Thursday, April 30, 2015

Top 5 Favorite Disneyland Breakfast Spots

Breakfast is, hands down, my favorite meal of the day. Eggs, pretty much any way you want to prepare them, are my fave. Also, it's the only meal where it's acceptable to eat donuts, so automatic win right there. By the way, why are there no donuts at Disneyland? So many delicious treats to be found, but no mouse-shaped donuts anywhere... Someone needs to get on that, just sayin'. 

Anyway, my favorite Disneyland breakfast spots are actually the only ones I've tried in recent years. There are many more places on my Disney breakfast bucket list that I intend to try before my season pass expires at the end of the year. Then I may have to update this list ;)

So here we go, in no particular order:

1. Pacific Wharf Cafe in Disney California Adventure - aka Boudin Bakery (based out of San Francisco, if you're familiar with them). The stand-out star of Boudin Bakery is their sourdough bread bowl, which is what I had, filled with scrambled eggs. I LOVE bread, and I could only finish about half of that bowl, so I'm thinking next time I'll probably just stick with the croissant breakfast sandwich. At only $6 for this whole plate (which also comes with bacon, but I subbed extra fruit), this was very cheap by any standards, but especially in Disneyland.

2. Brunch at Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Resort is a must-try at least once for anyone with kids old enough to recognize their favorite Disney characters. We took Ez when he was about 18 months, and he was not at all impressed by the larger-than-life-sized animals wandering around while he was trying to eat. In fact, just the opposite. He was terrified of them. However, given his more recent obsession with Mickey Mouse, I think he'd love the experience now. Aside from Ez's terror, the brunch spread is delicious. They've got an omelet bar, a salad bar, a whole section dedicated to dessert, pastas, pizza - including pb&j pizza, which I was a fan of, and much more. Since my mom treated us, I'm not sure exactly how much one adult meal costs, but the site gives a range of $30 - $60, and I'm guessing it's more on the high end of that range. Also, you've gotta plan ahead and make reservations because the wait can get crazy here.

3. Pastries at the Jolly Holiday Bakery on Main Street in Disneyland - Joe and I go here about half the time we go to Disneyland (ie - a lot!) expressly for the cinnamon rolls. True, they have cinnamon rolls all over the park, but for some reason this is our go-to spot. The location is perfect to sit and relax and catch glimpses of any parades that might be going on. Also, they have a much more extensive coffee selection than a lot of other breakfast places at the park, which is a definite plus. The only downside is that, other than quiches, their breakfast options are pretty much limited to pastries. I never consider cinnamon rolls a downside, but for people trying to start their day off healthy, this probably isn't the best choice. I think the cinnamon roll is a little over $5, but it's pretty huge. Joe and I always split one. Definitely one of my fave treats - at Disneyland or anywhere!

4. Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney - This was our breakfast choice from our most recent trip. I've never eaten there before, but I know Courtney and her family over at Sweet Turtle Soup consider them a fave whenever they go to Disney World so I've been wanting to try them out for awhile. The only problem is that they tend to have huge lines at dinner time. Thankfully, this was not the case at breakfast, even on a Sunday, and there was plenty of seating available. Joe and I both got egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches, which also come with what they call "breakfast sauce." It tasted slightly mustardy, which neither Joe or I are usually a fan of, but we both agreed it was delicious. We also split a muffin, and Ez stuck with his usual: fruit. All that plus 3 drinks came out to $22 - very cheap for the three of us to eat out, especially at D-land.

5. River Belle Terrace in Frontierland - apparently the food here was so good I forgot to take pictures, which is saying a lot coming from me! I remember I was trying to be good that day, and stuck with eggs, fruit, and potatoes, but what I really wanted was the cinnamon roll french toast. Obviously, since I'm still thinking about that french toast, we're gonna have to go back and settle this pregnant mama's cravings. The other thing I really like about River Belle is they have a kid's fruit plate which comes with a bran muffin and yogurt for only $5.50. Considering a cup of fruit normally costs $5 - $6 at Disneyland, that's actually a really good deal. And since I have a kid who just wants to live off of fruit, this probably ranks as Ez's top breakfast choice. At about $8 - $9 per breakfast, this is slightly pricier compared to other options, but I'd say that's about what you'd expect at Disneyland. Also, the views of the boats on the river are a nice way to start your morning.

Bonus favorite: Cheese Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans. Technically I can't count this as a breakfast spot, because they're only open for lunch and dinner, but their cheese Monte Cristo is basically like a cheese filled donut served with berry jam. It also ranks as top 5 most delicious foods at Disneyland (in my opinion), so if you're up for a late breakfast/brunch, definitely go here! Or go for dinner. Just definitely go try one of the Monte Cristos. Trust me. One is enough for two people, although while you're there you pretty much have to try the garlic fries too, so make sure to save room. Looking at this photo, I'm actually sad that I wasn't hungry enough to eat here last time we went. #preggoproblems 

Other breakfast spots I want to try:
- Carnation Cafe at Disneyland on Main Street: A little pricier at $10 - $15 for adults, but I've never eaten here and they've got a somewhat "fancier" menu - with a spinach frittata and eggs benedict, so it'd be nice to try out at least once.
- Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express: They had me at "breakfast burrito". Of course, while I'm there, I'll have to sample the "French Toast Dippers" - which are actually beignets covered in cinnamon & sugar. That's probably the closest thing to a donut in Disneyland, so I'll take it! Prices are in the $6 - $9 range, so pretty reasonable.
- Flo's V8 Cafe: This is mostly for Ez's benefit, since it's in Cars Land. The food is typical American Diner stuff, but the Brioche French Toast with caramel sauce and bananas definitely sounds worth sampling. $8-$9 price range.
- Plaza Inn at Disneyland on Main Street: At about $30, this is a cheaper option for dining with characters compared with Goofy's Kitchen. It's buffet style as well, although I think the menu looks less extensive compared with Goofy's Kitchen. Still, it's a great location for checking out everything going on at Main Street while you dine.

What's your favorite Disney breakfast spot? What did I leave off my list and what do I need to try? 

I'll leave you with a few pictures from our most recent Disney trip:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Travel Town

Travel Town in Griffith Park has been on our to-do list for awhile. With Ez's train themed birthday party right around the corner, plus all the countless hours he demands we spend on the floor playing trains, we decided it was finally time to cross this one off our list. 

A few things about Travel Town: 
1 - It's free! Unless you decide to ride the train, which of course you will if you go with a train-loving toddler, then expect to pay $2.75 per person (including anyone over 18 months). 
2 - Some of the trains have "do not climb" signs - that does not mean you can't climb on any of the trains, only the ones that explicitly say so. 
3 - It's got a ton of great picnic spots. We kinda wish we'd planned ahead and brought some lunch. Next time...

Ok, so onto our day. When we walked across the bridge to enter Travel Town, Ez literally stopped walking just to stare in awe. We tried to take his hand and keep walking toward the trains, but ultimately we had to give the boy a minute to take it all in. So many real life trains all in one's a toddler wonderland, I tell you. See for yourself:

Once he was composed enough to continue walking, we went straight to the nearest train and examined it from all angles while Ez pointed and said "tra-aah!" (train). Then he noticed the second most exciting aspect of Travel Town: little rocks everywhere. Actually, that may have been tied for first most exciting thing. Once both hands were holding as many rocks as he could manage, we continued down the tracks to some of the other trains that we could actually climb on.

We had to pause to wave to the little train driving passengers around the park. It makes a satisfying "choo choo!" sound, so Ez was pretty mesmerized.

Ez thought it was super cool to be on an actual train. Until he realized Daddy was standing down on the ground to take a picture, then he had to get down too.

I thought Ez would be stoked to ride the train, but he actually freaked out a little in the beginning and wanted off, which is especially weird because it wasn't his first train ride. Once it got going though he was loving it. We'll just chalk that up to typical fickle toddler behavior.

Ez also got this little penny souvenir, which he clung to for the entire train ride. As far as mementos go, you're not gonna find anything cheaper than $0.51 in the gift shop (trust me, we looked). 

Final verdict on Travel Town? Ez loved it and we'll definitely be back. If you live in the So Cal area and know a train-lover it's great for an inexpensive hour or two of fun.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

7 Months Bump Update with Baby #2

We took this month's bump picture at Disneyland! Definitely the happiest place on earth...unless you've got a 3 pound coconut sitting on your bladder and all your bras are too small and suffocating. Throughout both pregnancies this is the first time I remember feeling so much pressure on my bladder. This pregnancy makes me feel old. I have to pee all the time, my back hurts (specifically my right rib cage), and I groan when I stand up. Even though 7 months is pretty far along, in my head I'm thinking "2 more months of this??! How??" 

Aside from all those fun symptoms, everything else has been pretty mild. My heartburn has gone away for the time being. My skin still itches from time to time, but not as often as in the beginning. No stretch marks (knock on wood!) and my belly button popped out awhile ago. Everything is going well except for the tiny little detail that my internal organs have officially run out of space.

I was talking with another 7 month's pregnant mama at Gymboree, and she said her baby always sits in pretty much the same spot and asked where mine was sitting. I'm pretty sure he's just swimming laps in there, swinging off my ribs like monkey bars. At least, that's what it feels like. He is one active little boy, and it makes me wonder how I'm going to keep up with two of them. It is comforting to feel him moving so much though. 

Not sure if there are any Shark Tank fans out there, but awhile back I saw this Almond Water on the show:

 I've searched every store we've gone to looking for it with no luck. Well, I finally found it over the weekend and it did not disappoint! Unfortunately it was in Burbank, which is a little far for me to drive just to satisfy a craving, but I hear they have them at Fresh & Easy too. 

Other than that, cravings have been more of the same: Honey Nut Cheerios, baked potatoes (which I've made for dinner pretty much every night that I didn't just eat cheerios), grapefruit, and pineapple. It sounds relatively healthy, but eating cereal all day long probably isn't the best. 

Not too much new stuff in the baby gear or shared boys' room front, but I did go through a de-cluttering streak this past week, which I think counts as nesting:
It's kinda embarrassing to share the before pics, but welcome to my life. #reallife #notaneatfreak

This week we got some happy news that Joe's cousin is pregnant, and we'll be adding another cousin to the mix around the holidays! We also got really sad news that Joe's grandma passed away. We had just visited with her last weekend, and even though she wasn't in great health, it was still shocking news. We thought she'd get the chance to meet her newest great grandchildren and she will be greatly missed, especially as we celebrate these new family additions. It's definitely a reminder that life is unpredictable and to make the best of moments with family while you can.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ez's 2 Year Old Wishlist

I was reading Callie's birthday wishlist over at The Chronicles of We, and I realized two things: one - her and Ez's birthdays are super close, and two - I should probably get to work planning Ez's birthday and whatnot ;) 

Ez has so many toys we could open up a toy shop from our living room and still have cars leftover. He really doesn't need anything for his birthday, and his favorite birthday present would probably be for visitors to come over and sit on the floor to play trains or cars with him. But for anyone that does still want to get him something I've put together some ideas of things he's shown interest in and doesn't already have.

1. Lighting McQueen Sheet Set - Ez just got his big boy bed, so I'm hoping some of his favorite Disney characters will make it that much more inviting to him.
2. Stacking Train - We came across this at a children's store and Ez was having a grand ol time playing with it while I got to shop in peace. I pretty much had to drag him away when it was time to go.
3. Animals Sound Puzzle - Puzzle + animal sounds = nuf said! They also make one with car sounds, which I'm sure he'd love too.
4. Music Set - Ez has some cymbals and a maraca which he has been loving lately, so it'd be fun to expand his instrument collection a little. Who knows, maybe he's a future rock star? ;)
5. Little Helper Broom Set - Ez is a little weirdo and he loves to clean. He's especially obsessed with the broom and dustpan, so I'm pretty sure he'd go crazy over one his own size.
6. Water Table - Apparently all toddlers love these things, and since Ez loves splashing in any body of water he comes across, this would probably be hours if entertainment for him.

Other ideas: 
Ez is obsessed with cars, motorcycles, planes, and pretty much anything that goes. He also loves all things Disney Cars.
4T clothes would be best, since he's already pretty well stocked on 3T.
Pampers Splashers Swim Pants in size 5 would be incredibly useful!

I know I keep saying it, but I still can't believe I'll have a 2 year old in less than three weeks! What are your toddlers favorite toys/gifts? Anything I'm leaving off the list?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

8 Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day is only a few short weeks away! Crazy to think that two years ago I was in labor on Mother's Day (Ez was born 3 hours later). Since we're usually busy party-planning for Ez, Mother's Day tends to get lost in the birthday shuffle around here (this year Ez's party is the Saturday before, just like last year). I still think it's important to make mom feel special though - hopefully every day - but especially on Mother's Day.

// Indulgent //
The number one most important thing on Mother's Day is to make mom feel loved, indulged, pampered, and relaxed. To start with, you can tell mom how much she rocks with this cute scented candle by Illume. I've bought several of their candles from Anthropologie and they have the best scents, last forever, and make the entire house smell amazing. I'm also a huge fan of face masks, and this set of 4 fruit-infused Korres face masks is perfect for spring & summer. Or you can splurge a little and send mom to the spa for a massage, or out to get her nails done. Even though it is Mother's Day, a little kiddo-free time for relaxing and beautifying is always appreciated!

// Accessorize //
Made with Love by Angie has the cutest hand-stamped jewelry and keychains. Once we settle on a name for baby Craig #2 I definitely want one of these stackable engraved necklaces (so maybe as a birthday present, wink wink!). Also, I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, and I tell anyone who will listen, but backpacks are so much comfier and more convenient than purses! Especially when you need two hands to wrangle a toddler. Yes, it makes me a little sad to have a closet full of purses that I never use anymore, but if ever there was a time to jump on the backpack bandwagon, it's now. There are so many cute styles in all shapes and sizes at pretty much any store you go to. Personally I'm a fan of the neutral color and medium-sized classic style (and price!) of this Tshirt & Jeans Backpack

// Fitness //
Unless mom is already into fitness, or has expressed interest, you might want to stay away from this one since you don't want to awkwardly hint at anything. But if she is trying to move more a Fitbit is the perfect gift. I feel like I'm the last person to jump on the Fitbit bandwagon, but I know a ton of people who have them and love them. I use the pedometer app on my phone, but I think a Fitbit would be a lot more accurate and motivating since it's on you at all times. 

// Keepsake //
Personalized gifts that take some thought and time are the best kinds of gifts. I'm a huge fan of Shutterfly photo books and have made at least one for pretty much everyone in the family. I've actually made Joe four already! Shutterfly makes a great quality book, and they print them up and send them out super fast. They have a ton of themes, sizes, color schemes, and you can either upload your photos and let them organize it for you (by date), or you can make it more personalized by arranging everything yourself (which is usually the route I go). Also, if you're new to Shutterfly they give you discounts when you sign up, otherwise you can find coupons all over the internet, so this makes a great meaningful yet inexpensive gift.

Do you have any special Mother's Day traditions? What's your idea of the perfect Mother's Day?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

30 Week Bump Update - Baby #2

Definitely feeling the third trimester exhaustion this week. Or maybe I'm trying to make up for those three weeks I barely slept at all while I was sick. Either way, sleep and I are bffs right now. Unfortunately, Ez and naps have been on the outs ever since we went to visit my parents, so there's a bit of conflict of interests going on right now. 

Nesting got pretty serious last week when I finally finished putting together baby's dresser then went through every single piece of clothing I've been saving from Ez (which is all of it). We're talking 4 very large bins of clothes ranging from newborn to 2t. This baby is stocked on clothes, and a lot of it still had tags on it, so it's technically not all hand me downs. And being the super organized person I am, all the sizes were conveniently mixed together in no particular order. Now they're sorted, and newborn to 3 months are washed, folded, and in the dresser. We also rearranged their room, but I'm still not happy with it, so I'll probably make Joe try a few more arrangements before eventually switching it back to the original layout ;)

Cravings include baked potatoes, pineapple, honey nut cheerios, and animal cracker ice cream from Thriftys - so good! I'm also squeezing in some salads and trying to get back in the habit of walking a few miles a day to keep up some semblance of health. 

Other than that, not a whole lot to report. Looking forward to getting our maternity photos back, and planning Ez's second party in the next few weeks. Then it'll only be about a month longer till we meet this little guy. Crazy!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Cousin Time

We spent our Saturday on a marathon family-visiting session, starting with lunch with Joe's cousin and her son, who's two years older than Ez. Ez's cousin was super excited to see Ez. Until they actually came face to face, that is. Then they both hid behind moms' skirts shyly peering out at each other. After they'd both gotten some food in their bellies they jumped down from their chairs and were running around the patio like they were the best of friends. Logan is a great big cousin, he was really patient and interactive with Ez, and Ez found him hilarious. We pretty much had to drag Ez away at the end, with promises of more park dates in the very near future. 

Afterward we brought lunch over to Joe's grandma since she wasn't feeling well enough to meet us for lunch. We caught up with her for a little bit before we had to head to our next stop - Target for a birthday present - then to a birthday party at another of Joe's cousin's house. Ez had a blast chasing his cousins around, sharing his toy cars, dancing, and playing hot potato. I love the last two videos, Ez is totally in his element - the little party animal!

If you were paying close attention, there was pretty much no napping whatsoever, so this was Ez by 8:00:

And Joe and I with our exciting weekend evenings:

Biore strips are so gross, but oh so satisfying!

We also did a mini photo shoot on Sunday, so expect (more) pictures soon :)

How did you spend your weekend?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Toddler Train Birthday Party Inspiration

Ez is pretty much obsessed with anything with wheels, and since we recently got him these letter trains spelling out his name, I decided to go with a train theme for his 2nd birthday next month.  

My pinterest board is full of boy birthday ideas, but I've narrowed down a few of my favorites:
Now would probably be a good time to mention that Ez has been feeling sick today, which means lots of tears, cuddles, and Thomas the Train. After a good three hours of Thomas, I can definitely say it's one of the most annoying kid's shows ever, and don't be fooled by that happy, smiley Thomas in all the pictures - the trains have mean, angry faces for half the show. And that Thomas is a troublemaker. But Ez loves Thomas, and I love him, and it is his party after all.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Almost 2 - What??!

Dear Ez, you've grown a lot this past month. Not just in size, though I'm pretty sure you're taller, but your vocabulary, your independence, and your personality have all grown by leaps and bounds too. You're the same goofy, lovable, intelligent, cuddly clown you've always been, and I hope you stay that way forever. You're at a super cute age where your vocabulary grows daily, and we can actually understand you part of the time, but you still revert to that adorably earnest toddler babble half the time too. Not gonna lie, I love the toddler babble and I'll miss it when it's gone. 

You got your first haircut, which you hated, but I love how easy the maintenance is, and it makes you look like such a big boy. You went on your first Easter egg hunts, three this year to be exact, and now you're an old pro! You also went to your first NBA game - lucky boy! After numerous beach trips in the past two years, you finally decided you love the ocean

Last night you slept in your big boy bed for the first time. You made it about six hours before you woke up crying, and to be honest Mommy was a little sad to see you looking all grown up in your very own bed too. You've also gotten really good about helping clean up all your toys. You do it with minimal supervision, and you even put your various toys in their correct bins. Then you make sure to tell me "Good job!" and clap for yourself. 

Slowly but surely you're learning the fine art of exaggeration and playing your cuteness to your advantage. Like when a toy is out of your reach and you reach for it with an exaggerated grunt then give us a sweet smile, letting us know you want us to retrieve it for you. Nevermind that it's further from our reach than yours. Mommy doesn't fall for this trick anymore, but don't worry, you've still got the grandparents and uncles under your thumb! 

- Headbutting my stomach - pretty sure you and your bro already have a bit of rivalry going on.
- Goodnight kisses - you give me half a dozen before you go to sleep, and I love each one of em.
- Blowing on your food before you eat it.
- Car Toy videos on YouTube - weird, but whatever floats your boat.
- Swings - you can't get enough. 
- Chasing Gangy & Grampa's cat around the house.
- Watching videos of himself. Little egomaniac.
- All 562 of your toy cars - seriously, how did your collection get to this point??
- Lining up said cars and trains in exactly the right order:
I know you didn't get your OCD organization skills from me...
(in addition to all the stuff from 22 months)
- Elba (elephant)
- Papa (grampa)
- Gee-ja (Gangy)
- All better!
- Up (usually: upupup!)
- Down
- Out
- Bar (for larabar, or snack)
- Watermelon is mama, or sometimes wamama
- Banana is bamama
- Motorcycle is Dada (don't ask, he's been calling them that for awhile. And yes, he also calls Joe Dada.)
- Er-ra (Ezra)
- Happy Birthday (Hapa Be-a)
And many more that I'm sure I'm forgetting. He definitely tries to copy everything we say, and it's hard to keep track of all the new stuff that comes out of his mouth.

- Fruit is always top of the list.
- Honey nut cheerios with milk.
- yogurt
Actually, the list is pretty much the same as last month.

- Naps for a few days there. That had me scared. We had to watch 30 minutes of YouTube lullabies to get him to nap today. 
- Also, he hates sad-sounding lullabies. He started crying during twinkle twinkle little star, and he also cries every time his toy plays the happy birthday melody. Weird, I know.
- When Mommy does anything alone - aka going out, using the bathroom, etc. Separation anxiety seems stronger than ever.

And here are a few of our favorite clips from the past month (I say "our" because Ez loves watching himself on camera as much as I do!):