Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs

Can one dream about a meal? By far this was one of our favorite meals of the trip. I’ve read mixed reviews, but let me tell you, our server was fantastic, our meal was fantastic, and I really loved how the kids’ meals, menu, and options were so unique!

The atmosphere is upscale, but like most Disney restaurants, people were in a variety of dress from casual to cocktail-ish. The sushi kitchen is upstairs and it was fun to view it from below.

We started off with pork dumplings for our appetizer because those are A’s absolute favorite. These would probably be my only complaint. For eleven dollars there were only four, and they were barely filled. They were also steamed, and I prefer mine slightly pan fried (this I knew when we chose them, so that’s on me). For the cost, I would pick something else. They also don’t tell you on the menu how many you get, and I assumed we’d get at least six (again, I should’ve asked this before ordering). On the plus side, it came in a fun steamer and the boys tested out their chopstick skills before their lo mein came.

 

 

On to better things! Starting with the kid’s menu, because it was awesome. It had three origami papers and instructions for making three basic origami items. We spent (okay maybe, I spent) almost all the way until our dinner came working on the fish and frog.

 

And while we were working on those, we were sipping on fruity boba tea. J was unsure, but A was totally converted. He’s been asking for boba tea again ever since.

 

They both ordered the kids’ shrimp lo mein, and there wasn’t a noodle left.

So, now for the grown up meals. B is a big fan of sushi and sashimi, so he ordered Jyo Sushi Combo, and the only potential issue for his allergies was the sushi roll. Our server was great and easily requested to have his roll swapped (the combo is a “chef selects” so it depends on the day what you get). It was almost too pretty to eat!

I opted for the buri-bop which is the famous dish that Morimoto created to win one of the Iron Chef competitions. They prep it by the table, and unfortunately I didn’t take a picture before it was mixed. It was sooooo good. I mean. It was a combination of yellow tail, rice, egg, veggies, and other tasty items. As a side note this does come in a 400 plus degree bowl, that stays that hot pretty much the entire time you eat it. So this is not a meal you’d want to eat near small kiddos who might grab the bowl (or irresponsible adults who might do it “too be funny”, just saying).

And finally, we ended the meal with hidden Mickey sorbets for the boys!

We really loved our overall experience at Morimoto’s and would definitely go again!

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Shades of Green Review

For our recent trip to Disney we tested out The Shades of Green resort, and I’ve got that review for you today! First up, a few important pieces of information about the resort. It was originally a deluxe resort that was later purchased by the government. This means that you (or someone in your group) have to meet the qualifications on their website.

It is a hotel on Disney property, but not a Disney hotel specifically, so they use different buses, etc (more on that later). I’d always been reluctant to try it because I was worried it wouldn’t be Disney enough, when we are quite used to the Disney resorts. However, for this stay we decided to test it out and see what we thought!

The resort is lovely. It has spacious rooms many of which sleep up to five. It’s a quiet property, and we had a nice view of the golf course.

We stayed in The Palm Wing on the second floor, and I liked it so much, I would specifically request that area the next time we go.

There are two outdoor pools, one that has a zero entry area, and the other has a water slide that J LOVED:

The food is very reasonably priced (there are several restaurants and a Starbucks). Picking up Starbucks and reading my book in the morning was one of my favorite things to do during our stay!

The self-parking is only 9 dollars a day (cheaper than the Disney value resorts). It’s also an easy drive over to Disney Springs. Quick tip…we always parked at the Lime Garage because it is close to some of our favorite shops and restaurants. If you’re driving, check which garage is closest to your favorites to cut down on walking!

For transportation, they have buses that go to the ticket and transportation center, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. You can also walk to the Polynesian Resort (it’s about a fifteen minute walk to the monorail), and take any of their buses or the monorail. In addition they have a tram at times that will drive you down to the end of the property and cuts about seven minutes off the walk.

We loved getting a chance to take the monorail more than we usually do, and did quite a bit of resort hopping more than other past trips.

Overall, of all the Disney resorts we’ve stayed at their bus transportation was by far my least favorite. And it’s not that they aren’t efficient about it, the buses run when they say they will. However, instead of running every twenty minutes, like the Disney resort buses they come essentially twice an hour….which means that you need to carefully plan park entrance and exit to minimize wait times. Also, their bus stop is not with the other Disney bus stops…it’s usually a secondary area with a very small overhang….no big deal if it’s not raining, except in Florida, where huge rain storms can (and did) pop up at any time. You can take The Polynesian bus and walk, but we found that the buses for The Polynesian and Grand Floridian (they share a bus), were usually also packed.

 I would recommend considering taking advantage of the Minnie Van service (especially if you are going to or leaving Animal Kingdom), because you are saving money with the lower cost of the room and parking. If you have people in your group that either have trouble standing for long periods, or small kiddos, this would be a life saver. If we stayed at Shades of Green again we would definitely budget for that in order to save some time…and tantrums on the behalf of seven year olds who you made hike a park all day in 95 degrees and then have to hike home.

Overall, the resort is a great option for qualifying government and military families. You can find out more about the resort here! Happy trip planning!

 

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Friday Favorites

When I was a kid and we lived overseas, vacation was always at least two weeks, if not more. Now that I’m an adult and B and I both have full time jobs, it sometimes seems impossible to even take a week off at a time, and with the boys’ activities that makes it even harder. So this year I declared it the year of the two week vacation. Even if we never have time to do it again (but I’m hoping we do), it’s been the best two weeks! We’ve had time with my whole family and time with just the four of us, and we have lived it up! We’ve put our emails on hold, went to the beach everyday for a week, and I’m halfway through my second book. It’s been a great introduction to summer!

The summer tea I have been waiting for.

The loveseat I’ve got my eye on for when we extend our back porch.

Matcha vanilla date smoothie.

Copying the idea of baskets for food magazines in this kitchen.

Lemon artichoke spaghetti for meatless Monday’s.

Summer of reading.

A cookbook to put on the list for my birthday.

Obsessed with my new reef sandals I picked up at the beach!

I loved the Hawaiian Loco line that I spotted at Uniqlo at Disney Springs! I picked up the Honolulu Cookie Company shirt. They do run a little bit boxy, but will be perfect for a fun pairing with high waisted shorts for summer, or pants for work in the Fall.

And finally, styling a coffee table three ways with 100 dollars or less!

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JCrew Factory List

School’s out, summer vacation is here, and we’re feeling fine!

I mentioned having a few items on my list for the Vineyard Vines for Target Collection. After the big release, here are my actual purchases:

If you’re wondering if I got up super early to get these items, the answer is yes. I randomly woke up at 2:00 a.m. (B and I have being trading off with different medical issues, yay for mid-thirties), and couldn’t go back to sleep. I had a favorites list saved, and I just opened my iPad and ordered it all. The quality of the pullover and pants was heavier weight than I expected, which I appreciated for the price. I’ll probably be more likely to wear the pants in fall/winter here. The swimsuit is adorable, definitely my favorite. The shorts are great quality, but I was very glad I got the XS, because I saw an early review online. The sunnies were a wild fable purchase, and they are super fun. Anyway, now that I’ve shopped that collection, we are headed to the beach soon to have family time, beach time, and some outlet shopping time!

Every year, I make a list for outlet shopping at JCrew Factory. I typically try to find some things at the outlets for Under Armour, Aacis, Gap, and Kate Spade as well, but for JCrew Factory I make a list! JCrew Factory carries some of my favorite basics, and I like to stock up while we are there.

First up, is graphic tees. I love a good graphic tee!

Second, is the teddie sweater. Made of lighter weight cotton than JCrew’s typical merino sweater, these are wearable summer through mid-fall.

Next, low wedges. Great for trekking across campus, or going out to dinner, these are low enough you I can wear them with shorts, jeans, or some of my work pants.

Its already 95 degrees here and in the summer I love my easy pajama shorts. These come in a variety of pattens and are perfect for mixing and matching with cotton sleep tees.

I’m so excited they’ve kept their scalloped shorts! These are some of my favorites.

My old white pants are super stretched, so I’m on the hunt for a new pair.

Some of B’s favorite tees we pick up from JCrew Factory including striped and henley’s.

And finally, the boys and I always pick up fun socks for B for Father’s Day.

We are definitely all looking forward to our beach vacation! Until then the cousins are making do with trying to create an impromptu slip and slide:

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Friday Favorites

And just like that another school year is over!

Summer lunch ideas.

Five essentials for Spring into Summer.

Frittata, salad, and rolls = perfect Summer dinner.

Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle for Wacky Science Day with the kids.

Yup, that’s what traveling with kids is like.

Surf inspired shark party….maybe for B’s birthday since my kids won’t let me pick their theme anymore.

Cookie dough to make with the boys.

John Hughes definitely should’ve done the ending for Game of Thrones.

Mindful eating and other insights from a nutritionist.

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Summer skin care and make-up routine

I’m prepping these Minnie Ears for an upcoming Disney trip! During the summer, I like to keep my make-up routine super simple to give my skin a chance to breathe after wearing make-up almost everyday during the school year. Also, because in the South, wearing make-up becomes almost pointless, until the temps get back below 100. I thought I’d share my make-up picks and everyday nighttime skin care routine for summer! First up, is my every night skin care routine:

I have used this ultra repair cream for several weeks now and I really like it. It is quite thick, but I have pretty dry skin, so it works well.

I use the Peter Thomas Roth water drench moisturizer for under my eyes.

Then I use the sugar lip treatment right after I shower and follow up with Kiel’s lip balm when I go to bed.

This is what I use almost every night. However, I also mix in using my retinol cream once a week, vitamin C serum another night, exfoliator pads on another night, and then watermelon glow mask on another night.

For my make-up/morning skin care routine…

I skip foundation as much as I can and start with my ultra repair cream.

Then I use my Olay Eyes Depuffing Eye Roller.

After that, I put on my La Roche Posay sunscreen. I have tried lots of sunscreens for my face, and this one doesn’t make me break-out, and doesn’t smell like sunblock at all.

Then I lightly fill in my brows with the hourglass brow pencil, and curl my eyelashes. I also add a swipe of mascara.

I use this puffy bristle kabuki brush (similar style here) and tap on Tarte tipsy on my cheeks (which they apparently don’t sell anymore…similar here). Then I blend it with a tissue.

Finally, I spot treat any problem areas with my NARS concealer, and swipe some Sugar Dream lip balm on. And that’s it! It literally takes me less than five minutes.

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This and That

This is my new Summer tea towel that I picked up online on sale from Anthropologie (it’s the cutest):

This is our redwood that we planted in the ground this fall and it is flourishing!

This is J playing catcher in his last game of the season:

He has grown so much in his playing ability this year! By the end of the season he was hitting at every at bat, and got multiple runs! Most importantly he loved playing and is excited about next season.

This is the boys with their fresh haircuts that they got at our local barbershop. They look handsome and are ready for summer vacation now!

After their haircuts we headed over to the food trucks that are set-up in our downtown during the weekends for May-August, A most enjoyed the milkshake for dessert:

Then on Saturday I ran to Costco with my sister and got one of my favorite stress free dinners:

Chicken alfredo pasta, French bread, and frozen corn. Sooooo simple, and the boys eat it up!

This is the adorable eagle J made at school:

And finally, this is J entering into the toothless club! He lost his first tooth this weekend:

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Friday Favorites

We are officially less than a week away from summer vacation! I’m so ready to be able to sleep in, not pack lunches every week day, and not have to race to multiple activities after leaving work.

Six tablescapes for Spring.

My favorite yoga practice of the week.

One of the many reasons Monterey Bay has my heart.

Summer work wear.

To all those May Mamas.

Ideas to refresh your workplace every season.

The most inspiring podcast I listened to this week.

A stylish dining room on a budget.

And finally, my lunch smoothie for the week.

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Summer learning routine

Every summer since the boys started in school, I have a plan to avoid the “summer slump”. The boys are so used to this that they have even started setting their own goals for the summer! A’s major goal is to read, read, read. J wants to learn to tie his shoes (we’ve attempted this several times without success), write correctly with his pencil (more on that in a minute), and learn his math facts fast! Here are a few more of our summer learning plans.

First, back to J’s writing. I noticed about a year ago that J tended to hold his pencil oddly. We tried several things to help him, and figured as he continued to write it would begin to work itself out. However, it hasn’t, and so we really need to get him back on track so he doesn’t get behind in the classroom. My Mom gave me a pencil grip corrector and a writing tablet and we are slowly beginning the process of helping him re-learn how to hold his pencil to write. I’m very thankful that he is super pumped about this because it is not an easy process.

Second, is finally nailing down shoe tying for BOTH kids. I really feel like I knew how to do this in kindergarten, but good gracious it’s been difficult to teach them. J really wants to learn, and A could really care less, but they are both going to learn because their shoes for fall will be lace-ups. In part because they stay on their feet better (if they are tied). J desperately wants shoes like these:

So that’s one of our end goals for the summer.

Third, J has the goal of nailing down his math facts (addition and subtraction), and I want him to be able to do it without using his fingers to count. We already have addition and subtraction cards like these:

But I also have plans to get this fun little math matching game:

While I’m working on math facts with J, A will be working through some Khan Academy math programs.

Now that we’ve covered J (and some A) goals, here are a few of my learning goals for the summer! First up, I’m planning to sign up for a free two months of Skillshare and take this class with the boys:

The boys love drawing, and so I thought it would be fun to test our hand at some drawings and watercolors.

Second, A is all about math and storytelling write now so we have plans for this Pixar in a Box series on just that idea.

And third, a brand new Magic Treehouse Book on Benjamin Franklin comes out in July. So I’ve got a book club lesson plan for the boys:

And that’s it! The boys have two weeks of swim lessons, a week of FCA camp, and we’ve got a beach vacation as well, so in between all of that we are going to sleep in, go to the pool, catch up on all the reading, and eat all the popsicles! If you want to check out last year’s learning plan it’s here.

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Shrimp Florentine Pasta

A flip on one of our favorites, this will actually take you even less time than the original recipe! We had everything to make this recipe one weekend, except instead of chicken I had a pound of shrimp. I cooked the shrimp just like the chicken, but it will only take about five or six minutes for the shrimp to cook through. After that the recipe is very similar to the original, just using mini penne pasta and a box of arugula and spinach! An easy Saturday night meal, with some crusty French bread it is perfection!

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