Wanderlust Wednesday: The World

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Hello hello again! Here it is Wanderlust Wednesday again and I actually have a post! It’s a bit different than my other Wanderlust Wednesday posts because today I am not highlighting just one place. I recently stumbled across this gem of a list of 33 Unbelievable Place to Visit Before You Die. 

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Ain’t that photo right there just the bee’s knees?! There are so many incredible places listed there! But I thought to myself, “Self, where would you go if you could choose to go to just one?”  And after much deliberation (i.e., a few minutes of looking at all the cool places), I decided that one place would have to be the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia.

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What can I say? I’m a sucker for lush green forests and stunning waterfalls.

So, if you could choose just one place to go on that list of 33 incredible places, where would you go? And why? Please share!

Orange Pineapple Heaven

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I’m going to keep this short and sweet tonight:

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(Image from the original recipe)

Orange Pineapple Crumble Bars

If you have any sense at all, you will make these PRONTO. It’s like heaven in your mouth. No joke, I was giddy with joy as I ate my first one. And possibly my second. And there may or may not have been much consumption after that as well.

Heaven on earth, I tell ya.

P.S. Waiting until they’re cold is not necessary. I would wait until they’re cutable and hold their shape, but eating them when the pineapple is still a bit hot is simply divine.

***UPDATE*** The quality of your pineapple will make a big difference! The first time we made these, we had a super ripe, super sweet pineapple and they were everything I described here. The second time, the pineapple wasn’t as sweet and they still tasted great, but I wasn’t tripping over myself to profess my love to the pan. ;) And yes, we made them twice in one week.

How Not to Give Your Kids a Trip to Disneyland

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Let’s just ignore the fact that it’s been nearly 2 months since I last posted and carry on as though I never left, shall we? Okay then.

For Christmas this year, Mr. LPMD and I decided to surprise our kids with a trip to Disneyland. Not a trip during the Christmas break, but for a bit later in the year, thus we needed to come up with a fun way to let them know what their gift was. (Seeing as how we live on a budget and it would therefore be replacing the majority of what they usually get for Christmas.) Enter brilliant idea numero uno: a treasure hunt.

I grew up with treasure hunts. Like, my mother is the QUEEN of treasure hunt creation. Thus it seemed only fitting to channel my inner mother and do the same, right? Part of the treasure hunt creation curse is that it MUST rhyme. Must. I blame my mother. Again. So here are the clues I came up with. (I changed the number of days because, as much as I love all of you lovely readers, I’d rather not publicly advertise when we’ll be away from home, thanks.)

Merry Christmas to you, and all of the Rays!
We have a big present
It’s really quite pleasant
But you don’t get to have it for 42 days!

I know that’s a long time, but never you fear
To find out what you get,
Don’t cry and don’t fret,
Just follow the clues that you find far and near.

CLUE #1
Look for the girl with the crazy red hairs.
I’ve heard she’s quite Brave – she might be downstairs!
{Their clue was accompanied by a new DVD of Brave}

CLUE #2
To find the next clue, you must work together,
And search the back porch, no matter the weather.
Might be buried in snow, might be stuck in a crack,
But I’ll give you a hint – the next one is black!
{Nothing fancy – just glued the clue to a black piece of construction paper}

CLUE #3
You found it! Great job! Now back inside fast,
You must put on your coats and your gloves and your hats,
And then put on your boots the last thing of all
To find your next clue (which is pretty dang small).
{Clue was hiding inside of one of the boots}

CLUE #4
Now that you’re suited and ready to go,
Walk two houses south to somebody you know.
Sing a carol or two when they come to the door,
But you have to sing loud, to get what you came for!
{I had previously delivered the next clue to this neighbor, so she could give it to them after they sang}

CLUE #5
Home again, home again, jiggity jig,
Look for the next clue with Ralph, who is big!
You’ll have to look in your bedrooms to find him
The clue that you seek will be hiding behind him.
{Clue hiding with new Wreck It Ralph DVD}

CLUE #6
Don’t you love spending Christmas with family all day?
At the hospital, people are working away!
Let’s take them some cookies and spread Christmas cheer
To brighten their day and wish Happy New Year!
{I had the next clue in the car and gave it to them after we delivered the cookies}

CLUE #7
Now head to Park City, to see Grandma and Grandpa
Tell them about all your good things from Santa!
Then look for your clue that is hiding with Hugo,
When up, up, and up to the Lego Loft you go.
{The “Lego Loft” is what our family affectionately calls the attic-level playroom at Grandma’s house and the clue was accompanied by a new HUGO DVD}

CLUE #8
This is your last clue, so listen up good!
Stay close together, as good siblings should!
If you were a present, then where would you be?
Perhaps it’s not hiding, but _______  ____  _______!

YOU FOUND IT! HOORAY!
WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY!
Now all together you can open the box,
But first let me tell you, this gift totally rocks!

 

Now…what would they find at the end of the hunt? Cue brilliant idea #2: A box, full of stuff to do in the car on the long drive to the park and a cute Mickey Mouse countdown chain and some Disney trading pins and their backpacks/lanyards from Get Away Today (where we purchased our trip) and a Disneyland guidebook and a calendar with the dates of the trip marked. Mr. LPMD contributed the idea of park maps. We gave the big wrapped box to Grandma to already have at her house when we came. It was hidden away and when the kids went upstairs to look for their clue, we pulled it out and put it front and center under the tree.

This was going to be awesome. They were going to be sooooooo excited. We tease and talk about going to Disneyland all of the time. The kids have never been there and frequently ask if we can go. We tell them that we’ll go when they can pay for it. Or when the 1 year old (who’s not a 1 year old anymore) guesses the “secret ingredient” in our dinner without any help. As in: it’s never going to happen, kiddos! So yeah, they’ll be shocked and excited. We’re going to end up with one of those home videos where the kids are told they’re going to Disneyland and they freak out they’re so freaking excited about such a freaking awesome gift. And then Disney would get ahold of the video and love it and want to use it for advertising and give us free trips to Disney parks for life. My kids would be just. like. that.

Clearly, we have some work to do in the excitement department. (And for the record, they ripped 4 links off that chain when they just tossed it aside like garbage. Punks.)

I hope you had a wonderful holiday!

Lego Duplo So Many Ways to Play House Party

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You guys. Have you ever heard of House Party? They. Are. Awesome. Basically, they help companies get their products in front of consumers by having people host parties with those products. I know what you’re thinking…Oh, like Mary Kay or Miche Bags or Lularoe Maxi Skirts or 100,000 other “parties” that are really just for the selling of products. Yeah, I’m not interested.

But you’re dead wrong.

With House Party there is NO selling involved! It’s just a chance for people to experience whatever the product is. If they like it, they can go out and get it. If they don’t, no skin off anyone’s back.

And the best part? The chosen host gets to keep and/or share the stuff that comes in the “Party Pack.”

Why am I telling you all of this, you may be asking? Well…we recently had the awesome opportunity to host a Lego Duplos party through House Party. Hello?! We have 4 very Lego-inclined children in this house! What kind of party could be a better fit, I ask you? None, that’s what kind.

So today I’m here to share some of the fun things we did for our party, many of which (okay…like all) I stole got from ideas I found on Pinterest.

About a week and a half before our schedule party, a very very large box was delivered to our door. Inside we found:
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Six (yes, SIX) sets of Lego Duplos! Can you just feel the excitement from looking at those two hooligan’s faces?! Three Jake and the Neverland Pirates sets and Three Disney Planes sets.

There were also a few other goodies for sharing with our guests, including:
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A crown for each guest, stickers for everyone, Planes posters for everyone, and a Jake and the Neverland Pirates DVD.

Remember when I said House Party is awesome? I stand by that statement.

We bagged all of our party favors up in some simple Lego style gift bags that we made with cheap colored bags from Walmart and construction paper dots:
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We also made a Lego banner in a similar fashion:
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We decorated with some Lego Head balloons (and each guest got to take one home):
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I found some great giant coloring pages of both Jake and Planes at Walmart, so the kids colored those when they came (in addition to receiving another in their favor bag):
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We used (washable) markers to color popsicle stick airplanes:
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Decorated and ate Rice Krispy treat “Legos” (I pre-frostinged them because of the age of the kids):
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Watched the DVD they sent, and of course, played with the Lego Duplos!
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What I love most about the Lego Duplos is that they were (are) a hit with all different ages of kids. The little ones could put them together themselves and the big ones had fun putting them together in their own creative ways. We have had so much fun with these Lego Duplos and are so grateful for the opportunity House Party gave us to host this party!

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Wanderlust Wednesday: Biobay, Vieques, Puerto Rico

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You know, as much as I complain about the cold here in the winter, I don’t spend a whole lot of time in the summer wishing I were somewhere else. It really is beautiful here in my little valley. But now that cold weather’s hit, it’s about time I got back to all that wanderlusting, don’t you think?

On today’s list of amazing places I hope to see some day: bioluminescent waters. This should be an easy sell for Mr. LPMD Biology Teacher, right?

For your viewing pleasure, I present Biobay in Vieques, Puerto Rico:
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This stunning scene is brought to you by single celled organisms called dinoflagellates. These fascinating variety of plankton emit a blue light when agitated at night, resulting in the glowing water seen here. And this is how we know Mother Earth is a woman…even she’s can’t resist a bit of glitter in her life. :D

Have you ever seen bioluminescent water? Where in the world was it? Do share.