Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Thanksgiving Weekend 2021

Now that I'm out of my turkey coma, I thought I'd pop in for a few minutes to recap our Thanksgiving weekend.  It was a flurry of activity along with a bit of relaxation.  I guess you could say that it was a perfect combination.  Plus, I wanted to post about it before Eliot and I are swept away by the wave of orders we got from Black Friday to Cyber Monday!  (Things are about to get interesting around here!)  Anyways... let's do this!

Last Tuesday was a crazy day.  After a late night Monday, Eliot went to work later than we'd planned.  I spent the afternoon working on as much as possible.  Then, around 9:30 pm that night, Jeremy arrived at our house bearing a gift of McDonald's for my dinner.  Jeremy and I watched Olaf Presents (he still hadn't seen it yet) while I ate my food.  Then, we talked while Eliot was driving home.  After saying goodnight to Jeremy, Eliot and I stayed up for a bit working on more orders and making our plan of attack for Wednesday.  Then, we called it a night and went to bed around 2 am.

Wednesday morning, we all slept in until around 9:30.  Eliot was taking the day off from work so we could get things done, and it's a good thing he did.  (Talk about us hauling butt all day...)  Jeremy ran down to Dunkin Donuts to get our breakfast, and I don't think Eliot and I stopped again to take a break for the rest of the day.

After breakfast, Jeremy helped us with a little bit of yard work.  Once we all realized that we weren't going to be able to get the lawn mower into the back of the truck, we finished everything else and called it good.  Jeremy took a shower, packed up and then left to drive up to Mom and Dad's house.

Eliot and I stayed put finishing orders.  We had every intention to leave a few hours after Jeremy, but things didn't go as planned.  We didn't have that much to do, but the printers can only go so fast and we were at their mercy.  After busting our butts all afternoon, Eliot took 16 packages to the post office before it closed at 4:30.

Then, we got right back to work.  Between working on other orders, packing for our weekend trip and getting the house situated, we didn't leave the house until right before 9:00 pm.  At this point, we hadn't eaten anything since our Dunkin Donuts breakfast and I was starving.  I prayed the entire ride up to Portland that Panera Bread would still be open.  (I desperately wanted a Chicken Baja Bowl.)  Thankfully, Eliot was still able to order our food 15 minutes before they closed!

Eliot drove the entire ride home because I was completely wiped out both physically and mentally.  (I didn't fall asleep, but I'm really glad I didn't have to be the person responsible for driving.)  We only stopped at the Gardiner rest stop to use the bathroom and stretch.  On the drive, we did see a few deer and a shooting star!

We arrived at my parents' house after 1:00 am.  Mom and Dad were still up so we talked with them for a few minutes before heading to bed.  We all got a good laugh about how Mom couldn't find all of her Thanksgiving blocks and they said "Happy Hanksgiing".  Then, Eliot and I crashed.

However, I didn't get much sleep, because less than seven hours later, I bounced out of bed to my alarm so I could watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.  Eliot and Jeremy also got up, and when we got downstairs we found Mom and Dad sitting in the living room as well.  I was pretty excited to see the parade, and we all enjoyed the Broadway performances, the balloons and the floats.

While we were watching the parade, I also enjoyed watching the animals outside.  A bluejay literally landed on the railing outside the window, hopped down it a few times and looked into our living room window after each hop.  It was like he was trying to see if we were awake.  (Mom joked that it was his way of telling them the bird feeder was empty... apparently, he's done it before.)  There were also a few red squirrels chasing each other up and down the big tree outside and chirping loudly.

After the parade ended, Jeremy and I helped Mom and Dad get the rest of the food together and get the table set up.  Nana joined us and we had our Thanksgiving meal around 2:00 in the afternoon.  It was really nice to all sit around the same table this year, as opposed to last year.

We spent the rest of the day napping, watching television and relaxing.  We saw the new Hallmark movie, then watched a few cooking shows.  After the 11:00 news, Eliot and I went to bed because we were completely exhausted.

Friday, we slept in.  None of us were moving until after 10 am.  Even then, Eliot and I had a slow start.  We eventually got moving, showered, and got dressed.  Eliot, Jeremy and I decided to go to Ellsworth in the afternoon.  First, Eliot dropped off our packages at the post office.  Then, we stopped at TJ Maxx and we found a few Disney treasures.

After tucking our new treasures in the back of the truck, the boys went to the comic book store.  Then, we made a stop at Walmart to pick up a few things for Mom and Dad.  We found a few fun things in the Christmas aisle that we plan to cook when we're all home again over Christmas weekend.

When we got back in the truck, I called and ordered personal pizzas for me and Jeremy.  Then, I drove us over to Dairy Queen so Eliot could get his dinner.  While there, he grabbed a few coloring sheets for me.  Then, we swung through the Pat's Pizza drive through to get the pizzas and drove home.

That evening, Eliot and I played Uno at the kitchen table for a bit.  It got pretty heated when he kept giving me +2 or +4 cards.  Thankfully, Jeremy came to my rescue after a bit.  We all giggled through quite a few games while Mom, Dad and Nana watched Hallmark movies in the living room.  

Once we had enough of Uno, Eliot and I switched gears.  We ended up coloring the Dairy Queen coloring sheets at the kitchen table while watching the San Jose Sharks game.  I used a lot of pinks, purples and blues, while Eliot made a pretty rainbow cake.  Then, once the game was over, we headed to bed.

Saturday, we woke up to the first snowfall of the year.  The trees outside our window were covered in a thin blanket of snow.  It was pretty, but it was also cold and nasty outside, so we hung out at the house chilling out most of the day.  

Later in the day, Eliot and I went out to dinner with my best friend Katie.  The Beacon restaurant was open so we headed there a few minutes before 5:30.  When we arrived, Katie was sitting directly in the back.  We joined her and had a great time catching up with her.  The food was delicious.  Eliot got his cheese curds and nachos, while I got the Fettuccine Alfredo with Lobster.  It was rich but it was so good!!!

After saying goodbye to Katie, Eliot asked if we could go back up to Walmart again.  I didn't care, so he drove up to Ellsworth.  While on the ride up, he told me he wanted to get some coloring books because he enjoyed coloring so much.  (I always told him how relaxing it was... but I guess it took him actually doing it to believe me.)  We made our way to the coloring books and picked a few out.  Eliot also bought a pack of 100 colored pencils to bring home with us.  

When we got home, Eliot and I broke out our new coloring books and colored dinosaur pictures at the kitchen table.  Once we finished those, Jeremy joined us and the three of us opened Jeremy's Villainous game.  None of us had ever played before, so we bent the rules a little in order to learn how to play the game.  It was really confusing at first, but as the game went on, we all started to understand it more.  There were moments when Eliot and Jeremy almost won, but we didn't allow them to in order to keep playing and learning more.  Eventually, I was able to complete my task and we decided that we'd learned enough for one night... so technically I won.  But I think we were all winners because now we how to play so we can play it over Christmas!

Sunday, we got up ready to work.  Eliot and Jeremy went outside with Dad to help him with his Christmas lights and decorations.  I packed up most of our stuff while they were outside.  By the time I got out of the shower, the boys were back inside waiting for me.  Then, Jeremy, Eliot and I all packed up our cars.  The three of us said goodbye to Nana, Mom and Dad before getting in our cars and heading home.

Along the way, Eliot and I made a bunch of stops.  First, we stopped in Ellsworth to get food at Dairy Queen since we all skipped breakfast.  I wasn't feeling well, so I just got a burger.  (I think I was just hungry.)  Next, we went to the Brewer Walmart to check for business supplies.  Then, we stopped across the street at Lowes.  (I wanted to see what they still had for Disney Christmas stuff.)  Then, we went started our drive south, stopping at the Waterville Walmart to check for business stuff there too.  Jeremy had hit the Augusta and Newport stores on his ride up so we skipped those.

When we got to Augusta, Eliot drove to TJ Maxx first.  I wanted to get the Tinker Bell mug I'd seen on my birthday, but I didn't get it then since it was so busy.  Luckily, they still had one!  Then, Eliot went into Barnes and Noble while I sat in the truck.  By the time we were leaving Augusta, I was hungry but most of the food stores there were already closed.  Eliot stopped at the Topsham McDonald's to get my food.  

Then, we we drove straight through to Portland. We had one more stop to make at the Target.  I found the earrings I was looking for while Eliot checked out the electronic section.  Then, we before leaving I showed him the Stitch shirts I'd found.  They had four Stitch Hanukkah shirts left in the Black Friday section and two of them were in our size!  We checked out with our new shirts and then made the rest of the way home.  

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We got home just before 9 pm.  We were both exhausted, but we mustered up a bit of energy to get working on a few things for our business.  Then, we crashed!

It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but it was nice to get away for a few days and to spend time with my family.  Eliot and I also had a busy weekend business wise, so the next few weeks are going to be a bit crazy leading up to the holiday shipping deadline!

It's always good to take a moment to pause and reflect on all of the blessings in our lives.  This year, Eliot and I are thankful for time with friends and family, that sales are good and that we got to take a short break before the chaos ensues!  °o°

Monday, November 29, 2021

Magical Merchandise: Hanukkah Magic

As I mentioned yesterday, the first night of Hanukkah was last night so I thought today would be a perfect opportunity to share some Disney Hanukkah merchandise with you!

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Unfortunately, it's really hard to find Disney Hanukkah merchandise since there isn't as much demand for it.  Disney typically releases new designs every few years.  Then, they recycle designs for at least 2-3 years before coming up with a new collection.

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Thankfully, I've been collecting Hanukkah items since my college days so we have a few older Disney items that are now really hard to find.  I'm not going to share all of those today, but I did want to share some of the newer merchandise that I've found!  

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I spotted my first Disney Hanukkah merchandise a few weeks ago when I was looking online at fabrics from Joann.  I have to admit that I was a bit floored when I discovered them.  They have two Disney Hanukkah prints this year!  (Photos above and below.)

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It wasn't a huge surprise when Her Universe and Hot Topic teamed up for another great holiday collaboration!  However, this year, they added Hanukkah items to their holiday collection!!!  I was so excited to see not one, not two, but three different designs!!!  They released a sweatshirt, a cropped sweatshirt and a button down shirt.

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Eliot and I bought the button down shirts right away.  Technically, they're women's sizing, but I was able to convert the women's sizes into men's in order to figure out which size Eliot would need.  They arrived last week and both of our shirts fit great!

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We haven't bought the sweatshirts, but we probably will at some point when they're on sale.  I'm really excited for these different Hanukkah options.  Although, I hope they make more girly designs next year.  I'd love to see a skirt, cardigan, or even a dress!!!

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The majority of the Disney Hanukkah merchandise available has always been at the parks or online at Shop Disney.  As I mentioned in yesterday's post, they've used the same design motif for the past three holiday seasons- 2019, 2020 and 2021.  While I'm happy that Disney actually has merchandise for Hanukkah, but I really wish they would make new designs each year. I'm hoping that they'll listen to their fans and make more items available in the future!  However, the stuff that they have the past few years made is really cute.  The 2020 collection was actually the best they've had in years.

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The 2020 Hanukkah Blanket featured a large print of Mickey and Minnie on it.

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I loved how the 2020 Salt and Pepper Shakers were in the shape of dreidels.  I got these for Christmas from my parents.  (I put a few Hanukkah things on my Christmas Wish List!)  I'm planning to use these for decorations!

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I also got these towels for Christmas.  These will look great displayed in our kitchen!

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I wanted two of the 2020 Hanukkah Trays to use as serving platters.

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I really wish that I'd gotten one of the Hanukkah Pouch Banners.  This was a cute decoration, but it was also perfect to put little Hanukkah gifts in each day!

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The 2021 collection was very similar to 2020.  There hasn't been much of it, but some of it might still be stuck on shipping containers for all we know.  The 2021 blanket was similar to the 2021 design, but with a smaller design.  Eliot's Mom bought us this one.

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I was really excited about this new pillow!  I didn't realize they'd made one, but when Eliot and I saw it, we knew it would be perfect.  (Nori bought us this with the blanket.)

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The kitchen towels this year are also similar to last years.  These ones are a little more decorative with the pom pom trim on the bottom though.

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Finally, guests at the theme parks have seen a travel mug and a new tray design on display with the other Hanukkah merchandise.  I haven't seen either of them online yet, but hopefully they will both be available online eventually!

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While there could be so much more merchandise, I was still very happy to find a few new Hanukkah items this year!  I hope this is only the beginning and that each year, Disney and other retailers will release more new items.  Happy Hanukkah!!!  °o°

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Hanukkah 2021 Begins

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah!  If you're a frequent flier around these parts, you already know that Eliot and I celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.  Eliot's family is Jewish and he always celebrated it growing up.  As you already know, I love holidays, and celebrating them, and I've fully embraced Hanukkah in my annual traditions.

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For those of you unfamiliar with the holiday, Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) is the Hebrew word for "dedication".  The eight night celebration is also known as the Festival of Lights.  This year, Hanukkah begins tonight at sundown and it ends at sundown on Monday, December 6th.  Since the date is based off of the Jewish calendar, Hanukkah can fall anywhere from late November to December.

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I won't go deep into the history, but the reason the holiday is celebrated for eight days is that there was only enough oil to light the menorah for one day, but the flame burnt for eight full days.  It was considered a miracle and thus, we celebrate eight nights of Hanukkah.  Each night, a candle is lit on the menorah (using the center candle) while a prayer is recited.  The menorah is then traditionally put in the window. 

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There are also other traditions that occur at Hanukkah.  Hanukkah is known for gift giving, although it should not be confused with eight days of Christmas.  Most Jewish families give small gifts each night, and children get one larger gift on the first or last night (depending on each family's traditions).

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Another part of celebrating Hanukkah is playing dreidel with a spinning top and gelt (chocolate coins).  The four sides of a dreidel are the Hebrew letters Nun, Gimel, Hay and Shin.  When put together, it means "a great miracle happened there."  Finally, Hanukkah is also known for foods fried in oil to symbolize the oil used to light the menorah.  My favorites are latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts). 

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As someone who celebrates Hanukkah, I always keep an eye out to for new Hanukkah decor and other items we could use to decorate our house.  This year, I was excited to find more Hanukkah stuff in our local stores, even though it has still been really limited.

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Disney has released a few more Hanukkah items.  Although, they are still using the same design motif as last year (and the year before that) which is disappointing when they create multiple new Christmas holiday designs each year.  However, they are making a bit of progress in their online game.

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This year, Disney got in on wishing everyone a Happy Hanukkah, but they also took the opportunity to post a few longer slides on some of their social media accounts.  On their Pixar Instagram account, they posted how to play dreidel.  (I wish they'd actually make the character dreidels that they had on the slides!)  Then, on their main Disney account, they posted a tutorial on how to make your own Kronk inspired dreidel.  I'd love to make dreidels for a bunch of the characters to use as my Hanukkah decor! 

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So, the eight nights of celebration have begun!  Eliot and I don't have any big plans for it, but we will be lighting our electric menorah each night.  I also have a few fun posts planned on here, so stay tuned for eight crazy days and nights!

HappHanukkah!!!  °o°

Friday, November 26, 2021

Fun Find: Black Friday Deals 2021

Happy Black Friday!!!  It's no secret that I love a good sale.  Today, is the king of all sales at pretty much every US retailer.  I did a bit of online shopping around and overall, I was actually pretty unimpressed.  A few of the stores I was hoping would have sales didn't... so that was disappointing.  However, I did find a few good deals!

Hot Topic and Boxlunch both have 30% "site wide", but it doesn't include the newer items.  Her Universe is up to 50% off their site, but most of the Disney merchandise is 30% off.  I did find a new Tangled sweater and an Elsa dress that I decided to get.  I've been looking for an Elsa dress and I'm a sucker for anything Rapunzel!

One of the sales I liked is from Love Your Melon.  They're releasing collections all weekend through Cyber Monday and their sale for 20% off runs all weekend as well.  It also includes the new items!!!  Eliot and I have been checking a few of the collections out.  There are a few Disney collections, as well as Peanuts, Blue's Clues and even Baby Shark!  I've currently got my eyes on the Tigger, Eeyore and a Snoopy hat!

The best deal that I've seen is 30% off at Baublebar.  If you love being a little bit extra, these sparkly designs are super fun.  I actually shopped here earlier this week since they have been running this sale since a few days ago.  I ordered the Disney tree and wreath Christmas earrings as well as the Minnie birthday earrings!

Other than that, I didn't really see anything that excited me.  I am anticipating that some of the small shops I follow will have new items and some sales tomorrow for Small Business Saturday.  If I have a few minutes, I'll swing by to share my finds!

Happy Shopping Everyone!!!  °o°

Thursday, November 25, 2021

#tbt Thanksgiving 2019

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!  Today, Eliot and I are celebrating Thanksgiving with my family and spending the weekend at my parents' house.  We've got a busy day ahead of us, so I thought I'd write about another Thanksgiving in a Throwback Thursday.  For Thanksgiving of 2019, Eliot and I spent it with his family at the Magic Kingdom!

As I've mentioned, I've always wanted to celebrate all of the holidays at Walt Disney World.  I wasn't sure when I'd go for Thanksgiving, so this trip with Eliot's family (and Elissa's best friend Heather) worked out great!  Let's stroll down memory lane... 

Our day started out much like the rest of our trip.  We all got out of bed, took turns showering and got ready.  Naturally, I had set aside a fun themed outfit that included my Disney Thanksgiving skirt and matching mouse ears that Eliot and I made.

Thanksgiving of 2019 was a gorgeous day.  The sky was a clear blue and it was warm- not too hot and not too cold.  We drove over to the Magic Kingdom (from our timeshare resort located about 15-20 minutes off property) and prepared to spend all day there.  

We drove through the main gates to Disney property, through the Magic Kingdom parking booths, and parked in the parking lot.  After a tram ride, and a monorail ride, we arrived at the main gates to the Magic Kingdom and entered the park.

Before entering the park under the train tracks, all seven of us stopped to take photos in front of the Magic Kingdom Train Station.  After that, we split up a little bit as Sara had a friend also visiting the park and the girls had a few things they wanted to do.

Eliot and I had set up Fastpasses for a bunch of rides before our trip.  Once we got into the park, he was also able to set up disability pass rides too.  (This trip was about a month after Eliot got into a car accident where he was rear ended at a stop light by a drunk driver.  He was having back problems and wasn't able to stand in long lines.)

We made our way around the back part of the park going on Haunted Mansion and walking through Fantasyland to the Little Mermaid.

For most of the day, Eliot and I stuck with Elissa and Heather.  We made sure that we all got into the same mine train so we'd be in the ride photos together.

I probably look miserable in the first picture, but trust me, I was having a blast!

We finished our rides with some time to spare before lunch, so we decided to go on the Liberty Square Riverboat.  From the boat, we were able to watch some of the Festival of Fantasy parade.  We enjoyed the boat ride and it was nice to sit and relax for a bit!

Our Thanksgiving meal was definitely non-traditional.  We couldn't get reservations to anywhere with a "turkey and mash potatoes" kind of Thanksgiving meal, even though I looked everywhere on property.  Instead, we decided to meet and have a late lunch at 3:00 at Pecos Bills over in Frontierland where they served Mexican food.

We relaxed at our tables in the corner for quite a while.  It was nice to take a mid-day break.  After we departed from lunch, we headed towards Adventureland and went on the Jingle Cruise.  It was fun to see the Jungle Cruise with the Christmas overlay!

Before we lost daylight, we took photos at Cinderella Castle.  Eliot and I got some with us wearing our mouse ears and with me holding the Thanksgiving sign.

We also took one of those zoom photos were they zoom in on you from the camera on top of one of the Main Street buildings.  If you haven't done it before, you need to because it's really cool!  (Eliot and I need to do this more often!)

After that, we went over to Tomorrowland.  We went on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and I actually beat Eliot for once!  He claimed that his gun wasn't working, but I think I hit one of the targets that gets you a high score.

From there, we went over to the People Mover for another short break off of our feet.

We stopped by Winnie the Pooh and took a photo of our donkeys in front of Eeyore's house before we all went over to ride the Winnie the Pooh ride.

Heather really wanted to get a picture with Cinderella so we made our way over to Princess Fairytale Hall.  She was so excited!  I really enjoyed the decor in there too!

We made sure to catch the Happily Ever After fireworks at 10 pm.

After the fireworks ended, waves of people were leaving the park.  Instead, we stayed to close out the park.  It was only open until 11 pm, but we had time for one more ride!

And that ride was It's a Small World!  I'm glad we went on it when it was quiet because at the end, both Heather's and my name showed up on the screens!

By the time we got off the ride, the park was closed.  We made our way to the front slowly, stopping to take pictures at the back of the castle.

I got photos of Main Street USA from the castle.  We also got a few castle photos.

I love the ice lights so much!  I'm glad I was able to take photos of it before we left.

I'm grateful that Eliot and I were able to spend time with his family (and Heather!) at Walt Disney World on this trip.  I'm also thankful that we got to experience the Magic Kingdom on Thanksgiving Day!  Maybe we'll go for Thanksgiving again someday!

HappThanksgiving!!!  °o°