Thursday, January 26, 2017

December Highlights

We started the month off in Southern California!  We totally loved relaxing and recharging in such a carefree place.  A vacation with this cutie was much needed.

We ate a lot, had a lot of fun and can't wait to go back!  If you're planning a trip to this area be sure to check out my three different posts on our vacation:  what we ATE, our itinerary, and some Disney Tips!

It was a bummer but we had to come home eventually. 

I loved seeing my niece and nephew after and giving them some mickey suckers and extra chocolate coins from Disney.  Adam and Emma were so excited it was so adorable!

I finished up my calligraphy class!  I loved re-learning this.  I did something super cute for my family members with this quote.

And I finally finished this birthday gift!

Brittany and I dipped some oreos!  I gave them as a gift too!

We had our favorite Nelson Family Christmas Party.  My Aunt Terrie was over it this year and her family themed it all around the Grinch!  It was totally adorable!

I brought a relish tray and had to add my touch to it.

My sweet grandma always shares a little message.  She is such a sweet, kind and strong example to everyone in our family!  Sorry to catch you blinking Gram!

They gave everyone a candy cane for a little favor.  My favorite part was watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas with popcorn with all of my extended family and playing a ornament swap.

We made some of our favorite popcorn for our neighbors and friends!

And delivered them with the cutest tags!

Brittany throws THE cutest parties!  Adam requested a dragon themed birthday and Brittany went to town, it was so well done!  We played red dragon, green dragon and the kids had to get the dragons treasure by the castle.  I was a pretty scary dragon if I do say so myself.

Adam was SO excited to open his presents, he couldn't contain it all in his cute little body!

My brother and his wife welcomed the sweetest baby girl who arrived just in time for Christmas!

We kept up our tradition of seeing The Nutcracker before Christmas.  It really is so magical and makes me want to be a ballerina so darn bad!  After the show I'm always doing leaps and pirouettes to our car. 

My mom threw a Christmas Eve Party and a Christmas Dinner.  She made these cute little name tags and attached them to little baskets full of Christmas Kisses!

I received some free products from Influenster and decided to make some dips with them for Christmas Eve.  The crowd favorite was the Jalapeno Popper Dip with French's Crispy Jalapenos and baguette slices.  

Dallin and Emma won the candy guessing game!  My mom filled up the cutest ornaments with peanut butter M&M's it was so delicious and fun!  Oh and don't miss Dallin's beautiful Christmas sweater.  Nothing says Christmas like sloths climbing on a tree.

I also received some Country Crock from Influenster and it helped make the perfect Christmas Morning breakfast completely amazing.

We loved celebrating Christmas!  We couldn't find our stockings or ornaments from moving this year, so we had a naked tree and bought some cute stockings at the dollar store to make up for it!

We brought a cheese platter to my family's New Years Eve party!  These were the 3 cheeses that everyone just loved!  Port Salut is the perfect soft cheese!  We loved the Brie this time around the most!

Everyone brought something to share.  My mom makes these little open faced sandwiches that are so addictive and easy!

Bethany made this super yummy sausage dip too! 

And Brittany brought makings for ice cream sundaes!  I wish I got a picture of the whole spread!  It was so great and we had SO much food!

We are so excited for 2017!  We have been working on a few things on our house and I've got loads of things I can't wait to share here this year! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Disney Vacation Tips

Disney Tips

We loved visiting Disneyland in December!  We researched and learned so much before and while we were there so we could make the most of our vacation.  Here's some of the things we are SO glad we knew!
-The best-least crowded days to go to Disney Parks are usually Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
-Make sure to check ride closures or rides under refurbishment, show schedules, and park hours before you get to the park.
-Arrive at the park EARLY!  I’m serious people.  One day we decided to sleep in and it changed our entire day of what we could do and see. I hadn’t been to Disneyland for quite some time so the security there was new to me.  Each time you enter the Disney resort you have to almost go through airport security.  Make sure to plan ahead because this line can be just as long as entering the actual park!  We tried to be there at least 45 minutes before the park opened. There will still be crowds but it will be so much more manageable and you'll get through the gates so much faster.
-Get Great Walking Shoes-These are a necessity at the big mouse’s house!  We walked SO much.  We were within walking distance from the parks to our hotel which was awesome, but meant even more walking.  Make sure to break them in at least 3 weeks before so you are set and comfortable for your trip! And all the walking you've done means you can have a few more treats right!?
-Prioritize and Plan.  We wanted to make sure to prioritize each day so we were able to see everything we really wanted to see.  We were able to do everything we wanted, sometimes twice and much more with always having a plan in mind. If Peter Pan's Flight is on your list make sure to ride it as soon as the park opens.
-Have FUN!  Be able to adapt and change that plan^^ if needed.  There were several times rides took longer and bumped something later.  Always have a back up plan and different options.
-ALWAYS have a Fast Pass –We tried to do this every day we were at the parks and when we actually stuck to it we had our most successful days.  I read somewhere that if the line is longer then 30 minutes grab a Fast Pass instead of waiting in the stand by line, we went during off season on one of the least crowded weeks of the year (the week right after Thanksgiving) and usually didn’t have to worry about this only for the bigger rides.  But boy did those Fast Passes make it a breeze to walk onto rides so quickly and fit even more in our day!
-Make sure to grab a map and entertainment schedule right when you enter the park.  Check parades and show times so you can fit them in your schedule.  We were so glad we made time for Frozen-Live at the Hyperion and World of Color in DCA!

-Make reservations as soon as you can.  Typically Disneyland restaurants start taking reservations 60 days out, so plan ahead.
-Get the Disneyland App on your phone.  This is so helpful for seeing opening and closing times before you head to the park the next day. Other Apps that could be helpful:  Mobile Magic and Wait Times.

-Bring a poncho even if you don't think you'll need it!  We found ours at the dollar store.  I loved having the option of wearing it during water rides so I didn't have to be soggy and wet for the rest of the day.  We were definitely THAT couple wearing ponchos on Splash Mountain! :)

-Bring your own reusable water bottles. Most places will fill up your water bottle with water for free!

-I feel like we saved SO much money by eating breakfast at our hotel.  Our hotel was one of the few that didn't serve free breakfast, but they had a mini fridge so we made it work.  We bought a gallon of milk, cereal and plastic bowls/utensils our first day and we were set.

-Bring snacks!  We had a lot of treats and snacks from the park (You can see more of what we ate HERE), but sometimes we were stuck in line and wished we had a little something to eat. 

-Enjoy rides all throughout the day-and night!  It totally changes the experience.  Especially Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, it's SO much better at night!

-Enjoy the lights and scenery!  It was decked for Christmas when we went so the lights could not be missed.  No matter what time you go Disney always has so much to look at and enjoy!

-Stay for the firework show at least one time while you're there.  At Christmas it was extra special because after the firework show fake snow started falling all along Main Street. 

-Think of souvenirs that will last.  I kept my eye out for books, board games and ornaments.  I've heard of stocking up at Walmart or the dollar store for Disney goodies that you don't want to keep forever to save lots of money, especially if you have children! 

-Next time we want to discover more things in Anaheim besides Disney including the Anaheim Packing House.

If you are heading to Southern California make sure to check out our ITINERARY that worked amazingly while we were there and what we ATE!

Friday, January 20, 2017

What we ATE in Southern California!

We had so much fun and food while we were in California!  Call me crazy but we actually had a list of things we wanted to try BEFORE we even flew out.  It made it so nice to pull out the list whenever we were hungry and didn't have to think or figure out all the options.

I loved to look at (especially Disney) foodie accounts on Instagram and even some blogs to figure out the best food and treats we just had to try! 

My favorite and most helpful Disney Foodie Accounts on Instagram were:


Marceline's Confectionery 

The S'mores Bar was one of my favorites with a thick layer of marshmallow, then chocolate fudge and a crust of graham cracker all dipped in chocolate you can't go wrong. 

The chocolate dipped pineapple skewer was so refreshing!  We loved the perfect pineapple paired with the dark chocolate.

This peanut butter sandwich is perfect for those peanut butter lovers.  I love how it has a bottom of graham cracker and of course, how it's completely covered in chocolate.  I LOVE my peanut butter, but this wasn't my favorite-I think I'd take the S'more Bar over this.

When my family and I would go on Disney vacations when I was little I remember huge rice krispy treats that were incredible, we would get them all the time!!  I was kind of disappointed by how average and small (haha) they were.  They are super cute though!

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Here we got a double chocolate peppermint cupcake.  It was pretty good, I loved the combo of chocolate and peppermint.  The line was pretty long though and I'm not sure it was all it was hyped up to be.

Churro Cart

I'm not kidding when I say this was the best $10 I've ever spent on a treat!  This churro sandwich was incredible!  And incredibly messy!  Think of the most amazingly warm churro mixed with perfectly creamy vanilla ice cream.  Its cinnamon sugar heaven I tell you-and Dallin approved!

Other things we ate...

-Earl of Sandwich-We really liked our sandwiches from here! Warm and filling!

Next time we'll try...
-Churro Cart-Oreo Churro


The Cove Bar

Here we got a Cotton Candy Lemonade and Lobster Nachos.  I was so surprised how much I loved both of these things!  The Cotton Candy Lemonade was the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and it comes with cotton candy-what's not to like about that.  The Lobster Nachos had a great mix of flavors, colors, and textures we ate them so fast I didn't get a picture! Make sure to eat here before it gets late, I've heard they close early.

Ghiradelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate

We were slightly disappointed by our sundaes at Ghiradelli Square.  I got the Treasure Island Warm Brownie Sundae and Dallin got The World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae (not pictured).  They were good, just typical.

Other things we ate...

-Mickey Pretzel (get it with cheese)
-Churros Cozy Cone 1-Churro bites with caramel sauce.  My favorite treat out of all the parks.  I loved this one so much!
-Festival of Holidays-This was a special festival that was going on during the holidays.  We tried a few things from different ones but nothing rocked our world.

Next time we'll try...
-The Cove Bar-Trio of Tri Tip Sliders and Wild Strawberry Lemonade
-Cozy Cone 3-Chili Cone Queso or Chicken Verde Cone
-Clarabelle's Hand Scooped Ice Cream-I love the idea of creating your own special hand dipped creation!
-Flo's V8 Café-Brioche French Toast with Salted Caramel Sauce


Jolly Holiday Bakery Café

The Matterhorn Macaroon was a total favorite!  They have definitely mastered the perfect coconut macaroon dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with more white chocolate it makes it easy to have a few!  I had to take one home so my mom could taste the magic too!

Rasberry Rose Mickey Macaron and Salted Caramel Mickey Macaron (seasonal) were huge and delicious!  Our favorite was the Raspberry Rose.  With a handful of fresh raspberries layered inside it makes it so light and refreshing.

We also had a warm cinnamon roll from here-it was pretty good!

Pooh's Corner

I heard rave reviews of Pooh's Corner and it did not disappoint.  Besides all the amazing goodies it has the cutest souvenirs and decorations.  We loved the candy making windows.  We had heard a lot about Tigger Tales (the orange ones below), we decided to try a classic Mickey Marshmallow Pop and a regular dipped chocolate one.  Our favorite was the dipped chocolate without the sprinkles, but we really liked both!  They have the most soft, delicious caramel around marshmallows then dipped in chocolate!  It's a great combo!

Shop just out of Pirates of the Caribbean

You can't ride Pirates without getting some chocolate coins after!  My mom would always get them for us after this ride so it's basically a tradition now.

Maurice's Treats

A Boysen Apple Freeze is frozen apple juice with some wild berry flavoring topped with a passion fruit foam.  This was just ok to me.

This chocolate twist was also just so-so to me.  It's twisted pastry dough with chocolate and dusted with powdered sugar.  Dallin liked this more than I did.

Stage Door Cafe

I know this isn't the best picture but it does not do this amazing corn dog justice!  We waited almost as long as we did for corn dogs as we did for some rides, but I would do it again in a heart beat.  This hand-dipped corn dog was seriously the best one I've ever had!  It is large enough to feed two and the almost corn bread like crust hits it out of the park.  We loved that you could choose fries or apple slices too.  The apples slices were perfect to throw in our bag for later.

Mint Julep Bar

We got these treats later in the night so excuse the darkness.  We got a New Orleans Mint Julep that was a little too minty for us. I know this is loved by many so don't hate us!  All the flavors just didn't go for us.  We did love the Mickey-shaped Beignets, topped with powdered sugar these little fluffs are almost like a donut and scone mixed together.  They are totally delicious!  Shake the bag to make sure you coat them well before you dig in.

Churro Cart by Haunted Mansion

We heard that THE BEST churros in Disneyland were from the cart by Haunted Mansion.  Honestly I preferred the churro and caramel dipping sauce from California Adventure's Cozy Cone, but it was of course still delicious.

Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor

This ice cream shop is perfectly placed to enjoy some ice cream while watching the firework show.  We got a seasonal peppermint ice cream in a dipped peppermint waffle cone.  It was so good!  We loved the minty flavor, not too much, just right!

Other things we ate...

-Blue Bayou-I got the Broiled Filet Mignon, which was delicious and Dallin got the Surf & Turf which he loved too!  We especially loved their cornbread it was SO perfect I wanted to take a box to go!  It also had the most amazing atmosphere, this is the restaurant located inside Pirates of the Caribbean.  We sat right by the water and it was so relaxing after running around the park all day.  Definitely make a reservation for this one, they fill up fast and you can make a reservation online or over the phone up to 60 days before your visit.

-Tiki Juice Bar-We got a Dole Whip Float and really liked it.  I prefer the float and Dallin likes just the soft serve.  I thought it was a perfect blend with the pineapple juice.  Perfect for a hot day at the park!
-Bengal Barbecue-Safari Skewer and a Chieftain Chicken Skewer are such a great snack!  We loved the sauce on the chicken skewer.
-Edelweiss Snacks-Fried Chimichanga-this was like a fried bean burrito. It was just ok, not sure if we'd get this again.

Next time we'll get...

-Jolly Holiday Bakery Café-Frozen Pomegranate Silver Sparkler and a Seasonal Whoopie Pie
-Café Orleans-Mickey Beignets with dipping sauce, Pomme Frites
-Pinocchio Village Haus-Flatbread Pizza
-Pooh's Corner-White Chocolate cookie and a Chocolate Chip cookie
-Carnation Café-Mickey waffles, baked potato soup, fried pickles and a cherry milkshake
-Harbour Galley-Clam chowder sourdough bowl or lobster roll
-Candy Place-This is similar to Pooh's Corner.  I love all the cute souvenirs and obviously candy here!  I want to try the chocolate turtles, dipped caramel sticks, caramel apples, and sugar cookies.
-Hungry Bear Restaurant-House-made Chocolate Brownie or Churro Funnel Cake, Honey Bee Frozen Lemonade, onion rings
-Plaza Inn-Fried Chicken
-Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante-Anything here!  It all looks delicious!
-Troubadour Tavern-Bacon and Sour Cream Stuffed Baked Potato and a Cinnamon-Apple Baton


Butterbeer Cart

We love Butterbeer!  We tried it frozen and original and we loved both, but the original was slightly better to us.  The frozen is like a slushie and was sweeter than the classic, we were there on a pretty cold day so it nearly froze us.  The original is butterscotch cream soda with a vanilla foam on top!  Delicious!


This shop is so cute!  It has all sorts of Harry Potter treats.  Sadly the fudge here was a bust.  I wouldn't recommend it.

The Three Broomsticks

We loved eating here!  The ambiance was absolutely perfect and the food was incredible.  I got the Fish and Chips and Dallin got the Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken, mine was pretty amazing but Dallin's dish was even better!  If you go to Universal Hollywood The Three Broomsticks is definitely a must! 

Lard Lad Donuts

This donut is no joke!  It's easily the size of 4 regular sized donuts!  With the size, a strawberry glaze and sprinkles this was a fun donut to try!


Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill

This came highly recommended and we are so glad we stopped by here after the zoo!  Dallin got a super filling red snapper plate and I got clam chowder.  I'm not a huge fan of seafood but this place made me change my mind.  The clam chowder was perfectly seasoned and incredible!

I can't wait to go back and try more!  We absolutely love trying new things so if you have any recommendations let me know!

If you'd like to know all that we did while in Southern California you can go HERE!
Check back soon for Disneyland Tips!