The Excellent Adventures of Kim and Kev

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Celebration of Non-Meat Eaters

Non-meat eaters... aka Vegetarians... run rampant in my family... and by RAMPANT.. I mean there are four - sometimes five- depending on what is being served. I decided to analyze our "meat eating" ways and see if we could survive on vegetarian meals alone for a week.

First I analyzed myself:

I am a vegetarian because....

1. I do NOT like any meat on my pizza and pizza is one of my all time favorite foods. Throw any vege on the pizza and I am happy as a clam. Except for I am not sure how happy a clam is considering they don't do much but sit still in the water. Well, I guess that would be like me sitting in a bathtub... so therefore I could DEFINITELY be happy as a clam.

2. I once went for five months without eating any red meat. I did still eat chicken and fish, though. But no red meat is a pretty big deal... considering that hamburgers and steak are in my all time favorite list along with pizza.

3. I like spinach dip by itself or mixed with artichokes or queso..... but mainly I love the spinach part which is "vegetarian".

4. I REFUSE to eat those hideous turkey legs that are sold at fairs, amusement parks, my parents back yard, and the Gaston post office. THOSE MAKE ME SICK!! and I get even sicker watching someone actually eat them.

5. I can't stand lots of meat on sandwiches. For example I cannot eat a sub that has more than one layer of meat slices. It makes my jaw hurt. Once I was eating lunch outside with Kev and I was complaining that there was too much meat on my sandwich and I was starting to feel nauseous and tired and then a bird pooped on my arm. You would think that the bird would have been supportive of my dislike for lots of meat but obviously could not stand the sound of my "whining". The lesson that I learned was to never eat outside again.

6. Don't even mention to me a double or triple hamburger - GROSS! I love, love, love a good juicy hamburger.... but there is no need to put multiple patties on one bun. TOO MUCH MEAT!

I am not a vegetarian because:

1. My huge strong teeth would go to waste. I am a biter. And cabbage and spinach does not cut it. I could put my teeth in the strong man competition and they would win. I can pull nails out of wood with them, gnaw down large pine trees, I even towed Kev's truck home once with a rope in my teeth. If I do not get a piece of meat to chew on at least once a week.... I might turn to flesh. Scary but true!

2. I love burgers, steak, Zaxby's chicken fingers, D's wings, and the chicken Kev grilled for me last weekend.

3. Did I mention that I like meat.

Bottom line is that I have more reasons proving that I am a vegetarian.... however the reasons that I am not are pretty hard core. You be the judge.

And now for Kev's analyzing:

Kev is a vegetarian because:

1. I have forbid him to eat turkey legs.

2. He eats pretty much whatever I make for him.... so if I only cooked vegetarian he would probably be one.

Kev is not a vegetarian because:

1. He LOVES meat.... all kinds.... even large amounts of meat on his sub sandwich! (ewwww!)

2. He dreams of all of the wonderful dishes I can make for him out of our next door neighbor - The Rooster. Or maybe I dream of that. I just wish the Rooster would go away!... or get a watch.

Regardless of our food choices..... I would like to share with you the delicious vegetarian meals that I cooked for us last week... in honor of certain family members.

First up: Homemade BAKED vege eggrolls, mushroom noodle soup, and vege sushi with brown rice.

Clearly I did not make the sushi. It was store bought from Publix. They have just started making brown rice sushi which makes it even healthier. Yum! I got the baked eggrolls off of a Food Blog - For the Love of Cooking. These were delicious and so easy to make. The hardest part was finding the actual egg wrap which is in the vegetable section in Publix and NOT in the Asian food section. Now if you go to the food blog site.... keep in mind that hers look absolutely perfect and mine are a little disheveled - but that is how I roll ( literally... roll the eggroll.. ha!) I also stuffed their bellies too full and came up with half of the eggrolls that the recipe was supposed to make. The insides are full of cabbage, sprouts, carrots, water chestnuts, and green onions. And the soup... from 14 Carrot... a delicious health food store in Lexington. This meal resulted in a high five and a "how do ya do" from Kev. Definitely a "do again".

Then there was the veggie calzone....from Vanilla Sugar.

I made the dough and everything! Just in case you didn't realize...... I MADE THE DOUGH! Whole wheat pizza dough. I never thought I could do it... but I did. It is stuffed with mozzarella, red peppers, green peppers, and onions. I'm sure that if I had the right kind of camera... my picture would have turned out much better. But this will have to do. It was yummy.

OK - this meal was too yummy! And by TOO... I mean nothing is EVER too yummy. This is a grilled portobello mushroom sandwich... with pesto mayonnaise... and sprinkles of delight. This recipe was from Paula Deen's magazine - Spring of 2008.

I had totally overlooked this recipe when I had originally gotten the mag. I didn't think it was "our style" of food.... being MEAT-EATERS and all. Boy was I wrong! Melissa reminded me about it two weeks ago... and I had to try it. So simple and delicious. I even got organic, whole wheat buns from 14 Carrot to make this sammy extra healthy. I served it with carrots and a yogurt based onion dip (sounds disgusting but is delightful ). Nice, hearty lunch that is good for fighting flab. ( Flab is the excess skin that gets in the way when you are trying to tie your shoes, paint your toenails, and pick up pinecones)

And last but not least..... Our Mediterranean Feast. We have always been fans of Greek food. But I decided to branch out a little and do something different from Greek salads and Mediterranean chicken. We had falafel, pita, tabouleh, and crackle bread. I am not talking jibberish... those words are real.

My favorite part of the meal was the Tabouleh. I did not make it... but purchased it at Publix. It is full of tasty and healthy foods... like tomatoes, parsley, quinoa, lime juice... etc. We ate it as a dip and used the crackle bread to scoop it up. The falafel pita was good.... but weird to make and eat. Having never had it before... I'm not sure that it was cooked and served right. Regardless... the meal resulted in smiles and full bellies.

The result of our vegetarian week..... Three cheers and one Hip Hip Hooray! We ate healthy, felt great, and tried new things. And we got a LOT of fiber.... which is sometimes bad or sometimes good. It depends on the person.

Up next.... Is it time to swim yet?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Name Is Kim Snyder and I'm Addicted to Cooking!

So there you have it.... I admitted it.... not out loud but in writing.... which isn't the same because I can always deny that I was the one typing this post and then I will deny that I have a love affair with my kitchen and cooking. Remember that I am an extremist - which means that slowly but surely my life is being taken over by this need to plan, create, prepare, take pictures of, and eat food. I guess cooking is better than being addicted to children's books, tea sets, clothing made of denim, tea, lanterns, polka dots, colanders, the color red, plants, and Kev. Wait a minute... I just realized that I AM addicted to all of those things as well. Why am I allowed to run amuck in the streets?

So, I have already posted about my love for cooking on the post titled "Kooking with Kim". But it has gotten worse. I think I told Kev at least three times last week that I wanted to quit my job and be a full time cook. That statement always results in Kev wrinkling up his face like a pug dog, mumbling under his breath, kicking up the dirt under his feet, and spitting on our wedding picture. He is soooo dramatic.

I was already reading cookbooks and cooking magazines like books. I mean... I can get so wrapped up in a Paula Deen magazine like it is a romance novel...."First melt a stick of butter... then pour it in a large bowl of oil... then add a stick of butter..... throw in some bacon grease for extra flavor"..... that is music to my ears - but not my heart which stops beating when I read some of the recipes. I also keep the tv on the Food Network. It has taken the place of music while I am cleaning the house. Have you ever tried dancing to the sounds of the kitchen? Me either... but I think I will try it today.

Then I came across food recipe blogs. FOOD RECIPE BLOGS! The greatest invention of ALL time ( except for the Snugli that I cannot imagine life without... how did I survive all of these years with a regular blanket?) These blogs are written by pros! And by pros... I mean that I am in awe of these women who create these INCREDIBLE dishes. Most of them lead very busy lives... but still manage to crank out a recipe every day... take amazing pictures of it... and post all the details. I can sit for hours and hours reading the recipes and tips. I'm sure that you have noticed all of the blogs I have added to my site. This isn't even half of the blogs that I follow. And let me also just tell you that I have already made some delicious meals and have lists and lists of recipes waiting for us to try.

And that brings me to "The Biggest Loser" competition. I'm sure you are all wondering how I can compete and cook at the same time. It is called.... cooking healthy! That is my one talent... if you can call it that. I may not be able (yet) to walk down an aisle at a grocery store... pick up a random ingredient (such as orange marmalade) and create an incredible dish. I may not make the most beautiful looking food ( my food always turns out disheveled looking - just like me!) or take incredible delectable pictures ( I was informed yesterday that I do NOT have the right camera for taking food pictures - who knew?) BUT with all of my years of dieting and reading about nutrition.... I can make just about ANY dish healthy! So put that in your pipe and smoke it! ( I don't really know what that means .... but my Mom said it to me the other day and I thought it was hilarious!!!)

And if I don't make something healthy.... like cookie brownies or cupcakes. Then I just won't have any. The way that I get past wanting one is I find someone that can describe to me every single taste of every single morsel ( Melissa is the best gal for the job as she can describe food like no other). Then I feel as if I had some and am satisfied. I know that is hard core... but you have to understand that me + boss = major competition. I will treat myself when the game is over.... in moderation of course. :-)

And on that note.... I have lost 9 pounds. I know what you are thinking.... big freaking deal! But that is like two sacks of potatoes. Try hanging those around your neck for a week. 9 pounds is 9 pounds that I don't have to carry around.... unless I need to buy potatoes for a recipe I am making.

If you love to cook or bake.... please check out the incredible blogs listed on my site. You will NOT be disappointed!

And just because I love adding pics to my post....and didn't really have anything relevant... I decided to show you a picture of some beautiful Spring flowers that I bought a couple of days ago. There is something about beautiful flowers that brighten up my day and make me smile. I love this time of year!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


And by HOME I mean The States. And YES my title is in all CAPS because I am "scream laughing" at the top of my lungs because my wonderful brother is home safely from his FOURTH tour of Iraq. That's right... FOURTH! Enough already! And if you don't know what "scream laughing" is then I will be glad to demonstrate if you are at my house right now... because I just heard the news.

You probably don't know much about my brother yet... because he hasn't had a birthday for me to post about and he hasn't been around for about a year for me to get a picture of. But just know that he is the most incredible brother a girl could ever ask for - INCREDIBLE! Every time that I see him ... I look at him through stars in my eyes. Don't freak out... not the sames stars I look through to see Kev. I mean ... I know we are from Alabama and all.. but still. My stars for Dave are for pure admiration and pride. We are SO proud of him! He is so generous, laid back, caring, hilarious.... the list goes on and on. I just can't seem to think right now... because I am so happy!

Here is the one recent pic that I have of him. He is the Marine on the right. And don't adjust your screens.... he is in the middle of a horrendous sand storm. Every thing was red. He said it was the worst he had ever been in.

Hopefully the only sand he will ever have to experience again will be at the beach.

We love you Dave! WELCOME HOME!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Biggest Loser... Finally!

I'm sure you are all dying to know which person in my life I have dubbed "The Biggest Loser"... but I am actually hoping that the title will go to me. Not because I wear swimsuit bottoms when I am out of clean underwear, or because I wear cowboy boots with my pajamas ( that is only because I can't ever get them off without Kev's help and sometimes he is busy brushing his teeth when I am putting on my pjs), or because I am obsessed with denim and have some form of it on at all times.... I'm hoping to get this title because I will lose the most weight and be fit and trim and running in races again.

If you are a family member reading this... stop rolling your eyes. I realize that one of my hobbies in life has become losing/gaining/losing/gaining. That is how I keep myself interesting... you never know what you are going to get with me. Will I eat the brownie ... or not? Will I wear a swimsuit or a jumpsuit? Will I exercise or watch tv?

I'm an extremist... I admit it! I do NOTHING in moderation.... eating, shopping, dancing, making balloon animals, or planting trees... oh wait.. that is Kev who is an extremist in planting trees.. not me. Anyway, I either eat absolutely healthy and work out religiously OR I eat like Paula Deen and write a blog.

Two years ago, I was running in a half marathon.... now I am running (more like rolling) to the fridge to get some cheese. It really all depends on what is going on in my life.... but I'm ready to get my life back - a very dramatic way of saying that I'm ready to get back in to shape.

One of my greatest accomplishments and highlights of my life was running/walking in the Disney half maration in January 2006... and that date freaks me out because I just realized that it has been over three years... and not two. Geez... time sure does fly when you are having fun eating whatever you want. Someone told me recently to stop focusing on what I DID a couple of years ago....but what I can DO a couple of years from now. It really hit home with me for some reason and even though I could NEVER give this person the satisfaction of telling him that to his face -it really made me stop and think. I can run again in the marathon and be in even better shape... and maybe even get someone (Bethany) to do it with me this time.

There is nothing... I mean NOTHING like running down one of my favorite streets (Main Street) in one of my favorite places (Magic Kingdom) and having Kev shouting "Go Kim!" and cheering as I run past OR running out of Cinderella Castle and seeing your Mom, Dad, husband and sister all with cameras up to their faces waiting for the perfect shot..... that they didn't get because I was running too fast. :-)... but knowing that they got up at the crack of dawn to get front row seats in the Magic Kingdom to wait for hours until I ran by... OR to make it to your 12th mile and have your husband run along beside you with the biggest smile on his face ( which is hard for him to do because he has such little facial features) and then to run right past your family who is yelling your name and cheering you on. I'm telling you that there is nothing like it.... a priceless memory that I will never forget! I WILL do it again.... I WILL!.... except for the next time I do it... I will NOT wear a faux leather fanny pack or more clothes than any one else around me....

This is me running out of the castle..... snapping.. yes, snapping my fingers at my family to get their attention. Did I mention that there were tens of thousands of people there.... and I thought they would hear me snap. And could I please put some more clothes on... I think I see my wrist. Did I mention that I was running in Orlando. It took weeks for Kev to peel those clothes off of me. WEEKS!

Anyway.... so my boss challenged me to a Biggest Loser competition. I can be very competitive with some people..... like my boss. So it is ON... like Donkey Kong (and I can't believe I just said that... that statement alone should make me the biggest loser). Lucky for you, I will be posting my progress on this blog.... and will keep posting about it until I run through the 1/2 marathon finish line again in to the arms of my wonderful husband and family......

Stay tuned....

Earth Day - A Year Long Celebration!

Ok- I know that I promised you that the next post would be about "The Biggest Loser" and I also promised you that I would keep up with our lives so you would not have to play "catch up" every week. Well, I am known to break promises... but you probably already knew that about me.
It has been another insanely crazy week. I have been working all the time... and when I am not at work, I am working on stuff at home for work. By the way, the word of the day is WORK. So, everytime that I say "work" everything in my house goes crazy! (just like in Pee Wee Herman's Playhouse and if you don't know what that means... don't ask)... WORK!
Bottom line is that I am struggling to catch up with life right now - even watching some of my recorded shows on fast forward so I can get the basic idea of what happened but not have to spend the time to watch.
I've been exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed and probably pretty cranky ( I say probably because I am rarely ever cranky- ha!)- and then it hit me last night. It was around 9pm and I finally got the chance to just chill out. Kev had suggested grilling chicken and was outside at the grill. I went outside and sat on the lounge chair beside him. It was such a beautiful night. And I realized that this is why I work so much... to be able to enjoy incredible moments like these which I would not trade for anything ( except for Starbucks caramel machiatto icecream which I just discovered at Publix) - seriously, though... I have an incredible husband, an awesome new lounge chair that he surprised me with, and an out of this world piece of chicken that he grilled just for me! The chicken was so good that I gave him a high-five! And not just any ole high-five.... a manly one! I realized that I am VERY thankful for everything that I have and VERY thankful for my job which has helped me to get everything that I have... and when everything calms down at work then I will be EXTREMELY thankful for the vacations that I will be taking this summer.

Anyway, enough about that and on to Earth Day. As I'm sure you all know - Earth Day was last Wednesday. We did not do anything special to celebrate on Wednesday... because we have been celebrating every single day for the last month or so. It is not uncommon to be visited by the "Tree Fairy" during the night.... in fact last Sunday morning on my way to work, I took a pic of what had been delivered the night before...

And this wasn't even all of them... I couldn't fit every tree in to the picture. Kev is now creating a tropical oasis for me... so when I sit outside I can just look at my glorious trees and relax.

Things I know about these trees:

1. Kev has planted so many that he has started getting their names confused. It makes it difficult for me to understand which one he is talking about.

2. It takes a minimum of 1 1/2 hours to walk the yard and water each newly planted a tree!! Do you know the many things you could do in 1 1/2 hours? Sleep, eat, sleep, watch 5 shows on fast-forward, make and eat cupcakes, and sleep!

3. Kev is planting a new tree as we speak. He has officially been named the "Tree Whisperer" by the Mayor of Gaston - who is very similar to the Mayor of Munchkinland.

4. It is good for everyone for Kev to plant trees! Especially the people who might want to take a glimpse in to our back yard this summer while I am swimming. You never know what you are going to see!

Things I DO NOT know about trees:

1. How many we have. I was keeping count.... but I am out of fingers, toes, and whiskers.. so, I can only estimate. I think we have one trillion but could be off by a couple.

Well, that about wraps up this post that was supposed to be about Earth Day..... but ended up being about crankiness, thankfulness, an awesome piece of grilled chicken, and what I do and do not know about trees. And yes..... my mind is about as jumbled as this post.

Up next... The Biggest Loser!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Switzer Family's Eggcellent Easter Extravaganza

Here comes Peter Cottontail... hopping down the bunny trail.... hippity hoppity... Easter's on it's way... (don't be alarmed, I realize that it is already come and gone... but remember that I am behind on life and trying to catch up). Does that sentence sound familiar? It is actually part of a song that my Mom used to sing to us around Easter time. My Mom has multiple songs for every holiday. These songs are real and not made up... and are just another way to make the holiday more special. I grew up singing songs.... in the car, at church , at scouts, in the shower, and for my supper. And yes... I did sing out loud - emphasis on the word DID because these days I only lip sync the words because my voice is inappropriate and rude.

Easter is usually my busiest week of the year. Have I mentioned that I'm in retail. Christmas is busy all month where as every one waits until the last minute to shop for that perfect Easter outfit and they fight the crowds all week. Then that means that I have to fight the crowds... to get to work, to move throughout the store, to keep my clothes on, and to keep my fake eyelashes from falling off. Ok.. so the "keep my clothes on" part is not necessarily something I need to fight for... it is technically my fault that I like to "lose my clothing" in the middle of the store while yelling that someone is ripping it off of me just so I can get some attention. And yes, I do stuff like that with no explanation - it's in my genes. Needless to say that by the time Easter finally gets here - I am absolutely exhausted.

Now let me take you back a couple of years... when my only life concern was that I hoped my bucked teeth would get out of my way so I could close my mouth. Yes, it is true... my teeth were so bucked that I would sometimes be asked to help beavers build their dams. It paid well... but was humiliating. Anyway, Easter was such a huge celebration and process back then. My family would always travel to my grandparent's house in Atlanta. They had this little white door on the side of their house ( I just found out recently that it is a "crawl space" door) that was the entrance to where the Easter Bunny lived. Can you believe it? The Easter Bunny lived at my grandparent's house! That is why we would travel there every year..... so he could hide our eggs and baskets.

My Mom would spend weeks smocking all of our outfits.... not just dresses... but bonnets and sometimes purses to match. I cannot even imagine the time that would go in to this. I have some amazing pics in my albums.... but cannot post them due to scanner issues.. so you are just going to have to believe me.

We would have an egg hunt on Saturday. The hunt would result in someone finding the "golden egg" which would be filled with puzzle pieces. The puzzle pieces would make a picture of the movie that we were going to see. Every child would get their own special egg with a dollar inside to buy a treat at the movies. Yes... this was the 1950's and movie treats cost less than a dollar. We would see the movie... visit the Easter Bunny...color eggs... and then settle in for the evening so the Easter Bunny could do his work. And we did all of this while singing Easter songs.... even in the movie which resulted in us getting kicked out and having to listen through a glass at the exit door. Good times!

Sunday we would wake up for church and would be told to NOT look around as there was stuff hidden that we could hunt for AFTER church. When I was growing up... the word NOT meant GO AHEAD AND DO IT... at least that is how I translated it. So, I would sit at the bottom of the stairs and search the rooms with my eagle eyes to try and find the treats. I would then whisper to every one else where I thought their things were hidden. I wasn't trying to be evil or mean.... just trying to save time. That way, when we got back from church, we could find everything quickly and would have more time to play. What would you do without a big sister? Probably live a happier life.

I truly have the most amazing memories from growing up and spending Easter with Nana and Gran every year. Our Easter celebration has now moved to my parent's house - where they are the "Nana and Gran" to my niece and nephews. My Mom still sticks to the same traditions and does so many activities with the kids all week to celebrate this holiday.

Since I am not a kid anymore (which I'm sure is a surprise to you based on my behavior)- I have to work. Let me just say for the record though... that I am extremely thankful for my job and love my job! It just changes the way I do things. So, we semi-celebrated at work ( my second family) by me making cupcakes. If you remember correctly... then you know I LOVE LOVE LOVE to make cupcakes for every occasion. I got a cupcake frosting decorator from Pampered Chef. That plus these delightful Easter-like decorations made for a fun treat. Every member of my team worked so incredibly hard that week- and it was greatly appreciated!

After a week of long days and insanity..... Easter Sunday had finally arrived. I had bought Kev a cute green shirt that matched the leaves on my shirt. I had it steamed and ready for him to put on .... much to his delight. After church the kids stuck around for an egg hunt while me and Kev went to my parent's house to start getting the food ready. I had to take a pic of SOME of my Mom's decorations.... because I truly do not have enough memory on my camera to take pics of all. Here is the infamous beanie collection that changes out every month depending on the holiday.....

There are at least TWO Easter beanie babies per step. That calculates to be over one hundred Easter beanies. I don't have anything else to say about that.

Here is a picture of the adorable Easter dinner table settings....

My Mom FINALLY gave in and used paper products. Almost every meal is eaten on her good china and it is a pain to clean up..... well, not a pain to me because I usually disappear when dinner is over until I'm given the "all clear... kitchen is cleaned" text from Bethany (however, Bethany doesn't technically live here anymore... or visit... so, I don't know how she knows - but she is smart like that). Anyway.... It is just so much easier.... and look how cute everything is. The decorations in the center of the table are my Nana's. That was very special to see. We had so much delicious food! Besides a ham... there was several wonderful salads (pasta, broccoli, asparagus), fresh croissants, deviled eggs and dessert. I made a Paula Deen dessert called "Sunshine Cake". I got the recipe from Melissa (Paula's protege) and was able to make it sugar free. It was still just as delicious but was a little healthier. The recipe involves yellow cake mix, mandarin oranges, pineapple, vanilla pudding, and cool whip. If you want the recipe ... just ask. I forgot to get a picture of it.

Our traditional family pics in front of my Dad's gorgeous bushes.....(not his beard.. the flower bushes)

Mom and Dad or Nana and Gran or Suzanne and David... depending on who you are....

Me and Kev.... look how cute he looks in his new shirt. He even wore it with navy pants - which was his idea. He likes to stand that way to show how great his posture is.... compared to mine. My posture is so bad these days... that he is actually holding me up by my spanx waistband.

The Settles family.... Shannon, Michael, Ashlynn, Austin and Mason..... Austin actually wasn't feeling very good... you can tell by his HUGE SMILE... or as you probably see it... his frown.

And the Nowells... J.C, Kristen, and Elijah.... oh and fuzzy wuzzy... Elijah's caterpillar that he is holding for the pic.

After dinner, the kids all searched for their Easter baskets. And let me just tell you that they got some pretty cool stuff.... especially the "fart puddy" which made some interesting noises. It was sooo noisy that I couldn't tell which ones were real and which ones were fake - a common dilemma with this group! The adults used to search for our Easter baskets... but I'm sure you can imagine how difficult it was to carry Kev from room to room because he refused to hunt due to his age. Instead, my Mom gave us our baskets at the table - like civilized old people. I got the movie Pinocchio and girl scout cookies. My Mom seriously went ALL OUT to make this Easter special. AND it was a huge success!

Once we got back home... Kev had a gift waiting for him from the Easter Bunny.... A picture of my Dad....

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter!

Up next... The Biggest Loser .... and I'm not talking about David Hasselhoff.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Only 67 Trees

This is a TRUE story - a true story about a man who plants trees for fun.... 67 times of fun.

It all started when we received a poinsettia for Christmas. That's right... a poinsettia is the culprit of the Snyder indoor/outdoor plant nursery. I'm sure you remember the story and how we added many plants to our family.... and are still adding. Kev has done an amazing job and is so talented at this nurturing/growing/and planting hobby he has started. I call it a hobby... but it is really a job. Do you realize how much time goes in to keeping a yard looking nice? I don't- because I do NOT have the patience or talent for it. The best I can seem to do is to pick up pinecones which usually results in me complaining about getting a splinter or hurting my back. Sometimes I am so embarrassed over my non - nurturing/growing/and planting skills that I hide in the attic and listen to "self-help" tapes.

I question daily why this yard work thing is not in my genes. My Dad has ALWAYS had a garden. I used to help him with it - well, I say help but he probably says nuisance ( I talk A LOT and never really seem to get much accomplished). My Mom grew babies... it seems like every day. I helped her with that... not the growing part but the helping to take care of part. So where did I lose the talent of patience, nurturing, and growing? I think it was somewhere between my concussion from falling off a bike to my working in retail. Regardless, I am amazed EVERY day as to what Kev can do.

It started with our tree fence being planted across the front of the yard and down the sides...

I hope you know the special handshake to get through this protective fence. If you DO know it... then please tell me. I am worried that this fence is meant to keep me out... and based on my height, I can barely see over them.

Then we started our protective growing of the peach tree. Look at how gorgeous the blooms are getting....

Now on to my outside favorites......

Kev calls them "weeds". I do not think that is a very cute name. I think these "buttercups" look so pretty across the back yard. I even laid down in the grass on my stomach to take this pic. Dirt does not bother me..... but showers do and that is a story for another time.

And then there is the Tree of Life..... almost identical to the one at the Animal Kingdom! Kev found it in our backyard - which stretches behind the fence. I can't wait for him to start his animal carvings....

All of his hard work has added so much personality to our home. I really get so much joy in seeing our plants thrive.... and seeing Kevin thrive with his accomplishments. If you happen to run in to him, though... please tell him to take a day off for some rest! He seriously works his job or on this house 24/7. That being said... if you need him to help YOU out with some yard work - just let me know. I will work out a payment plan and schedule.

Up next..... Easter and The Biggest Loser!

A 63rd Birthday Celebration!

Stop assuming that the birthday celebration is for me! I'm not that old.... yet.

This birthday celebration was for Glenn Snyder - Kev's Dad. And yes, his birthday was on March 29th and yes, we celebrated his birthday on that day and yes, I realize that it is now April 15th ( which made me just realize that today is Kev's sister Jenn's birthday - yikes where does the time go)and yes, I am doing a terrible job of keeping up with life. I'm going to try and make a "4 months in to the year resolution" of staying on top of things and letting you know what is going on that same day... or maybe a couple days after. Hey... I'm not perfect... oh and just to let you know... I'm usually late every where I go... unless I am getting paid or there is food involved. It is also usually not my fault as it takes Kev SOOOO long to get ready. Geez!

Anyway...where was I? Oh... it is Glenn's birthday which just happened to be on a beautiful Sunday in March. Beautiful enough that yard work was involved... which I will post about another time- (yard work is hard core, by the way). I was thrilled that the weather turned out so nice because I wanted to have a cookout for Glenn. There is nothing better than a gorgeous evening and Kev firing up the grill for some scrumptious steaks. Well, now that I think about it... there are a lot of things better... like eating cheese off of skewers, or the beach, or cowboy boots... but really it all depends on the day and what we are doing... and I just LOVE when Kev grills out! This was the menu that was planned for the party.....

Steak - grilled
Vegetable skewers - grilled
Twice Baked potatoes - Paula Deen - the most delightful side with a steak
Broccoli Casserole - Paula Deen
Garlic Cheese Biscuits - recipe from Red Lobster
Pina Coladas - Kev's specialty
and Chocolate Cake

I may have forgotten something ... not because I waited TWO weeks to write about this evening... but because I climbed inside the potatoes for a nap. They are just that good.

Now let me give you a little background on Glenn. He is a writer for Spurs and Feathers - the ultimate Gamecock newspaper. He LOVES to travel, eat at restaurants, watch sports, collect cats ( real ones!), and did I mention travel. I have to say it twice because he does so much of it. He especially loves bed and breakfasts - which me and Kev think are kind of creepy. If you are ever in need of some extra cash... just hang a sign on your front door that says "Bed and Breakfast" and he will be there for the night... or three. It doesn't matter where it is located... it is the idea of staying in one.

I met Glenn 17 years ago! 17! That seems so crazy... but I have been a part of this family for a very long time. I remember the first time that I met him. Glenn and Mary invited me over for dinner. I was soooo nervous. I went out and bought a new outfit... from Fashion Bug ( that is so embarrassing to say) and I'm sure that it involved leggings and a long shirt. Basically a sausage casing. That was the dinner that contained the SWEET POTATOES that I had never eaten. When I went back for seconds... Glenn said that he was so glad that I was a good eater.... what he didn't realize was that I was and am a GREAT eater hence the fact that I have been banned from wearing leggings to any event. There have been so many great memories since.... and I know many more to come!

Here is a picture of Glenn and Mary at the birthday dinner.....

And now for the cake...... This is a simple yet DELICIOUS cake that my very talented cousin, Carrie, came up with. She made it for us once at a Mother's Day brunch. I literally fell in love with it. I had kind of forgotten about it until Angela posted a picture of it on her blog. Carrie had made it for her birthday. Carrie's looks much better than mine.... but I tried to recreate the best I could.......

It is a milk chocolate cake with icing made of cool whip and Hershey's syrup. It tastes so light and fluffy that you will probably pass out and require mouth to mouth from The Rock. Well, at least I did.... except for The Rock was too busy to come by so I had to settle for Kev. But I shouldn't even say "settle".... because Kev is the greatest.

Glenn, we hope you had a wonderful 63rd birthday.... Best Wishes! We love you!

Friday, April 10, 2009

We Are Still On Day Three Folks! Epcot and the Spanish Inquisition!

Thank you for bearing with me as I tell the tale of my Disney trip. You have no idea what you are in for when I go for a week!

So, we all leave Animal Kingdom.... but head in different directions. If you remember correctly, this was JC's first trip - therefore he had never had the incredible opportunity to experience the Tower of Terror (fabulously thrilling) and The Rockin Roller Coaster ( awesome). Both of those rides are at Hollywood Studios. I have been able to ride them hundreds of times but have never been to The Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. We decided to split up for a while and meet in Mexico at 4pm for dinner. So, we kissed, hugged, and said our goodbyes and hoped we would be able to find each other again.

OK- so on to Bethany's and Kim's trip to Epcot.....

Now, I have heard about the Flower and Garden Festival before. They have done it for many years. I have never been..... and that just gives you an example of how it is impossible to do everything unless you go to Disney for a million years and spend weeks at a time (which I plan to do). Pre-house I would have said "Ok. sounds nice... I'll see it but it's not a big deal". Post-house I say "I have to see this glorious festival asap and I hope that Kev can recreate everything that I take pics of". See, I'm not sure if you have gotten the point that I (we) have become OBSESSED with the outdoors and our yard. Except for I don't know how to do, I enjoy looking at it while Kev does all the work. Let me just tell you that it was glorious! It blows me away the things the Disney team can create.

This is what we saw when we entered the park......Those are bushes sculpted in the shapes of my favorite characters. How amazing is that! And just so you understand why I love Beauty and the Beast so much... here is a Kim and Kev trivia fact. The first date that Kev asked me on was to go see Beauty and the Beast. This was before he knew I LOVED Disney - BEFORE which means that we were meant to be. AND if you have ever seen the movie then you know that when the Beast turns human at the end... it looks JUST like Kev when we were married... long blonde ponytail and all. It IS possible to live a fairytale and I'm proof (except I look nothing like Belle but that is beside the point).

Bethany's favorite is Cinderella. They had just about every single character sculpted throughout the park... but for the sake of space on this blog I am only able to post a few.... however, I had to post this one because I'm hoping I can have this in my front yard (with Bethany included).....

Isn't that beautiful! What a great Fall yard decoration. I've seen Kev make things out of wood before like speaker stands, pool rafts, and firewood... so, I'm sure he can make this. I'm telling you that this festival was incredible and such a treat to see.

Next we headed to Pixie Hollow. That is where Tinkerbell and her friends live. Now, I've made it pretty clear that I believe in fairies... how can you not? My friend Melissa bought me a precious pink fairy ornament one year. It hangs in my window in hopes that fairies will realize they are welcome here. Pixie Hollow was just as I've always imagined. There were little houses all throughout the gardens.....

One of the houses was even made out of a teapot. So cute!! I seriously could have stayed in there all day if there weren't so many people trying to see it. There was also a butterfly garden that you could walk through. Butterflies were flying all around - it was magical.

Here is one of my favs.... Minnie Mouse. Look at how beautiful her dress is! It is made completely out of red and white flowers.

We took our time walking through looking at everything... and then we were off to another exciting adventure..... The Troll Trek. Now let me give you some background on trolls. They are from Norway and Kev is Norweigian. That means they are in his ancestry.... and I'm pretty sure from the looks of them that they are in mine. We were told that there were 20 hidden trolls in Norway and if you could find all of them then you would be crowned the queen of the trolls... well, actually there wasn't a prize but I don't ALWAYS need a reward to feel successful. After tons of searching by looking down... we were told by a nice young GIANT Norweigian man that we should be looking up. Besides the fact that he scared the stink out of me (I'm telling you that he had the deepest voice and I broke my neck looking up at him... he seriously looked like he could pick us up in his hand and eat us - so scary!) and that we were probably the only two people that really played the game - it was so much fun! Here is a pic of one that I found on a window sill.....

And now for my big purchase of the trip. Actually it was no where near a BIG purchase... but more like my only purchase. I saw this beautiful bird bath with Tinkerbell sitting on it. Bethany told me that before I could buy it, we had to think about it and look around at everything else. If you think that sounds familiar then you are right.... it is just what a mother would say. Again, this is something that would have never sparked my interest before... but now (and especially after seeing Pixie Hollow) I thought it would be the perfect addition to my flower garden.

This is a pic of it in my sunroom as I don't really have a flower garden just yet. Kev worries that it is too small for all of the birds in our back yard..... but I love it just the same. This is not the last you will hear about this birdbath because it ended up being quite troublesome and cumbersome throughout the rest of the day. Word of advice: Do not buy your souvenir in the middle of the day! I should have remembered that after the "sombrero buying incident in 1996 where Kev had to carry it around all night .. and it was not a small sombrero (like you are about to see).. it is probably the biggest one ever made. I'm still questioning my reasons for HAVING to have it. I'm so weird!

Anyway, with lots of pictures, a souvenir, and a thirst... we head over to Mexico one hour early to wait for the fam. AND THIS IS WHERE THE STORY GETS GOOD..... We discovered a taste explosion... a "party in our mouths".... DisneyWorld in a glass.... THE FIESTA MARGARITA. It was delish and by delish... I mean it was all of those things that I just listed! Mango, Lime, Strawberry, and Green Apple. If you are ever looking for me in Epcot - this is where I will be... actually I am there right now and no one even knows it. We just chilled out.... laughed, talked, relaxed. I'm telling you that it was good times and I mean it!

The rest of the family arrived... which resulted in Fiesta Margaritas for all... and we headed in to the restaurant. Now let me just say that Kev and I have eaten at this restaurant several times as have Holly, Kris, and Bethany. We have ALL had wonderful and delicious experiences. This was NOT the case on this day! I'm not saying you should never try it.... but I don't know if I will again. The service was bad, food portions were TINY, and I couldn't find the bathroom even though we were sitting right next to it... so I had to walk down to Norway. Well, actually the bathroom situation was my fault - but still. This next pic sums up how we felt about everything.....

The great thing is that my family can make just about any situation fun... therefore we pretty much laughed the whole time and got out of there as fast as we could. Halfway to the next ride, Bethany realized that I had left my cumbersome birdbath at the restaurant. And then the Spanish Inquisition began. Unfortunately the birdbath was in a box... so you really couldn't tell what it was and the manager of the restaurant seriously asked me 20 questions before he decided that I might be telling the truth. What did I leave? Describe it to me? Would I trade my sister for the box? What is the address of Kev's store because he had a gold nugget necklace to pawn? Did I like guacamole with or without jalapenos? Would I promise to only let Mexican birds use my birdbath? Needless to say.. it was very frustrating. So, I get the birdbath and start racing back to Spaceship Earth... well maybe not racing but walking as fast as I could. Well, the Nowells and Bethany were waiting for me and somehow I walked right past them and they never saw me because they were playing "let's all close our eyes and try to smell Kim when she walks by". Too bad for them that I had decided to wear deodorant that day. I finally found Holly and Kris who made a couple of phone calls ( to my brother in Iraq, Bill Clinton, and a man with a compass) and got us all back together.... they are military, you know, so they always know what to do.

We finished the night with riding some super fun rides and watching the fireworks. AND finally got the chance to celebrate Holly's birthday - kind of. Bethany had tried to celebrate it the previous day but it didn't work out... and then we thought about celebrating it in Mexico. That would have NEVER worked because I think they HATED us. So, she put a birthday hat on her head and we all took turns "pantsing" her. There is nothing like doing your family tradition in public. You can tell how much she enjoyed it......

After we left the park... Bethany and I headed to Walmart to get some REAL Mexican food to eat.... Velveeta and Chips. Bethany had NEVER had Velveeta. I had grown up on it... not only did I eat it weekly but I used it as toothpaste. I thought I was sharing a real treat with her and teaching her what it was like to live in the 80's. Let's just say that Velveeta and Bethany DO NOT MIX!! Sorry B!! I guess the 80's isn't for everyone!
I'm sad to say that my trip is pretty much over.... I'm sad but you are probably thrilled because I have FINALLY finished blogging about this trip. Our last big adventure was on Monday for lunch. We ate at a new restaurant called T-Rex... (I bet you can't figure out the theme of the place). It is in Downtown Disney... and let me just tell you that it is a "must-do" experience. If you have ever eaten in the Rainforest Cafe, then you will understand. It is owned by the same people but everything is dinosaur themed. We ate in the Ice Age. And I wasn't even scared of the dinosaurs because THEY WERE NICE AND DID NOT SCREAM IN MY EARS AND JUMP OUT OF NOWHERE! I think I seriously had the best dessert EVER at this place. It was layered ice cream sandwiches with cool whip, fudge, and nonsense delight. I can't even remember what all was on it because we ate it so fast. What a fantastic way to end the trip!
I seriously had the best time!! What a great trip and a wonderful experience to share with family! It's all about making memories... and I hope to do it every chance I get. Thanks Bethany for all that you did to coordinate this for everyone! And thanks to the Nowells and the Craigheads for making it so much fun!
Coming soon.... Glenns' birthday and "How many trees are too many?"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Animal Kingdom - Disney Day Three

After a great night sleep, we awoke at the crack (of dawn) to get ready for another big day. We were hanging out at Animal Kingdom in the morning and heading over to Epcot in the afternoon. I will go ahead and let you know that I will probably only get Animal Kingdom covered in this post - not because I'm lazy but because a LOT of "fun-ness" happened this day... and by "fun--ness" I mean LOTS of laughter, fiestas, experiences and just plain ole fashioned FUN.

For those of you who have visited DisneyWorld you know that there is SO much to do... so much so that it is impossible to do everything unless you are there for a couple of weeks! I'm not even joking! I have been many times and still have not done everything...and there are some things that I will NEVER do - like dancing in the streets in front of thousands of people at a parade because my sister thinks that no one will pay attention to me but secretly they will all be watching and will make fun of me for the rest of the day! The point that I'm trying to make here is about Animal Kingdom and how we never seem to have time to fit it in to the trip... unless we are visiting for at least a week. Long story short..... I was SO looking forward to this day because I really wanted to go to Animal Kingdom because I hadn't been in years!!!! Geez... it shouldn't take me an entire paragraph to get that point across.... but it does. I get my long, detailed, over-explaining story telling from my Mom and my Gran..... except for I write mine. If you were TALKING to me right now... I would have just told you that I had a good time and was glad I got to go....end of story.

Speaking of story - Let's get on with it.....

We met at 9am. Every one helped pump coffee in to my veins... and then we took off in to the park. We had a mission... to ride my new favorite ride... EXPEDITION EVEREST! Now I didn't know it was my favorite ride when I entered the park. I had ridden it once before and thought it was fun... but I think eating cheese is fun... so it didn't stand out to me as a favorite.. except for my favorite food is cheese so I don't think I explained that very well. Anyway, we had a mission to get there and ride it twice before the line got too long. Before I tell you if we completed our mission... I have to show you the most incredible tree. The centerpiece of the park. The Tree of Life.

It is glorious and I am in awe of it every time I see it. There are carvings of animals all over the tree. This picture doesn't not even begin to show the enormous size and detail of the tree... it does however show the enormous size and detail of me... but that's another story. Ok - so we got our traditional picture and now off to the ride...

But before we could get there... we had another detour and NOT a good one. Let me just warn you that if you ever visit - do NOT and I repeat DO NOT ride the ride named DINOSAUR. This is a ride that I hate.... and I usually don't hate a ride unless it is the Grand Prix Speedway. It is dark, scary, loud, and full of the scariest dinosaurs that I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot) and did I mention that it is SO scary. From the minute it starts, I close my eyes and put my head down and scream my head off. For some strange reason... it is Elijah's favorite ride. Apparently he loves for dinosaurs to chase him and yell in his face and jump out of nowhere. I don't know where he gets it from. Anyway, being the good aunt that I am, I tried to be brave and ride this ride with a smile on my face. And here is a pic to prove it....

Yes, that is me and Bethany in the front row... screaming and ducking our heads. Elijah is sitting between us holding both of our hands. I don't even think he could see the ride. Once it was over, he told us that all he could hear during the ride was girls screaming. It is pretty pitiful that I expect a 7 year old to protect me on a Disney ride.... but I do -don't judge me!

And then we finally made it to our mission - my new favorite ride. It is a roller coaster. It goes forwards, backwards, sideways... you name it and it does it. It has twists and turns and tons of surprises. There is even a mysterious Yeti ( abdominal snowman or abominable snowman if you've been schooled) that jumps out and tries to grab you. Yes, I screamed at the top of my lungs but screaming at Yetis is fun ... unlike dinosaurs. And now I will reveal how much fun I had on this ride......

If you remember I posted this picture and asked for guesses as to where I was and what I was doing. The prize for guessing correctly was a tree planted in your honor in our yard. I only got one guess - from Angela (my cousin). She guessed Tower of Terror which is my other favorite ride. Regardless, a guess equals a win... so a tree has been planted for you! I'm sure that you cannot even believe someone could have so much fun.... but it is true.. someone can. We got off the ride and rode it again. Expedition Everest = Good times!!

Meanwhile...... there was plenty of shenanigans going on back home. I'm sure you are all wondering what Kev was up to during this trip... and I'm about to tell you. I spoke with my secret contact (Catbird) who sent me some pics.

A row of trees was planted across the front of our yard. To keep out hobos, clowns, and snakes. Actually, I wouldn't mind a hobo stopping by.. they are usually pretty nice and have good stories to tell. Kev planted all of these trees by himself. He is quite the landscaper/gardener which is another quality about him that I love... because as you know plants and trees have become my new obsession. These trees are going to grow to be at least 20 ft tall. I picture gnomes marching back and forth protecting our "tree fence". Bethany is worried that our neighbors will assume they are Christmas trees and will chop them down and throw money in yard. Either scenario would be delightful.

He also planted some cherry blossom trees and dogwoods. Both are my favorites. He planted those throughout the yard.

And then I received a picture of him walking across the yard.....

Actually this is a picture of DeVine. I am telling you now that she is officially one of the coolest things I have ever seen. It is a woman with stilts on her hands and feet. She is completely covered in vines. DeVine shows up randomly around the Animal Kingdom park and literally blends in with the trees. She moves so gracefully and gets in positions I could only dream about. Actually I have never dreamed about getting in positions like that... but it is really so cool. Here is another pic of her laying up against a tree. Can you see her face?

My learnings for the morning....

1. Seeing an elephant as HE is waking up first thing in the morning is probably not the best thing to see while on a safari. It is scary and unbelievable. Try to figure that one out.

2. A jalapeno cream cheese stuffed pretzel is honestly the best treat I have ever had. A definite "must-do" again.

3. The Finding Nemo show is Broadway quality - INCREDIBLE! Everyone knows how much I love Broadway shows... right? I could watch them all day.

4. Playing Double Dog Dare with your nephew is delightful. He dared me to act like a dog. I was told to jump in the air for my treat and take a bath. I did everything I was dared to do -IN PUBLIC. For some reason... that didn't embarrass me but dancing in the street at a parade does. Go figure. I dared Elijah to crab walk across the path and back. He did -even with tons of people walking by.

5. Getting to go to Animal Kingdom on this trip.... priceless! Thanks B!

Up next.... Epcot - the flower and garden festival, a party in our mouths, trolls, and shenanigans.

A Whirlwind of a Week!

This week has been INSANE! and by INSANE I mean a million and a half things have been going on not to mention that it is the week of Easter and I work in retail selling women's clothes and you all know how important Easter outfits are.... or maybe you don't know.. but if you are from the South then it is a HUGE deal which means that I'm exhausted. The pic is one taken of me yesterday after I left the store and NOT from my incredible Disney trip that I still haven't finished posting about even though it was weeks ago. So, the point of this post is just to say that I have so much to tell you about.... the rest of my Disney trip, Glenn's birthday and new additions to our family (hint: they are green, leafy, and have to be planted)... not to mention that Easter is only days away and you know that I will have stuff to say about that.... especially how I have color coordinated our (me and Kev) outfits.

Long story short..... posts will be coming soon... and by soon, I mean as soon as my tea kicks in!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Disney - Day Two - The Seven Dwarfs Unite!

OK... I want you to close your eyes... well, don't close your eyes or you will not be able to read... maybe just squint them and think about what truly makes you happy, gives you the shiggles, makes your eyes light up, makes you feel warm and cozy inside. It could be two black Labrador puppies with black and white checked bows around their necks, a new plant, a block of cheese, a venti caramel frappacino, a sweet kiss and surprise from Kev..... you can pick any of those except for the kiss from Kev.... or I guess you can think of one on your own but it probably won't be as good.... Anyway, my point is that walking down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom is one of those things that makes me insane with happiness. It washes all my troubles away and lets me be a kid again. Now I LOVE every aspect of DisneyWorld but entering the Magic Kingdom lets me know that I am truly there. And that is just what we did on Saturday morning.

This was JC's first time! It makes the trip even more fun if you have a first -timer because you get to re-experience everything through them. A first-timer, a 7 year old, and someone who hasn't been in a while and doesn't remember everything = A trip of delight! I have done a ton of research on Disney ... the best places to eat, best times to go, best places to stay, best bathroom sinks to take mid-day sponge baths in, etc. I consider myself very well versed on how to have an incredible time.... and then Bethany started working there. She is FULL of information... so much so that she mumbles info while she is sleeping and eating (which is gross because food falls out of her mouth). It has been awesome getting to find out so much more info.... I have been able to experience SO many new things and she ensures an incredible magical experience!

We entered the park through a special "castmember" entrance... and then the fun began! There were seven of us on this trip..... like the seven dwarfs... which is what we named ourselves. Hopefully you are all familiar with the story Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs... if you are not then you didn't have a childhood. :-) I live my life by the teachings of Disney movies. I could give you examples but you would be here all day reading this post and we both know you probably have better things to do. So, only five of us "united" that morning....because the other two, Holly and Kris, were meeting us for lunch.

We took our traditional family picture in front of Cinderella Castle.....Bethany has actually been in the top of the castle... in the Cinderella suite. One lucky family is randomly chosen daily to spend the night in there. Can you even imagine!

I'm sure you know which dwarf I was named after before I even have to tell you..... Grumpy.. because that is what I usually am... grumpy and crazy... too bad there is not a crazy dwarf. Anyway, in the pic from left to right is Happy (Bethany), Grumpy (me), Bashful (JC), Doc (Elijah) and Sleepy (Kristen).

Then JC told us that he really wanted to ride the Grand Prix Speedway. Secretly I cringed... because if you have ever ridden on this ride then you know how lame it is. I mean it is fun ONCE when you are THREE and you think you are really driving.... but after that it is too long of a wait and not worth it. I will probably not say that about any other ride.... so that proves that I mean it about this one. I even texted Kev to tell him that I was worried JC would be so disappointed when he got off the ride that he wouldn't want to do anything else. But I smiled and told them that Bethany and I would wait for them.

Here is a pic showing their excitement BEFORE they have started driving....

I can't even show you a pic of them when they got off because it is vile. I basically ran IN PLACE beside them and went faster than they did. Needless to say, they were embarrassed and wanted to know why we didn't tell them not to ride it. But no worries... because there is no other ride to warn about... everything else is great.... and them riding this one was fun for me because I got a good laugh.

After a morning of laughter and shenanigans and downright good ole fashioned fun... we met for lunch at The Plaza. This was my first time to eat here and it was suggested by Bethany. What a delicious place and a definite must-do again. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of Sneezy (Kris) and Dopey (Holly) who met us here. We took SO many pictures but still missed out on taking SO many more. We did get a picture of Elijah's new found lady friends....

These ladies were hilarious... like "on the spot" hilarious and definitely put on a good show. They are my new role models and what I want to be when I grow up... that, Paula Deen, and a lottery winner.

We celebrated JC and Kristen's one year anniversary at lunch......

And then walked back over to the castle to get a "sister" pic. Notice my $9.00 white Walmart jacket. According to everyone in the picture... it was NOT chilly so I must be wearing the jacket to either show it off or because I'm obsessed with covering my body from head to toe. Wait until you see me in my blue jean overall swimsuit. Holly is the third from the left.... She is the one that lives in Cuba, celebrates her birthday in March, and smuggles Cuban cigars in her unmentionables.

My family + 3-D glasses = thug life!

We went to space, met Captain Jack Sparrow, experienced a Country Bear Jamboree, took a wild train ride, flew over London, and got spooked in a haunted mansion. There is truly no other place that you could experience all of these things in one day! We saved the best for last.... my favorite... Splash Mountain....

Yes, that is me having the time of my life in the front! We got soaked.... and there is nothing like getting wet with amusement park water that has touched just about every sweaty person there that day. Even better.... we did it again!

We finished the day by watching the most incredible fireworks ever... and then my favorite parade - Spectromagic. I showed Bethany where the best seats in the house were... right up front and you can see everything. Kev discovered it years ago. We were literally face to face with Prince Charming! It was the best parade that I've seen since me and Kev got on our bikes and rode up and down our street tossing banana nut muffins to the neighbors.

Things I learned from our incredible day:

1. Do not ever ride the Grand Prix Speedway.... I am telling you all now so you will not undergo the extreme embarrassment.

2. Ensure your popcorn container lid is on tightly when riding on Space Mountain. The people riding behind you will appreciate it.

3. Get a picture of Kris every chance you get... He did not end up in ANY pictures - even the ones taken on rides he is ducking.

4. Keep your hands INSIDE the ride at all times! We heard that on about 5 rides because JC has the "jimmy" hands.

5. I do NOT enjoy dancing in the streets in front of hundreds of people. I am a manager and have a reputation to uphold.

6. You do not have to take a shower at the end of the day if you are too tired.

UP NEXT..... Day Three - Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and A Party in my Mouth....

A Magical Weekend at Disney - Day One

I'm finally back... and with LOTS to tell you.. and by LOTS I mean that there is no way I could ever tell you EVERYTHING that happened during this magical weekend.... but I will do my best to tell you the highlights. Let's be honest... If I told you EVERYTHING then you would be reading these posts for the rest of your life because we did something every single second. There is also the problem that my memory is completely failing me and I actually do not remember most of the things that happened... so what you are about to read may or may not be completely true... but that goes for every post on this blog. It's called ACTING... thank you very much....and I learned all of my skills from Saturday Night Live.

I'm going to start this story by taking you back a couple of years.....

The picture is VERY small... because I was VERY small ( yes, there was a time in my life when I was little, petite, and cute..) and not because I have no idea how to scan pics and make them an appropriate size for the blog. As you can see, I was a true Mouseketeer!... all the way down to my clunky red corrective shoes that helped me to walk more like a graceful hippo and not like a bowlegged cowgirl... which is how all the girls in my family walked until they were trained otherwise - it is the Kentucky in our blood.

I was raised on Disney and LOVED every minute of it. I remember watching the Mickey Mouse Club and hoping to some day be a part of the show. AND for the record... it was NOT the Mickey Mouse Club with Britney, Justin, and Christina... it was the original! I even performed a song for anyone who would listen... family, animals, people at the bus station, etc. It was the theme song for the show but instead of singing M-I-C-K-E-Y... I would sing K-I-M-B-E-R-L-E-Y. It was so cute that most people could barely even stand to listen...let alone look at me. I ate, drank, and slept Disney ( I don't know how you can even do that... but cool people say that when they are passionate about something.... so I thought I would give it a try to get my point across). Not only was Disney everywhere in our home... but we would visit DisneyWorld whenever we could.... so, you can only imagine our delight when my youngest sister actually got a job there! Actually we were just delighted that she got a job.... but it was even sweeter that it was at the most magical place on earth.

And that brings me to telling you all about this particular trip.... it was a trip for a first-timer, a birthday, an anniversary, a sister homecoming/reunion, a second trip for a 7 year old, and most importantly, for making memories.... now add in all of the shenanigans, jokes, sombreros, birdbaths, ice cream treats, and trolls.... and you've got yourself an incredible experience!

It all started on Friday....The drive down was pretty uneventful...except for lunch at "The Barrel" because Elijah wanted "country food". And the fact that I learned more about presidents than I ever thought I would. Elijah is so smart that he has to carry an extra backpack to store the rest of his brain that won't fit in his head. He was my traveling companion for part of the way. I never thought I would be able to have an intelligent conversation with a 7 year old about my reflux. (and yes, I've turned in to one of those "old folks" who constantly talk about their ailments when asked how they are doing.....reflux is just the beginning).

Everyone had their own plans on the first night. Holly had flown in from Cuba to be reunited with her husband Kris after 3 months. Kristen, JC, and Elijah were meeting up with JC's family for dinner. Bethany and I had a date - don't judge us - it is ok for sisters to go on dates where I am from.... except for that she brought her "old" boyfriend. He was a little too thin for my taste and had to carry a large steering wheel wherever we went. He thought he was so cool because he drives a boat. I also got annoyed that he responded to every one of my questions with "aargh". I have to give it to her though..... she can sniff out money like no other. Everyone knows that pirates have lots of gold - that and the fact that he doesn't look like he will live much longer will have her set for life!

So, our date was at the Boardwalk/Beach Club resort area. This is our (me, Bethany, AND Kev) favorite place! We stayed here for our last BIG trip. Not only do you have WALKING distance to two parks.... but you have many incredible restaurants, fantastic entertainment, and you can truly forget about the rest of the world and relax.
The Boardwalk is exactly how I've always imagined Atlantic City in the 1940's to be (because that would be something that I would have imagined a lot ??).... mimes, jugglers, carnival games, unicyclists, cotton candy... etc. I could spend hours on "the pier" and never be bored. This pic was taken from the Beach Club.... and the Boardwalk in the distance is just a skip, hop, and jump (or swim) away.
We planned to eat at our favorite place... Spoodles.... however, it is so popular that we couldn't get a reservation in advance and there was a pretty long wait. So, we tried a new place... the Big River Brewing Company. Delightful and Delicious are the two words I would use to describe this place. It was very busy as well... but we managed to get seats at the bar and dined on jalapeno spinach dip. Who ever thought of putting two of my favorite foods together is a genius! We ate and then hung out on the pier and enjoyed the entertainment. From where we were sitting, you could see the fireworks from three different parks. Amazing! I could watch fireworks all day long... the only place that comes close to having "Disney incredible" fireworks is my hometown of Gaston. You should check them out on New Year's Eve -( there is a minimal $5.00 parking fee). Besides all of the fun we were having... I'm pleased to announce that the weather was SUPERB! Those of you that know me know that is a pretty fancy word for me to say.... so hopefully you have gotten the point that the weather was perfect! Also, in case you are wondering... there was a reason for our minimal eating at dinner..... and that reason is......

BEACHES AND CREAM!! This is the best ice cream joint this side of the Mississippi! I am not joking. Me and Kev tried this place out several times when we stayed at The Beach Club a couple of years ago. It has been a tradition to go there for ice cream every time that I have come since. My favorite is the "No Way Jose" (pronounced Ho-zay). It is vanilla ice cream with peanut butter chips and syrup, cool whip, chocolate chips, and delicious stuff that I can't even remember because I ate it so fast! I usually share it with Kev or Beth..... but Bethany wanted a banana split and so we purposely ate a tiny dinner so we could eat tons of ice cream. You are allowed to break the rules when you are on vacation..... it is a Switzer fact! We had the exact same waitress that we had the last time! That either means that she works a lot.... or we go there too much.... and who really cares which explanation it is because the ice cream is so freaking good.... and by FREAKING.. I mean OUT OF THIS WORLD!
By this point we were so full.... of food and fun... that we headed back to Bethany's apartment. She lives minutes away from all of the excitement.
Here is a recap of my learnings for the day....
1. Van Buren was the first president to be born in the USA.... because the USA had not been formed yet under the previous presidents' reign. ( I hope I said that right.. Elijah)
2. You have to run water while going to the bathroom if you don't want Bethany to hear you..... she can hear EVERYTHING.
3. Don't ever go to a Walmart that is close to DisneyWorld.... it is pure insanity... I have never seen such chaos and crowds. I did get a sweet white jacket for $9.00 though.... to manage the cool breeze in the evening.
4. Me and Bethany can get the giggles like no other..... we laughed so hard that night that I'm amazed our heads didn't explode!
5. When you see a real person that looks like a Disney character ie; Gepetto... it is probably impolite to run after them and try to take their picture without them knowing. Impolite... but hilarious!
Up next..... Disney Trip - Day Two.... The Seven Dwarfs UNITE!