Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Our Disney Adventure

Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

Our-Disney-Adventure

This year we had the opportunity to take our family to Disneyworld for the first time, for a family reunion. My husband got a bonus at work, and we got a military discount through my son Stephen, who is in the Air National Guard. It is something my husband had always wanted to do with the kids, because when he grew up in California, he used to go to Disneyland, and he had many happy memories he wanted our children to also experience.

While at Disney for four days, we entered four different theme parks: Magic Mountain, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. If you ever go in the summer, be aware that is is hot and humid, because that might affect your energy level. Oh, and there were downpours of rain almost every day. Regardless of the long lines, the Lord answered my prayer that my feet would hold out, and that I would not be limping through the park. That was truly a miracle because I’ve had problems with the arches of my feet, and I’ve often limped home from a short neighborhood walk.

Walking-at-Disneyworld

Magic Kingdom

One of the first rides we went on was the Pirates of the Carribean. It was nearly exactly as I remembered it as a kid. Yes, even though my parents were missionsries in Guatemala, when we came up for furlough, we sometimes went (at least twice as a child) because my grandma lived near Disneyland.

The only difference that my husband noticed was the pirates were not chasing women. Instead the women were chasing the pirates, or one pirate was chasing another pirate. For those of you who remember the ride (or for those of you who have never been), we filmed the ride:

The next ride we took was the Jungle Cruise. You get into a boat, and your tour guide gives you a description of the jungle and its cartoon-like animals. She used a lot of humor, as you can see:

We rode on a lot of other rides at the Magic Kingdom on the first day: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Tiki Room, Haunted Mansion, and Space Mountain. Since we had entered the park at 9am, by the time it poured rain at 4pm, we were ready to go back to the hotel.

On day four, we returned to the Magic Kingdom and did the Mad Tea Party, It’s a Small World, Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, Astro Orbiter, and Seven Dwarves Mine Train.

Epcot Center

The second day, we went to Epcot Center, which is like traveling around the world. It was an overcast day and somewhat drizzly, but we got some clear plastic rain ponchos so that we could keep going. We went to all the countries, including the ride Grand Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros in the Mexico section:

One of my favorite areas of Epcot was the Morocco section. You could walk around the cobbled streets and feel like you were at the Moroccan market. I loved all the architecture, textiles, and lamps.

Morocco-Epcot-Center.

Later we went to Soaring Around the World—which I LOVED! It felt like you were hang gliding around the world on a virtual ride. We also did the Mission Space, Test Track, and Spaceship Earth rides from Epcot.

Hollywood Studios

At Hollywood Studios, we went on the Tower of Terror, Star Wars Millenium Falcon, Muppet Vision 3D, and Star Tours. The Tower of Terror is basically a Twighlight Zone episode that you are involved in, and the elevator drops. It was definitely high intensity.

Star Tours and Star Wars Millenium Falcon were both Star Wars themed rides where we were in spaceships, trying to outrun enemy ships.

The Mupper Vision 3D was super fun, where we sat in the theater of the Muppet Show, seeing everything in 3D, including the hecklers on the balcony to the right of the theater. Years ago our family created our own episode of the Muppet Show, so my whole family enjoyed this experience.

Animal Kingdom

At Animal Kingdom, we went on Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Avatar Flight of Passage. By far, my favorite ride in the entire Disneyworld parks was Avatar Flight of Passage, which was virtual reality where you ride on top of a dragon through the air, over clifftops, and through ocean waves. It was breathtaking—so much so that I rode on it twice. I never knew that one of my bucket list wishes was to fly through the air, and now I got to do it!

Animal-Kingdom

The Kilimanjaro Safari was a lot of fun. Come with us on our safari:

All in all, our Disney Adventure was truly magical. We got to see the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom on the final night, which we enjoyed greatly. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to visit Disney with my whole family, along with Alan’s sister and her kids. My kids got to know their cousins in a much more in-depth way, and I had many good conversations with my sister-in-law. It was an unforgettable trip!

Boat Birthday Party

Monday, June 29th, 2015

boat-birthday

A boat birthday is perfect for the summer! What better excuse to spend some time on a nearby lake? Last weekend we celebrated my son’s birthday by giving him a boat birthday party. If you have friends who own a boat, it doesn’t have to cost you any money. If you don’t have friends who own a boat, you will need to save up to rent a motor boat. But it’s an experience that your family will never forget!

boat-party-invitation

How to Make a Boat Party Invitation

I made the boat invitations by using some origami paper and folding it into a boat. Then  I stabbed a wooden skewer in through the bottom of the boat, and I taped it in place. Then I printed out the information for the party, and I cut it out in a sail shape and stabbed the skewer through the sail. Finally, I added a tiny flag at the top, taping it in place.

lake-cupcakes

How to Make Lake Cupcakes

Bake some cupcakes and frost them with blue frosting. You will need to stir blue food coloring into white frosting. With a knife, make little waves on top of the blue frosting “water.” Super easy!

You will want to make cupcakes rather than cake if you are planning to eat it on the boat. Make sure to place the cupcakes into a container and put them on ice in a cooler so that they do not melt on a hot summer day in the boat.

boating

Enjoy a day of boating. Often the best gifts are experiences.

My daughter had never been on a boat, so it was super exciting for her. We borrowed a large innertube from a friend and attached it to the boat. The kids loved taking turns being pulled on the innertube by the boat!

boating-party

Okay, maybe the children weren’t the only ones enjoying the boat birthday party!

lake-12

Make Your Own Miniature Treehouse

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

miniature-treehouse

Making a miniature treehouse with your kids can be super fun, especially if you are reading Swiss Family Robinson as a read-aloud! Or it can be a fun open-ended toy for your children instead of an ordinary doll house. I’ve always been fascinated by treehouses, so this was a fun experience for my sister and I to make.

Supplies for Building a Miniature Tree House

You will want to gather some materials before you begin:

  • wooden base
  • brown stain or paint
  • real or fake branch
  • silk leaves
  • string
  • bits of wood
  • a drill
  • hot glue
  • wire cutter
  • scissors
  • pebbles
  • toilet paper tube
  • orange or red feather for fire
  • necklace chain
  • fake leather
  • lace

How to Make your Own Miniature Treehouse

miniature-treehouse-2Step 1: Start with the base. Get a wooden base at a craft supply store, or cut a base from a piece of wood. Stain the wood dark brown or paint it. Drill a hole in the back center, and insert the branch into the hole. Hot glue the branch in place, and hot glue the silk leaves into place.

Step 2: Decide how many levels you want in your treehouse. Stain or paint the wood after cutting it into the shape you want. I already had wood scraps, and I used what I already had. Hot glue the levels onto the tree. If you need a pole to keep the level up, you can hot glue a pole to the top and bottom, stabilizing the level.

Step 3: I made a bench swing on one level. I hot glued red fake leather to some wood and glued two pieces of wood together. We drilled four holes on the bottom of the bench swing, and I stuffed a chain necklace through the holes. You can use a wire cutter. Attach each chain to a branch of the tree.

miniature-treehouse-3Step 4: On the top level of the treehouse, I hot glued some walls on three sides. Then I made a hammock out of lace. I sewed two pieces of lace together and ironed down the edges to make it look more authentic. I sewed the string to the lace and hot glued it to the walls of the tree house.

Step 5: My sister made a rope ladder by drilling holes in the two sides of small pieces of wood and threading a string through them. We attached the rope ladder to the upper level of the treehouse.

Step 6: Hot glue small pieces of wood to the trunk of the tree, like steps leading up to the first level. Super easy!

Step 7: Make a picnic table by hot gluing pieces of wood together until you have a structure resembling a picnic table.

miniature-treehouse-4Step 8: Make a fireplace by opening a toilet paper roll with scissors. Put hot glue onto the open toilet paper roll and quickly dump lots of small pebbles on it. Lift up the toilet paper roll and see where you need to add pebbles. Hot glue any pebbles down.

Step 9: Get some twigs to use for logs and assemble them to look like a bonfire. Hot glue an orange or red feather to it for the flames.

You have now completed your miniature treehouse. Isn’t it cute?

Aquarium at Cannon Beach

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

aquarium-at-cannon-beachWe visited an aquarium at Cannon Beach called Seaside Aquarium. You can feed otters and see several octopuses, lots of anemones and other fish, and a petting zoo. It’s a small aquarium that has been open for over 70 years. It’s not really at Cannon Beach, but at a nearby town called Seaside. If you’re taking a vacation at Cannon Beach, it’s only about 15 minutes away. Two of my children loved feeling the sea stars and sea cucumbers with their fingers.

anemonesThe aquarium has one large room surrounded by glass aquariums. It has another room with the otters. In the main room you also have an area with a red octopus swimming around. What I’m saying is that if you expect a large elaborate aquarium, you will be disappointed, but if you expect something small, you will be delighted.

aquarium-at-cannon-beach-2The aquarium around the edges of the room is all salt water, with colorful eels, anemones, and shellfish. Rocks are covered with living creatures.

cannon-beach-aquariumMy son Stephen is my biologist, and he has always loved living creatures. He was glued like a magnet to the petting zoo area of the aquarium. He would watch how creatures responded to his touch.

aquariumHe also loved having a hermit crab tickle his fingers as it walked across his hand. He spent nearly an hour touching the beautiful and intriguing sea creatures. My daughter enjoyed touching the sea creatures as well.

hermit-crabMy other two sons preferred not to touch the sea creatures, but to look at them from a safe distance. They looked at the calm swaying of the tentacles of the sea anemones. They watched the fish swim around in the water.

cannon-beach-aquarium-2One tank had a lot of sea stars. The stars are sort of prickly to the touch, and their mouth is underneath. A sea urchin was also in the same aquarium, but it was so prickly that it felt like a pin cushion.

sea-starsHere is the fabulous octopus, the terrible monster of the deep. It reminds me of when we studied 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, where the octopus attacked a submarine!

octopusHere are some squid eggs. The long white sacks are filled with eggs, and the parent squid dies shortly after laying the eggs.

squid-eggsWe had a great time at the aquarium at Cannon Beach. The next day my daughter asked if we could go back because she loved it so much!