Thoughtful Gifts and Holiday Mishaps

When asked what I wanted for Christmas, I jokingly said “new wiper blades” and seriously said, “new running shoes”.  I almost always ask for running shoes since I wear them out quickly and am always in need.  My family knows me well and Christmas morning came with a bounty of thoughtful gifts that left me feeling loved.

Thoughtful Gifts and Holiday Mishaps

There were Disney gifts, of course.  Megan and Grant gave me adorable holiday Mickey and Minnie.  Raymond surprised me with a precious Pinocchio teapot.  My coworkers gave me the perfect welcome mat for our front door.

There were chicken-related gifts as well.  My sister and brother-in-law gave me this very cool bracelet that I love (and wearing it makes me feel badass) and some paper place mats with chickens on them that are way to beautiful to spill food on.  From Joseph I got a handy book about caring for chickens and Raymond found me awesome gloves to wear for chicken chores.  I love my family and their thoughtful gift-giving ways!  (I even received those wiper-blades and running shoes, too!)

After Christmas, I had a few leftover vacation days to burn before the end of the year and since Raymond’s always off the week between Christmas and New Year, it was great to have time off together to do…well…nothing.  The weather has been super rainy lately, so we found ourselves lazing around, eating, reading, and watching movies.

Now for the Mishap Part…

When I’m not outside with Junior, he’s always well-behaved out on his own.  He tends to make a backyard perimeter check, take care of business, and come right back.  He’s chased the chickens before, but only when I was outside with him.  So when we go for a walk, he wears a leash.  I let him out alone yesterday afternoon as usual, and I as I closed the door, saw him turn sharply right and quickly disappear from view.  After thinking about it for a minute, that struck me as odd, so I put on my rubber boots and went out to see what he was doing.  Junior was nowhere to be found.

As I walked around the backyard calling for him, I realized I could hear the chickens squawking like crazy and I took off running.  I spotted Junior way in the distance chasing chickens into the bayou that runs near our house.  Detouring to the back door, I leaned in and shouted my thoughts out loud to Raymond, “Junior’s killing the chickens!”

Still running, I managed to wade out into the water and grab Junior’s collar.  He was completely drenched and absolutely filthy.  I looked for the chickens he’d been chasing and didn’t see any.  Raymond had run outside during this time and started counting chickens so we’d know how many to look for.  He counted 10 which meant we were missing five.  I was sick and horrified!  Not sweet Junior!  Surely he wouldn’t have hurt anyone.

Eventually, I got Junior in the house and asked Raymond to keep him in the kitchen to minimize the mess he was making with his muddy feet and soaking fur.  While they waited inside, I kept searching along the bayou and finally found Bubbles, a sweet and beautiful gray hen, on a tiny island all crumpled up and scared, but still alive.  I waded out to her, gently picked her up and carried her back to the rest of the flock.  After another long look around, I went inside to deal with the offending canine marauder.  Raymond went back out to keep searching for the missing four chickens – all hens:  Opal, Pearl, Becky, and Moe.  (All but Moe are Sapphire Gems we bought as chicks in the fall and Moe is one of the five that hatched in May while we were away at Walt Disney World.)

First I tried shampooing Junior in the shower since he hates baths, but his long winter coat was packed with dirt, rotten leaves, pine needles, and small sticks.  Raymond came in to tell me that by his latest count, there was only one chicken unaccounted for.  I had him help me wrangle Junior into the tub.  Finally, after both shower and bath, Junior was at last reasonably clean.  I don’t know if dogs can feel contrite, but Junior seemed to know that he’d gotten carried away and was uncharacteristically well-behaved for the entire scrubbing ordeal.

Once I had Junior towel-dried and on a leash, I took him back out to help me search for Moe.  We searched until it was dark.  I counted everyone in the coop as I closed and secured the gate for the night.  Still no Moe, who’s always easy to spot because she’s bright white with black feathers around her neck.  I left the electric fence off so if she came back and tried to go in the coop, she wouldn’t get shocked.  I was heartbroken when I went to bed and thought about Moe a few times during the night.

This morning dawned clear and chilly.  I went out early to let the chickens out and give them some scratch as a treat and I could not believe my eyes!  There was Moe!  IN THE COOP!  I know this…she was not there the night before and yet here she was inside with the rest of the flock.  Raymond and Joseph both swear they didn’t let her in, so I can’t explain how this story has such a happy ending.  Junior is not a chicken-killer after all and everyone is happily enjoying a beautiful sunny day.  Tiny miracles happen all the time and today we’re thankful for this one.

Disneyland Souvenirs – What Did We Buy?

We can’t help ourselves.  One of us has a Disney Christmas ornament addiction and the other one is extra sentimental.  Makes us great news for the shops in Disney parks!  Our September Disneyland vacation was no exception to our well-established Disney shopping ways.  What was a bit different was that we actually had a plan and a shopping list and managed to stick to it without going overboard!  Yay us!

Disneyland Souvenirs – What Did We Buy?

Since it was our first visit to Disneyland and we only had three days, we decided to scout out the items on our list before making any purchases.  This turned out to be both a brilliant and terrible idea at the same time.  It was great to get the lay of the land and see what the various shops had to offer, but we almost missed out on one of the items on the list by waiting too long.  The Sally costume we wanted for our granddaughter was suddenly nearly impossible to find on the last day, but Raymond finally spotted one.  Crisis averted.

What was on the list?  A souvenir for our son-in-law, Grant, some more Christmas ornaments (’cause we can never have too many), the costume and a traditional, embroidered EarHat for Violet, and some special something to commemorate this trip to celebrate our 29th anniversary.  What about Megan and Joseph, you ask?  We’d already purchased their souvenirs on the West Coast Disney cruise we took before visiting Disneyland.  Megan got a Disney Cruise Line spirit jersey in a beautiful watermelon color and Joseph got a tee shirt from a fantastic brewery we visited in Astoria, Oregon.

Grant’s souvenir was so easy, we spotted it on the very first day.  Who wouldn’t love a Thanos Infinity Gauntlet Mug from the gift shop at Guardians of the Galaxy:  Mission Breakout?  We made a note to pick it up on the last day and moved on down the list.  We spotted that Sally costume early on too, but made no such helpful note.

Moving on.  The ornaments were plentiful and we found them in many locations.  Choosing just a few was way more difficult than I’d imagined.  I’m a pretty decisive person, but there were so many great one’s I didn’t have!  I mulled over my choices in several stores so I’d be ready when the time came.  See?  Mrs. Potts and Chip, Mushu and Cri-kee, Jack and Sally, and Mickey and Minnie were my final selections.

On the last day, as we made our purchases, we still needed one special something for ourselves.  Raymond and I have always loved Carl and Ellie from Up, so while I was busily debating the merits of one ornament over another and making my final choices, Raymond was looking at sketches being drawn by an artist right there in the store.  There were Carl and Ellie!  A very helpful Cast Member explained the custom framing options and we knew we’d found exactly what we were looking for.

We left our packages to be shipped home and ordered our sketch with a Grape Soda pin and our wedding date added at the bottom.  When we got home, waiting for our souvenirs did quite a bit to soften our post-Disney depression.  The anxiously awaited packages finally arrived and we were so pleased with how the framed sketch turned out.  Absolutely, it’s one of our favorite Disney purchases ever!

What’s your most favorite Disney purchase? 

Merry Christmas, Disney Friends!

“I don’t deserve to be so happy.  But I can’t help it.  I-I I just can’t help it”. – Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol, 1951, Alastair Sim)

I don’t know when a year has flown by so quickly.  We just wished everyone Happy New Year and here we are; it’s already Christmas morning.  Maybe it’s just me, but I’m going to try my best starting right now, to slow time down so I can enjoy every second of this day.

Merry Christmas, Disney Friends!

Our family loves Christmas traditions.  For us that means a Christmas Eve bonfire and fireworks followed by Christmas morning Mimosas and leisurely gift opening with lots of laughter.  I’ve set myself up for enjoying each moment by planning to not spend all day in the kitchen! I made a giant pan of lasagna ahead of time.  I’ll just pop that baby in the oven and hang out with my favorite people in the world until it’s time to eat.  Whatever you’ve got planned, I hope it’s just as relaxing and fun.

Since it wouldn’t be Christmas at our house without Disney gifts, I want to show you what I found for our granddaughter!  She’s still a bit young for this, but I couldn’t resist and she’s growing so fast.  It won’t be long before we’re having 3 o’clock parades together!  (I hope you got all the Disney gifts on your list!)

Disney friends, I appreciate you more every year.  On social media, I’ve enjoyed your Disney vacation pictures, Disney thoughts and opinions, trip reports, restaurant and food reviews, lively discussions and, most of all, sharing your joy and common love of family and Disney.  Your children are precious and I love your pride in their accomplishments.  Your pets are adorable and some of you are as crazy about your furry friends as I am about Junior and Ricky.  I am grateful for your friendship every single day…I don’t tell you as often as I should.

From our family to yours, we wish you the happiest of Christmases and hope the peace and joy of this most special holiday are with you today and always.

Merry Christmas…Lisa


Disney Recipes – Whispering Canyon’s Cornbread

When the weather finally cools off here in Louisiana, one of the first things I always crave is chili.  As a family of spicy food lovers, we take our chili extra hot and like to pair it with bread or cheese and crackers.  This fall, Joseph decided we needed to try cornbread and chose this Disney version served at places like Whispering Canyon, Trails End, and Hoop Dee Doo.

Disney Recipes – Whispering Canyon’s Cornbread

For me, the fun of cooking Disney food at home is that it always brings back happy vacation memories and this time was no different.  We’ve loved our evenings at the Hoop Dee Doo Review and have had some great lunches at Whispering Canyon Café.  One time in particular stands out – the time we ate at Whispering Canyon as Hurricane Matthew was bearing down on us!  Unsurprisingly, the food and service were still as great as ever.

We were a bit concerned when we heard that Disney (fairly recently) decided to tone down the antics (due to noise) at Whispering Canyon.  We thought the rowdy Cast Members always added to the restaurant’s charm.  With or without the shenanigans, the food is still absolutely solid and the beer menu is usually pretty good as well.  This makes Whispering Canyon a perfect place for a mid-day break from Magic Kingdom.  A convenient and scenic boat-ride away, Wilderness Lodge is both majestic and a relaxing place for a meal.

I’m sure this recipe would have been fine in either a cake pan or made into mini-loaves, but we decided on muffins.  This is a cake-like, very sweet cornbread which made it a great contrast to our extra-spicy chili.  It would also be great with breakfast foods like bacon and eggs.

If you prefer your cornbread more savory, you’ll want to approach this version with an open mind.  If you love Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness dining and know this cornbread, prepare for some happy Disney flashbacks!

Do you like cooking Disney recipes at home?  Which ones are your favorites?