Fantasy World

June 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Explore Florida, Hotels & Resorts, Travel

Fantasy World Resort Great – Swimming Pool For Kids

One of the things I looked for when I searched for a place for Elise and I to stay was a really awesome pool.  Since she was going without her triplet brothers, I was hoping to have a pool that she would be entertained in and hopefully meet some other little girls to play with.  I was really excited when I found the Fantasy World Resort online. fantasy world resort This pool is really wonderful.  It is large, there are nice chairs to lounge in around the pool for those of us who sit on the sidelines or sunbathe. fantasy world   There are cabanas that you can rent for $40/day from 9am-5pm. We didn’t do that but I was amazed, they have flat screen TV’s and ceiling fans in them!  If we would have had an entire day to stay at the pool, I would have reserved one.. that is for sure!

fantasy world Now check out the slide at this pool!  There is also a small kiddie section, that lights up at night with fun colored lights.  There are a total of 3 pools and 3 hot tubs in the entire complex. But this is the main one with all the fun stuff! fantasy world resort

fantasy world

fantasy world I particularly like the lazy river

It is huge!

The pool gets an “A” from me! Really awesome. There is a nice outside bar also. I didn’t check it out to see what kind of drinks they have, but I saw some people carrying some fruity looking drinks, so I assume it’s a full pool bar.

fantasy world

The two bedroom condo is ok.  It is a two story condo, which is really nice and I’ve heard very little “neighbor” noise.  The decor is a little older, but clean and neat.  This isn’t a gated complex. Upstairs are two small bedrooms.  Elise had 2 single beds in her room. She loves the Disney pictures on the walls over her beds. fantasy world My room has a nice looking king size bed. I was shocked when I sat down on it and realized it is two twin mattresses. There is a big ridge in the middle of the bed. Not a problem for me since I’m sleeping in it alone, but I wouldn’t have been very happy if I was here with my husband.  There is no master bathroom, but there is one bathroom upstairs with tub and the downstairs bathroom has a small shower. The kitchen has a dishwasher, microwave and full refrigerator. It’s nice that there is a roll of paper towels and all the basics we need to function for the week, or until we can pick up our own supplies at the store. There is a dining room table with two extra chairs. My evaluation is that if you have kids, then this would be a great place to come. The pool is wonderful! I give it a full thumbs up!!  The condo is very ample, but hopefully your master bedroom will have a regular king size mattress rather than what is on this bed.

I also did a post on the Fantasy World Resort on the i.seeKissimmee Blog. On that blog, a woman commented that she had a condo here that they own. She said that they stay there from December to April every year and rent it out the rest of the time.  The thing that I really liked was she said that they have updated many of the condos. She said this was one of the ones that had not yet been updated. She said the others were much nicer than this. I would suggest that if you plan a stay here, you request an updated unit.

Our room was provided at a discounted rate for our stay.  The opinions and pictures are all my own.

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Craft Room

June 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Crafts & Craft Rooms, DIY, How To Organize

Making Space for A Craft Room!

Many people would love to have a craft room, but don’t think they have the space. Sometimes there really isn’t a good option, but there might be options you hadn’t thought of.

Where are your Craft Supplies?

Hard to believe this is someones basement isn’t it? I love this craft room! Bright colors and organized space everywhere. I love how the white accents the  green apple walls. It is not mine, and I didn’t organize it…but I did fall in love with it!

Where do you have your craft supplies?  Are they all over the kitchen table right now as you are working on a scrapbook?  Do you hear yourself saying, “Everyone, we are eating on the tray tables in the family room , I am NOT moving my crafting supplies until after I finish this project!”

Do the kids have to step over boxes of  “stuff” because there is no room for all you buy?  Where do you work on your projects?  Do you have a specific place or is it anyplace you can find a clean surface to work?  Do you have to clean everything back up every night because your “craft space” is really your living room and you know you have to have places for people to sit to watch tv together that night?


  • You have to set your priorities. If your priorities are family first, crafting is fun…but not that important. – Then you need to limit yourself to working on one project at a time. Only have the necessarily supplies for that project and limit what you buy.  You can’t have 5 gallons of water in a 1 gallon bucket. (I think that is a Peter Walsh analogy).
  • If your priorities ARE crafting and you do it for a business, or for your piece of mind then you need to make the space to have a dedicated space to work in each day.
  • Look around your house.  What about that  spare bedroom, or you literally NEVER use?  Do you use that fancy dining room to dine in or just to look pretty?   What about a portion of your basement or even a garage that you don’t need for a car.  There are people that use closets for a craft room.


What you need to do for your perfect space is to visualize  what you would like it to look like.
Then of course comes the reality of your situation.  Look at that space you are thinking of.  Think outside the box.

Once you have the space, you need to set your budget. It can range from going to garage sales to find need supplies to having a carpenter come in and remodel for you.

It isn’t impossible to have that Craft room you have been wanting.


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Gator Land!

June 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Attractions to See, Blog, Explore Florida, Travel

Want a Land of Gators? Go to  Gatorland in Orland, FL!


I loved Gatorland when I visited back in 1998 with my boys.  It was lower key than all the big Disney parks, but was so fun.  The first thing I noticed as we drove up was that it looked much nicer than it did when I was here before. They have done a lot of improvements and updated things.  I had a vision of a place that was a bit run down, but it wasn’t run down at all.  Everything looked fresh and in great shape. I was really glad about that.




The first thing we did was go to the Gator Jumparoo show.  It was a very entertaining show. They had a contest between the two “new people they were going to hire”, Bubba & Cooter,  to see who could get the gators to jump the highest for the raw chickens.   They divided the crowd into two sides to cheer their potential employee on.


You wonder how they don’t loose a hand, don’t you?




Elise got to hold a small gator and snake for a picture. We did buy the keychain and magnet. There several options of things you could purchase and a couple other photo opps while you were in the park.


We headed over to the Gator Wrestlin show. It was nice seating in the small four side seating arena.



If you purchased the “Grunt package” you had a chance to be a rookie gator wrestler before or after the show.  I think you could also pay to do it (I’m thinking $10/person, but don’t hold me to that) on the spot.


On the grunt pass we also had a chance to ride the train, so off we went. It lasted about 10 minutes and the train took you around an part of an  area that I don’t think is accessible by foot (not positive on that) to see a few other gators. The train conductor was a hoot.


We climbed up the observation deck. I remember there being a huge number of gators that we saw from there.


The view was great, on the opposite side of this view you also have  a good view of the zip liners that zip by.



Elise spotted these birds in one of the trees as we were walking by.



Elise wanted to see the white alligators, so we made sure we saw them before we left.  I was amazed that they were real – they looked so fake. Until I saw them move, I wasn’t so sure. lol


I like when I see signs for social media up in the park! Way to go @Gatorland!


There was a very nice gift shop to stop in when you left. I was very impressed with Gatorland and would tell (and have) anyone to be sure to visit if you are going to be in the Kissimmee/Orlando area.

I was provided with two Grunt package tickets for our visit today.  The opinions and pictures are my own.

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How to be Organized

June 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Playroom

Toy Room Organizing – Ideas on How to be Organized

Would you like your playroom to look this organized and fun?  Have you wondered how to be organized? More than likely it will take some work. Here are a few tips that might help you.

Step 1 –
Get those black and white trash bags. Black for trash – White for Donate

Step 2 –
Make those decisions quick. Do not sit and remember each birthday party or Christmas that each toy came from. Remembering the fun, who gave it to them. Feeling guilty if you give it up. That is “personalizing” the toy. You can take a picture of it…if it is something you want to remember.

Step 3 –
Look at each toy or book. Ask yourself these questions:
1) Does it work? (broken? – trash)
2) Do they like and and play with it? (If not – donate)
3) Have they out grown it? (donate)
4) Does it have all the pieces and parts? (If not – trash)
5) Is it broken? (Trash)
6) Is it worth taking up space in the playroom? (If not – donate)

Step 4 –
Decide if YOU are the reason they have too many toys. Are YOU the one that doesn’t want to give up the toys? Many times WE are the problem, not the kids. We remembering picking out that toy and how excited we were to give it to them. We know how much it cost and know that it was expensive.
BUT…..if they do not use it any longer, if it is broken ….it is time to give it up.

Toy Storage

So now that you have your toys sorted (well hopefully) you need to know where and how to put them.

My Guidelines and thoughts are Simple

I like a shelf rather than a toy box. Toys get lost in toy boxes. Kids don’t want to dig down to the bottom. Pieces fall down into that dark hole of toy misfitness and are never seen again.

Be sure if you use a shelf that you anchor it to the wall. Kids like to climb on things, especially if they see something up top that they want and can’t reach. You want to always be sure that shelf can not fall over on them.

Be sure to put the toys at age appropriate levels. Put the toys where the young children can find them. Put the older toys and games with small pieces up higher so the younger ones can’t choke on small things. This toy shelf I bought years ago when my boys were young. It had been a coat rack in a daycare. See the smaller cubbies on the right. That was their top cubby when it was turned on its side and their coats hung in the other longer part. I probably bought this about 25 years ago (wow that makes me feel old…I still remember how excited I was to find it…and it was cheap!)

I am all for the clear baskets or like these….where you can see what is in them. They don’t all have to match or be stylish (depending on where your playroom is). These are from the dollar store.

This one we use for the marbles. Yes…that is a big sock..filled with marbles. Don’t ask me why we keep them in a sock. I just know that my Dad put mine in a sock years ago and these are still the marbles I used to have….(yes in a newer sock)….but it works.

Think outside the box. I had to figure out some way to hang these guitars for guitar hero. I had this hook already and it fit perfect….solution.

We made a bedroom in the basement for one of our older boys (his choice). The kids used to use the “under the stairs” space for a fort. But since that was now made into his closet…we had to block the other side. This was our solution.

Several bulletin boards did the trick. It blocked off the opening and provided a great place for the kids to display their art work.I am all about practicality.

Make it work….think outside the box.

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Chevy Cruze Eco Review

My Review of the Chevy Cruze Eco while in Florida!

Elise and I were excited to review the Chevy Cruze Eco during our week in Kissimmee, Florida last week.

Chevy Cruze

Of course one of the things we both were wondering was what color it would be.  It was a really nice blue tone.  It was a sharp looking car.  I tend to not look at all the info on cars that I look at because I want to tell you my thoughts on the Chevy Cruze Eco… off the top of my head. So please excuse me if I don’t describe something properly.

I’m not sure what size they consider this car.  To me it is inbetween a compact car and a mid size car.  Larger than what I consider a compact car, but probably not quite large enough to be called a mid size car.


Chevy Cruze

chevy cruze

The trunk was a decent size.  We were able to fit my mega suitcase, Elise’s medium suitcase and my rolling computer bag.  When we went to Cocoa beach we rented a beach umbrella, beach chair and a boogie board.   We were not able to fit the umbrella, the pole was too long, but it was close.  We were able to fit it in the back seat at an angle. Everything else fit fine.

Now I will admit that as I look at this picture I took, it appears that there is a split seat (that I didn’t realize before). I bet we could have pushed down on at least the smaller section and fit the umbrella much easier.  I didn’t think to take a picture when I had the trunk full, but you can tell we had already gone to the beach… see the sand? lol


We drove the Chevy Cruze Eco ALL over! We went to Cocoa Beach from Kissimmee twice (an hour & 15 minute drive one way).  We drove to Disney, Universal, Seaworld, Gatorland, out to dinner etc.

The car ran great and I was very thankful for the GPS.  Without looking at the manual (did I say that?) we managed to get it working pretty well. I’ve dealt with other GPS’s that are so confusing that you have to get out that 2 inch thick manual to use it.  It took a little bit of pressing the wrong buttons, and because the GPS is set in just a little bit, you don’t want to have long finger nails to use it.

In the picture it shows 1-4 East and I really think that was the only road that it announced the actual name of the road.  That was my biggest frustration with it, it didn’t announce which road we were going to turn on. It would just say, “Turn right in 500 yards”, “next right”. There were times that I wasn’t sure if a small road before was the “right” turn or not and we took a few incorrect turns.

But it was much more of a help than that frustration, and to be honest, if I had read the manual, I might have found an adjustment for that.

Chevy Cruze GPS

Elise loved the key! It folded in and would pop out like a little knife when you clicked the button.

chevy cruze

I was REALLY thankful for the 32 mile per gallon that we got driving it.  Who doesn’t love that when gas prices are over $3 per gallon!!  It was nice to see the display letting you know what kind of gas milage you are getting at any point.

chevy cruze

There were two cup holders in the center console, there was also enough room for a closed bottle of water or pop (but it would lean, so you couldn’t have it open).  There were no cup holders in the back seat, according to Elise.

chevy cruze

I liked the over all look of the inside of the Chevy Cruze Eco.  It gave you the feel of a much larger, more expensive car.

chevy cruze

chevy cruze

chevy cruze

I’m 5’10” tall and I had plenty of room in this car.  It drove every nice. I didn’t have any issues at all with all the driving we did all week long.  I was thinking, “Darn, Dave just bought a little truck and isn’t happy with the gas milage with that, too bad I hadn’t reviewed this prior, I would recommend this for him.”.

I don’t know if in the winter with high snow or if there was high water, if it would be a problem or not, but it seemed like there wasn’t a lot of ground clearance.  It just seemed like it sat low.

chevy cruze

If you are looking for a nice size car that gets great gas milage… I would definitely recommend you look into the Chevy Cruze Eco.

Thank you to Chevy Florida for allowing me to drive this car for our week while in Florida.  You can find them on Facebook here. The pictures and opinions are all my own.



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SeaWorld in Orlando, FL

June 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Attractions to See, Blog, Explore Florida, Travel

Gotta love Shamu! We did in Orlando, FL Seaworld.


Elise and I headed to SeaWorld later in the day today. We walked in the gates around 4pm and thought… wow, this is the way to do it – go a little later and you don’t have the crowds.  There was a Shamu show starting in about 2o minutes, so we went right to the stands to get seats.

I know I was a bit boring, but I told Elise we weren’t going to sit in the “splash zone”. I did tell her she could walk down and get wet when they were going to splash, but she didn’t want to.  I knew that walking around totally soaked (down to your panties) was not real fun, even as hot as it was.


seaworld shamu

It was a really good show.  I think there for a total of five whales in the show. They did lots of splashing the crowd and jumps and flips.





After the show it looked like it was going to storm, so we decided to go into the Wild Arctic to get out of the rain.   There were two options, to go on the helicopter simulator or walk through.  I asked the attendant if the simulator tended to make people sick to their stomach ( I get motion sickness). He said, without a pause, yes!   So we went for the walking option. I again told Elise she could go on the other if she’d like (heck, she went on Tower of Terror by herself), but she wanted to walk also.  We saw some arctic animals, polar bear, walrus and a couple others.  It reminded me of our zoo at home. They said the helicopter simulator people saw the same things we did, I’d be interested to know how it worked.

wild artic

When we came out into the gift shop, it was absolutely pouring, really windy and storming.  We made ourselves at home on the floor of the gift shop, along with many other people.  We hung out for about 45 minutes, and as we sat there deciding on what we’d go see when it stopped raining, we made the discovery that SeaWorld closes at 7pm!  I was shocked.  I guess that wouldn’t surprise me during the off season, but in June?


We bought some ponchos and started out in the rain since we only had about 45 minutes now before Seaworld closed.  We went to the dolphin encounter.  It was neat, there were a bunch of dolphins and you were allowed to lean over and touch them from the blow hole back. They didn’t want you to touch their faces at all.

She never did get to touch one, but it was fun watching them and trying.  They have the option to feed the dolphins, but that was closed by the time we got there.


The other thing Elise really wanted to do before we left was to see the dolphin nursery.  The dolphins were a little bigger than we expected them to be, but they were still small… and cute.


Be sure to check Seaworld hours before you go.

I was given two tickets to visit Seaworld with Elise.  They did not influence my post. The pictures and my opinion are my own.

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Mystic Dunes Resort

Great Condos at Mystic Dunes Resort In Kissimmee, FL

mystic dunes

Driving into the Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club is impressive. There is a manned gate attendant (that always makes you feel more secure doesn’t it?) and with the major speed bumps mountains, you have to go slow through the complex.  It is large with several pools and all entangled with a golf course.

We were on the 2nd floor of building 11.

Mystic Dunes

We walked into a nice cool condo that was really large.  The tile floor was nice, it just felt cleaner than carpet.

mystic dunes resort

There was a dining room table large enough for most families and an entire mirrored wall that gave the room even a larger feel.

mystic dunes resort

There was a nice size kitchen with a dishwasher, coffee maker (and coffee for 2 days) full size refrigerator and all the dishes we needed.

mystic dunesThe master bedroom was impressive! It connected to the lani and had an open large soaking tub with clear glass shower.  Nice.  The mattress was awesome! There was plenty of space to unpack and I had a TV in the room.

mystic dunes resort

Check out the bathroom in the master suit.

The room Elise stayed had two double beds and a TV.  It had a window that was right next to the front of the condo by the walk way.  That was one thing I didn’t really like. My friend stayed with us the first two nights and stayed in that room with Elise, but the 3rd night she slept by herself in there and it made me just a bit uncomfortable to be on the other side of this large condo and have her right by the front door and window where everyone walked.  But of course everything was fine and we both slept great.

mystic dunes

The lani was very nice with a table and four chairs that overlooked one of the golf course ponds. mystic dunes resort

This was our favorite pool, although we never did get a chance to use it.  We were just too busy.  But doesn’t it look awesome?  There were cabanas you could rent and when we stopped by to take this picture it sounded like they were conducting an aerobics class.

mystic dunes pool

The Mystic Dunes is located only a couple miles away from Route 4, which is the main way to get to all of the major theme parks. It would be an idea place for a couple, especially if you love to golf, or a family.  If you would get a unit like we had (flat in a building with 3 floors), I would recommend a 3rd floor condo.  We had someone moving into the unit above us one night at around MN (at least I think that was what was going on). There were kids running, and a lot of noise.  I think because the floors are tile and not carpet, you hear a lot more than you might in other condos.  So if I had children I would want to be sure they were quiet to be considerate of others.  I think the resort is kid friendly, but I can also tell it gives a feel that if you are a couple without children with you, you wouldn’t feel over whelmed by children either.  Nice combination.

Everything was extremely clean and crisp. You didn’t get any of the hibbie- jibbie feel that some places can give you.

Our stay was not comped, but we did receive a discounted media rate.  All the opinions and pictures are my own.

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Hollywood Studios at Disney World

So excited To Visit Hollywood Studios at Disney World

hollywood studios

I promised Elise we would make it over to Hollywood Studios at Disney World. I actually think if we could have only gone to one park, she would have picked Hollywood Studios over Magic Kingdom.  I’m glad we were able to get to both. I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to or not.. but we did.

hollywood studios

hollywood studios

The atmosphere was calmer and less chaotic than Magic Kingdom. That was a nice break right off the bat. We loved Magic Kingdom, so don’t get me wrong, but it was very crowded and hectic.

Hollywood studios

There was one thing Elise really wanted to do -The Tower of Terror … and one thing I really wanted to do… the Toy Story ride. So we did them both!

The Toy Story ride said there was an 80 minute wait, but it ended up being about a 40 minute wait instead.  There was talking Mr. Potato Head to entertain us as we waited…. lol  I love Mr. Potato Head!  I tried getting a couple picks of the ride, but wasn’t able to get any that turned out. But trust me…. very fun ride!!

Mr. Potato Head

We wore 3-D glasses during the ride where we hot these little shooter things. There were four people in the car, two on one side and on the back side (we couldn’t see them) there were two more.  The ride would zip you around so that you would stop at these virtual targets where you’d shoot your shooter.  It kept score (I won by the way out of the 4 in our car).

She was so excited that we were able to get one of the Toy Soldiers to take her picture with.

toy story

I was amazed that Elise didn’t mind going on the Tower of Terror by herself!

Tower of Terror

I just can’t do scary things like that. But she was all about it!  So off she went on her own to ride this ride.  She came out just so excited and exhilarated. There was a couple there who took her under their arm on the ride, which was so nice of them.  But she wasn’t scared…. just excited.  It did win out for the best ride for Disney World, for her.

We headed to the Sci-fi diner for dinner.  It would have been better if we made reservations, but I didn’t think about that. We had about 30 minute to wait, and I think we had a shorter wait because there were only two of us.

sci fi diner

It was fun watching the old sci-fi movies on the drive in movie screen while we ate. What a fun place to eat.  It is all set up like a drive-in movie theater from the 1950’s.  We sat in the middle of a car.

There was much more to do at this park, but we wanted to try and get back to Magic Kingdom for the electric light parade. (We didn’t make it, but we did get to ride the ferry, run through Epcot in the dark… trying to beat the crowd after the fireworks as we made it to the tram)

mickey mouse

My tickets from Disney World for the day was a one day – 4 park hopper  pass that included Hollywood Studios. My opinion and pictures are all my own.

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Disney World

 Magic Kingdom in Disney World

I love Disney World! I’ve been there a few times and love the feeling of being able to be a kid again, and it’s totally accepted! Everyone else is with you, enjoying princesses and fantasy.  I loved that I was going to get to introduce Elise to the magical world of Disney.

Who doesn’t love Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?  We decided to make this our first park adventure this week.  We had a list of several rides and attractions we wanted to see.

I knew it was going to be hot, but I didn’t realize that every ounce of sweat I owned was going to drip off my body as we waited in lines of about 50 minutes to get the tickets to get into the park (which by the way were complimentary and VERY much appreciated) and then we had another 45-50 minute wait to get onto the tram…. all before we ever walked into the actual gates of Magic Kingdom.

I’ve never come in the summer before. I’ve been in January, March and November before…. and I can appreciate those crowds and that heat much better. lol It’s a mind set that you have to get yourself into so you can enjoy the experience… there will be LONG lines and it will be Hot with a capital “H”.   We just kept buying bottled water.

Elise decided the two main parks she wanted to see were Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.  We started off with Magic Kingdom.

We had to walk through Cinderella’s castle and ended up in Fantasy Land.  We decided to use the ever popular “Fast Pass” method where we could.  We looked on the guide and saw that Peter Pan’s Flight had the “Fast Pass” option, so we got the FP for that ride and had a few hours before we had to be back.

We then went over to It’s a Small World (such a classic!) and Elise loved it.

Its a small world

We’ve already downed several waters by now and I think I’ve probably lost 5 pounds in sweat at this point.  It was hot!  But when we saw there was only a 20 minute wait for Tomorrowland Speedway… there was not a choice in the matter….  That is one memory that I have of going myself when I went to Disney the first time, when I was 18 years old and also of taking my older boys to Disney back in 1998.  I was so excited we’d get a chance to go on the raceway.

disney grand prix

After lunch we went back to wait for Peter Pan Flight and saw that the Winnie-the-Pooh ride was down to a 20 minute wait instead of the 80 minutes it had been. We still had 15 minutes before we had to go to Peter Pan, so we though we’d go on it .

We ended up in Mickey’s PhilharMagic 3-D movie by accident. We got mixed up and we were thinking we were going into The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. But we really enjoyed the movie.  There were things “shooting” into the audience you know! lol  Well, it sure appeared that way with the 3-D glasses we had on.  Elise loved it!

Onward to Peter Pan’s Flight… and Elise loved that too… and so did I!  It is one of my favorites.  Well, I have SO many favorites.

The only other thing that she really wanted to do while we were in Magic Kingdom was to go on Splash Mountain.  I used the Disney Mobile Magic app and looked at the wait time for Splash Mountain.  It was going to be 120 minutes. What?  No way. That ride was out for us.  Too bad too because it was SO hot… it would have felt great to get soaked!  We wanted to get over to Hollywood Studios.

If you have several things you “have to see” in any one park, I would highly recommend getting more than a one day pass if you want to get them all in.

I know the heat and lines will be forgotten, and only the awesomeness of Disney will remain in our memories… and that’s part of the magic of Disney!

You can find all the info you need on the Disney World websitehere 

Our tickets for the day were complimentary from Disney World.  Thank you so much for the awesome day & memories, they did not alter my opinions, as you can see I was very frank with those. The pictures are my own.

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Cocoa Beach Florida

June 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Attractions to See, Blog, Explore Florida, Travel

Beach Time at Cocoa Beach in Florida!

We decided to go to a beach on Sunday, since we know the parks will be much more crowded on the weekends.  We looked at both coasts in Florida and decided to go to Cocoa Beach. It was only 1 hour and 15 minutes away, and an easy drive.

My friend, Karla from the west coast of Florida came over yesterday to see us and spent the night. I hadn’t seen her in several years, so it was great for her to visit. She was well equipped with beach chairs for us.

cocoa beach

The beach was really nice.  There were chairs, umbrellas, surf boards that you could rent.  We went into a gift shop before we got to the beach to ask where to find a public beach (and to get some more sunscreen).  She told us that right behind them, there was a nice one. It was $10 to park, but there were showers, gift shops and places to eat on the pier.

I wish I had some pictures of Elise out in the ocean.  I didn’t take my camera down to the beach because just the smallest amount of sand in them can really mess them up.

cocoa beach pier

We had an awesome time in the ocean.  Elise didn’t want to get out, and she didn’t for much of the day.  The water felt cool, but once you got in, it was very comfortable.  The waves were huge! I don’t know if this is how they always are, or if all the rain and storms had them larger than normal… but they just didn’t stop.  I’m used to going to Myrtle Beach and the waves aren’t nearly as big. You can go out past the breakers and just float and relax. Not today! It would be too deep to go way out past the breakers… they were all breakers! lol   The wind was up and it kept you very comfortable sitting on the beach.  There wasn’t yucky seaweed, just nice sandy bottom when you were in the water.

If you are a shell hunter, than this probably isn’t the place for you. There were very few shells, but my feet were very thankful for that.

cocoa beach

While we were eating up on the pier we watched the two wind surfers.  That looks fun, but difficult.  The white wind surfer (way out in this pic) got in close and he did a jump and fell.  He then spent the next 10 minutes trying to get back to his surfboard that he lost in the fall.  He would have to turn the sail (kite, I dont’ know what they call them) to take him one way, then turn it again to take him another. He kept missing the board.  He finally got it and came right into shore.  I think he was exhausted. he just sat on the shore for a few minutes on his knees. Not sure if he was kissing the ground or not.

We were at the beach from about noon until 4pm (yes I had on massive sunscreen) and decided to go get a bite to eat. We went to the Cocoa Beach Pier.

There were a couple bars, and then we saw some tables to sit out and eat while watching the beach. Perfect.  We all got fish sandwiches that were huge!  They were also really tasty… with fries that were great. Lots of water later and I know I felt much better.

cocoa beach pier

Karla will say, “Oh why did you post that, my hair looks terrible”.  But I think she looks great, and it was super windy, so that is why her hair is blowing.  Plus the fact that was just spent 4 hours in the ocean and sandy beach.

Had to get another shot of Elise out on the pier…

Elise had to try her hand at surfing. They had this fun photo opp set up right in front of the pier. lol….  she has on her cute beach dress that I just found for her at a gift shop.

We then had to go to the famous Ron Jon surf shop, right? lol  We didn’t buy anything, but it was fun looking around.  It is just a really big gift shop and most of the products have the Ron Jon brand on them.  Kids love it though.  When our high school band went to Disney this last spring, they made the Cocoa Beach run and took all the kids into the surf shop… and they did shop. lol

I can highly recommend Cocoa Beach and the public beach at the pier for a beach adventure when you are visiting.  It is about the closest beach (I think) and it was a really nice one.

It might be something Elise and I decide to do again while we are here.  We’ll have one extra day to just “play” at this point.  So not sure what we’ll do.

I was not compensated in any way for our time at Cocoa Beach or Ron Jon.

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Downtown Kissimmee Florida

June 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Attractions to See, Blog, Explore Florida, Travel

Shopping District of Downtown Kissimmee, Florida

We got into the Orlando airport at 8:30am in the morning and had until after 2pm before our condo was ready, so Elise and I went exploring. I know I wanted to see Downtown Kissimmee, but we first went to iHop for bunch after doing a pre-registration at our condo. We didn’t want to go too far in case our condo was ready early, so we drove into Kissimmee, Florida and discovered a really cute downtown shopping district there.

Downtown Kissimmee

We got out and walked up and down store fronts to check them out.  I love small towns like this that feel comfortable and “draw you in”.  For a Saturday morning it also seemed like things were hopping, so I’m sure that on a nice evening, there is a lot of activity.

Of course you have to have a nice coffee shop in town.

Downtown kissimmee

There were a couple antique stores.

Downtown kissimmee


Downtown kissimmee

For some reasons I love old barber shops, the look of them with the barber pole outside.  This was a busy place, once we walked by it, we saw at least 3 people waiting their turn for a haircut.

Downtown kissimmee


We walked over into what we thought was a park.  It wasn’t really a park (with grass and trees etc), but a memorial with benches to sit down.

Downtown kissimmee

We didn’t stop to read the history of Bette Sprinkle anywhere (I’m sure there was something there) but we did see Bette sitting on a bench. Elise went over and chatted with her a bit.

Downtown kissimmee

I don’t think any town is complete without an ice cream shop either.

Downtown kissimmee

We then went a little further down the road to check out Lake Tohopekaliga. They call it Lake Toho for short.  I saw that there were several airboat ride companies that ran out of Lake Toho.

We didn’t find where the airboat companies were, but we did see one out on the water. But you can’t even see it in this picture. lol

lake toho

We heard new bird noises that we didn’t know existed from this, I think maybe, blue heron.

I know there was so much more to explore in this lake than we did. We went out on a dock for a only a few minutes. Then we got the call that our condo was ready, so we were off.  Getting up at 3am this morning for our 6am flight, we were really tired.

But we had to get this shot of these birds as we were walking back to our car.

You can also follow along with our Florida trip if you go to the i.seeKissimmee blog where I’m a featured guest blogger this week.

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theraderm Facial System Review (Giveaway Closed)

June 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Health & Safety, Reviews & Giveaways

theraderm – Help for My Face!

I did a review on theraderm last year and really liked it.  But I ran out, and was bouncing back and forth with what to use on my face.  Being older, I’m dealing with even more wrinkles, fine lines, dry skin and acne. What’s up with that? Shouldn’t that be over by now?

I realized that my face had gotten worse since I stopped using the theraderm and starting using other products.  Why didn’t I just order more theraderm right away? I’ll be honest, it’s a little out of the normal budget I pay for facial products.  But, I also realized it had worked on my skin.

I liked how easy the program was.  Use the series of products, once in the morning, once in the evening. Done.



So I emailed Christine, who introduced me to the product and said I was interested in purchasing product and wondered what the cost was. I of course offered to review it again for her and was more than thrilled when she agreed.  This time I’m also doing a giveaway for you to win the products shown here.

This is difficult to show you my before and after pictures.  Since I was taking the pictures myself, I used my camera phone, so the quality is not so great. But I think you can get the idea.


You can easily see all my lines (yucko! I much prefer to look in the mirror with my glasses off, thus creating a “face lift” sort of look! LOL)

My eyes are bad, the area between my brows – over my nose , the lines above my lip and the fine lines drawing down on my chin.  I was having issues with really dry skin, but then when I’d use moisturizers on it… I’d break out.  Isn’t it funny how gruff I look? Just like in those “before” commercials.  I didn’t want to smile because I wanted you to see those lines over my mouth. lol


Check out the video!


I took this picture 6 weeks after the “Before” picture.  Of course my face is far from perfect, but there is improvement. The lines aren’t quite as deep. I am dealing with a little bit of on again, off again acne – but not that bad. Better than when I was using some of the other moisturizers. The acne is only on my nose. I freckle and I did not touch up these pictures at all (wow… if I did and I still look this bad.. lol)



I am really excited to be able to give away Therapon’s Skin Renewal System with a Peptide Hydrator (value $147.50) 


To Enter Giveaway – ** Closed**

1) Leave me a comment about why you would like to win this awesome skin renewal system!

For Extra chances to Win:

**Each of these HAS to have a separate comment written please. (I know its a pain, but other wise you won’t have as many chances if you don’t)

1) Subscribe to my Organizing with Sandy blog
2) Follow me on Twitter @OrganizerSandy
3) Tweet out this giveaway up to 3 times per day. Write a comment for each time you do with the link.
4) Stumble this post
5) Google + this post.

See….lots of ways to enter to win!
This contest will run from June 9th (when I post this) until 11:59pm est on Friday June 29, 2012
Any comment that comes in after the above time will be deleted.
This is open to US mailing addresses only. One person per mailing address only. Winner will be chosen by
You will have 48 hours to reply to my e-mail if you win to be eligible. If I don’t hear back then I will go to the next winner.
I was given the products I displayed above at no cost to review. Opinions are my own & truthful, pictures and videos are my own.

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Heading to Kissimmee, Florida!

Ready for the Fun & Sun in Kissimmee Florida!

I am going to be heading to Kissimmee, Florida with my daughter Elise soon! We are so psyched!  We decided to take a “girls” vacation, since later this summer my hubby and the boys are taking a boys fishing trip to Canada. We weren’t excited about a “fly-in” fishing trip, so we had our pick of vacations.

Sandy and Elise

We could have gone basically anywhere, but we decided to head to Florida. I wanted to take Elise on an airplane (she has never been on a plane before) and I wanted to take her to Disney.  I started checking out the i.seeKissimmee Blog and saw that a blogger I knew @DebThompson posting on the blog and I contacted to her to see how she got to have such a fun assignment. She explained and I applied to also be a blogger for the i.seeKissimmee Blog and was chosen (Happy Dance).

After that I started looking for things for Elise and I do to while we were in Kissimmee.

First off…. where are we going to stay?   I wanted to find a place that had a cool swimming pool! Since it will just be Elise and I, I wanted a pool where she could have a good time and hopefully meet some other kids to play with on our down time.

We are going to split our time between these two awesome resorts! We will have 2 bedroom condos in both.

Fantasy World Resort 

Mystic Dunes Resort

I also have four great adventures that have been so kind as to give us tickets to visit.

Disney World  – We have one day to explore as much of which ever of four parks we’d like! Oh… can’t wait! Thinking Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios for sure.

Universal – Excited to check out the new Harry Potter exhibit!

Sea World – We have to be sure to see Shamu!

GatorLand   – I loved Gatorland several years ago when I took my (now older) boys. They loved it.

And the whole time I’ll be driving a…

Chevy Cruze! – So happy that GM was kind enough to loan us a car to use for the week. I’m excited to see what this car is all about and of course excited that I should be getting great gas milage!

We will have a couple free days that we can go to places we find interesting. I want to get Elise to a beach while we are there. Not only has she not been on a plane, but she’s never been in Florida. I don’t it’s right to visit Florida and not go to a beach, right?

Be sure to also follow our adventures on the i.seeKissimmee Blog, Facebook and Twitter. I’m @OrganizerSandy and I’ll be using #VisitKiss and #SandysFLTrip, so you can follow easily along with our adventures.

Elise is ready!!


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June 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends

Graduation in the House

My step son just graduated from High school! He’ll be heading off to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in August.  Graduation is such an awesome time for anyone! He will be pursuing a degree in engineering.

Drew and his Dad. They have such a great relationship. Drew has great respect for his father.

We had a graduation party for him at his Mom’s house this past weekend. The weather was great, even a little cool – but compared to the 94 degrees it was the weekend of his actual graduation…. low 70’s and windy was a blessing!

We had a video that I made of him running, which everyone seemed to enjoy.

My friend made his cake. She has made so many awesome cakes for me!

We’re very proud of Drew. He has accomplished so much already. He has maintained above a 4.0 all through high school. He had the highest ACT score in his class (33) and he is a 3rd degree black belt. He teaches at the school and we’ve had so many parents tell us that they are upset Drew is leaving for college because he has been such a wonderful teacher and influence on their children.

He’s going to go on to do great things.

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Dad Update

June 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, Health & Safety

Family (Dad)  Has To Come First

My Dad has been one of my main focuses lately.

You would think that is a statement that would just be common sense for everyone.  But unfortunately, it isn’t.  There are days when I’m so busy with my job and I’m so focused, that I can block out what is most important too. Of course there are limits. When you are being paid to do a job, the job still has to get done – so of course there has to be balance in that statement.

With that being said, I wanted to update you on the progress of my Dad.. since many of you have asked.

For those of you who may be newer to my blog, I have to apologize – I’ve hardly blogged at all in the last several weeks. My 81 year old father had open heart surgery and then several days later had to have a pacemaker. Trips to the hospital, and now trips to help out at his home, and of course working a full time job –  have caused me to put something aside…. my blog.

Dad is doing very well.  He doesn’t necessarily think he is each day, but I think he is right on track.  Progress is slow (remember, he is 81 years old – oh, funny side note… there wasn’t a Doctor or nurse anywhere that didn’t comment on how good he looked for being 81 yrs old. Most of them thought there was a type-o on his chart) but they now have home physical therapy coming out, so I think that will move things along.  You know how they say that often your older parents make you reflect on raising your children. lol  The PT will help to keep him accountable, and the Doctor isn’t going to take him off his insulin and put him back on his diabetic pills, until he can get his sugar in line. (Does the word cantankerous come to mind? )

But over all he is doing awesome.  We are SO lucky to have a bit of cantankerous (and he isn’t that bad) and still have him. When you have one blockage that is 99.9% and another one 85%, with one more that is 40%… and it is all calcified – he is just very lucky that he didn’t have a massive heart attack.  Interesting fact is that we didn’t know he had any heart disease at all.  He has had a bit of high blood pressure, but that isn’t real abnormal in someone his age. But, even when he was getting checked out because of jaw pain and shortness of breath (when he finally went to the Dr. 5 days after this happened) his EKG was normal and his echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) was normal. It wasn’t until they did the cardiac cath that they found the problem.

Looking back, Dad has had problems with shortness of breath over the last year or so, and gets worn out easy. We had contributed that to the fact that he doesn’t do a lot. He isn’t golfing anymore, and had been getting little exercise.

So please watch all those symptoms you always hear about, and pay attention to them.

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