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Review of Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park California

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a family-friendly combination of live theater, dinner and dramatic entertainment. Located on Beach Blvd, this dinner theater is in the same area as Knott’s Berry Farm and Medieval Times. Disneyland is a 15 minute drive away. With so many excellent entertainment choices, is Pirate’s Dinner Adventure a good choice for your family? Keep reading for my full, honest review!

My family and I received complimentary tickets to attend Pirate’s Dinner Adventure. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is located in Buena Park, a city in Los Angeles/Orange County. It’s just a few blocks from Knott’s Berry Farm and about 15-minutes drive from Disneyland. My family (including my husband, toddler, six-year old and two teenagers) visited Pirate’s Dinner Adventure for the first time.

For more ideas on what to do in the Buena Park and Southern California area, be sure to check out my post.

Many guests were dressed in pirate garb, which is encouraged for young and old alike. My son brought his pirate hat and we saw many guests wearing bandanas and carrying light-up pirate swords. There are, of course, plenty of costuming accessories for sale in the souvenir shops inside the lobby. The lobby is appropriately decorated with a giant pirate’s map and skeletons.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Purchasing Tickets for the Event

When I was at the ticket window getting our tickets there was a family of 7 next to me trying to get seats for that night. Unfortunately the show had sold out, which I understand is fairly regular. Don’t expect to just show up and try to purchase tickets, it’s best to buy ahead of time. Tickets can be found on the website or through Groupon (for select nights only). Sign up through Ebates first, then click Groupon to purchase – you’ll receive an additional 9% cash back! Even with your Groupon ticket, you’ll still need to call ahead of time to book your reservation.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Pre-Show Entertainment & Appetizers

Before entering the theater you’ll have your group photo taken. Printed pictures will be brought to you tableside during the show. You can purchase them, or not. It was recommended that we arrive 60 minutes before the show. This allowed plenty of time for purchasing a drink at the bar, souvenir shopping, taking in the pirate decor and a restroom break. There is the opportunity to have your child’s face painted for an additional charge. Unless you’re planning on shopping, I don’t think you need to get there quite that early. We did a lot of standing around, waiting for the doors to open. Actually we have a toddler, so technically that just meant we took turns chasing her through the crowds!

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

As far as the pre-show appetizers, they are tray-passed through the lobby. We saw meatballs on toast, ham and cheese open-faced sandwiches, and carrots and celery with ranch dressing. Not too special, I’d wait to eat and save room for the hearty dinner instead. However you can purchase both alcoholic and non-alcoholic specialty drinks in the lobby, then bring them into the theater.

There is a pre-show in the bar area which introduced the pirates. We were in the entryway room but were able to watch on a television. Each pirate walks through the lobby, carrying a colored flag and leading guests that are seated in his colored section. We waited until the orange pirate came through and then followed him with the rest of our group into the theater!

Seating Inside Pirate’s Dinner Adventure

If you choose a seat in the upper part of the theater, know that you won’t be allowed much elbow room. Guests were squeezed in pretty tight in those last few rows. Also, there are some seats that don’t have very good views of the action. In fact some spots have obstructed views with all the pirate ship rigging and poles in the way.

I recommend opting for a seating upgrade that allows for more space and an unobstructed and closer view of the action. My family and I were seated in the second row of the orange section, which offered us a perfect view of the stage.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Food Review

The Pirate’s Dinner Adventure includes a three-course meal. Non-alcoholic drinks like soda, water, lemonade, coffee and tea are included. You can also request a vegetarian. gluten-free or vegan meal in place of the traditional dishes. Children will receive the kid’s platter, which includes small portions of mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, and cubed melon alongside a generous amount of chicken nuggets.

Soup or Salad – Guests have their choice of either a large dinner salad or a small bowl of vegetable soup. I ordered the salad, which was large for a dinner salad. It was already covered with ranch dressing, which was fine, except that the server never asked me what kind of dressing I wanted (and I usually request dressing on the side). My older two kids ordered soup.

Main Course – Roasted quarter chicken leg and thigh. The meat was moist and flavorful. There was a veggie and shrimp skewer, which was also tasty. Carrots and zucchini are served on the side (zucchini was slightly under cooked, which was better than being overcooked in my opinion). Creamy mashed potatoes rounded out the plate. Our server did bring a platter with more chicken to see if anyone wanted another piece (my husband did).

Dessert – A slice of tres leches cake that is drizzled with chocolate. Usually not my favorite dessert but this was delicious!

Overall the food is good and our platters were served hot. Note that your entire party may not be served at once (my older kids didn’t get their plates until about 5 minutes after their dad and me). There are additional upgrades that can be made to your meal, including adding lobster and champagne or three-layer chocolate cake.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Service

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is a loud and boisterous place. This means it can be a challenge to get messages to the server. We were seated at a long bench table and if you’re seated in the middle, you won’t really be able to speak to your server directly without yelling! I had to “talk” to the server by telling my husband and having him pass the message to the server. Meal plates are passed from the ends to the guests in the middle of the table. Not every seat is like that in the theater, but having the bench seats without server access made it difficult.

We received beverages at the beginning of the show but they were never refilled. Guests are encouraged to “Drink! Drink!” at times during the show and my 6-year old said to me with his stein turned upside down, “I can’t drink, my cup is empty!”

Audience Participation

Throughout the show, the audience is encouraged to participate. Each colored seating section is assigned their own pirate. We sat in the orange section and cheered on our themed pirate throughout the show. Shouting, standing, banging your cup and cheering is all encouraged! My husband was given the job of raising our orange flag. Some children were invited to the stage to ride in one of the row boats. Other guests were included in the show as well. It’s a boisterous place and that adds to the fun!

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

The Show – Legend of the Loch Ness Monster

This action-packed show takes place on what looks like a Spanish galleon. The ship is surrounded by 200,000 gallons of water on which row boats float. The “stage” is impressive for sure, and the colorful lighting and dramatic music adds to the effect. Did I mention the shirtless pirates? These singing, dancing and sword fighting pirates swing from ropes, leap on trampolines and duel each other throughout the show. Each pirate has their own personality and allows for plenty of comic relief in between the drama.

There is also a comedic “pirate in training”, a headstrong princess, an acrobatic gypsy girl, a teensy-bit of romance and lots of one-on-one pirate battles. The stunts are all great quality. The swinging ladder was my favorite part (I held my breath the entire time!) Don’t bother trying to figure out the story plot in between eating. Just watch and enjoy (ahem, shirtless pirates!)

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Can You Take a Baby or a Toddler?

We mentioned on the reservation that we would have a toddler with us. I asked initially if there were high chairs and was assured that there were. However our seats were in the second row, which was all bench seating with one long table. There wasn’t any way to get a high chair there for our toddler. I asked our server for a booster seat, but it was never brought.

The seat and table were too far away from each other for my petite toddler to sit at (she is just a few weeks shy of her second birthday). My husband and I ended up taking turns holding her on our laps so that she could reach the table to eat. She watched most of the show but started to get bored towards the end (naturally, after the cake was served!) I took her out into the lobby to run around until the show was over.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Trying to hold a squirmy toddler while watching the show.

What Age Is Most Appropriate?

We attended Pirate’s Dinner Adventure with our almost-2 year old daughter, 6 year old son and two 14 year olds (boy and girl). I already shared about my toddler in the section above. There are some loud moments (like thunder sounds or cracking whips) that might startle young children. The show is appropriate for all ages but at 2 hours, it might be too long for some children. My older three kids were highly entertained. They all liked the food and enjoyed the action. My 6 year old lamented that he wished he’d been chosen to go onto the stage! There is one scene at the end that frightened my son and he hid under the table (I promise, it’s not that scary!) My teenagers both liked the show though my jaded older son said it was a “little corny”, but I don’t think that was a bad thing.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Who Will Enjoy Pirate’s Dinner Adventure?

If you’re looking for a high-brow, elegant dinner, this is not the place for you. If you like to relax, enjoy live entertainment and can get into the fun atmosphere, Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is a great family place! You can read my review of Medieval Times (which is literally a block away from Pirate’s Dinner Adventure) so you can compare the two and see which is the better choice for your family.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark


Getting Motivated When You Don’t Feel Like Exercising

Getting back into an exercise routine can be a challenge. I know, because I’m right there with you! While I’ve been doing well on the healthy eating side for a while, now I need to work on the exercise aspect. Firming, toning and strengthening are my new focus. However getting motivated to just do the workout has been a struggle for me. I’m home alone for hours with my toddler, so if I’m not playing with her, I’m trying to squeeze in work. Exercise with a toddler around isn’t impossible – but it’s definitely becoming my latest excuse to skip the exercise!

I Just Don’t Feel Like Exercising

I’ve come up with some motivations to move me forward when I have no desire to workout anymore. Sometimes I want to exercise but I’m lazy, I’ll admit it! And I can come up with a million reasons NOT to do it. Tackling these motivators FIRST can set you up for success. I recommend writing things down, posting them somewhere prominent and reminding others around you to encourage you on your fitness journey!

I’ve included photos of me in this post wearing my new workout wear from Fabletics. Keep reading for a review on Fabletics and why I think it’s important to have cute and comfortable workout clothes.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

I received one complimentary outfit from Fabletics. No other compensation was made. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you.

1. Have a Reason Why

What are you exercising for? You have to know your “reason why” because that’s your ultimate motivator. Write your reason down, whether it’s to lose weight, firm up or get heart healthy. When you feel your motivation waning, put your reason why someplace at the forefront to remind you daily.

My reason? To firm up, yes. But also to be a good example for my children! We frequently exercise together, even if it’s just a long walk outside.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

2. Know Your Excuses

I didn’t sleep well last night and today I’m too exhausted to exercise. I just can’t seem to find the time. My legs/back/head hurts. I don’t like the gym. I’m bored with my usual workout. I don’t feel like working out anymore!

Do any of those excuses sound familiar? Yeah, we’ll come up with a bunch of reasons why we shouldn’t work out. But it goes back to your “reason why” and all excuses need to go out the window. When you find yourself making excuses, remember your “reason why”. Your “reason why” you should be exercising will knock off all excuses.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

3. Have a Workout Buddy

I’ve always found that having someone to workout with makes the “chore” of exercise more fun. You don’t want to let your workout buddy down, so you’re more likely to show up and keep the schedule. Here are some ideas on things to do with a workout buddy:

  • Make a standing twice weekly date on the calendar.
  • Go for a long walk with your kids – even if you have to bring their strollers.
  • Meet in the park with workout bands and kettle bells.
  • Screen a workout video at home to do together.
How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

My workout buddy keeps me motivated!

4. Get It Out of the Way First Thing

I’ve been in the habit of getting up, getting dressed and eating breakfast. Then once I’ve dropped off the kids at school, I just don’t want to change into my workout clothes and that’s just another excuse not to exercise.

Now when I get up, I immediately put on my workout clothes. I find that if I’m already wearing them when I get back after school drop off, I might as well workout! If you can, tackle your exercise first thing in the day so nothing else can get in front of getting it done.


5. Squeeze It In

Okay, so some days you just can’t get the workout done first thing in the morning. But don’t let that be a reason to let the whole day go down the drain. Take advantage of small bits of time when you can squeeze in the exercise.

Here are a few things that I do at home when I have snippets of time:

  • When cooking dinner, I will stay in the kitchen while waiting for the food to be ready. This is a great time to do as many leg squats as you can or do incline push-ups against the counter or chair dips.
  • Before and after school drop off I’ll do a fast walking lap around the block.
  • When playing with my toddler, I’ll stretch, do crunches and planks on the floor next to her.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

6. Develop a Routine

Having a consistent routine can push you through sluggishness. Go through your exercise routine step by step and repeat it. Maybe you always get up in the morning, get yourself into your workout clothes, put your hair in a ponytail, lace up your running shoes and fill your water bottle before starting exercise. Write down your routine and stick with it each day so you can fall into a pattern of repetition.

7. Have a Checklist

I’m all for checklists because it makes it so much easier for me to keep track of my time and routine. You can do a search on Pinterest for workout checklists or just write one yourself. Here are some things to keep track of:

  • Cardio days and weight days
  • Length of time you worked out
  • Reps and weight in pounds
  • How much water you drank

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

8. Anything Is Better Than Nothing

Just becasue you couldn’t work out for 90 minutes at the gym doesn’t mean you should skip your exercise completely. Do what you can, whenever you can. Maybe that means you park far away and walk briskly through the parking lot when running errands. Or you take the stairs instead of the elevator. All those little things really do add up when you’re counting your exercise!


9. Wear Workout Clothes That You Love

I recently received this set of workout clothes from Fabletics. After losing some weight, I was desperate for new exercise clothing. And for me, having something that is cute, comfy and flattering makes me want to wear it. And if I’m already wearing my workout clothes, I might as well workout, right?!

The Fabletics Salar Statement Powerhold Legging have four-way stretch for maximum compression that’s still comfortable. They are also moisture-wicking and quick drying. I love the wide, drawstring waistband. I hate when the elastic at the waist is too skinny because it tends to roll over. These pants totally stayed put during my entire workout.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

There’s an internal waistband pocket to hold something small like a key. There are also slim side pockets along each leg for holding your device. The full-length legging was a bit long for me (I’m only 5’2″) – next time I’ll choose a short inseam.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

Two side pockets on the leg – large enough to hold my phone.

I really love the design on the Fabletics Nicole performance tank. The Aegean blue color coordinates with the leggings and has pretty detailing along the sides. The top has built-in cups, though I still needed to wear a workout bra underneath for additional support. But smooth and flattering, not too snug at the waist or hips.

What are your tested ways to stay motivated to workout?

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

 

Dinnerly Review – Honest Review of Dinnerly Meal Subscription

Have you ever used a meal subscription service? I hadn’t, up to last week. My family and I prepare 99% of our meals at home. The thought of paying to have our food prepped and delivered has never been something we considered. Would trying Dinnerly change our mind? I was intrigued by the interesting recipes, the Dinnerly website photos and the lower-than-expected cost. Find out my honest Dinnerly review and whether it works for families. And does it really save time and money to order Dinnerly versus handpicking everything yourself at the grocery?

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way. I received two complimentary family boxes from Dinnerly to facilitate this review. I received no other compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

What is Dinnerly?

Dinnerly is a meal subscription service. Ingredients for three meals are sent weekly in either a Two-Person Box or Family Box. Dinnerly is targeted to those who like homemade cooking with fresh ingredients, but are busy and are looking to save time with shopping and cooking. Going on vacation or don’t need or want Dinnerly? When signing up, you aren’t locked in so you can choose when you want or don’t want a box.

I have never used a meal subscription service before so this was a new concept for my family. With six to feed, we are a frugal family. However we do opt to choose organic whenever we can. I agreed to review Dinnerly because the cost is in line with a “fancier” meal that we’d prepare at home (around $5 per person). And Dinnerly sends quality protein such as grass-fed ground beef and antibiotic-free chicken, items we already purchase ourselves. We were excited to try Dinnerly and this is my honest Dinnerly review!

What’s on the Dinnerly Menu?

I received the Dinnerly Family Box which includes 4 portions per recipe (intended for two adults & two children). Each recipe involves six or less ingredients. Subscribers are sent 3 recipes per week and you can choose from the 6 available meals that week on the Dinnerly menu. Each recipe appears on the menu once per month for 2 months, with ingredients changing seasonally.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Inside the Dinnerly family box.

Past recipes include Grass-Fed Beef Stew with Black Pepper Dumplings, Meatloaf & Carmelized Cabbage with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Veggie Grain Bowl with Lemon-Goat Cheese Dressing, and Spicy Turkey Pizza with Crispy Kale.

A far cry from the usual “Taco Tuesdays”, right? There is always at least one vegetarian meal you can choose from on the menu.

In my first Dinnerly box I received recipes and ingredients for the following dinner dishes:

  • Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli
  • Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta
  • Fried Spaghetti Pie
Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

You can opt to print your own recipe cards or just look at the recipes on your device (I chose to print them myself).

Preparing Dinnerly Meals

The fresh, seasonal ingredients arrived in an insulated box with a large chill pack inside. Recipe cards are not included so you can choose to pull up the instructions on your device or print them out (which is what I did). It was easy enough to sort out what ingredients went to which dishes. I bundled them together and placed them in the fridge for later in the week. You’ll need a few pantry basics, like oil, salt and pepper. Otherwise all the necessities for each dish are included in the Dinnerly box.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Everything I need for three big meals inside the Dinnerly box!

Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta

Dinnerly recipes are touted as taking 30 minutes or less to prepare and cook. I found that some of the recipe times were a little off and required more time to cook than what was suggested. In the recipe for Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta the recipe says to cook the chicken on the stove top for 6-7 minutes until browned but I found it actually took about 11 minutes. Not a big deal, a few minutes here and there aren’t going to put a kink in the dinner plans.

There are some instances where you’ll cook and then have to remove the food to a plate so you can cook again in the same pan. This is fine with me, as it means less pans to wash! I found the recipes easy to follow. It helps streamline things if you have someone else in the kitchen who can prep and chop the vegetables while you hop to the next step.

I made the spiced tomato braised chicken in my Dutch oven and the house smelled heavenly. Nobody in my family had ever tried polenta before but we all really liked it. And even though I’d never prepared it before, the recipe instructions were fool-proof.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

There’s a chicken drumstick underneath that generous pile of onion, carrots and sauce!

How Do the Dinnerly Recipes Taste?

I was a little nervous that the amount of food included would not be enough for my family. While we do have six in the family, I didn’t expect that my two youngest (ages 6 and 20 months) would try any of these dishes. They are both picky and ended up eating leftovers or pb&j sandwiches instead.

Our two older children are teenagers and they each eat as much as an adult. The family box ingredients are intended for two adults and two children, but we found that there was plenty to go around, even with the teenager appetites!

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli from Dinnerly had a kick but it was easy to adjust the spice to our personal family tastes.

Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli

When preparing the Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli, my husband was there to chop the veggies. He is extremely particular about his food but was very happy with the quality of the produce.

The Dinnerly box came with four packets of Sriracha so we could adjust the heat for taste. I only used three packets in the main dish and my husband put the last packet on his own individual serving. While very easy to prepare and with minimal ingredients, this recipe helped us to think outside the box with introducing us to new ingredients. Neither of us had ever made anything with Chinese broccoli or Sriracha sauce before. We both really loved this dish – There was even some plate licking on his part!

How Much Does Dinnerly Cost?

Dinnerly is priced at $5 per each serving. Shipping per box is $8.99, so be sure to work that into the cost breakdown. Dinnerly is the lowest cost of all the dinner subscription boxes on the market. While the Dinnerly Family Box is noted to feed two adults and two children, we found that there was an abundance of food!

For instance when we ate Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta my husband, myself and my two teenagers each had one large portion (served with our own side salad). My husband had a second large helping. Then there was still enough for me to pack away leftovers for my husband to take to work the following day. This meal actually equaled out to about 6 servings for us, making this an even better price breakdown.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Fried Spaghetti Pie

The vegetarian meal for the week I received Dinnerly was the intriguing sounding Fried Spaghetti Pie. I can honestly say I’ve never prepared or eaten anything quite like this dish! A creamy sauce and grated Parmesan coats the cooked spaghetti, which is then lightly fried and baked to crisp. It’s topped with a tossed arugala salad. This was a fun twist on traditional pasta dishes and we enjoyed it a lot! The recipe even gave us some ideas on how to add protein, if we wished to.

Second Dinnerly Box

I had the opportunity to try a second Dinnerly box and jumped at the chance. Last time I’d ordered there were only the three set menu items and now they offer your choice of three from the six available items that week. I chose these three dishes, Moo Shu Turkey Tacos, Shepard’s Pie and Meatball Parm Pizza with Broccoli.

Again, all the ingredients were sent in the big cooler box. I printed out my recipes and pulled out the ingredients. Be sure to read through the entire recipe first. There might be a step you can do earlier to save time.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Dinnerly Meal Options

Moo Shu Turkey Tacos

Moo Shu Turkey Tacos was another recipe that used an ingredient I’ve never tried before: Hoisin sauce. It’s a thick sweet and tangy sauce that is diluted in with the meat and then drizzled onto the completed tacos. This recipe went together very quickly. With three tacos per person, this was a filling meal we all enjoyed. We prefer our tortillas on the crispier side, so we laid them directly over the flame to warm.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Shepard’s Pie

Shepard’s Pie is one of those dishes where you can make good use of leftovers but here, you’ll be making it from scratch. You’ll boil and mash the potatoes separately then top them over the cooked meat and veggies. An oven-proof skillet (like a cast iron) is recommended but I used my Dutch oven and it came out fine. There was quite a bit of liquid in the pan after cooking but it was all good. The extra juices seemed to absorb more after resting and cooling. The flavors were absolutely delicious. Overall it was really an easy comfort dish, perfect for a chilly day.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Meatball Parm Pizza with Broccoli

“Broccoli on pizza? First the Hawaiians and now, you!”, quoted my teenager from the movie Inside Out. I confess that was my first thought when I saw this recipe too. Would kids really eat pizza with broccoli? This was a more complicated dish to tackle late on a Friday evening. There are suggestions on the recipe to prepare the meat and broccoli earlier, which would have helped speed up the process for sure. Fortunately this dish was well worth the extra work, it was so good! Who knew that beef and broccoli make wonderful pizza toppings?!

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Dinnerly Review Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Creative meals that got us out of a dinner rut
  • Choose 3 meals from the six available on the menu each week for more personalized tailoring for your family
  • Healthful dishes with fresh ingredients
  • Truly quick and easy meals that seem more “fancy” than usual
  • Convenient to know that all the ingredients for dinner are on hand
  • Time-conscious meal preparation
  • Delicious! The four of us that ate the Dinnerly meals really enjoyed the flavors

Cons:

  • Only delivering to select areas of the United States at this time, currently 29 states (Where does Dinnerly deliver? Check the site to see if Dinnerly delivers in your area)
  • May be a bit pricier than purchasing ingredients on your own (but definitely cheaper than eating out!)
  • Fancier meals may not appeal to picky eaters

Dinner ideas for families that are quick and cheap? Find out how to get all the ingredients for delicious dinner dishes delivered to your home each week (at a fraction of the price for other meal subscription services!) #Dinnerly #QuickDinners #FamilyMeals #Dinner #Cooking #BudgetCooking

Want to Try Dinnerly?

Click through to see what’s cooking on Dinnerly this week! You can see the menu for the month and sign up for a subscription.

My family had a great time cooking with Dinnerly! We thought the recipes were creative and delicious. We were actually excited to cook each night and try something new. In the past, I’ve liked trying new dishes, but I don’t like having to purchase special ingredients just for one dish (like an entire bottle of sauce or a large block of cheese). Dinnerly is perfect because they supply you with exactly what you need. And there’s no waste because you use just what they send.

I highly recommend trying Dinnerly and appreciate that you can sign up for the service without major commitment. There is a flexible subscription option so you can decide ahead of time which weeks you want to receive. And you can always skip a week if necessary. But why would you want to because the food is all really good!

 

Relieving My Tired, Achy “Mom Body” From the Ground Up

#advertisement I received compensation from Dr. Scholl’s® to write this post. All opinions are entirely my own. #CustomFitRelief #DrScholls

Exercise and moving more is something I’m working on in my rejuvenated quest for little changes that make a big difference. I recently celebrated my 44th birthday and with four kids (ages 19 months to 13 years old), I need all the energy I can to keep up with them. Unfortunately, I have chronic lower back pain that often hinders me from getting active. Years of not listening to my body has taken its toll. I’ve been doing physical therapy and exercising more to strengthen my core. I know that too much sitting can cause my pain to increase and that stretching, exercise and frequent walking helps. However being on my feet more means tired, achy feet in addition to lower back pain. Simply walking my baby in her stroller around the block can cause foot and lower back pain, which is not encouraging me to move more!

See how I'm using custom orthodics to relieve my tired, achy "mom body" so I can keep up with my kids! #CustomFitRelief #ad

I’ve heard about using orthotic inserts in my everyday shoes but hadn’t tried them yet. Pain in the lower back and knees can originate from your feet. Orthotics can disperse foot pressure to reduce the stress on your knees or lower back that cause pain. I was excited to see that my local Walmart has a Dr. Scholl’s® Custom Fit® Kiosk (CLICK to find a Custom Fit® Kiosk near you). The kiosk uses Footmapping® technology to help me choose the right orthotic insert for my needs. Dr. Scholl’s® Custom Fit® Orthotics can provide immediate, all day relief for foot, knee, or lower back pain while on my feet…sign me up!

See how I'm using custom orthodics to relieve my tired, achy "mom body" so I can keep up with my kids! #CustomFitRelief #ad

Dr. Scholl’s® developed the advanced FootMapping® technology used in the Custom Fit® kiosk. Simply stand barefooted at the kiosk and the machine uses over 2,000 pressure sensors to create your Custom Footmap.

See how I'm using custom orthodics to relieve my tired, achy "mom body" so I can keep up with my kids! #CustomFitRelief #ad
At one point in the process you’ll grab a hold of the bars in front of you and lift up each foot at a time for the FootMapping® technology to “read” each foot.

In just seconds, you’ll receive information identifying your arch type, foot length and unique pressure points. It’s a very quick process – in under 2 minutes, the kiosk evaluated my feet and recommended the Custom Fit® Orthotic Inserts that were ideal for me. I’m a CF310!

See how I'm using custom orthodics to relieve my tired, achy "mom body" so I can keep up with my kids! #CustomFitRelief #ad

At the end of the process, I plugged in my email address to have rebate and all the information about the recommended orthotics sent to me. You can also click through to get $10 savings after purchase via this link at the Custom Fit® Online Rebate Center.

See how I'm using custom orthodics to relieve my tired, achy "mom body" so I can keep up with my kids! #CustomFitRelief #ad

Dr. Scholl’s® Custom Fit® Orthotics are comprised of 4 layers that provide support and cushioning that relieve foot and lower body pain for all-day on-your-feet comfort.

See how I'm using custom orthodics to relieve my tired, achy "mom body" so I can keep up with my kids! #CustomFitRelief #ad

Let’s just say when I slipped them into my new boots, I didn’t experience any of the usual discomfort when I started walking. The orthotic raised my foot slightly, so my walking shoes with the elastic bands across the top were a little tighter than usual.

See how I'm using custom orthodics to relieve my tired, achy "mom body" so I can keep up with my kids! #CustomFitRelief #ad

I like that I can move the orthotics into whatever shoe I’m wearing that day (my boots, walking shoes, heel or flats). Everyone can try Custom Fit® Orthotics risk-free, with the Dr. Scholl’s® Money Back Guarantee.

See how I'm using custom orthodics to relieve my tired, achy "mom body" so I can keep up with my kids! #CustomFitRelief #ad

Daily use of my Dr. Scholl’s® Custom Fit® Orthotic Inserts has truly helped me to get through my days comfortably. I’m using Dr. Scholl’s® Custom Fit® Orthotic Inserts in my everyday shoes to help me relieve lower back pain. Now I can keep up with my kids…they just need to keep up with me!

See how I'm using custom orthodics to relieve my tired, achy "mom body" so I can keep up with my kids! #CustomFitRelief #ad

Photo Credit: Melendy Britt

Pushed into the Spotlight – Honest Review of Goodbye Christopher Robin

I received complimentary viewing passes to watch the movie Goodbye Christopher Robin. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This is the movie description from the website Rotten Tomatoes:

GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN gives a rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children’s author A. A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin, whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne, and his nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald), Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family?

Review of Goodbye Christopher Robin

Goodbye Christopher Robin is not the movie you’d expect. While the movie poster shows father and son walking through the illustrated world of Winnie-the-Pooh the movie is less about the actual books than it is about the author and his family. The movie does not sugar coat the cracked relationship this child has with his parents. Christopher Robin’s mother Daphne and father A.A. Milne are wealthy socialites. Much of the boy’s time is spent in the loving care of his nanny, Olive (whom he calls Neu).

While his parents work at building social connections via travel and parties, their child is home with Nanny. As to be expected, the relationship that he has with his nanny is often a tighter bond than what has developed with his own mother and father.

This is not to diminish the love that Christopher’s parents have for him, however each bring their struggles to the relationships of those around them. A.A. Milne (known as Blue in the movie) suffers from post-WWI trauma, which paints a sadness over his days.

Milne’s wife, Daphne comes across first as superficial, belittling and selfish. She dresses her son in baby girl clothing because, heart-set on a daughter, had purchased the dresses before he was born. She interacts with her son by purchasing the menagerie of stuffed animals, including what would be Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, and Kanga and Roo. She does love her family but is challenged in expressing it at times. I see this more as a sign of the times, when women were coming into their own independence. She is also an affect of her class, a wealthy wife of a famous writer who wants to grab each shiny opportunity that passes her way.

Grabbing these opportunities includes pushing her son into the unwanted spotlight. Once the joyous Winnie the Pooh stories gain popularity in the post-war era, fans flock to Christopher. His sweet childhood days are suddenly filled with responsibilities and obligations towards promoting the books. What was once a sweet way for father and son to bond, is now turned into fiction shared around the world. Well-loved and eventually classic stories, nonetheless, the childhood experiences are lessened in the process.

How Are We Pushing Our Kids Unwillingly Into the Spotlight?

As a lifestyle blogger and mom, I most definitely use my children as inspiration for my posts. I often use their photographs to help illustrate my stories. In the movie, Christopher Robin accuses his father of participating in his childhood games only as a means for having a story to tell. Could I be accused of the same? I think so, in many cases.

In my niche, there are often certain criteria for receiving invitation to particular events and press trips. I do get invited to participate because my children fall into certain age brackets. Would I be invited to these same events if I didn’t have children? Nope. Would I be able to write about these events without the benefit of having my children participating? Nope. Am I participating in activities purely so I’ll have a post to promote? Yep, sometimes. Am I exploiting my children or making them do anything they don’t want to? No, never.

The differences to me lie in when the story is shared and what happens afterwards. If Milne had simply written the stories, I don’t think that Christopher Robin would have struggled so much with the story’s popularity. Perhaps changing the character name in the books so that the story didn’t share his son’s given name would have been of good mind. The fault was in the exploitation of the boy’s childhood. It was in the showiness, the use of Christopher Robin as a marketing tool to promote and connect fans with him to the books. He became a living and breathing story tale come to life, despite his insistence that he was not the same persona as he was being portrayed in the stories.

Sharing, Without Oversharing?

I think that most bloggers balance this aspect in a healthy way. While many of us do write about our children and share stories from their lives, I’d venture to say that most are used as a way of illustrating a specific point. I don’t use the names of my children in business social media accounts or in my blog. My children know what I do as a blog writer. My kids know that if we’re attending a special event or if I’m taking their photograph, that it’s likely to end up on social media. I would never share a story about my kids that is intended to embarrass or otherwise exploit them.

My older kids have on occasion requested that I not share particular photos and I absolutely comply. And if my children ever expressed to me that they no longer want to be included in blog posts or photographed for social media events, I’d understand and comply with this as well. It’s not my intention (and I don’t think it’s the intention of most bloggers) to push our kids into an unwanted spotlight in exchange for our own publicity.

The movie definitely brings up the valid point (especially when seemingly EVERYTHING is shared 24/7). What things are appropriate for sharing and what is sacred to keep private?

Should Your Kids See Goodbye Christopher Robin?

The movie is PG-rated, which would imply that it might be appropriate for younger children. This is not the cuddly story you’d expect from such a topic, since the story focuses more on the relationships between the author, his wife and child. I brought my two 13-year olds, who enjoyed the historical story and understood the underlying darkness of the recovery from war.

There is very little here for younger children, as the movie doesn’t include much of the Winnie-the-Pooh story line except for the fact that the boy brings his teddy where ever he goes. I wouldn’t bring a child under 12 to see this movie, the topics are going to be too adult in nature.

Should You See Goodbye Christopher Robin?

Despite the dark elements of the script, the movie is beautiful to watch. Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred-Acre Woods come to life vividly during the times when Milne is developing his characters. It seemingly never rains in East Sussex! Somehow I don’t think that’s to be believed, though.

The little actor playing Christopher Robin was natural and sweet. I spent a good part of the movie trying to figure out how old the child was (he has his permanent teeth, yet is dressed like a preschooler and has dimples and the innocent imagination of a toddler). My favorite parts of the movie were when he was interacting with his toys, just being a child.

There are some truly beautiful moments in the film (I highly recommend bringing tissues!) And the topic at hand, whether his parents were in the wrong for pushing him to perform as the story book character, makes for some intriguing discussion points.

 

SunRype & Disney●Pixar’s Coco Sweepstakes

Are you looking forward to the release of Disney●Pixar’s Coco? I know my son and I are excited to see it (it opens in theaters November 22, 2017, just a few days before his sixth birthday!) Of course there’s nothing like watching it on opening night but what if you were able to be there for the premiere screening?! Here’s your chance!

I received complimentary SunRype products in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post includes affiliate links. Clicking and purchasing through the links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

SunRype Snacks

We honestly do not have a lot of prepackaged snacks in the cupboard but we always have SunRype! These are 100% fruit strip snacks, which is important to me. No added processed sugar, just natural ingredients and no preservatives. SunRype Fruit to Go are also vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and peanut-free making them perfect for the school lunch box.
SunRype and Disney-Pixar Coco Sweepstakes

I always keep a few SunRype Fruit to Go in my purse for the kids to snack on when we’re out and about. It’s also what my son takes with him to school every day for his “recess snack”. And at only 50 calories, it’s a treat I indulge in as well! Apple Wildberry is our new favorite. You’ll find SunRype snacks in the produce section or purchase by the case on Amazon.


Disney●Pixar’s Coco

SunRype snacks is sending one lucky winner (and three guests) to Hollywood for the Los Angeles Premiere Screening of the Disney●Pixar’s Coco film in early November! Entries for this amazing prize are being collected from October 2nd-20th. Weekly SunRype & Disney●Pixar’s Coco prize packages will be up for grabs from October 23rd to November 24th, 2017.

ENTER the SunRype & Disney●Pixar’s Coco Sweepstakes

Movie Premiere Trip for 4: October 2-20, 2017 – ENTER TO WIN

Weekly Prize Packages: October 23- November 24, 2017 – ENTER TO WIN

SunRype and Disney-Pixar Coco Sweepstakes

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  The sweepstakes begins on October 2nd, 2017 at 8:00am PT and ends on October 20, 2017, at midnight PT for the Premiere Trip Sweepstakes & October 23rd through to November 24th, 2017 for the weekly prize packages.  Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. or D.C. who are 18 years of age or older. The sweeps can be entered ONCE PER DAY. Find a full list of the prizes available to be won, how to enter, odds of winning and drawing dates along with the full rules and regulations at www.facebook.com/SunRypeUSA. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Sun-Rype Products Ltd.

 

 

Celebrate Mother’s Day with a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake #ad

This post is sponsored by Baskin-Robbins in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.

Celebrate Mother's Day with a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake #ad

Growing up, Mother’s Day involved a handmade card for mom, church services, lunch afterwards with my extended family and a Baskin-Robbins ice cream cake at home for dessert! I have distinct memories of my dad taking me with him to the local Baskin-Robbins when I was about 8 years old to choose the ice cream cake for my mom. I remember that it was rectangular shaped and covered with icing flowers. And it had a mint chocolate chip ice cream layer because that was my favorite (I recall him angling for pralines and cream himself!) I’m sure my mom would have been happy with whatever flavor we chose because they are all good!

Celebrate Mother's Day with a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake #ad

Mother’s Day Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake

Baskin-Robbins ice cream cakes elevate dessert to a special level. They’ve been making ice cream since 1945 and have created over 1,300 flavors! Right now Baskin-Robbins is celebrating moms with a lineup of colorful Rosette ice cream cakes that can personalized just for mom. The pink Rosette Cake features a trendy ombre design and has a special message on a white chocolate plaque. For our Mother’s Day gathering, I chose the Elegant Rosette Cake with a cascading bouquet of flowers and personal message. I love the bright colors!

Celebrate Mother's Day with a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake #ad

Both of Baskin-Robbins’ Mother’s Day ice cream cakes can be customized to feature mom’s favorite ice cream and cake flavor combination. They can be pre-ordered in-store or through Baskin-Robbins’ online cake ordering site.

For this design I had my choice of either chocolate or vanilla cake and 16 different ice cream flavors. For our Mother’s Day cake, I chose chocolate cake and OREO® Cookies ‘n Cream, always a favorite! Baskin-Robbins’ has an extensive flavor library, including the May Flavor of the Month, Mom’s Makin’ Cookies™. Mom’s Makin’ Cookies features brown sugar flavored ice cream with chocolate chip cookie pieces, chocolate flavored chips, and a cookie dough batter flavored ribbon…doesn’t that sound decadent?!

Celebrate Mother's Day with a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake #ad

Order Ice Cream Cakes Online

Baskin-Robbins online cake ordering couldn’t be easier! Click the Baskin-Robbins link to browse through the gallery of ice cream cakes. From here you can create your own customizable cake by choosing the size, favorite ice cream and cake flavor combination. There are up to 16 Baskin-Robbins ice cream flavors to choose from (including Mint Chocolate Chip, Jamoca® Almond Fudge or Very Berry Strawberry) and one of two cake varieties, chocolate or vanilla.

Celebrate Mother's Day with a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake #ad
There are also options to add on additional items, including candles, to make your celebration even more special. Online cake orders are available for pick-up on the date you select, with cakes available as soon as 24 hours after the order is placed.

Or Order in Store!

We have a brand new Baskin-Robbins about 2 miles from our house so my little one and I stopped in to place our cake order. There was a book of cake designs and the cake decorator took down my order details. Quick and easy… and since we were there, we just had to get a cone too!

How will you celebrate Mom this Mother’s Day? Consider ordering your Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Cake today…you know she’ll love it!

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Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Disclosure: I received the Panasonic Lumix ZS60. This is my honest review and no further compensation will be given. All opinions are my own.

The Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

In addition to my Smartphone camera, I have a “nice” camera that I usually take with me on vacation. Yes, the photos are of a higher quality than those I capture with my Smartphone, however the “nice” camera is also really big and heavy! This can be extremely cumbersome when visiting amusement parks because I have a bulky and heavy camera hanging around my neck for the entire day. It also just simply doesn’t take low light photos are well as I’d like.

What Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks?

I’ve been looking online for a more compact camera that will still meet my needs. Something small and lightweight. A camera that will still capture tack sharp images. A camera that would still catch the shot even in low light. And of course, it had to stay within a reasonable budget. All my research pointed me to the Panasonic Lumix ZS60. I was beyond thrilled to receive one through TravelingMoms!

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

The TravelingMoms recently took their annual retreat at Walt Disney World. While I was home with my newborn, the TMOMs were soaking in the beauty of Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival, watching a sneak preview of the new summer show Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and meeting Jane Goodall! Jealous? Just a smidge! TMOMs Amy Barseghian and Leslie Harvey were kind enough to share these images with me that they captured during the trip on their Panasonic Lumix ZS60 (since I haven’t ventured farther than my own backyard lately!)

I’m anxious to test this camera during my next Disney trip and this is why I think the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 is a perfect camera to take with you on your next amusement park adventure.

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Amy Barseghian

Compact and lightweight

I’ve been lugging around my heavy DSLR on every vacation for the past 8 years. And yes, it takes great images but I hate having to carry such a large camera when visiting amusement parks. The Panasonic Lumix ZS60 is super lightweight so you can easily slide it into your pocket, backpack or fanny pack (yes, you heard me, I wear a fanny pack at Disney!)

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey

Multiple Modes

There are 11 possible modes on the Panasonic Lumix ZS60. If you just want to point and shoot without worry, set the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 to Intelligent Auto Mode and the camera will take photos with automatic settings.

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Amy Barseghian

Zoom

A small swivel on top of the camera offers optical zoom at 30x magnification without degrading the picture quality. Perfect for capturing moments undetected, catching details of the parades and shows or getting up close and personal with the Characters.

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Amy Barseghian

Lumix 4K

4K technology enables Post Focus function to refocus images after they are captured. Capture the scene, review the image on the camera’s LCD and touch any portion of the photo to refocus. That’s impressive!

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey

Low Light Capture

We’ve all tried to take a shot during Pirates of the Caribbean, right? But without the use of flash photography, capturing images in low light can be tricky. And photos of fireworks? Forget about it! Check out how beautifully the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 captures this nighttime image of the new Disney Animal Kingdom show, Rivers of Light!

Why the Panasonic Lumix ZS60 Camera is Perfect for Amusement Parks

Photo Credit: Amy Barseghian

What’s your favorite feature of the Panasonic Lumix ZS60? 

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Storyteller’s Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Review of lunch at the Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa - Disneyland Resort

Storyteller’s Cafe Lunch Review

Do you enjoy a quiet respite mid-day while at the Disneyland Resort? It can be a great break, to seek lunch options outside of the Parks. When crowd levels are at their highest, we like to escape the Parks and take the family out for lunch and swimming. The Storyteller’s Cafe located at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa offered the perfect lunch break for us on our recent visit to Disneyland.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

I’ll be totally honest with you. It’s next to impossible to please my husband when it comes to eating out. He’s extremely particular about how his food is prepared, the ingredients and how the meal makes him feel afterwards. And because we are so frugal, eating out isn’t something we do very often, so he hates feeling like he “wasted” good money on a meal that didn’t satisfy.

We’ve eaten at Storyteller’s Cafe twice. The first time was several years ago and we dined at the dinner buffet. It was during the Christmas holidays and there was an amazing gingerbread creation in the lobby, delicious foods and fun Christmas treats for dessert. My husband raved about that meal several times after our trip so I know that the restaurant had made a positive impression on him.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

On our last visit he suggested that we dine at Storyteller’s Cafe for lunch. It was a very busy Saturday in the Parks and we’d not made any dining reservations so we weren’t sure what to expect when we showed up at the Cafe for lunch. Fortunately the restaurant was quite empty and they were able to accommodate us right away.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Within minutes we had glasses of ice water and a basket of freshly baked bread. There was a small loaf of tear-apart buttermilk bread and little corn bread muffins, served with butter. Naturally between the five of us, we polished off that bread basket quickly but the waiter was happy to bring more.

Storyteller’s Cafe has a beautiful rustic decor that is both cozy and elegant.  The high ceilings, stained glass details, mix of woods and black wrought iron silhouettes and hand-painted murals really make this a warm atmosphere.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

What We Ate

My 12-yr old son is all about the soup so he ordered the Charred Nebraska Corn Chowder which had bits of rotisserie chicken, bacon bits and a sprinkle of cilantro. I’ve had this soup before and it’s thick, hearty and filling. It’s absolutely delicious so naturally, the boy didn’t share! The soup bowl is $8 which is a little steep but it’s a good serving size and it did fill him up.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

My 12-yr daughter and I decided to order a burger to split between us and we were very happy with the Half-Pound Char-broiled Avocado-Bacon Burger. She doesn’t care for avocado so I requested it on the side. The avocado was more like guacamole, mashed with chunks of onion and tomato.

I ordered the beef patty but we could have also had ground turkey or a veggie-burger. The burger was large and juicy with cheddar cheese and toppings served on a Harvest bun. We opted for the fries which were perfectly crisp (we could have requested fresh fruit as a side option). The burger was big and there were plenty of fries so sharing this dish was a great choice. This burger platter is $15, which was reasonable for the portion size (and that we were able to split the dish between two).

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

My husband (aka: Mr. Picky) chose the Grilled Albacore Tuna Sandwich and he was very pleased with his choice. He wanted something that wasn’t overly heavy and the lightly cooked tuna served on toasted ciabatta bread was just what he was craving. The sandwich came with a zesty lemon-caper mayo and was topped with fresh arugula, tomato, and pickled ginger. He requested extra lemons to squeeze on top. Being the health-conscious guy he is, he chose fruit instead of fries. At $17, this was a unique option that my husband really enjoyed.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

My 4-yr old, excited for the rare dining-out moment, chose the chicken breast nuggets and fries (something he doesn’t really get to eat at home). It came served with veggies (carrots & celery) and a large serving of fresh fruit. He ate all but one nugget (that his sister happily finished for him!)

Our lunch at Storyteller’s Cafe was absolutely delicious and filling enough that we actually didn’t even eat dinner that night (we had ice cream sundaes instead!) The service was quick and top-notch on the day of our visit. Though we were able to pop in without reservations on the day of our visit, it’s generally recommended that you try to book ADR for this restaurant. I would not attempt to show up for breakfast or dinner at Storyteller’s Cafe without Advance Dining Reservations.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

What You Need to Know about Dining at Storyteller’s Cafe

You do not need to be a guest of the Disney Grand Californian Hotel and Spa to dine at Storyteller’s Cafe and it’s very easy to access the restaurant. You can enter the hotel through the Downtown Disney District and the restaurant is located just next to the pool. Likewise you can exit Disney’s California Adventure Park’s special entrance/exit that is connected to the hotel. Though anyone can exit through this method you have to be a Disneyland Resort hotel guest (with a valid room key) to enter back through this way.

Breakfast at Storyteller’s Cafe is buffet-style only and features character dining with Chip & Dale. Dinner offers both a buffet and the ability to order off the menu. Lunch is menu-only, no buffet is offered.

Next time (and there will be a next time) I’m going to have to try dessert…strawberry cheesecake? Yes, please!

What would you order from Storyteller’s Cafe? 

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2015 – A Look Back at the Year that Was

Family2015

When I started this blog in mid 2014, I had no idea what wonderful and exciting opportunities I’d be experiencing the following year. I’ll admit that my travel adventures and blog writing were the highlights of a year that proved to be challenging. In August 2015 I found out that I was going to be laid off from my job of 18 years. If that wasn’t shocker enough, I also found out that I was expecting a baby. The thought of 4 kids and no full-time employment was enough to send me in to a tailspin. I was forced to take an even harder look at our budget and cut even more corners, if that was even possible. Turns out, it was possible, with a little extra penny-pinching and sacrifice. It’s never easy but it’s been…interesting, to say the least!

Here is a look back at 2015 (and here’s 2014 – A Look Back at the Year that Was, if you’d like to read back and see what the blog was up to earlier).

My family and I were able to make a spur-of-the-moment one-day Disneyland visit in January 2015. My little one was tall enough to ride some new favorites, including Radiator Springs Racers and Space Mountain, making it a memorable visit. We captured this great family photo with Minnie, too.

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In mid-February I hosted a #DisneySide @HomeCelebration multi-generational party. It was a wonderful “just because” event and I was able to gather up some fantastic giveaways from fellow Etsy vendors. These vendors were generous enough to offer prizes to my party guests as well as giveaways to my readers on the blog as well.

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I decided in early spring to become a Jamberry Independent Consultant and have thoroughly enjoyed the connections and friendships I’ve created through offering these wonderful products. And my nails have never looked so good! I also love being able to offer Jamberry giveaways here on my blog.

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I also started posting occasionally with Magical DIStractions, yet another great way for me to connect with Disney fans from around the world! See my Magical DIStractions posts, like Radiator Springs Racers – Why a Trip to Cars Land is a Must! and 6 Holiday Things to Do at the Disneyland Resort without a Park Ticket.

April came in with some incredible new opportunities. I applied to be a writer on the website TravelingMom. Originally I started off as SoCal TravelingMom but have now taken on the title of Day Trips TravelingMom, which is more appropriately fit to my usual travel itinerary. I’ve been able to share my Disney love on TravelingMom as well as other “day trip” worthy locations. Check out 11 Tips for Navigating Holiday Crowds at Disneyland, How to See Everything at the San Diego Zoo in a Single Day and Wonderment Abounds at Medieval Times in Buena Park, CA.

How to Navigate Holiday Crowds at the Disneyland Resort #TMOM

I also received a big surprise that month when the TravelingMoms asked if I’d like to join in their annual retreat at…Walt Disney World! Within three weeks, I was off to Orlando (with my brother, mom and 3-yr old son) for the very first time. BIG bucket list item checked off for us!! It was a truly magical experience that I’m looking forward to doing again soon! I wrote about my first visit on the post 11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences at Walt Disney World and Walt Disney World Magical Express Bus – What I Loved (and my $80 Mistake).

Comfortable (But Still Cute) Clothes to Wear at Disney

In between I wrote lots of posts! Some had helpful Disney tips like Disneyland Hotel Swimming Pools, 9 Things Disneyland Fans Need to Know Before Visiting Walt Disney World, How to Eat at Disneyland without Advanced Dining ReservationsDisneyland for Free?! and How to Eat Healthfully At Disneyland (and Still Treat Yourself). I also started a popular new “Guide” feature that’s appropriate for each Disney fan, from Princesses to Adventurers.

How to Eat Healthfully (and Still Treat Yourself!) at Disneyland

I also had plenty of budgeting posts like Create Budget-Friendly “Summer Camps” for Your Kids….At Home! and 8 things to Consider When Making MORE Cuts to Your Budget (a topic we were very familiar with this year!)

And some handy “our life” posts like Why Our Kids Do Housework-Tips for Getting Kids to Pitch In and Make Extra Money (in Little Ways that Really Add Up!)

FREE PRINTABLE - Preteen Routine Daily Checklist Printable (So You Don't Have to Nag)

In June, I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road Conference in Portland, Oregon! It was my first time to the Pacific-Northwest and my husband and I made it an early 5th wedding anniversary gift and took the trip together. We visited Seattle, friends in Gig Harbor and toured Portland by foot. It was a great conference and I made so many wonderful connections. Here’s to hoping Disney On-the-Road is even closer to me in 2016!

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In mid-June I celebrated my first blog anniversary. What a year it was, I’ve covered quite a bit in one year!

In September, I connected with Collective Bias and started writing posts for them that include free printables, recipes and occasional giveaways. It’s been a great opportinuty for this new stay-at-home-mom and I hope you’re enjoying these posts that introduce you to new products.

Chipotle Black Bean Soup Recipe on a Budget

I’ve continued to write for the Blogorail in 2015, including these popular posts about 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day, 6 DisneyBounding “Rules” and Crowded Disneyland Day – Top Tips on What to Do. I really appreciate the comraderie of these fellow Disney-lovers.

6 DisneyBounding "Rules" - How to Capture Your DisneySide!

In early September I applied for the Disney Parks Moms Panel again. I was a finalist in 2014 and received a “FastPass” to Round 2 this year, but it was not meant to be. The panel seemed to be moving in a different direction and none of the Disneyland FastPassers were pushed past round 2. There’s always next year!

I had the amazing treat of being invited to the HP Print & Pamper Retreat in early October. One of the best parts is that it took place just 30 minutes from my home so it was truly a weekend getaway for me! I was able to relax, learn and connect with other like-minded bloggers, which made it a totally unique experience for me. We toured the HP facilities, had a fun crafting evening and topped off the weekend with a trip to my favorite place, Disneyland! I was able to see the Paint the Night parade for the first time, which was perfect. It also allowed me to see the Disneyland 60th celebration decor in person, something I didn’t think I’d get a chance to see!

Paint the Night - Disneyland's Nighttime Spectacular Parade

Mac the Truck from Cars

As I move into 2016, I’m excited for the direction that this blog is moving and am thankful to all of my readers, especially when you take the time to comment and share with me about each post. That’s helps me to know that there are people out there who appreciate and enjoy my writing and hopefully in some small way I’ve been able to help you out this year. Whether it be sharing my Disney tips, offering budgeting help when finances are tight or introducing you to a new product, I hope you are enjoying what I share. Please continue to comment and share my posts via social media if you can, it helps me (as a small business owner) to grow and succeed.

Blessings to you all in the new year! Cheers for what’s to come in 2016.


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