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M.I.C.K.E.Y. M.O.U.S.E. Mickey Mouse!!!!

Magic Kingdom, December 2011

There is truly no place in the world like Disney World! It does not matter your age, the magic is alive in the characters, food, cast members (employees), and the ambience of the parks. My first trip was after I completed my qualifying exams for my doctorate. Yes, I was an adult in my thirties, the first time I experienced the magic and it was like my birthday and Christmas rolled into one. We had no kids at that time but that did not stop us. I wanted to plan every detail to literally make up for the 30+ years of never going to the happiest place on earth. My former, associate director is a Disney Vacation Club member. He and his wife are master’s at all things Disney related. James sat me down and we literally mapped out all four parks with time schedules and our dining reservations. I was so thrilled to know the ins and outs of the fast pass, dining reservations, park hopper, getting to the park early with breakfast reservations, safari tips, and just how to navigate with the Disney World App. They were lifesavers and continue to train this young Padawan to this very day. Did you catch that? Star Wars is another post for another day, promise. As a type A personality, this was my organizing mind’s grace.

Wow, we look so young! It is amazing to look back on these pictures and truly see the magic. We arrived at 9pm to Disney’s All Star Movies resort. We wanted to stay on property to make the most of the experience, extra magic hours, shopping, etc. Did you know if you find something at one of the shops and you are staying on property, you can just have them send it to your room??? Yes, so worth it no carrying or lugging around all those bags!!! Now that I am celebrating the beautiful decade of the 40’s, I appreciate less stress and less carrying a ton of junk around. My back and shoulders thank me too. I have two kids remember. So back to the magic, we woke up and arrived at Epcot. We stayed there for the majority of the day, cruising with living on the land (as an agriculture gal – this hit the sweet spot) then walking through the world showcase is every travel lover’s dream. 11 countries in walking distance – ha. In Norway, they have school bread. It was a snack with our dining plan and I wanted to steal my husband’s snack for the day to grab another. Highly recommend the school bread in Norway. We loved every minute and stayed late at the park to see the firework display.

We arrived back to the hotel at midnight or so, set our alarms, laid out our clothes, got our 5 hour energy drinks ready for the morning, and crashed for a few hours. From seeing the beauty and garden areas at Epcot to waking up and adventuring in Hollywood Studios, we were making the most of our 4 night, 5 day trip. Toy Story Mania and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios did not disappoint. As you can tell, Jamie is the fierce competitor and takes it very seriously. I on the other hand, loved being in the moment and did not want to slow down. So naturally he won that round of Mania. We work so hard in our careers and education and now we were getting to play hard. Hollywood Studios Brown Derby Restaurant for lunch was sheer perfection. We had previously went to Le Cellier in Canada’s world showcase at Epcot and devoured the steak and pretzel bread. Both places had phenomenal food and with free dining, you simply could not beat it. At the Brown Derby, they had a special (you know I love specials, coupons, clearance sales -any and all of the above). By selecting the pre-fixe menu option, you got two tickets to Fantasmic. We immediately said yes and could not have been more pleased. A wonderful show on the water was the cherry on the top of another great day at the park.

Back at our room, we have this cool towel artwork that makes coming home and putting up your feet extra special. We stayed at the value resorts for two reasons: money and we were never there except to shower and sleep. The rooms are great and have everything you could need for the 5-8 hours of sleep that we got in there. As I have gotten older, kids, I can see the lure of being closer to the parks to come back for quick naps. However, our kids were bosses this past March and we stayed at All Star Movies again. We were at Magic Kingdom when it opened and they had to tell my kids no more rides in the evening around 10pm. Our youngest napped in our arms during the It’s a Small World line and ride and then was powered up and ready to go. So the value resorts worked for us.

One of the things I loved the most about my first trip was the little touches, the pancakes in the shape of Mickey Mouse, the characters visiting every table, the flowers and gardens, and the Ghirardelli chocolate mints on your pillow. Everything was so special and the details made it truly magical. As this is my birthday week, I wanted to celebrate by bringing back that first magical experience at Disney World. I love celebrating life in general and all things that bring me joy. My family, cheesecake, pancakes, booking a new trip -oh-lala, reading, sowing (latest adventure), cooking, etc. This is how I celebrate the anniversary of my birth. I love this time of year. It reminds me of how blessed I am to have another year. It took me a while to truly appreciate my birthday. In September of 2001, I had my first job teaching, my first apartment, and my first time truly adulting. I was so excited to celebrate, I planned to make a cake and eat chicken lasagna. The only real problem was that my family and Jamie were a few hours away on the actual day. On my birthday, no one at the school said happy birthday to me. I had not shared that it was my birthday and I guess somewhere inside I thought they would telepathically figure it out??? So I was a bit bummed. Of course I got the phone calls from my loved ones but this was the first time in my life that I truly celebrated my birthday alone. I sat at my kitchen table looking out the window feeling sorry for myself. It had been an emotional week, our country faced the largest terroristic attack in history. Over 3000 people lost their lives and at that time, we did not know if there would be more. And here I was, sitting down eating a meal and feeling sorry for myself. What a stupid thing to feel when I had not told anyone. I was the reason no one in my new town knew about this day. It was on me and I owned it. I made a promise that from that moment on I would celebrate life. For the past 18 years, I have had birthday month, week, and of course, day celebrations. I embrace the beauty of life and hope that my enthusiasm is contagious. So this week, I thought I would bring back the magic for my family and make Mickey Mouse pancakes for supper. I just love having breakfast food for supper. There is something special about it and I can’t quite put my finger on it. For my birthday, I enabled one of my special helpers which added a little extra sweetness.

Naturally, I have one child who loves pancakes as much as I do and one that thinks it is too sweet. Therefore, I have to make two different batters. I am not reinventing the wheel nor am I cooking from scratch. I like to cook from scratch when I have the time but on a Monday night, lets just be real. Get it done, working mom. Krusteaz brand has the best, fluffiest pancake mix around. You can add a tablespoon of lemon juice and a dash of vanilla to give you more of a buttermilk flavor but last night was straightforward by the bag. My daughter loves to cook, stir, and get the batter ready while I prepped the other one. The peanut butter protein packed, Kodiak Cakes brand mix hits the spot with the hubby and older daughter. They are both protein eaters and love all things peanut butter. I always add more milk than required just to thin the batter out for making Mickey Mouse pancakes with the protein flapjack mix.

I have had folks ask me, how in the world do you make these into Mickey Mouse shapes without a mold. Well first, molds are always sticky, hard to clean, and typically a pain for me. I am old school, so take a 1/3 measuring cup. Fill it up. Pour; then immediately go back and fill it up halfway, Drop the batter in the upper left-hand portion of the circle to create an ear and repeat with the other side. It is literally that simply. Sometimes my Pinterest approach is an utter failure. I have come out numerous times with Olaf shaped pancakes instead. See, it is all a matter of perspective. Enjoy and have fun with it after-all, it is my birthday week.

Breakfast for Dinner while watching Frozen – nothing better on the Eve’s eve of my birthday.

This particular posts did not have my usual recipes nor creative food aspects, but it carried magic nonetheless. I truly hope you enjoy the simple comforts of good food, good memories, and a little M.I.C.K.E.Y M.O.U.S.E. on this day.

XOXO Kristie

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