Wednesday, April 28, 2010

CA Adventure: Day out with Thomas

Hey Y'all:

Ok this is my last post about vacation. I tried to drag it out as long as possible LOL.... enjoy

If you are a boy mom chances are you know who Thomas, Percy, Edward, James, Douglas, Spencer, Sir Toppham Hat, Emily, Gordon, Toby and countless others who hang out on the Island of Sodar are. You'll also know that Thomas the Tank Engine tours around America so little boys like Erick and Myles can live out their dreams by being a passenger in one of Thomas' cars.

The awesome mommy that I am (yes I just tooted my own horn 'peep peep') while planning our CA Adventure I did some research to see where Thomas would be during our vacation. Turns out he was hanging out at the Fillmore & Westeren History Train Station, so you know I ordered tickets right? Yup, ordered our tickets and mapquested our route from Escondido to Fillmore CA!

It was a three hour drive that was well worth it. For Erick's 4th birthday we rode on Thomas in the dead of winter (well it wasn't officially winter yet but it was FREEZING out) in Strusburg, PA. Although that trip was fun this ride on Thomas toped it! The weather was beautiful, the pre-train ride activities were awesome and Nana was able to come along for the ride. If you have a little boy or little girl for that matter who is into trains a Day out with Thomas is an adventure that you shouldn't miss. Check out this website and find out when he's in an area close to you!

Until next time...

CA Adventure: LegoLand

Hey Y'all:

If you've never been to LegoLand in Carlsbad, CA you don't know what you are missing. It amazed me to see what creative minds could do with the tiny plastic bricks!

Thankfully unlike Disney our day wasn't rainy although it was a little chilly we still had so much fun. Lego Land is tucked away in an area called Carlsbad that is actually home to quite a few corporate buildings. Unlike Disney or Six Flags if you weren't specifically looking for LegoLand you would totally miss it. There aren't any flashy hotels, restaurants or even gift shops in the area that would give them away. LegoLand is completely hidden and noticeable ONLY by the dedicated parents who want to give their children the treat of their lives.

LegoLand to me was a treat because it was an explosion of the imagination. Almost any structure you can think of can be built with Lego's. We saw elephants, monkeys, lions, pigs, octopus, Little Red Ridding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty and countless other characters including Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine all built out of Lego's. Amazing!

I really had a wonderful time (sometimes more so then the kids) especially when we went into Miniland! LegoLand dedicated a huge area of the park to mini structures of world famous attractions, from the NYC skyline to the French Quarters in New Orleans and the Eiffel Tower. It was just amazing (I know I've used that word a lot but I can't describe this any better then that!) The Nascar race track was pretty amazing as well! Erick was really impressed, especially with the race cars that actually were motorized and moved around the track. Legoland MiniLand USA is comprised of 20 Million Lego blocks. I loved every single one of them!

Then we had a sweet tasty treat. Legoland Granny Smith Apple Fries! Honey those things were delish! So much so that I've been scouring the net to see if I can find a recipe. According to Leogoland they invented them but I did find this recipe that seems to be pretty close to what we had.

Then Erick and Myles had an opportunity to take pictures with Bob The Builder and watch his 4D movie about building a roller coaster. All in all LegoLand was worth the trip and I highly recommend a visit.

Until next time...

CA Adventure: Disneyland

Hey Y'all:

Our trip to Disneyland was the first for the twins and Erick and unfortunately it was one rainy day! We made the most of it though. Because the children are so small we couldn't go on Space Mountain or any of the other roller coasters and rides that require a certain height. So we ended up spending most of our time in Fantasy Land riding all the indoor attractions.

So here is my take on Disneyland - I like Disney World way better.
I prefer Disney World because everything just seems to be bigger and more grand (it is a 'world' after all). At Disneyland the attractions are much closer together and the Castle is tiny in comparison to Disney World. Maybe it's because of the cold and rainy weather but everything just seemed dreary to me this time around. The park wasn't full of cheer but instead full of little ones dodging the rain, sweaters and ponchos. I won't say it was a bad trip because it wasn't but it wasn't the best 'first visit' I could have imagined for my little ones. Hopefully we'll get them down to the Magic Kingdom next year and give them a glimpse of the WORLD.

Here are a few pictures

Which do you prefer, Land or World?

Until next time...

CA Adventure: Lawrence Welk Resorts

Hey Y'all:

Thanks to our very good friends Johnny and Terri Turco we had the awesome privilege of spending a full week at the beautiful Lawrence Welk Resort in Escondido, CA. The Welk Resorts is about 35 mins from San Diego and is absolutely gorgeous! It is a time share situation tucked away in a very scenic area not far from Interstate 15. The resort boasts of two 18 hole golf courses , a theater and is minutes from SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, Legoland, San Diego Wild Animal Park and miles of beaches that stretch along the Southern California coast from Carlsbad to Coronado.

Although the weather wasn't the best the entire trip on the first day the sun was shinning brightly so John and Terri were kind enough to take the three Brown's on a dip in the pool. After their dip they played in the park, which in my opinion had the elements way to high off the ground.

I am a huge advocate for resorts or hotel suites with kitchens and here are my reasons why espeically when traveling with children.

  1. It's cost effective. If you have a family of five people that you have to eat out with EVERY day it really becomes costly. If you have the ability to stay in a place that provides a kitchen whether its a full kitchen or just a couple of burners, a sink and a fridge you are at an advantage. You can always do breakfast and lunch at the place you are staying and go out for dinner or cook a quick dinner at the room and do a fab lunch (when prices are lower) with the whole crew. Growing up my mom always got a suite that had a full kitchen (back in the day when we traveled to FL we always got a suite at the Days Inn in Kissimmee St. Cloud) with 9 children there was no way in 'heaven, hell or Disneyland' my mom could afford to eat out for the entire week we were on vacation.

  2. It's easy. Most times resorts/time shares have great activities and amenities that a regular hotels don't have. If you are staying at the Hyatt all you are getting is a room with a bathroom and access to a pool and fitness room if you are lucky. Most times at resort/time share they have planned activities, game rooms and many other amenities that make it worth wild. If you don't want to leave the resort you really don't have to.

  3. Pay in advance. Who doesn't love to have a vacation where your stay is payed for in advance? You don't have to worry about dishing out the big bucks for the hotel room at the time of your departure. You are set from the time you check in and only have to pay for little things you may have charged to your resort.

Like I said I really enjoyed the Welk Resorts, the cleaver naming of the villas, game rooms and pool areas were def fun. The one thing I didn't care for is that, the resort was definitely for older people, and therefore provided no nightlife! As Terri put it they 'rolled up the sidewalks super early there. Everything was pretty much shut down by 9:00 p.m. and you know for a New Yorker that's way to early.

Until next time...

Back from another Fab Journey...

Hey Y'all:

I know it's been a while since I've posted and that's because I was off on another fab journey with the Brown Crew! We had an absolute blast in California but honey I have plenty to share with you.

I'll give it to you in small bite sized pieces. Lets start with travel...
If you follow me on twitter (which you all should of course @MrsDeveter) I'm sure you've read about my disastrous travel situation both coming and going! I must start by saying that after this past travel I don't heart Delta not even one tiny bit. I know that many things are out of the control of the pilot, flight attendants and desk workers but honey... being 'marked' late for a flight that you were in the airport to hear board and take off is NOT late in my book. That's a whole nother story, one that I really don't think I want to regurgitate. Needless to say Delta is not on my top list of travel providers, the one good thing they have going for them is the play area in their Salt Lake City terminal.

Here is a little something I wrote that I must share...

5 Minutes
Five mins or 300 seconds seems like a short amount of time but in actuallity it can change a whole lot of things. Within 5 mins a baby who was safely snug in it's mothers womb could make their entrance into the word; 5 mins can turn you from fiance to wife with the simple words 'I do'. Five min early or late can cause you to lose or gain a job and 5 mins late can cause you to miss a plane and spend five hours in an airport with three children anxious for a trip to California!

Our flight from NYC out of JFK was at 7:05 a.m. on a Sunday morning. We reached the airport check-in line at 6:05 a.m. Delta told us we were too late to check in. How about that? We stood in the airport and heard our flight board and take off because of 5 mins!

Here is what I learned... First off don't time time for granted.
  • ALWAYS check in online. Don't leave anything up to chance. If you have the ability be sure to check in before you even reach the airport it will just make your life a whole lot easier
  • ALWAYS get to the airport an hour and 45 mins before your flight is due to depart
  • ALWAYS pack the DVD player and cell phone chargers in your carry on (my beautiful husband packed them in the darn checked luggage so by the time we were at the airport for hour 2 Erick's DVD player was dead and so were our phones.
  • ALWAYS bring enough snacks for the kiddies. Thankfully we were well prepared, airport food is EXPENSIVE and unhealthy for three under six year olds.
  • Last but certainly not least ALWAYS keep your cool! If my husband wasn't handling the folks trying to rebook our flight it would have been ugly. I might have hurt somebody and allowed Leah to scream her very high pitched scream into somebodies ear!

Stop by often because I'll have plenty of updates for you regarding our trip especially information on the beautiful Escondido area, the Lawrence Welk Resort, Disneyland, Lego land and A Day Out with Thomas in lovely Fillmore, CA.

Until next time...

MUAH! and I missed you!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Unable to connect

Hey Y'all:

The Internet at work was down for about an hour or two today. It was very interesting to walk around the office and hear everyone talking.

We communicated today like our parents did back in the day. We spoke about earthquakes and the end of the world. Train commutes and our families. People who usually have their heads down focused on their keyboards and the emails they need to send out; had their heads up and touched base with their fellow co-workers. I heard stories about a friend's daughters first wall writing experience, one co-worker decided to clean her area spic and span. All of this took place because the Internet was down.

Another set decided to take a stroll to Dunkin Donuts while others just sat around and caught up on current office events. A few hours without the Internet is a rather powerful thing. It caused us to get back to basics - human contact and communication - I can honestly say I enjoyed our short moment without Internet access.

When was the last time you went Internet, cell phone, 3G network free?

Until next time...


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Hey Y'all:

I am not proud to say this but I haven't been very "Green" conscious. I try not to print as often and of course I recycle but I haven't fully taken on green living. In celebration and preparation for Earth Day 2010 which is next Thursday 4/22 (did you know that it's been 40 years since the first Earth Day?), I'm going to take a few steps in becoming a bit more Green.

Here are five easy thing I have in mind.

  1. Purchase a new DVD for the kiddies Wow Wow Wubbzy Goes Green
  2. Participate in an Earth Day Network Pledge
  3. Search Real Simple for ideas on reusing household items instead of throwing them away
  4. Take Action by signing the Climate Declaration. This declaration is demanding Congress to take responsibility and pass a comprehensive climate and clean energy bill to rebuild our economy, secure energy independence and address the climate crisis
  5. Spread the word
I think I complete all five of these takes in celebration of our Earth.

What will you do in celebration of Earth Day?

Until next time...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Texting Mom...

Hey y'all:

Sorry I've been so sparse in posts. I've been a busy little woman! Planning and executing my Mother In Laws 60th Birthday, the twins 2nd, my Mom and sisters birthday and Easter all within the same weekend caused me not to have any energy to write a thing!

Thankfully I've found some time to tell you this sweet little tidbit. My 64 year old mother has figured out how to text message and I love it!

My mom lives in N.C. now after being a New Yorker for 60 some years. Now that she is so far away from us we don't get to see one another all the time. We speak every night but now I receive cute little texts from her in the morning and throughout the day.

I love that she has figured out how to use this technology and is now looking forward to learning the computer. Lord help us all if Marian Bennett gets on Twitter or Facebook! She'll end up with more followers then me.

Until next time...


Monday, April 5, 2010

The Laundry

Hey Y'all:

I was at the laundromat last night (well really it was early this morning) and I realized that I love the washing machine!
As I watched the rinse and spin cycle I thought about all the women before me who had to manually wash their clothes. I thought about the time that it took them to get one load done and how many times a week they probably had to wash clothes. I thought about all the nasty diapers and underwear they had to handle and praised the person who invented the modern day washing machine!

I came into the office today and did a little research on the washing machine and read a little history about the methods people used 'back in the day'. According to the Great Idea Finder site and - people on sea voyages washed their clothes by placing the dirty laundry in a strong cloth bag, and tossing it overboard, letting the ship drag the bag for hours. Ancient peoples cleaned their clothes by pounding them on rocks or rubbing them with abrasive sands; and washing the dirt away in local streams.

"In the early days, without running water, gas, or electricity even the most simplified hand-laundry used staggering amounts of time and labor. One wash, one boiling and one rinse used about fifty gallons of water—or four hundred pounds—which had to be moved from pump or well or faucet to stove and tub, in buckets and wash boilers that might weigh as much as forty or fifty pounds. Rubbing, wringing, and lifting water-laden clothes and linens, including large articles like sheets, tablecloths, and men’s heavy work clothes, wearied women’s arms and wrists and exposed them to caustic substances.

Can you imagine this back breaking work after having to deal with kids, a significant other, work, preparing meals and everything else we do everyday? I love the inventor of the washing machine. Hamilton Smith, William Blackstone, Hurley Machine Company, F.L. Maytag, The Whirlpool Corporation and anyone else who had a hand in making my life a little bit easier; I thank you!

Until next time...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Light It Up Blue!

Hey Y'all:

I am supporting my beautiful blogging sister
HangingWithMrsCooper in her effort to get the word out about Autism.

Last night prominent buildings across North America and the world including the Empire State Building in New York City and the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada were lit up blue to raise awareness for autism and to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day which is today Friday, April 2.

In an effort to support this cause I am posting and going blue. My Godson and nephew both are beautiful little boys who are affected by autism.

According to the World Autism Awareness Day site -
  • Today, 1 in 110 American children is diagnosed with autism.

  • Approximately 67 million people worldwide are affected by autism

  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the WORLD

  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with diabetes, cancer and AIDS combined.

  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism.

  • there is no medial detection or cure for autism, but early diagnosis and intervention improve outcomes
Wow, you might be saying. Well how to I spread the word MrsDeveter? It's a bit short notice but here are some things you can do today.

  • Change your Facebook profile picture to the Light It Up Blue logo and tag at least 10 of your friends.

  • Post on your blog about how you are “lighting it up blue” to raise autism awareness.

  • Add the Light It Up Blue logo to your e-mail signature … and type your e-mails in blue!

  • Bake puzzle piece shaped cookies and frost them with blue icing, then bring them to your school, work or place of worship to raise autism awareness.

Thanks for your support.

Until next time...


*What is Autism?

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a persons lifetime. It is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a persons ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe. All of these disorders are characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills and social abilities, and also by repetitive behaviors.

Autism spectrum disorders can usually be reliably diagnosed by age 3, while first diagnosis usually takes place around 18-24 months. Parents are usually the first to notice unusual behaviors in their child or their child's failure to reach appropriate developmental milestones. Some parents describe a child that seemed different from birth, while others describe a child who was developing normally and then lost skills. Pediatricians may initially dismiss signs of autism, thinking a child will "catch up," and may advise parents to "wait and see." new research shows that when parents suspect something is wrong with their child, they are usually correct. If you have concerns about your child's development, don't wait: speak to your pediatrician about getting your child screened for autism. Although parents may have concerns about labeling a toddler as "autistic," the earlier a diagnosis is given, the earlier interventions can begin. Currently, there are no effective means to prevent autism, no single effective treatment, and no known cure.