01 October 2011

Disney World: Fun family vacation, or cash-guzzling torture?

In December, Disney was offering some great vacation packages. Since we've never taken the kids on a purely fun vacation (cuz we're boring and cheap, I guess?), we decided to take advantage of it. This was a trip nine months in the making. Oh, we had some grand plans! Character greetings, fabulous meals, adult night life, adventure... Grand.

We invited Grandma to come along, not as a built-in babysitter, but to spend some quality time with 2 of her 8 grandkids, and for me to have my mom to myself for a week.

My kids are six and three, 4' and 3'3". According to http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/, the big booger could ride almost everything, and the shorter one still had a lot she could do. So we settled on five days, four nights, the dining plan, and seeing every park.

Boy, did we! We combed every inch of all four parks! We rode nearly everything, saw nearly every show, several parades. We ate well, and still had about six quick-serve meals remaining when we left.

We have some truly priceless memories, some wonderful pictures, and fun souvenirs. We encountered friendly people, fantastic employees, and great sites. And, as exhausted as we were at the end of each day, I wouldn't trade it.

So, why am I writing this? Just to brag about our awesome trip? To whine about how tired and out of shape I am? To bemoan the cash machine that is Disney? Nope, even though some may apply. This wonderful missive is merely the prelude, the intro if you will, to an upcoming yet humorous list of family vacation dos and dont's.

Stay tuned to laugh at my expense!

12 September 2011

Product Review: Moon Dough

Moon Dough. When this arrived, and I saw the box, I cringed. The logo looked remarkably similar to the logo for Moon Sand. You know, the sand that never dries out and doesn't make a mess, but is easy to mold? If only their product was as good as their tag line...

So when I saw the box, I was afraid. If it was from the makers of Moon Sand, I was in trouble. First, because I knew my kids would scream and clamor for it (which they did as soon as they saw it), and second, because I was afraid of the mess. As a mom of small children who is employed full time, I don't have tons of time for cleaning. But, my kids love all forms of art, especially if it involves them making a mess, and Mom cleaning it up. *sigh*

I decided, shushing that pessimistic voice in my head, to let them give it a try. We received the barnyard set, and opened up everything in the living room. Because I enjoy complicating my life. The "dough" in the bags wasn't really doughy, it was crumbly. Extremely crumbly. So much so that many months later, I am still finding pieces that are one with the carpet. Which is a color improvement.

The "dough" does indeed smush relatively easily into the animal shapes provided in the barn mold. They hold their shape surprisingly well. But they also crumble at the touch of a finger. Which my daughter delights in doing. And then an exasperated sigh scatters the now-crumbled "dough".

If your kids love art, love to play with things they can smoosh in their hands, I would highly recommend several products before I can reliably recommend Moon Dough for young children: modeling clay, of the bakeable or air-dryable variety; finger paints; mud; a pile of leaves. I'm sure Moon Dough (or Moon Sand) might be a good buy for older kids; for mine, and my poor abused carpet, not so much.