myOreoCreation contest flavors, it wasn't long before I was at the store looking for them.
So, what flavors do we have? A Piña Colada Oreo Thin. A Cherry Cola with Pop Rocks Oreo. And a Kettle Corn Golden Oreo. All of them sound interesting and all of them are worth trying!

And whenever we try foods, it's always better to try them with others. I might like something, but others might find it gross. Except the kids. They like everything.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney Anaheim

All the way back in 2016, Downtown Disney closed up the House of Blues. A short time later, construction started on the Splitsville Luxury Lanes Bowling Alley. Ian asked what they were building and ever since we told him, he's been asking about when we can go bowl. Finally in March, Splitsville opened.

I'd been toying with taking Ian, but the prices have been scaring me away. $19 per person before 4pm and $24 afterwards and on weekends, taking a whole family is easily $100. I'd previous enquired about renting a lane for an hour and was told it was $175/hour for up to 8 people. Eh... that's a bit pricy.

Cut to Thursday, when T showed me an advertisement that popped up on her Facebook page. Now $10 is more reasonable.
Ian, we're going to Splitsville!


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Grand Opening of the Pixar Pier and the Incredicoaster - part 2

Continuing our morning at Disney's California Adventure, the three of us are ready to ride the Incredicoaster.

Grand Opening of Pixar Pier!

June 23rd, 2018. The day of the Grand Opening of the Pixar Pier at Disney's California Adventure. And we happen to have some visitors from Michigan here to celebrate with us!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

2018 Belmont Shore Stroll and Savor

Welcome to the Belmont Shore Stroll and Savor! Every summer, the Belmont Shore in Long Beach hosts the Stroll and Savor. An opportunity to walk around and try foods from over 40 different restaurants along 2nd Street. We've been coming here for years, and it's always a treat.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

2018 Pasadena Chalk Festival - Sunday Day 2

It's Fathers Day and we're all up in Pasadena checking out the 2018 Pasadena Chalk Festival. Ruston and I worked hard to finish everything up on Saturday. Thankfully when we came back on Sunday it had survived the night unscathed!

Check out the time-lapse of us creating Herbie.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

2018 Pasadena Chalk Festival - Saturday Day 1 2018-06-17

It's the 26th Annual Pasadena Chalk Festival! You know where I'm going to be this weekend, right?
This is our fourth year participating, having spent previous years making murals of Ducktales, The Iron Giant, and The Jungle Cruise poster.
Ruston and I trade off each year being team captain. This year it's Ruston's choice, and inspired by the 50th anniversary of The Love Bug (December 1968) and Allison Lefcort's amazing painting, we set off to recreate Herbie in chalk on the pavement.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Celebrating Pirates at Disneyland - 2016-06-15

Last Friday, Pirates of the Caribbean re-opened with updates effects and new scenes. Today we're celebrating that by wearing pirates hats.

26th Annual Pasadena Chalk Festival - Come see us!

Come see Ruston and I this weekend as we participate in the 26th Annual Pasadena Chalk Festival!

You can find us just off E. Colorado Blvd here!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

2018 Pasadena Chalk Festival - Thursday Check-in and Artist Party 2018-06-14

It's nearing Father's Day, which means it's almost time for the 2018 Pasadena Chalk Festival. The festival itself is celebrating its 26th year, and Ruston and I are celebrating our 4th year as artists.
As artists, everyone can check in on Thursday and choose the spot they'll use over the weekend. Normally this would be a job for Ruston, but today I was able to get off work early and make the drive up to Pasadena in time!

Sunday, June 10, 2018


Today we're celebrating Phineas and Ferb at Disneyland! Specifically Perry the Platypus. My hat is just an ordinary platypus. They don't really do much. But Ian is wearing Special Agent P. Very nice.

Alli chose a princess hat, specifically Rapunzel. She really liked the long hair. After Luigi's broke down (no surprise there), we found ourselves on Mater's Junkyard Jamboree.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Sampling 17 different M&M flavors including the 3 new ones

M&M recently introduced 3 brand new flavors and invited everyone to vote on their favorites. It was fun tasting all the new peanut M&M flavors last year, so of course we'll be sampling whatever new flavors we can this year.
Finding the flavors proved difficult initially, taking Theresa and I to 4 different stores and only finding 1 kind. Eventually we found all three flavors and decided to take this show on the road. We were traveling to Michigan and thought it would be a lot of fun to sample them with people and discuss our favorites.
And then Theresa said "We should try other flavors too." Heh. She might end up regretting that...

Once we arrived in Michigan, the local Meijer (grocery store) had so many different kinds of M&Ms it was ridiculous. Of course we have to try them all!
There's 17 different flavors here including, Plain, Peanut, 50% Dark Chocolate, 49% Dark Chocolate Peanut, Crispy Mint, Dark Chocolate Mint, Peanut Butter, Pretzel, Crispy Espresso, Coffee Nut (last year's winner), Crispy, Almond, Crispy Raspberry, Minis, Caramel, White Chocolate, and Strawberry Nut.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Florida - Magic Kingdom - Day 2 Part 2 2018-05-31

Continuing our day at the Magic Kingdom, it's tradition to have to photos in front of the castle, so immediately following our tasty dinner at The Plaza we headed straight for the castle.

Florida - Magic Kingdom - Day 2 Part 1 2018-05-31

It's day 2 at Walt Disney World and today we're all headed to the Magic Kingdom. Let's go!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Florida - Epcot - Day 1 Part 2 2018-05-30

After a fun morning in Epcot, our afternoon started with a visit to Mickey and his friends.

Florida - Epcot - Day 1 2018-05-30

After a weekend in Michigan, it was time to continue our vacation. Off to Florida!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Michigan - Ethan's Birthday

Time for our next adventure. It's Memorial Day weekend and we've got a few things planned. First up, we're flying to Michigan to celebrate Ethan's 16th birthday! The kids are all ready to go.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Disneyland with Daddy

Theresa was busy today, but there's no reason why I can't take the kids to Disneyland solo. T packed everyone a snack bag, we loaded in the car, drove to Disneyland, waited 15 minutes to park, and then walked through Downtown Disney to get to the park. First up is California Adventure.
Alli picked out our hats for today. I've got a great Jafar hat. I was surprised how much positive attention it got today. Lots of people loving the hat. And when people saw that Ian's hat was the Genie, he got a lot of positive comments too. I had no Jasmine hats, Alli settled for a princess hat. In this case Princess Minnie.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Ian turns 42

Forty two inches! It wasn't even a year ago that he hit the 40" line. Now he's up to the next big level for Disney rides!
According to the Disneyland website, there are 5 brand new things he can do now that he's topped that mark.

  • Goofy's Sky School
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Redwood Creek Zip Line
  • Redwood Creek Rock Wall
  • Matterhorn