I Have a Disney One of THESE!


It fits in the palm of my hand – What could it be?

For Christmas this year, my sweet friend Kelly gave me a beautiful Lenox Santa to add to my Santa collection.  Along with the gift was a lagniappe (Louisiana tradition, a lagniappe is “a little something extra”).  It’s that certain little something that this post is all about!  When I tell you what it is…you’re maybe going to be happy for me – you might even be jealous.  For sure, if you don’t have one already – you’ll want one of your very own!

So, what is it?  A Mickey cookie cutter!!!!  Smallish, perfectly shaped, cute as can be.  It would actually make a really adorable Christmas ornament.  As soon as I saw it, ideas for its immediate use began to form.  Those who know me well know that I have LOTS of ideas.  About everything – I don’t have brain storms; they’re more like brain hurricanes.  I couldn’t wait to get home and get busy with my new kitchen gadget!IMG_2395

First I whipped up a batch of Raymond’s Aunt Mary’s tea cake dough – normally the dough is rolled out and cut into squares, but I had new plans for those tea cakes.  Dough chilling, next came a batch of Rice Krispies Treats – oh, they were getting some special treatment as well.  I had plans, people – I was in the zone!  The possibilities seemed endless – I was only limited by time.

New cookie cutter in hand, I went to work.  A few short minutes later…..and…..I needed something more!  Aha!  Melted chocolate – what is not better with the addition of chocolate.  And a few sprinkles.

IMG_2398So, thanks to Kelly and my new Mickey cookie cutter, I now have some adorable and delicious Disney Christmas goodies to offer family and friends as they join us for the annual Christmas Eve Bonfire and Fireworks Extravaganza.  If you’re in the neighborhood, we’d love to see you!


Growing up With Mary Poppins

musicMARYPOPPINS1I have a special attachment to Mary Poppins.  And it’s not just because the movie and I are the same age.  Oh, I’ve seen the movie a time or two – but not as many as you’d think, considering.  I will tell you that I know the words to most of the movie’s songs.

I have strong childhood ties to those catchy, cleverly composed Mary Poppins tunes – wonderful memories that are among my happiest of all – because when I was little, my mother loved to play the piano and I loved to sing along.  At some point when I was very small, my mom bought the songbook of sheet music from Mary Poppins.  I can remember her telling me a song’s  words then letting me sing them while she played each line – so this must have started before I could read.  I have vivid memories of sitting on the piano bench next to my mom (on her left) while she played.  Following along, belting out those Poppins tunes for all I was worth in my little-girly voice – “With tuppence for paper and strings, you can have your own set of wings.  With your feet on the ground you’re a bird in flight with your fist holding tight to the string of your kite…”

I’ve promised myself a treat today if I cross off everything on my to-do list – I’m going to try to see Saving Mr. Banks this afternoon – I’m a little worried about my sappy sentimentality kicking in and making me cry, but I really want to see it, so I’m willing to take my chances and bring plenty of tissue.

So off I go – gotta get busy making a quick grocery run, baking some cookies, wrapping gifts, putting this messy house in order – you get the idea.  Wish me luck!  If I do make it to the movie I’ll let you know what I thought about it.

List of Songs from the “Songs from Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins” easy piano song book:

  • Chim Chim Cher-ee
  • Feed the Birds
  • Jolly Holiday
  • Let’s Go Fly a Kite
  • (A) Spoonful of Sugar
  • Stay Awake
  • Step in Time
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious



What’s on Your Disney Christmas Wish List?

TIMG_0059here hasn’t been a Christmas since Raymond and I married that there weren’t Disney gifts.  Clothing, P.J.’s, ornaments, movies, games, stuffed animals, toys, home décor – and so on.

One year in particular stands out in my memory as the absolute best for Disney gift-giving!  Megan was 16 and Joseph 11.  They had been arguing most of the year (literally) about where to go on our next vacation.  Megan wanted – and to this very day – always votes for – Disney World; Joseph wanted to see the ocean.  Any ocean.  We hadn’t been to the beach in so long, poor thing couldn’t remember what the ocean looked like.  The argument went on and on, month after month.  Seriously, aren’t you surprised sometimes by how tenacious siblings-at-odds can be?  During all that debate, an idea began to form.  What if we could give them both what they wanted?

The perfect solution would be a Disney Land-and-Sea Vacation.  Hey – what if we could pull itIMG_1049 off as a Christmas surprise?  When could we go?  Both the children were extremely involved in activities outside of school.  Megan had auditioned for and become a member of a local ballet company four years earlier – the practice and performance schedules were seriously demanding.  Our best bet was to try to go on Christmas break – which, if this trip was going to be a Christmas gift, would mean leaving right after Christmas Day.  A little web surfing and a few mouse clicks later… Ta-Dah!  We’d booked a package that would have us enjoying four Disney-World-days at the Polynesian (over New Year’s) before sailing on a 3-day cruise in the Bahamas.  I’ll be honest – Raymond was not in favor of this plan, but only because he had no interest whatsoever in taking a Disney cruise – thought it would be boring compared to Disney World.  HA!

Booking the trip was SO much easier than trying to keep it a secret.  That part was torture!  There were several times over the months leading up to Christmas when either Raymond or I would start to make a comment or ask the other one a question about the trip in front of one or both of the kids – each time we managed to catch ourselves just in the nick of time.

IMG_2389Now we needed to figure out how to stage the big reveal.  This was going to be the best gift EVER and I wanted the gift-giving to be so epic – the most incredible, most unique, most FUN and exciting moment-to-remember-from-childhood for our precious youngsters!  I came up with a scathingly brilliant idea! (Triple points if you can name the movie reference there).  I decided that by making the gift’s discovery a little challenging, the surprise would be even better!  A treasure hunt would be just the thing!  In fact, a pirate-themed treasure hunt would go right along with the gift!

As with most of my hair-brained schemes clever plans, I pulled out all the stops!  I wrote clues on scrolls written in pirate-speak suitably aged and burned around the edges.  These clues lead to puzzle pieces that, when assembled in their cardboard-backed frames, would form a poem that described the surprise.  Note:  gluing poetry onto puzzles before cutting the pieces apart while preserving the ability to read aforementioned poem is WAY harder than it sounds… IMG_2388y’know, just sayin’.

So – Christmas morning finally arrived!  The moment Raymond and I have been waiting for….the first scroll is handed to the children and, reading the clues, they begin their search to find puzzle pieces.  Here’s where my plan went a teensy bit awry.  See – I thought the whole plan would be just perfect if the location of the final puzzle pieces were really authentic to a pirate-treasure-finding-mission.  I had Raymond bury a small wooden chest in the side yard – pretty far away from the house.  So, that treasure chest (carefully wrapped in plastic) containing the final puzzle pieces was about a foot deep near a small pine tree next to a bayou – a lovely location for a sunny December day.

IMG_2387In my defense, keep in mind that here in Louisiana we sometimes wear shorts on Christmas – today even (December 20th), was in the 70’s, tomorrow will be near 80 degrees.  Yeah….Christmas day in 2006 dawned pretty chilly.  And RAINY!  Oh, the following-the-clues part was great until our teen and tween realized they would have to use a map (outside in the rain) and a shovel to dig in the MUD in order to finally find out what was up.  Oh, the eye-rolling and loud sighing – just imagine the indignity and horror!  Indeed.  We were downrightIMG_2385 cruel to ruin Christmas in such a way.

But they completed their mission!  Put the final pieces together and read the poem.  Then they just stared at us.  After a moment… light bulb!  No, REALLY?  You mean it?  Seriously?  We are going to Disney World and on a Disney Cruise…..Really?

Yep – it was worth every single moment of preparation and secrecy.  And we had a great trip.  And the children forgave us for our cruelty.  AND Raymond had a fantastic time on our first Disney cruise – so much fun, in fact, there have been four more since.

IMG_1045“Our children are different a girl and a boy.  What should we give them a game or a toy?  For Megan it’s one thing for Joseph another – Can they share just one gift, this sister and brother?  This present’s so clever, two halves of a whole – You’d better get ready – Mom and Dad are on a roll!  Now Megan we know what will make you most jolly – this time next week you’ll check in to the Poly.  And Joseph beware!  It’s pirates you’ll be seein’ when you set sail with Mickey to cruise the Caribbean.”

IMG_0990So….What’s been your favorite Disney Christmas surprise?

Disney World – The Christmas Touch

IMG_0988Disney World – The Christmas Touch

As I’ve mentioned many times, Disney’s all about details.  That’s what makes a Disney vacation so amazing and keeps bringing people (like US!) back time after time.  No matter how often you visit a Disney park or resort, you will always notice new details, big and small.

The Christmas season brings on a whole new level of Disney detail magic.  It gives those Disney magicians the opportunity to go all out and delight you with their imagination, style, humor, and flair for presenting guests with unexpected surprises.   If you’ve neverIMG_0971 been to the World during the holidays, you’ve been missing out on some wonderful experiences guaranteed to fill you with holiday spirit.

We’ve had the privilege of visiting Disney World twice during the holiday season – and yes, because we went during the school break, the crowds were huge!  Except for trying to get out of Epcot once after dinner on New Year’s Eve, the throngs of visitors did not detract from our enjoyment of all the special Disney touches we found.  I’m sorry we aren’t able to visit this year – I hate to miss out on the Jingle Cruise – a new Disney magical surprise this year at Disney World that gives the Jungle Cruise a holiday IMG_0968overlay and seasonal Skipper dialogue!

I’ve put together a list of five of the special Disney holiday surprises we experienced once upon a time:

Chocolate sculpture at the Contemporary – this was an amazingly extravagant scene from Pinocchio entirely made of chocolate.  I’m sure this was a one-time-only bit of magic and I felt very lucky to have been there to see it! IMG_0970

Main Street USA and the streets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios all decked out in their holiday best.

Christmas Trees!  Everywhere and each one had its own design and special ornaments; themed for each tree’s particular location.  I was especially taken by the ornaments on the large tree outside the entrance to Animal Kingdom – fantastic!

IMG_1135Santa hats – on everyone!  Even the Spitting Stitch at Downtown Disney and the gigantic Dinosaur at Dinoland in Animal Kingdom.

Best of all – Cinderella Castle.  Pictures (mine, at least) cannot do justice to the beauty that is the castle covered in 200,000 lights.  Some people say it looks dipped in sugar – I think it looks like Elsa from Frozen covered it in ICE!  Stunningly gorgeous and completely breathtaking – for me, this is the very best holiday touch at Disney World.

IMG_1244If you’re been to Disney World at Christmastime, what was your favorite bit of Disney holiday magic?