Menu Banner

Category: travels

  1. Thursday, April 17

    Spring Break Part 2: Anaheim!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Time to share how we finished up our Spring Break last week! Once we were done having fun in Los Angeles, we hopped in the car and headed south 1 hour for a visit to Anaheim.

    I think in most people’s minds when you hear the word “Anaheim” you automatically think “Disneyland.” Disneyland is most certainly in Anaheim, but there is actually tons to do there in addition to visiting the Magical Kingdom. In the last few years the downtown area of Anaheim has been completely rebuilt, featuring local shops and restaurants. The Anaheim area has so much to offer (museums, sports, amusement parks, Medieval Times), you could easily spend a week staying in Anaheim and keeping incredibly busy! The other great thing is that there are so many hotels in town to choose from and many of them have shuttles that can take you to all the places you want to go. It’s basically a town built for vacation with the family and we have always had a blast when we visit. This time around we only had two days, so we visited Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland. We also had the chance to stay in two hotels.

    What We Did!

    visit to knott's berry farm by @janemaynard

    Knott’s Berry Farm: Here’s the thing about Knott’s Berry Farm – it is totally fun, less expensive than Disneyland, and NEVER as crowded. As much as we absolutely love Disneyland, it is almost always filled to the brim with people, which can be a little overwhelming. Even on a busy day at Knott’s there is room to breathe and the lines don’t take hours to get through. Plus, our family loves Peanuts, and Camp Snoopy is perfect for the little ones. We also had lunch at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, where it all began. When you eat there, just eat a dozen biscuits and a few pieces of fried chicken and you should be all set. DELISH.

    visit to knott's berry farm by @janemaynard

    On our visit this time around we did a few things we had never done before, including the horse-drawn carriage ride and a ride on the narrow gauge steam engine. The carriage ride was actually really fun and the kids and I got to sit on top in front by the drivers. The steam engine was incredibly cool – it was the last working narrow-gauge engine in the U.S. when the Knott family purchased it for their park, and the cars you ride on are 130 years old. Owen is seriously obsessed with trains, so we chatted with the engineers for a bit and it was fascinating.

    visit to knott's berry farm by @janemaynardThis is the little train ride in Camp Snoopy, not the big steam engine. But the kids all look so happy here, I had to share. And, yes, this was the vacation of train rides. SO MANY TRAINS.

    Cate and I also did the Ghostrider roller coaster for the first time and, um, HOLY HEADACHE. Yes, that pile of wood you see below is a roller coaster. But Cate thought it was awesome, even “wilder than a buckin’ bronco!”

    the ghostrider at knott's berry farm by @janemaynard

    visit to knott's berry farm by @janemaynardWhen you’re 2 and you’re tired you just sit where you are.

    Disneyland: There is just something about Disneyland. Sure, it costs about a billion dollars to go. Sure, it’s almost always crowded. But it is also always magical. Everything there is just so well done and beautiful. We spent most of our day on this visit in California Adventure. Cate got to ride on Radiator Springs Racers THREE times (thanks to fast passes and the parent swap passes when you have a stroller). I think she also rode on California Screamin’ 4 times. Crazy girl!

    california screamin' at california adventure at disneyland by @janemaynard

    Cars Land will forever be my favorite part of visiting the Disney parks. It is just so BEAUTIFUL, both day and night. And the rides are all awesome.

    cars land at california adventure at disneyland by @janemaynard

    Oh, one more thing to mention! We have never ridden the entire train ride at Disneyland until this visit. The kids LOVED it. We had no idea there were dioramas at the end of the ride as you arrive back at Main Street. We actually circled the park twice before the kids would let us get off! Then we watched the parade from the train station above Main Street and it was perfect!

    visit to disneyland and california adventure by @janemaynard

    Where We Stayed!

    Ayres Hotel in Anaheim: Our first hotel was the Ayres Hotel in Anaheim. The hotel is located across the street from the Honda Center where the Ducks play, and just a block away from where the Angels play. It’s just a few minutes’ drive to Disneyland and all the other attractions, and the ART shuttle runs by the hotel if you don’t want to drive to those places. The rooms were very nice and sort of “fancy” – when Anna stepped off the elevator and looked down the hallway for the first time she exclaimed, “This hotel is BEAUTIFUL!” We stayed in a King VIP room, which had a king-sized bed and a pull-out couch, as well as plenty of room for the kids and all of our luggage. The pool was small but perfect for kids and they had a great time swimming. Plus, we got to see Owen’s true colors at the hot tub.

    owen wooing the ladies at the ayres hotel in anaheim by @janemaynardDon’t hate the playa, hate the game.

    The Ayres also had a fabulous full breakfast, with the busiest yet friendliest chef I’ve ever met! The kids were in heaven at the breakfast and I think it might have been their favorite part of the trip. (Kids are so funny!) The staff was incredibly helpful and friendly at every turn.

    The Anabella Hotel: For our last two nights we stayed at the Anabella, sister hotel to the Carousel (where we originally thought we would be staying). The Anabella is across the street from Disneyland and was just a short 10-minute walk to the park gate. The walk was also really lovely and un-crowded, running along the backside of California Adventure (rather than Harbor Blvd). We’ve gone to Disneyland both ways – staying in a hotel across the street and having to drive or shuttle ourselves in. If you’re going to Disneyland and can swing a hotel within walking distance of the park, DO IT. Parking at Disney is such a pain. Being able to just walk to the park is HEAVEN. They’re building even more hotels across the street from Disneyland, so there will be even more options in coming years.

    the anabella hotel in anaheim by @janemaynard

    The Anabella Hotel was a beautiful property, with a great pool and restaurant. We stayed in a Concierge room, which is an L-shaped room with a king bed, double bed and a pull-out couch. Our room had its own patio area, which was really lovely, too. After we put the kids to bed, Nate went outside to read on the patio in the perfect southern California air! The rooms were pretty, although we could hear our {noisy} neighbors pretty well and the bathroom wasn’t super easy to use, with practically no counter space or storage areas. There is a very long vanity area outside of the bathroom, however, which is nice for getting ready while someone else is actually using the bathroom. We had that counter covered with all of our stuff from the road trip – basically we are really good at using up all available storage space! (Note: The noisy neighbors arrived on our last night. The front desk quickly shut down the craziness at night and were very attentive to the situation. The neighbors were noisy again the next morning, but we were leaving so we didn’t request a new room or anything, but I’m certain the staff would have worked with us on that as well if we had asked.) Like the Ayres, the staff were very nice and friendly everywhere we went on the property.

    So, there you have it! A Spring Break packed with FUN. (And Nate and I even survived!)

    Knott’s Berry Farm provided us with tickets and lunch. Disney and the Anaheim Visitor and Convention Bureau provided us with media passes for Disneyland and California Adventure. We received discounted rates for our hotel stays at the Ayres and The Anabella. All opinions are my own! Anaheim is fun, fun, fun!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  2. Tuesday, April 15

    I’m in love with Los Angeles and I don’t care who knows it!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    We decided to be fun people for Spring Break. It’s a lot of work being fun people, by the way, especially when one of the fun people comes down with croup the first night of Spring Break (we’re looking at you, Owen). But in the end it all worked out and the week was a blast! First we headed to Los Angeles for a few days and then skipped on down to Anaheim for some theme park fun. I’m going to share two posts about the trip and today we’re starting with LA!

    hollywood sign from griffith observatory by @janemaynard

    Here’s the deal with Los Angeles. The only times we’ve ever gone up there have been for quick day trips for a specific reason – going to an event and then heading home – or driving through to go somewhere else. So, whenever we go, we’re on a schedule and all we think is, “How does anyone live with all this traffic?” and “Why would anyone want to live in a city essentially just made of traffic?” and “Holy Freeways, there’s a lot of traffic.” I was soooo biased. I have uttered the words “I hate LA” more times than I care to admit. I totally did not know what I was talking about.

    LA is AWESOME. There, I said it. I am in love with Los Angeles. It’s quirky and huge and fun and there is so much to do. Seriously, we had a blast and can’t wait to go back! Granted, we {amazingly} didn’t sit in any traffic the whole trip, but LA is truly a city filled with all kinds of wonderful gems, especially edible gems. Here’s a quick rundown of where we stayed, the fun stuff we did, and the food we ate, in case you find yourself visiting the City of Angels! (Thanks to those who gave tips, they were super helpful and we definitely need to venture back to do it all!)

    hotel angeleno by @janemaynard

    Where We Stayed: Hotel Angeleno
    We stayed in a suite at Hotel Angeleno, located on the 405 smack dab in between Bel Air and Santa Monica, sitting in the shadow of the Getty. Our room looked to the southwest, so we had a peek of the freeway and the skyline and a full view of the ocean and the Getty. It was beautiful. The hotel has shuttles to nearby sites, a pool, and free wine at 5:30 every afternoon. There is also a restaurant on the top floor with amazing views. The building is round, which was fun and made for an interesting-shaped room, and the rooms were very nice. The location of the hotel was super convenient, with easy access to so many of the great things that LA has to offer. Oh, and free parking! Woohoo!

    hotel angeleno morning view of the getty by @janemaynardThe Getty is at the top of the hill. This is what we woke up to, with the golden sun shining on everything.

    hotel angeleno view from the room by @janemaynardThe only thing we lost off the balcony was Owen’s binky. Fortunately we were over the pool area and the binky was recoverable. Also, it didn’t kill anyone below. Win-win.

    Fun Stuff We Did

    • Griffith Observatory and the Travel Town Museum at Griffith Park. If you have kids interested in trains, Travel Town is a must! Owen was in heaven. On Sundays they also have live steamers that you can ride on. We got there too late to ride the steamers, but we did get to see them scoot by, and there is still a train ride in the regular Travel Town museum area even if you miss the steamers. We ended up simply driving by the Griffith Observatory – the kids were pooped and since it was the weekend there were mobs of people, but the view is AMAZING and we plan to go back with the kids on a less-busy day for a show at the planetarium (if you have people under 5, you have to make sure to get there for the first show of the day).

    travel town museum at griffith park by @janemaynard

    travel town museum at griffith park by @janemaynard

    • La Brea Tar Pits. The tar pits were fascinating and the kids had a great time at this small and accessible museum. Plus, seriously, the tar pits are just plain cool. Note that you can walk around the park and see the actual tar pits without paying admission to the museum, but you’ll learn more if you go to the museum and it is very interesting. We bought an annual family pass, which also gives us access to the LA Natural History Museum, which we will definitely be visiting.
    • The American Girl Store. Our girls got American Girl dolls for Christmas, so we surprised them with a visit to the store. We thought about eating at the cafe but it was very pricey, so we decided to let the girls each choose one thing in the store and get their dolls’ hair done instead. We just didn’t tell them about the cafe and they were in heaven. We probably spent an hour in the store!

    the la american girl store by @janemaynard

    • The Getty Museum. We just spent a couple hours at the museum but it was beautiful. We went to the Getty near the end of our trip, so the kids were feeling a bit restless. But I am really glad we took them and I’m sure we’ll return! The exhibits are wonderful and the views cannot be beat. The museum is free, parking is $15 and you can park twice in one day. We also want to visit the Getty Villa in Malibu, which is supposed to be beautiful as well. The Villa is also free but you need to get tickets ahead of time.

    view from the getty museum by @janemaynard

    • Westwood Village. On our last day we stopped in Westwood Village for lunch and ice cream (see below). Westwood Village is an adorable neighborhood with movie theaters, food and more right next to UCLA. It was lovely sitting at a table on the sidewalk enjoying our food.

    westwood village by @janemaynard

    The Food We Ate
    We ate sooooooo well while we were in LA. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

    • Plan Check Kitchen + Bar: My sister told us we had to eat at Plan Check, a burger joint similar to Unami Burger but better, according to Anne. Every last bite was scrumptious. I don’t think you can go wrong ordering anything off the menu. My sister says pig candy is a must, which we didn’t know until after, but thankfully Nate got a taste of it on his burger.

    plan check kitchen + bar by @janemaynard

    • The Farmer’s Market at 3rd and Fairfax: When we left the Bay Area, part of me mourned the loss of the Ferry Building in my life. I LOVE THAT PLACE. The Farmer’s Market in LA is different from the Ferry Building but every bit as wonderful. It’s my new Ferry Building. So much food, so much ambience, so much history. The tater tots from Fritzi’s…I didn’t know tater tots could be good, and not only were they good, they were stellar. Moishe’s gyros pita was flavored perfectly. Bob’s Donuts were to die for. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I honestly could have spent all day just at the Farmer’s Market. Love love love love love. My dad told me after we visisted that when he was growing up, my grandmother also loved going to this Farmer’s Market. That makes me love it even more.

    the farmer's market at 3rd and fairfax in LA by @janemaynard

    • Milo + Olive: We ordered pizza from Milo + Olive in Santa Monica as recommended by friend Gaby. Nate’s assessment: If the French made pizza, this would be it. The crust was seriously like eating a perfect baguette. And then they had this thing called the garlic knot, which we thought would be garlic bread but was in fact a piece of bread filled with cloves of garlic and baked to sweet, delicious perfection. Cate couldn’t get enough of the garlic knot! Awesome food.

    milo + olive pizza  by @janemaynard

    • Diddy Riese: When we checked in at Hotel Angeleno, the receptionist told us we should take the kids to a place nearby called Diddy Riese. The whole trip we kept planning to go but never making it. The last day, as we drove out of town, we finally went. We grabbed lunch at the Flame Broiler down the street and then walked over to Diddy Riese for dessert. I did not know that ice cream sandwiches could be so good. They make homemade cookies and then put together your ice cream sandwich based on the flavors you choose. The cookies were divine. I could have eaten 4 sandwiches and been happy.

    diddy riese in los angeles by @janemaynard

    There you have it, Los Angeles in 2 1/2 days with 3 kids! This was just scratching the surface and I can’t wait to get back!

    A portion of our hotel costs were covered by Hotel Angeleno. All opinions are my own and we still spent plenty of money on our little jaunt to LA! ;)

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  3. Sunday, April 6

    Week 376 Menu & Spring Break Here We Come!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Today we are hopping in the car and heading north to Los Angeles for 3 days and then down to Anaheim. We are going to be staying at the Hotel Angeleno in LA in one of their suites. I’m super excited because, as many times as we’ve been to LA, we’ve never gone and seen the sites or spent any time there. Any suggestions of fun things to do are welcome! We are for sure going to hit the Getty, the La Brea Tar Pits and the Griffith Observatory. Geesh, that might fill our three days right there, but would still love to hear your ideas!

    hotel angeleno in los angeles

    After LA we are heading south to Anaheim, where we’ll brave the spring break crowds for one day at Disneyland and then spend a few days exploring the area. Our hotel the Carousel Inn & Suites is literally across the street from the park, which will be super convenient (I hate parking at Disneyland, it’s bananas). Nate and I are both taking off time from work, which I think will be the best part of the trip, honestly!

    carousell inn & suites in anaheim

    Needless to say I am not cooking this week. Woohoo! I’m sure we’ll be sick of eating out before the week is done, but I am excited to get a little break from the kitchen.

    It’s weeks like these that we need you even more to share your menus and provide inspiration for one another. So, please post those menus!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  4. Sunday, November 24

    Week 357 Menu

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Hello from Disneyland! We are so excited for the next two days – it’s going to be a blast! We are currently taking bets on whether the holiday fireworks music show will make me cry.

    No picture today because, well, I’m at Disneyland!

    MONDAY:
    - California Adventure Park food

    TUESDAY:
    - White Chicken Chili

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Pizza Port

    THURSDAY:
    - HAPPY THANKSGIVING! (Be sure to click here to share your Thanksgiving menu!)

    FRIDAY:
    - Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    - Leftovers

    SUNDAY:
    - Hopefully we’ll still have leftovers…if not, breakfast for dinner!

    I am thankful that so many of you post menus – it makes me happy week after week! Thank you for helping make the blog what it is! Looking forward to seeing your menus for the week. And, don’t forget to click here to share your Thanksgiving menu!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  5. Sunday, September 1

    Week 345 Menu

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Last night we went to the San Diego Zoo for NIghttime Zoo. We got there just before sunset and were walking through the new koala exhibit when the sky looked like this. It was breathtaking!

    san diego nighttime zoo | thisweekfordinner.com

    I have to say, it is sooooo nice to be back into the school routine. Well, I do hate getting up in the morning, but everything else about being back on a schedule is great!

    MONDAY:
    - Happy Labor Day! Heading to some friends’ for a mid-day get together!

    TUESDAY:
    - Homemade Pizza (if it’s not too hot outside!)

    WEDNESDAY:
    Grammy’s Orange Chicken
    - Rice and veggie

    THURSDAY:
    - Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    - Sweet potato and black bean burritos

    SATURDAY:
    - Takeout

    SUNDAY:
    - Chicken Piccata
    - Mashed potatoes and veggie

    It’s that time again, time for you all to share your menus for the week! Short, tall, big, small – bring on the menus! As always, thank you for sharing! They are so wonderful to read through when I plan each week!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  6. Wednesday, August 28

    A Visit to Gibson Pewter in New Hampshire

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    One of the many lovely spots in the northeast that we visited this summer was Hillsborough Center, NH. This quaint hilltop village is not far from where Nate grew up and seriously feels like a movie set. In fact, my sister-in-law Jess and I were convinced that all the residents had been abducted by ghosts or aliens, leaving the village quiet and pristine with nary a soul to be seen! It was almost creepy how perfect it was. The homes and buildings are original to the 18th-century and are beautifully kept, including a church, a one-room schoolhouse and a cemetery. Of course I had to wander about the cemetery and we even found a grave for a Revolutionary War veteran. It doesn’t get much more Colonial New England than that! I read the historical marker in town, which gave a lot more info on the area. I should have taken a photo of the plaque because I can’t find that info online and of course I don’t remember it! I do know that it said descendants of the original settlers still live in town.

    hillsborough center nh gravestones | thisweekfordinner.com

    hillsborough center nh cemetery | thisweekfordinner.com

    gibson pewter | thisweekfordinner.com

    Gibson Pewter is located in Hillsborough Center, so we stopped in to check out their wares. Nate’s mom said that I would love it and she was right. Jon Gibson is a second-generation pewterer and a world-class craftsman. His father opened the business in their 200-year-old barn in 1966 and ran the business seasonally. Jon now runs the business year-round and carries on the family tradition. Gibson Pewter owns many traditional patterns and creates contemporary pieces as well. I could have spent a fortune in the shop but limited myself to just one treasure, the Round Bowl Spoon, which is a reproduction of an early 18th-century Dutch-style spoon. I am completely in love with this spoon. I know, I’m crazy. I’m in love with a spoon. But it’s beautiful! (For some reason I forgot to add the photos of the spoon in this post, so click here to check it out!)

    gibson pewter barn web

    gibson pewter | thisweekfordinner.com

    The store and Jon’s pewter workshop are located in the basement of the barn and are tiny. Jon said that he keeps nice and warm in the wintertime and didn’t complain at all about the heat of the summer. He is certainly dedicated to the craft!

    jon gibson from gibson pewter | thisweekfordinner.com

    It was so interesting chatting with a craftsman of Jon’s caliber and imagining what it would be like to have a job like his. I am so happy we visited and look forward to heading back there again!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  7. Sunday, August 11

    Week 342 Menu

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Greetings from Cape Cod! Nate’s family has been staying in Sandwich, MA every summer for the last 20 years, but this year they broke tradition and we are trying out life in Falmouth. The house is awesome and is right in town near the water. The Falmouth Road Race is also literally ending in our front yard this morning, so we have front row seats for all the fun! There are 12,800 runners in the race, plus all their friends and family! It’s astounding how many people are here and we are having a blast!

    falmouth road race web

    There is a company named Yasso at the race handing out samples of their frozen Greek yogurt bars. The bars are SO GOOD. Yasso is now available in grocery stores nationwide. You need to find them. Such a great healthy and delicious treat!

    yasso frozen yogurt web

    We haven’t planned the menu for the week yet, but we do know there will do a barbecue cookout one night and Asian Spinach Salad another night. Beyond that, who cares? We’re on vacation!

    Even though I’m taking a break, I’m sure some of you are still on the ball! Please post your menu for the week!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  8. Tuesday, January 15

    Fentons

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    I have a Bay Area bucket list. In the time we have lived here, we actually ticked off a lot of the items on the list, but not everything. Like Alcatraz…we never went to Alcatraz. And Chez Panisse. My heart hurts just a bit knowing I never ate there. One day…

    Last week I was hanging out with my dear friend Rachel, talking about how fast my departure date was approaching. She suddenly exclaimed, “And we never made it to Fentons!” And I exclaimed right back, “Well, let’s go this week!” And so we did! Another Bay Area bucket list item checked off!

    Rachel grew up in Oakland, where Fentons is located. Fentons is famous, a Bay Area staple. It’s been around since 1894, which in California is OLD. They make delicious, homemade ice cream. And it’s where Carl Fredrickson and Russell grab a cone at the end of Up. How could you not want to go to Fentons, I ask you?

    We had a great time. We had to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ about 14 times, which was actually really fun. The restaurant has a busy, happy vibe. And the ice cream was, in fact, delicious. I got the Fudgeanna sundae with vanilla and dutch chocolate chip ice cream. Oh, that dutch chocolate chip ice cream was heavenly. I want more. Now.

    The sundae was a bit top heavy and when the waitress handed it to me, I didn’t get a good hold on it and my giant scoop of dutch chocolate chip ice cream rolled onto Owen. He was NOT happy…until we filled him with ice cream. Then he was very happy! So, fair warning, the sundaes are HUGE and may attack you if you’re not careful.

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  9. Thursday, October 11

    Fun Times in Anaheim

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    We are not entirely sure how much longer we’ll be living in California, so we decided we should get a Disneyland trip under our belts just in case. We skipped school (parenting at its best!) and took three days last week to bop down to Anaheim for some fun! The trip was fast and exhausting, but I am sooooo glad we did it. With the exception of Owen (who just wanted to crawl around the hotel room instead of being dragged around amusement parks in record-breaking heat in a stroller), we all had a blast! And it was totally worth skipping school. ;)

    The Anaheim Visitor’s Bureau did a fantastic job helping to coordinate our trip. Thank you, Anaheim! I would love to share our experiences with you in case you decide to bop over to Anaheim yourselves!

    Howard Johnson at Disneyland
    The tourism board put us up at the HoJo Anaheim. It was the perfect spot for our family. Here are all the reasons we loved staying there:

    • We were in a 2 Queens Premium room and it was great for our family of five. Often when our family stays in just one hotel room, there is very little space for luggage, the pack n play, and the people…we just feel cramped. This room had plenty of space for everything, so everyone was comfortable the whole time.
    • We were spoiled with a room in the tower overlooking Disneyland Park, so we had front row seats to the nightly fireworks. Which was just plain awesome.
    • The Castaway Cove Water Playground was AWESOME. So well done, so much fun, the kids LOVED it.
    • The hotel is a very short walk to the Disneyland Park entrance, eliminating the need to park your car at the amusement park (which is a huge pain). Heaven.
    • Mimi’s Cafe is right across the street. We ate breakfast there a couple mornings and it was very family friendly. The night we arrived it was kind of late and we ordered take-out, turkey dinner for our whole family for $25! It was just what we needed.
    • The night we arrived the girls were beyond giddy. Cate exclaimed, “Mom! This hotel room is wonderful!” I replied, “So, you like it?” To which Cate replied, “No, Mom. {pause} I LOVE it.” Anna just kept repeating “Disneyland Fireworks! Disneyland Fireworks! Disneyland Fireworks!” It was all just so darn cute.

    Disneyland Park
    Of course we visited Disneyland – that was the original goal of the trip! A few quick notes on our visit this time around:

    • Cars Land at California Adventure Park is AWESOME. We didn’t even do any of the rides in Cars Land and we still loved it to pieces. It is beautiful, so well-done, you feel like you’re walking right through the movie. The Cozy Cone Motel served snacks that were all cone themed in cone-shaped containers. The whole area was created that way, with great attention to detail.

    • The World of Color show was really cool and the girls counted it as one of their favorite parts of the day. Be sure to get a fast pass early in the day for the show!
    • We ate dinner at Cafe Orleans that night. It was SOOOO nice to sit down in an air-conditioned restaurant and have someone serve us. We were really glad we took the time for a sit-down meal. The food was great, too. The pommes frites were DELISH.
    • Did you know about the parent swap option? Both Disney and Knott’s had this. If you have a baby in a stroller, when you get in line for a ride, you can request a parent swap pass. That way, one parent can wait in line with the kids, ride the ride, then when they get off, the other parent can get in the fast pass line and be able to ride as well. It was WONDERFUL and perfect for us, since Owen couldn’t go on any of the rides.

    • We were excited to discover that they are building a new princess area at Disneyland. Whenever we go to Disneyland, the girls see Sleeping Beauty’s castle and immediately ask where the princesses are. Well, the princesses are located in the back of the park, nowhere near the castle, so it’s always kind of a let down. But they are building a new princess area right next to the castle! It will be perfect and my girls can’t wait to visit Disneyland to see it when it’s done!
    • You may be wondering…was skipping school worth it? Was the park really less crowded? It was still busy. All of Australia happened to be there that day. But the lines were definitely not as long as on a high-traffic day, so it was worth it. I think going on a Tuesday would have been even better than a Monday. If anyone has tips of the best days and times of year to go with the least amount of crowds, please share!

    Knott’s Berry Farm
    We spent half a day at Knott’s Berry Farm and it was great! More relaxing than Disneyland and WAY less crowded (we didn’t have to wait in any lines and could ride some of the rides over and over again). Our family is planning to dress up as Peanuts characters for Halloween, so seeing the Peanuts characters walking around got the girls pumped for their costumes. And Owen, our dog lover, LOVED meeting Snoopy in person. I also really liked how all the kids rides were in one place, Camp Snoopy. It was fun for the kids to hit ride after ride after ride. We had lunch at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, where the chicken and biscuits were deeee-licious. The girls really enjoyed their jello appetizer…perhaps a little too much. ;)

    Medieval Times
    After Knott’s, we headed over to Medieval Times for dinner. Nate and I had never been and weren’t sure what to expect. It was a middle school dream of mine to go to Medieval Times, so the dream was finally coming alive! ;) We really weren’t sure what the girls would think, especially since Anna is scared of the dark. Welllll…every last member of our little family loved it, even Owen! We arrived and got to meet the Princess Catalina. It was like Anna was meeting her greatest hero. She was super shy but reached out for her hand, which she held for our photo. The princess was so gracious and sweet to the girls, which Nate and I greatly appreciated. When it was finally time for the festivities to begin, we were seated and the lights went down. There was no silverware, but our loyal server snuck a few pieces so I could feed the baby. The food was great and there’s something about ripping into your food with with your hands that really gets you in the mood to cheer on dueling knights.

    Okay, seriously, our kids LOVED every minute of the dinner and show. They ate the food, they cheered wildly, Owen kept clapping and pointing. At one point when the Red Knight (our knight) was fighting, Cate was literally trembling as she cheered him on. Anna fell for the blue knight, even though he was from the other side of the kingdom. After it was all over, you could meet the knights and royalty for autographs. Anna wanted to meet the blue knight, but she got shy, wouldn’t look at him or the camera, and when Nate told him how she cheered him on and liked a winner, Anna kicked Nate in the shins. A first crush if we’ve ever seen one!

    Discovery Science Center
    On the day we drove home, we spent the morning at the Discovery Science Center. Again, the kids loved it. Owen was happy because he could finally crawl around and explore somewhere! The exhibits were really fun and well done and we could have easily spent the entire day there. They have different “adventures” for different age levels at the various exhibits and they were tailored very well for our girls. There is a dinosaur exhibit outdoors where you get these cool magic wands and go on an adventure, looking for discoveries. The girls loved it. There is also a pretend grocery store where you learn how to shop with the environment in mind. I actually really loved the grocery store. I feel like the way we shop for food really does have an environmental impact, so I loved that they were helping the kids to learn to think that way, too.

    Yes, we did a LOT. Arrived Sunday night. Monday at Disneyland. Tuesday morning at the water playground at the hotel. Lunch and afternoon at Knott’s. Dinner at Medieval Times. Wednesday morning at Discover Science, then hit the road for home. We could have easily spent a day or two at each place we visited, so we packed a lot in just a few short days. But, like I said, it was a BLAST and I am so glad we did it! I think the girls were in Fun Heaven.

    Big thanks again to the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau for helping coordinate so much of our trip. They are a fantastic resource! And I highly recommend staying in Anaheim for a Southern California family vacation. Easy access to Disneyland is a huge plus, and Anaheim is smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles and San Diego, which have so much to offer. Fun family times!

    In the interest of full disclosure, Disneyland provided us with two passes and some vouchers to go towards a meal. Anaheim provided us with our hotel accommodations, additional Disneyland passes, admission to the other venues and two meals. We paid for our own transportation costs and additional meals. All opinions are my own!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  10. Sunday, September 30

    Week 297 Menu

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    This week is going to be a FUN one for the Maynards! Today we are hopping in the car and heading to Anaheim! We’ve got some fun days ahead of us and the trip will be fast and furious. I can’t wait!

    Given the travel plans, our menu is definitely in vacation mode!

    MONDAY:
    - Dinner in Disneyland!

    TUESDAY:
    - Lunch at Knotts Berry Farm
    - Dinner at Medieval Times

    Wednesday:
    - Dinner on the road, driving home

    THURSDAY:
    - Spaghetti and veggies from CSA bag

    FRIDAY:
    - Chicken Pot Pie (I can’t wait to share this recipe with you, it’s easy, fast and delicious! Post coming soon…had to wait for the cookbook it’s from to publish, which happens 10/1.)

    SATURDAY:
    - Stefania’s Braised Chicken (didn’t get to it last week)

    SUNDAY:
    - Leftovers or Waffles

    You know the drill…please share your menu for the week! Thank you, everyone!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

Martha\\\'s Circle
Eat Less Meat
SocialLuxe
ONE