Kirsten’s Bathroom

December 5, 2011

We have 3 bathrooms in this house, one of which is Kirsten’s and she shares with guests when they come to visit.  Just before her 1st birthday (3.5 years ago) I themed it with yellow rubber ducks.  Now at the age of 4.5 years I decided it was time for an overhaul especially as she’s asked us to update her bedroom (still to be done).  We have all been missing the Disney cruise so I decided on a Mickey theme.  I didn’t discuss it with her although I did run it by John.  I had seen that Target had a line of items, but of course, by the time I got round to buying them they were no longer in store but most of them were still online.   I didn’t think much of the quality of the towels and we prefer to use bath sheets so I went into Target and bought plain towels and sent them to Stacey.  I have never met Stacey, but have grown to love her work.  She is the lovely lady that not only made our Fish Extender, but also the Fish Extender gifts (reusable paper towels) that I gave out on the cruise.  I contacted her again through Etsy and asked if she would be interested in helping me out and embroidering my towels.  I bought 2 sets for Kirsten (2 bath sheets, 2 hand towels and 4 face cloths).  I purchased 2 bath mats to be used in the bath room and then as we regularly have 2 guests at a time realised I would need a further 4 sets of towels.  For each guest there are 2 bath sheets; 2 hand towels; 4 face cloths.  As Mickey is the theme 2 sets of guest towels are Mickey embroidered; 2 sets are Donald and then Kirsten’s towels are Minnie.  The two bath mats are Mickey Mouse too.  Stacey did an amazing job.  I didn’t want anything fancy and Stacey suggested some designs and we discussed size and I left the rest to her.

I had no wish to repaint the bathroom and didn’t really want to put anything on the walls, but found some wonderful decoupage switch plates on Ebay.  Last, but not least I even found someone on Ebay that made toilet brushes with Mickey Mouse on.

Disney Cruise Line Mexican Riviera 09/25/11 – 10/02/11: Day 5 (UPDATED)

October 20, 2011

We were due into Cabo around 11am, but our shore excursion wasn’t until 1:45pm.   As per Puerto Vallerta we already had our tickets as these had been in the shore excursion envelope in our room on arrival.

This morning was our character breakfast in Parrot Cay.  How did we know this, it was on our dining rotation tickets that were found in our stateroom on arrival.  We had to be in Parrot Cay for 8am.  There our servers from evening dinner were there ready and waiting.  They warned us that although breakfast would be fun, it would also be chaotic as when a character reaches your table they are not permitted to be there thereby making it easier for you to take pictures as this is up to you.  I think there were 6 characters:  Chip, and Dale (just don’t ask me which one was which); Goofy; Pluto; Mickey; and of course Minnie.  We got a number of photos but in some of them Kirsten looks a little bit grumpy (not showing you those).  A lot of servers made head wear for the guests out of napkins and meal covers.  They were good.

After breakfast, Kirsten asked if she could go to Oceaneer’s Club.  We let her go for an hour to burn some energy.  To tell your the truth I have no idea what I did with that time.  We collected Kirsten and then had an early lunch back at the BBB (got that….Beach Blanket Buffet).  This time we had booked ourselves on the Coastal Highlights.  This was due to start at 1:45pm and we had been told to allow at least 1 hour to get across on the tender.  The tender instructions stated that if you had to leave before 1pm you needed to go to the Buena Vista Theater for tender tickets.  We even verified this with staff so at 12:45 we headed to the Buena Vista Theater and found it empty, tomt (empty in Norwegian)…yup no one was there so we just followed the arrows that had been put up and headed down to Deck 1 where we hopped on the next Tender with no waiting.  It was a little rocky.  Oops just realised I hadn’t explained that there is no actual port in Cabo so the ship anchors out in the bay.  When you look back from Cabo out into the bay it is a fantastic sight.  Of course, we’d been told to allow ourselves an hour for a 1:45pm tour and we were there on the pier at 1pm so we had a little wander just along the harbour side and looked at the pelicans feasting on the off-cuts from the local fisherman.  Kirsten was fascinated watching the fisherman cutting the sword off the swordfish.  John just hoped that wasn’t for dinner tonight.

Our tour guide was Libby.  It turned out she was an American teacher who married a Mexican.  She has now retired and spends Summers in the USA and winters in Mexico.  Highly knowledgeable of the area and would definitely recommend her.  Our driver was Jose.  First stop of the afternoon was a local glass blowing factory.  We had about 30 minutes there and got to see them make a turtle wearing a sombrero.  I was absolutely petrified that Kirsten was going to break something, but I can gladly say that it was not my child, but yes, someone’s did!  Next stop we were taken to a restaurant round the bay.  This time it wasn’t to eat it was purely to see the views of the entire bay of Cabo.  Absolutely fantastic!  Of course everyone got a drink and a potty break too.  Trust me with a 4 year old in tow this is a must!

Next stop was actually the next town.  We went to San Jose and had 45 minutes to look at a few shops.  What I liked was that it was  typical town square and the shops sold local merchandise.  Of course, if you weren’t getting enough free food on the cruise you were given the option of going straight in to the restaurant and ordering some food that you could pick up in your “to go” box to eat on the bus after looking at the shops….really….um yes….I would say 50% of our bus took that option.  Last stop was at a place called Cacti Mundo.  Even though I live in Arizona and there are plenty of Cacti around me it was still worth the 15 minute stop we had there.  We were dropped back in Cabo at 5.15pm and Kirsten had had enough so we hopped onto the next available tender back to the Wonder.  Dinner was due to start at 5.45pm and tonight is Pirate Night!  Even though all 3 of us had bought costumes we decided that we would eat dinner just dressed as we were.

As a quick add in for those of you who were wondering how Jennifer was we hadn’t seen her all day so weren’t really sure.  We headed off to dinner and discovered head scarfs at each place setting so put those on.  At least we weren’t completely out of it.  Dinner tonight was back in Parrot Cay.  We were really getting to know this restaurant, especially table 34!  After dinner we headed to our room to change.  As we were getting changed the phone rang…it was Jennifer.  Over the course of the day Andrew had got no better and she was calling to say that the ship’s Dr wanted him to go to the hospital in Cabo overnight for tests to see if he had appendicitus.  This was a shocker as all week we thought he’d been suffering from constipation (sorry Andrew for sharing).  Jennifer was tearful, who wouldn’t be.  She told me that the option had been that Steve, her husband, would go with Andrew and the rest would remain on board until tomorrow to see what the outcome was, but as Jennifer said, and I’m sure any other mother out there also would, she didn’t want them separated.  DCL was going to hold the ship in port and organise a tender in to town.  An interpreter was set up and a room at a local hotel had been organised.  Jennifer and I just looked at each other and said see you tomorrow.  Tears were in our eyes.  Jennifer is now a friend for life and had become so just through Disboards.  I apologise if I’ve already told you this before.  She is a wonderful person as is her entire family.

We headed up on deck although the Pirate Deck Party was not due to start until 9.45pm we knew there were going to be numerous photo opportunities and we wanted to make the most of them.  I had ordered my Pirate Wench outfit off Etsy.  I had also ordered a full costume and eye patch for Kirsten from Etsy. I had discussed with John what he was willing to wear and he had an embroidered Pirate Mickey T-Shirt; a hat; and an eye patch.

We watched Andrew being carried off by stretcher onto the tender from Deck 4.  Jennifer my heart was extremely heavy at this point!  With a heavy heart we had our pictures taken.  Kirsten kept telling us she wanted to see Meg, but how could we explain that Meg was no longer on board.  We just said that she was busy and hopefully Kirsten would see her tomorrow, Friday.

In order for the fireworks to happen, although we are back in Cabo tomorrow, the ship actually leaves the bay and goes back out to open sea and then tomorrow morning we go back into the bay for our half day back in Cabo.

We bumped into Anne and Hillel (our dining room companions) and went and pottered around Mickey’s Mates for a while.  Kirsten and Hillel both attacked Sammi.  Bless her she kept them occupied in the corner of the store where they imprisoned her for the better part of 45 minutes.  Kirsten and Hillel even imprisoned a couple of strangers in the store!  We then found ourselves a spot to watch the goings on on Deck 10.  Kirsten was getting extremely tired and we made it up until the point that the characters started coming out but she was crashing fast.  I left John up on deck with Anne, her father and son, Hillel and I took Kirsten back down to the cabin.  She screamed all the way, “I want my Daddy”, “I miss my Daddy”, but there was no way she was fit to stay.  We got down to our room and I changed her into her PJs just in time that we watched the fireworks from our verandah.  I got changed and cleaned my teeth by which time she was out like a light!  Daddy got back to the room a few minutes later and told me about what I missed and how people piled their plates high with food from the amazing looking buffet!  I can’t believe how much food the 3 of us missed out on during this trip.  We just couldn’t eat it.  There is way too much.  We still eat like the Europeans we are.

Tonight’s towel animal was a dinosaur for anyone, like my husband and daughter, who weren’t sure.  They wouldn’t believe me so I had to confirm with Neil, our room host.  Anyway, goodnight all.  See you tomorrow!


Jennifer was good enough to remind me what I did this morning whilst Kirsten was at Oceaneer’s Club.  Again in Jennifer’s own words:

I know what you did that morning!!! You sat up with us by the pool while our girls swam and ate. I think you were reading some trashy novel on your Kindle!! LOL

The “us” refers to 3 Mums that I met on Disboards prior to the cruise:  Jennifer_in_MI; sdKT; and HBmomof2.  Jennifer is absolutely right while their 3 daughters were swimming (remember it was Kirsten’s choice to go to Oceaneer’s club not mine) they were sitting chatting.  I don’t think I was being that sociable as I took the lounger on the end, and yes, read my trashy novel on my Kindle (Yes I love my Kindle.  I had a first generation as we were early adopters and then updated to a third generation as soon as they came out.  We have already pre-ordered the “Fire” !

Disney Cruise Line Mexican Riviera 09/25/11 – 10/02/11: Day 2

October 17, 2011

Monday's Navigator

Welcome back! I obviously haven’t bored you yet.

I woke around 6am on Monday morning.  Trust me, there is nothing unusual in that as I am normally up by 5.30am.  My daughter is an early riser although due to her late night last night she did not wake till almost 7am.  She and I went and delivered our FE gifts to Decks 5 (only 2); Deck 7 (3 participants); and Deck 8 (4 participants).  When we got back to

Monday Navigator page 3

our Stateroom my husband

Monday Navigator Page 4

was just about ready for us to go up to the Beach Blanket Buffet (Deck 9) for breakfast.  We ran into Jennifer, Meg and Steve (for those of you on Disboards Jennifer_in_MI has a lot of useful info).  Kirsten was thrilled to get to eat breakfast with her friend (remember we only met through Disboards).  Meg was telling Kirsten about the fact that she slept on a bunk bed and as we were in a cabin that only slept 3 she wanted to see what this was about so after breakfast went back with Jennifer and Meg to their room for some “play time”.  Jennifer’s stateroom was only 5 down the corridor from ours so it wasn’t as if I needed to worry or anything.

Kirsten's Autographed Pillowcase

It was about this point John and I realised we were supposed to have had brunch at Palo, but having had a full breakfast we weren’t going to want that now.  We decided a trip to Guest Services was in order.  I needed to go there anyway as I had an embroidered pillowcase to drop off for autographs.  I had purchased this on Etsy and had Ariel (Kirsten’s favourite Princess) embroidered on it.  I left it with a couple of fabric pens and when asked who I wanted autographs from I said anyone.  We found the pillowcase back in our state room on the last night.  Kirsten was thrilled.  With regards to our brunch at Palo we left a message and they, in return, left a message on the phone in our room saying our reservation had been pushed back a day and would now be at the same time on Tuesday instead.  Thank goodness we hadn’t messed that up completely!

Art of Entertaining - Appetiser

John had decided he was going to do the walking tour at 9.30am so I dropped Kirsten off at Oceaneers Club and then went for a wander round the ship. I finished up at Shutters where I signed up for the CD of our pictures for the week.  I make photo books for everything we do and with all our family back in England (not sure if you’ve picked up on the fact that we’re Expats or not) I already knew that I would want the CD.  For the week of pictures this is $279.  If you then find you want any hard copy photos the cost is 50% off.  If you can’t decide what you are going to do hold off until you’ve made that decision as you won’t get a refund on any photos you buy prior to signing up for that CD.  Also if you sign up for a CD and may want to buy some of the hard copies make sure you go to Shutters every day, pull out your pictures and take them to a member of staff to put in

Heading down for Meet and Greet

the drawer for you to sort through later on.  Last, but not least, if you choose a CD make sure you make the most of every photo opportunity that there is.  I bumped into Jennifer as I was finishing off at Shutters, and we went to the “Art of Entertaining – The Appetizer” at Studio Sea (Deck 4 next door to Shutters).  The “Art of Entertaining” was a series being run through the week, but this was the only one I got to go to.  Once finished Jennifer and I went and delivered our FE gifts to Deck 2 (4 participants).

Bottom of Water Slide

Jennifer carried on delivering the remainder of her FE gifts whilst I went back to the cabin for a little while before the Princess Gathering in the Atrium at 12.15.  Jennifer had warned me that we would want to be in line by 11.30am.  Normally I would have said oh no, but having

Meeting the Captain

Jennifer and her daughter there alongside us made it so much easier to keep Kirsten entertained.  Princess gathering was from 12.15 to 12.30, but everyone who is in line at 12.30 will get to see the Princesses (or other characters) no matter if it takes another hour after the scheduled appearance time closes.  You just need to make sure you are in line.  Kirsten dressed in her Cinderella outfit and Meg (Jennifer’s daughter) went in her Belle dress!  All’s well that ends well and the girls are happy.  Now I’m starved how about you?

We had lunch up on Deck 9

All Dressed Up With Mickey

outside.  Some of us had pizza and others had burger and hot dogs.  Hey, if we had really wanted we could have had everything.  Meg had come prepared in her swimsuit so after lunch she went in the Mickey pool.  I hadn’t thought ahead so took Kirsten back down to our room to get her changed into swimwear before taking her back up.  The 2 of them spent about 30 minutes in the Mickey pool and Meg convinced Kirsten to have a go on the water slide (this was Kirsten’s one and only go in the whole week).  Jennifer went off to the Vista Spa to listen to the talk on “Detox for Health, Weight Loss”.  Steve, Jennifer’s husband, took Meg back down to their room to get her changed and John and I took Kirsten down to get her changed.  John and Steve then took Kirsten and Meg to Oceaneers Club and I ran back up to to the Vista Spa to get the rest of the presentation that Jennifer was attending.

Children's Menu

This evening was the Captain’s Gala.  Again, John and I had decided prior to the cruise that we were going to make the most of the fact that we could dress up.  We rarely go out so it was an excuse to buy some new outfits.  I had great fun at the sales plus we had some wonderful opportunities for pictures.  Again, thanks to the advice of Jennifer, we went to the “Captain’s Welcome Reception” in the lobby atrium prior to dinner.  We were really lucky with our dining rotation too as dinner tonight was in “Tritons”.  The theme of tonight’s menu was “Golden Mickeys” as it was also the first big show of the cruise tonight “The Golden Mickeys”.  We decided we didn’t want to go in our evening wear so we went back to our room to change between dinner and the show.  We enjoyed the show although, was not the best of the week.  After the show we had a brief stop over in the stores ie Mickeys Mates (this became one of the many habits of the week).  We made friends with a member of staff called Sammi (also a Brit) who was wonderful with Kirsten every time we went in there.  By the end of the week Kirsten only wanted to go into Mickeys Mates so that she could see Sammi.

En route back to our room we stopped at Shutters to see if any pictures of us were on display and handed them to the staff to put in the drawer for us.  With our towel sculpture tonight, and tomorrow’s Navigator was also a note reminding us that the clocks were going forward an hour overnight.  That’s one hour’s less sleep folks!

We were exhausted.  Goodnight!

Completed Fish Extenders

October 12, 2011

So our vacation has been and gone.  We were the first Disney Wonder Mexican Riviera Cruise of the season from September 25 – October 2.  We/I spent so much time preparing for it that I can’t believe it is over.  I’m basically going to do a Trip Report on the blog over the course of the next couple of posts, but thought I’d start with how the Fish Extender gifts turned out as I know that was something you were all waiting for.

We had no rules with regards to our FE gifts so it was our personal choice if we wanted to do one gift per stateroom or one per person in that stateroom.  I had so many ideas I didn’t know when to stop.  The main gift for the stateroom was an Autograph book/Did you know book.  I bought “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” lanyards from Party City and then mini sharpie pens off Amazon to attach the books to and provide it as a finished product.  Each book had 20 plain index cards with a punched Mickey head on it and then there were 7 laminated “Did you know cards” that were double sided.  These included information such as:  Official Disney Princesses; Unofficial Disney Princesses; Disney Villains; Disney Movies (Every single one with release date); Disney Pixar Movies and so on.  I found Wikipedia to be a great source of knowledge and learned so much along the way.

Next for the Mums I provided an Embroidered “Go Green” wash cloth.  I ordered these from an amazing woman on Etsy who designed and made them for me at an amazing price too.  She was actually the same person who made our FE.  For the Mums I also provided a laminated book mark which I made using the white Mickey heads that had been punched out of the autograph cards and last but not least an Avon Disney Princess and the Frog Lip Balm.

The Dads received either a Phineas and Ferb sticky notes pad or a “Cars” notepad with a pencil.  Teenage boys and teenage girls both received the same thing (well almost).  It was a Phineas and Ferb Suduko book with a pencil attached and the girls also received a Disney Princess and the Frog lip balm just like their Mums.

The teeny tinies (those under the age of 2) received a Disney Board book and then those between the ages of 2-7 received quite a collection (well my daughter is in that age bracket).  They received a Disney Grab and Go Play packet; 2 sets of Disney hair ribbons; a Disney Princess Jigsaw Puzzle to colour in (all in this age group were girls); and a small pack of 100 Disney stickers.

As I am slightly OCD (by most people’s standards at least) I provided a laminated card in each bag to let people know who was supposed to get what and also laminated a family business card that I had had created for my family in the hope that we would maybe be able to stay in contact with some of the families after the cruise.Ready for packing  I’m pleased to say that I made some lifelong friends on that cruise and am already trying to work out how to visit them.  My daughter has spent the last 2 days on Facetime with one of her new friends and they have toured each others bedrooms and shown each other all their toys too.

What To Write

June 28, 2011

So It’s been a good couple of weeks since my last post and I’m fully aware I need to do a blog update, but I don’t feel that I have much, if anything, that anyone really wants to hear about.  Yes, I’ve got plenty going on, but then what mother doesn’t. We can always find ourselves a small project that needs doing, that turns out not to be so small after all.  John went away for the week last week on his company’s annual conference and was gone Sunday morning through Saturday evening.  I gave myself a long list of jobs/chores/projects that needed completing and I’m not sure I got through 50%.  Yes, I know I have Kirsten at home but she was at school for 3 days (21 hours to be exact).

I am a woman who likes lists, and lists of lists.  I have my filofax with my weekly diary and then that is duplicated on my phone so it pops up to remind me in case, for some reason, I fail to look at my filofax.  Oops sorry this one’s not an official filofax.  I’ve been using a planner since I was given one as a leaving gift from my 2nd job about 18 years ago although I’m now on my 3rd planner.  Anyway I then also have a task list on my phone and today, for some reason, I even wrote myself a daily list on a scrap of paper.  So far I’m about 75% of the way through it.  One of those things on today’s list is to update our blog so here I am talking about a whole lot of nothing.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned in previous posts or not, but we’re going on holiday (vacation) at end of September and are trying our very first Cruise.  This one with Disney.  It is leaving from LA and is the Mexican Riviera cruise.  Of course, me being me, I have to make sure that I’ve found out every last tit bit there is to know and have now signed us up for Fish Extenders. For those of you who are immediately wondering what Fish Extenders are, which was the same reaction I had, I found this wonderful blog  called suchthespot.  Now I’m trying to figure out what to do as our gifts.  I think I’ve come up with something so I’m beavering away.  Once I know whether or not it is working out I’ll let you in on it.  I was going to make the Fish Extender myself, but then that would be another project to add to the list and they are being sold on both Ebay and Etsy which I love and can have it personalised etc for cheaper than my time and materials so I’m in the process of having one made for us.  For those of you who haven’t checked out Etsy yet, it is a definite must!  Kirsten knows nothing about our holiday.  She knows there is one coming up, possibly, but that is purely based on the piles of bits that I have going on in my craft room (spare room).  I told John that the last thing we wanted to do was pass on the information as we’d have to go through another 12 weeks of countdown and although I did a 7 week countdown chart for our trip to England last Christmas I don’t think I could go through that again.  Also we are going to stay at a hotel near the port the night before and if we told Kirsten we were going on a cruise she’d just keep asking us why we weren’t at the ship.  I think she knows what a cruise is as one of the books she received for her birthday was Walter the Farting Dog Goes On a Cruise.  We have actually read a couple of books in the series now that we have borrowed from the local library.  I hate to say it but Kirsten loves trying to find the pictures of the “gas” coming out of Walter! On that note I think I’ll leave you until next time.