We’ve Been Around the World

The world of Disney that is…I am thinking that maybe…just maybe it is as exhausting as actually travelling around the whole world…just a thought.

We couldn’t have had such a nice trip without the generosity of many.  We were also greatly blessed by God to have such amazing memories…things just worked in our favor. We didn’t deserve any of it, we didn’t need any of it, but it was a wonderful wonderful time!

A few tips for any potential Disney goers…

  1. PLAN AHEAD!  Seriously, plan plan plan.  This advice is especially worthwhile if you are only making this journey once or twice while your children are young.  There is so much to see and do…and you can see and do all of it (truly) but having a plan helps significantly.
  2. Use Fast Passes!  They are key to the top rides and well worth the waiting up until midnight 1-2 months before to get them.  Hint: do not plan them close to the same time and on opposite sides of the park.  Having ours clustered nicely in similar locations or time frames = happiness.
  3. Use the wait times app!  We still check on ours just to see if the parks are still running smoothly without our presence there.  😉
  4. Go through the parks in order (primarily Magic Kingdom, as there is the most to see there).  Time is wasted trekking back and forth across the park.  Going in order saves time, energy and sanity.
  5. Get to the parks early…you can save a lot of line waiting time if you are one of the first (first thousand) in the park.
  6. Roll with it!  If your plan gets changed, its meant to be and everyone will live.
  7. Use the photopass system…the park will take hundreds of pictures for you that are well worth the purchase!
  8. Have fun!  You are there to make memories with your family…make those memories happy ones.

I am surrounded (literally) by the hundreds (um…1000+) photos that we printed.  Shutterfly’s free unlimited 4×6 prints was a lifesaver!  Looking through them is a bit mind blowing.  A year of crazy planning, a week of insane walking/riding/sweating has been over now for a couple weeks.  Life has resumed to normal, but the memories in mind and photo will be a vivid part our family conversations for years to come.

4 and 40

We celebrated the Fourth of July with friends and then again with family.  On the day of our family celebration we also celebrated my parents’ FORTIETH wedding anniversary (a little bit early, but it was a surprise).  🙂  Here are some festive treats we had in honor of both occasions.

My kids refer to this as the donut cake.  Version 1 above, version 2 below

Version 1 is white cake made in a bundt pan and covered with icing and sprinkles, while version 2 is a traditional pound cake with bolder color icing.  The best part is you divide the batter in 2 sections and layer them so that when you cut the cake the inside is red, white and blue.

 

 

 

4 and 40 cookies

This cake was a 2 layer red velvet cake made with buttermilk…I think anything baked with buttermilk is fantastic!  my first try at red velvet and I loved it!  It was fortunate the batter made it to the oven.

Red White Blueberry Trifle

Assembly:

Layer of pound cake or angel food cake

Layer of pudding mixture

Layer of berries

Layer of whipped cream

Repeat

Top layer of whipped cream top with cherries

Pound cake recipe:

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter or margarine softened

3 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/4 cups milk

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 egg yolks

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 10-inch Bundt pan or two 9″ by 5″ loaf pans.
    2. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat sugar and butter or margarine just until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add flour and remaining ingredients; beat until well mixed, constantly scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Increase speed to high; beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl.
    3. Spoon batter into pan. Bake in Bundt pan 1 hour or in loaf pans 45 to 50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan; cool completely on rack.

Pudding layer:

8 ounces cream cheese
I packet lemon instant pudding mix

1/3 cup powdered sugar
16 ounces Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream

Cream together cream cheese and sugar. Fold in half the Cool Whip. . Refrigerate.

Berries: sprinkle with sugar and let sit at least 2 hours in refrigerator before adding to trifle

 

 

 

Desserts

My grandma’s birthday is this week and her party is today.  For the event I made New York style cheesecake and a Minnie Mouse cake.  Cheesecake isn’t my favorite dessert, but it is still pretty good.  I often make gooey cheesecake with lots of additions like chocolate or caramel or some other yummy item.  But in terms of plain cheesecake…this recipe is superb!  My photo really does not do it justice….

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter

Filling:

  • 24 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (recommended: Meyer lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Topping:

  • 12 ounces creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and butter together in a mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into the springform pan and using a mixing cup press the crumbs into the base. Using your fingers gently press crumbs into the sides of the pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Let cool.

Filling:

In a food processor, cream the cream cheese and the sugar together. Add the zest and vanilla, Blend until smooth. Add 5 egg yolks and heavy cream, pulse until smooth. Pour into a large clean bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until a soft froth forms. Add 2 tablespoons sugar slowly to the egg whites and continue to whisk until soft peaks form. Fold into cream cheese, a little bit at a time until fully integrated. Pour into the prepared springform pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until firm. Let cool for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Topping:

Mix the creme fraiche and sugar together and gently spread over the top of the cooled cheesecake. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool until the topping is set or chill overnight and serve. Best served at room temperature.

I used a mold for Minnie (it was actually a Mickey mold) and had a lot of fun with it!