Monday, June 30, 2008

Elfin Magic

Perfect, yes?


He doesn't even need the costume!

Well, maybe if he was wearing the red hat it would complete the scene.

That, and a few of those festive sparkles...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Festive footwear

After our experience with the Freaky Monkey Guy, we needed some random, spontaneous fun.

A trip to Wally World can wipe the freakish memories out of your head, and make you laugh out loud.

Especially when the family comedienne dons a pair of rubber galoshes and gallivants around the footwear department.

It was a very interesting day, indeed.

Renee doesn't dig the monkey

Remember those comfy chairs that Renee and Mark were sitting in earlier?

Yup...that's where I found my girl when I came back from grabbing my camera from the van.

Except she wasn't sitting in the chair. She was hiding behind it!

I am surprised that Mark wasn't hiding there along with her. Freaky Monkey Guy was kind of freaking me out, too!

Freaky monkey guy!

Unfortunately, there is also this guy.

He will be further known as 'Freaky Monkey Guy'.

As in, "Mom! I don't like the Freaky Monkey Guy!"

Or, "Mom! Why does that Freaky Monkey Guy have to be here?"

Taking a break

And for the parents (or tuckered out monkeys!), there are comfy chairs to relax in.

Just a blur!

As you can see in the next photo, Monkey Joe's is a place where you can run, jump, play, and 'monkey around'.

Or, just test your speed on a huge, blow-up slide!

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Our own little monkey!

Since we have a sweet, little monkey of our own, we figured this would be a great place to spend the afternoon.

Sunday Fun

On Sunday, Mark, Renee, and I headed to this place.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wall-e...Four thumbs up!

Yes-it's true! Renee and Meg both give it two thumbs up, so you do the math!

I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet, but I will say...

See it!


A beautiful film.

Meg and her parents, Christa and Kevin, met us for the late afternoon showing on Saturday. The opening short was hysterical. Honestly, I believe it is the best one that Pixar has done to date.

Then we settled in for 103 minutes of gorgeous animation. Mark and I were touched by not only the visual storytelling and accompanying score, but also the underlying messages. It made us pause and think, and opened up quite a few family discussions over the weekend. That's always a good thing.

And Miss Renee?

She loved Wall-e as much as she thought she would. :)

Oh, and she's got his voice down perfectly!

Very excited-movie time!

We have been waiting breathlessly for this movie.

Especially Miss Renee. It is so cute to hear her talk about his 'expressive' eyes! LOL!

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Flashback Friday

Fourteen years ago, on this very date, Mark and I arrived for my very first trip to WDW. I can't even wrap my head around the fact that it has been that long!

Back then, the parks didn't have a queue area where guests could wait patiently (or not!) for a moment with their favorite characters. What I remember is a mad free for all, with lots of parents pushing and shoving their children towards the character. It was utter chaos, even with an attendant standing nearby.

I was never a 'push and shove toward the front of the line' kind of girl, so I politely waited my turn.

Ha! You know where that got me, don't you? Hot, sweaty, and standing alone while the vultures had their way with their prey!

Okay, so it wasn't that bad, but Mark and I never did end up meeting Mickey...or anyone else, for that matter.

On our very last morning, our friends had made reservations for all of us to enjoy a character breakfast at the Polynesian. Mark and I were very excited-what a wonderful way to end our magical vacation!

And guess who came to visit our table?


See? Good things do come to those who wait!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Member of the Elf's Club

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Hmmmm...but would that be 'Badelves' with horns, or good elves with halos?


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Earth Day in June

Here in smog-filled Atlanta, Earth Day is something to be celebrated.

Yes, before you remind me, I realize that Earth Day was back in April. Our blog wasn't really up and running then, so I thought that it would be fun to share our day with you now. Like Christmas in July, it's kind of like Earth Day in June!

So, I bet you're dying to know where we celebrated Earth Day.

Hint-it was green, it was free, and thank goodness we went in the afternoon because it was super crowded earlier in the day!

Welcome to the Atlanta Botanical Garden, brought to you by Miss Renee!


With complimentary admission offered through a partnership between the Atlanta Botanical Garden and local Lexus dealerships, it was a win-win for everyone. I was happy that it was free, Mom was happy to see the flowers, and Renee was'cause it was a girl's day out!

And unbeknownst to us, it was a really green day at the gardens. Not just green as in Earth Day green, but green as in frogs.


We joked that Renee's Kermie shirt was possibly encouraging them out of hiding. Everywhere we looked, there were even more frogs!


If you look closely, there is even a frog hiding in the pond behind this frog pohnd aht.


And there was also lots of frog yahd aht, too!


They must be literary geniuses.


And great thinkers.


And speaking of thinking, me thinks you are ready to see some photos of the beautiful gardens, aren't you?

I wish you could have had a whiff of this wonderful wisteria as it made a picture perfect frame for Atlanta's skyscrapers.


One word describes these poppies-incredible!


I love climbing roses that just seem to reach for the sky.


The orchid house was just breathtaking.


I have never seen so many different species of orchids in one place!


And the children's garden was one of the best we've ever visited. We spent most of our time there, much to Renee's happiness.


It was a delightful day, spent together by three generations of gardening girls. We learned by living, laughed a lot, and loved us some frogs.

And Mark, the non-gardening man of the family, was able to miss it all! LOL!

See? Win-win. ;)

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Moroccan Monday



What else could you ask for?

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Hmmm...Where's Genie when you need him?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Foodie Cats

Well, I'm really not sure if our cats are Foodies. They are named after food, though. So what does that say about us?

Meet Cannoli and Cheesecake.

Little girl, Cheesecake...

Bad boy, Cannoli...

We brought them home to live with us over four years ago. Honestly, I can't believe it has been that long. It seems like yesterday when we took a ninety minute ride from New York to Pennsylvania to adopt a kitten.

Notice the 'kitten' thing. That would be singular 'kitten', and not plural 'kittens'. Stick with me, because it will all make sense later.

When we were relocated to New York, we only moved one cat and a few finches with us. That was quite a small pet population for our family, considering that it had been a full house a few years earlier. Two dogs, four cats, two doves, many finches, fish in the house, fish in the was almost a zoo!

But as hard as it is to swallow, pets grow older and eventually head towards the Rainbow Bridge. By the time we left New Jersey, only Hernie kitty (and her birdie friends!) were left.


Renee loved Hernie. She was the only pet she had ever known, and she loved that cat with all her little heart. But Hernie too, grew very old, and we lost her on Valentine's Day in 2004. I won't even begin to try to explain how difficult it is to bury a cat when the ground is frozen and there happens to be two feet of snow on the ground. Let's just say that a Momma will do anything for her four year old heartbroken child.

Did you also know that when you need (and want) to adopt a kitten from a shelter or rescue group in the dead of winter there aren't any to be found? It's just not kitten season. That's not a bad thing, because we already have too many unwanted pets in our country. It just made a very tough time even tougher for me.

As I continued the search for Renee's new furry friend, I stumbled across Petfinder. What an amazing website! If you are thinking of adding four little (or big!) paws to your family, this is the place to do your searching. They make it so simple to offer a forever home to a homeless animal. Brilliant!

And Petfinder was how we found Cheesecake. She was just a tiny ball of black fuzz, and she had the prettiest little face. She was just adorable!

She was also ninety minutes away, but that wasn't going to stop us. After a quick phone call to the shelter to let them know we were on our way, I threw the cat carrier in the van and began our journey.

When we arrived at the shelter, Renee ran towards the cage Cheesecake was sleeping in. Before she could even get her hands on her, it was love at first sight.

On the other side of the room, another bit of love was going on. I refer to this as 'What in the world was I thinking?' love. Before I knew it, I was paying the adoption fee for two kittens. Crazy, huh?

We won't even go into how demented this second cat turned out to be. I think I will save that for another blog post.


Now we had to come up with two names for the newest members of our family. What a job! It's hard enough to name one new pet, isn't it?

To make that process a bit easier, we decided to keep Cheesecake's name. She was surrendered to the shelter along with that little snazzy title, and it made us laugh every time we called her. When I asked if all the kittens from the litter were named after food items, I was told that they weren't. The kids in the family who had surrendered the litter had named them all different things-Cheesecake, Simon, Fuzzy, etc. I'm thinking that the kid that named Cheesecake really, really loved the dessert!

Now we needed to come up with a name for the boy kitty that would compliment Cheesecake's name. Yes, I know that sounds a bit ridiculous. Really though, it's no worse than parents who feel the need to have all their children's names begin with the same letter!

You should have heard the desserts...I mean names...that were floating around in the air during that long drive home. One of our favorites was Rugulah. Yeah, um, because it was such a cute name.

The one that totally stuck though was Cannoli. It was simple, it fit his spunky personality, and it was Renee's favorite dessert at the time. Perfecto!

When poor Mark came home from work that night, he thought he was going nuts. There was only supposed to be one kitten, but why was he seeing double? And why was everyone talking about dessert? He couldn't find any in the fridge-LOL!

Here they are today-all grown up.

After all these years, they still continue to spread lots of love...and hair! And although I wouldn't have to vacuum as much, our home would be so empty without them.

Speaking of empty homes, I just recently learned of a rescue group in central Florida who would love to see happy pets running through laughter filled houses. This wonderful group has rehomed almost 500 animals in 3 1/2 years. Isn't that amazing?

If you are so inclined, please visit and/or pass along their website. Knowledge and awareness can make a difference, and together, that may give a sweet animal another chance.

It made all the difference in the world for Cannoli and Cheesecake.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Who froo dat ham?

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And she likes him, too.

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We love him!

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Posing with Yahd Aht

Or more properly known as...yard art.

The only thing Renee was missing was the wheelbarrow.

Oh, and maybe the hat.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Flashback Friday

Today's flashback might make you a little hungry.

Before I became a Mom, I had the time to focus on my own creativity. I spent lots of time creating new garden spaces, painting on anything I could get my hands on, and decorating cakes.

The cake decorating thing was sort of an accident. A dear friend of mine was throwing a baby shower, and she remembered the amazing cake that Mom had made for our wedding. She was wondering if I could bring a cake instead of a salad. Sounded good to me, as long as Mom didn't mind.

No, she didn't mind, but as I watched Mom pull all her decorating supplies out of hiding, the bug bit me! I wanted to try to do the cake myself, and that's all she wrote.

A few classes, lots of cake scraps, and a ton of buttercream later, 'Cakes by Mare' was born.

I hope you will excuse the quality of this photo-I had to scan it!

This was the last cake I did before Renee was born. Our friends, Rudy and Dawn, had gotten engaged in the rose garden at WDW. Her colors were a periwinkle blue and white, and all she asked was that I represent the mouse in there somewhere.


It was one of my most favorite creations, and most appreciated wedding gift, ever.

Oh, and it was delicious, too!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fake Celebrity Autographs

I don't need to introduce the little girl in this photo, but I'd like you to meet Bucky Greenhorn.

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Bucky is a 'Hollywood Hopeful' who hangs around on the streets of MGM (Oops-I mean Disney's Hollywood) Studios. He is part of an amazing group of actors and actresses, known as Streetmosphere, who truly make a visit to this park even more enjoyable.

To say that this guy makes us smile is an understatement. He makes us smile huge! =)

The first time we met him, he was playing his ukulele and singing along with two of our favorite Streetmosphere characters, Francis Floot and Paige Turner. Because they deserve their own post, I will refrain from introducing you to them today.


The next time we ran into him, he had a little table set up in the middle of the street and he was offering 'Fake Celebrity Autographs'. You just know that we took advantage of that, don't you?

When it was Renee's turn, she bounced up and asked for Zac Efron. I almost fell over laughing as our pal Bucky did a double take. It seems that Mr. Efron was the most requested autograph of the day. LOL!

It was also Renee's most favorite autograph in her book. Every time someone would ask to see who had signed her book, they were amazed to see Zac in there right along with Chip and Dale. Shhhhhh, it's our secret though, okay?

Last Friday, before we left for home, we found Bucky in a new spot. That day, probably because of Star Wars Weekends, he was offering 'Free Fake Star Wars Autographs'. Although Renee isn't a huge Star Wars fan, we still took advantage of this incredible opportunity. How else could we get Princess Leia to sign her book?

As he was signing for Princess Leia, he was chatting up the people who were relaxing on the bench next to his table. When he mentioned that he would also offer other celebrity autographs, we jumped at the chance to have Link Larkin sign Renee's book.

I know that you must all be wondering who Link Larkin is. Bucky wondered the same thing. It confused him even more than the day when she asked for Zac Efron!

So, for all of you who don't have a little girl totally obsessed with the movie, Hairspray, Link Larkin is the lead male character.

Link Larkin is also portrayed by Zac Efron.

See the connection there? And see Mark sweating already?


Bucky took it all in stride. He was even extra creative and drew a little can of hairspray next to Link's name. What a guy!

Then we just had to ask for one more autograph. Yup...pushing it a little, weren't we?

Bucky didn't seem to have a problem with it though. Especially since we asked for his autograph.

I think he may have even blushed a little. =)

So thank you, Bucky Greenhorn, and all the other talented performers who entertain us on the streets of Hollywood. Tower of Terror may thrill some, but you are the reason this family visits Disney's Hollywood Studios!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Great deal at the pump

In fact, at Disney's Animal Kingdom, this premium fuel looks pretty darn free to me!

Renee is shocked because...

1. After hearing me complain about the gas prices while traveling from Georgia to Florida, she just can't believe her eyes!


2. Hardly anything at all is free at Disney! Did someone make a mistake?

Now, if we could just figure out a way to get our van inside those gates so that we could fill up.


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