Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite Disney movie growing up. As soon as I found out they were making a live action version, I was over the moon about it! Then March 17 finally came, and now it’s time!

Emma Watson as Belle is fabulous! Little Hermione has grown up and is perfect for the role. The music is perfect, as I remember from childhood, with just enough of a change to make it new. There were parts, when Belle was singing about wanting more on the hillside, where the animation/graphics is a little questionable, but as the rest of the movie has fabulous animation, I let it go.

More was added to the storyline to explain the curse, the town’s lack of knowledge, and to make the timing a little more believable. The enchantress was a little more vicious than she came across in the cartoon!

Most powerful scene for me was the ballroom scene. I was smiling like a lunatic through the whole scene. Don’t judge me, but happy tears for the sheer beauty of it may have happened….

I know there was a lot of anger/confusion/weirdness over Lefou being the first “openly” gay character. It’s not a spoiler, but other than one scene at the end where Lefou dances with another guy, he’s no more “openly” gay than he was in the cartoon. We watched the cartoon the following day to verify.

There were several songs I wasn’t familiar with, but I was informed that the musical had several songs that weren’t in the cartoon. The actors and actresses they had for this film did great with the songs. Emma Watson of course was great. Dan Stevens as Beast was also great. The biggest surprise for me was how amazing Luke Evans was as Gaston! His singing in the tavern was spot on. His character was a little more evil than cartoon Gaston was, but most live action Disney movies add a little more violence.

Disney magic continues, I can’t wait for this to be released to own and watch again. The theaters were crowded, I know many were sold out, but when you get the chance, be sure to see it. Whether you loved or liked the original, even if you never saw it, you’re sure to love it.

Challenge Geocaches

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about geocaching, but I’ve got something exciting to report on! My first hand experience anyway.

This post is about challenge caches. A challenge cache does have an actual location, as well as a physical log to sign, but there is an added challenge! These caches require an additional task before they can be considered complete.

My example today is going to be about state county challenges. I was so excited to complete my first county challenge while in Rhode Island this month. For this particular style cache, you have to find a cache in each county of the state.

This was an easy challenge, as Rhode Island only has five counties, but it still takes more effort than your traditional cache. It is usually wise to plan ahead, this way you can be sure that each county is accounted for. It can be simple if you want, grabbing park and grab caches, or difficult, going after the interesting ones.

Luckily for me, Jenna was up for my caching challenge! This allowed us to see the many beautiful sides of the smallest state in our two day trip. We visited Fort Wetherill, home of an amazing quartz filled cliff in Newport County.


We saw the state capital of Providence, in the county with the same name. We visited a beautiful and peaceful cemetary with stones dating back to the revolutionary war in Bristol county.

The actual location of the challenge cache log was even in a tiny cemetary, tucked into the woods. You would think it could be forgotten, hidden as it is, but the flags on the graves show us that it is not.

Challenge caches can be anything from the county kind to requiring you to log a certain number or type of cache prior to logging it. They are a nice change from the traditional cache and worth trying out!

For more information on geocaching, check out:

Types of caching
Geocaching souvenirs

Geocaching lingo

Geocaching

Three Cheers For Animals

Does anyone know what a Daisy Journey is? I had no idea until last year when they were mentioned, and this year we just completed our first one: Three Cheers For Animals. The point of the journey is to teach girls how to take care of themselves by learning how to care for animals.

This journey takes place over several events and meetings. Our first outing as a troop on this journey was a trip to Giant Eagle, a grocery store, for a tour. This was where our troop was led through the different areas of the store, such as produce, meats, bakery, and shown how they relate to the “healthy plate”. The girls were able to sample pieces of watermelon, a delicious pizza and we finished off with a dessert, reminding the girls that it needs to be in moderation. A very informative and very fun outing!


Our next event was girl scout day at the Cleveland Zoo. Aside from crafts that were set up for us, there were many “meet the keeper” opportunities. This gave the girls the opportunity to talk to zoo workers about what goes in to caring for an animal. Things like habitat care, proper diet and exercise. All things that we as people need. A trip to the zoo is always fun for first graders!

Our first meeting focused on healthy eating. This involved making “snack bugs”. Yes, we encouraged the girls to play with their food. The girls had a lot of fun!

Our last outing, and the “service” portion of this journey was an outing to Kitten Krazy, a local shelter for cats. The girls were told about how the cats require food, cleaning up after, and of course play time. This was the best part for the kids, getting to play with kittens!

The girls also got to drop off the cat toys we had made in one of our meetings.

Another meeting involved yoga and some simple exercises. This was a lot of fun because it was a lot of moving around!

The journey had a lot of fun opportunities for the girls, and the leaders. This journey has been a blast and has made me look forward to the next one!

This is the patch that the girls earned by completing their journey.

Drinking Around the World at Epcot

As stated in my last blog, we spent the last full week in Orlando. We had our first day at Epcot, which I enjoyed much more than the first year we went. I planned out this trip out to make the most of it. 

Tony, my brother Josh, my cousin Ben and I were going to drink our way around the world at Epcot. I had read about this on Pinterest and it sounded like a lot of fun. 

We started in Mexico, where Tony and I shared a Mango Margarita. It wasn’t very good, but it got us started. The churros we got to go with it were very good. I had never had them before, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

Next stop was Norway, where we had Einstöck White Ale. I’m not a big beer/ale/lager drinker, so I had a few hits out of this souvenir glass. It wasn’t bad, even for a non-ale drinker.

On to China! This drink is called Tipsy Ducks in Love. It is a coffee flavored delight! Tony and I both enjoyed this one immensely. We had to stop for lunch in China because my brother, unbeknownst to me, had drank a shot and a full drink in Norway and China and was a little wobbly. No breakfast and the heat, combined with the alcohol, left him reeling.

Africa isn’t really a country at Epcot, more of a “trading post”, but we still got a drink. This is a Frozen Elephant, which is their fancy name for a Coke slushy. It was really yummy either way.

This delightful shot is called a Bärenjäger Honey & Bourbon. You find them in Germany and they are delicious and smooth. I actually stole this from my brother. Didn’t want my baby brother to drink himself sick after all….

Nothing says Italy like a Bellini! Peach was my choice today. There can never be anything wrong with Bellinis around!

Boulder Beer was our choice in America. The boys enjoyed them, with me taking sips to say I did. Just can’t develop the taste buds to enjoy beer, sorry.

Cold Sake in Japan? Yes, I think I will. My brother enjoyed his, but he also spent two years in the real Japan, drinking this all the time. It hits hard, so if this is your choice, available hot or cold, sip cautiously, you’re a little over halfway done.

This is a Sultan’s Colada, found in Morocco. It’s a Pina Colada, but I like those, so it was all good. They had a variety of slushy drinks, alcoholic and non, so we enjoyed a variety at this particular stand.

We backtracked to Norway for our dinner reservations, then made our way back to France to enjoy some wine. Vouvray Sauvignon was my choice, as it was one of the French vintages available. I love whites, so it was a winner. A little drier than I normally like, but I’m far from a wine buff.

This is an English Rose, obviously from the United Kingdom. The boys got their beers and ales, but I went a little fruity. Delightful! The pub where we got our drinks is exactly how I pictured an English pub, so be sure to stop into the Rose & Crown.

Last step was Canada. We barely made it before the light show started, but we managed to get a Labatt’s Blue. Great Canadian Beer, and I have fond memories of it before I was legal, so I managed slightly more than a few sips.

In Canada, we ran into these delightful French guys, who actually work at Epcot, in France as I’m sure you’d guess. They were hammered, had amazing accents, and hit it off with my cousin. Their immediate friendship led to them buying shots for Ben, who had done beautifully until then. The rest of the night was spent trying to keep him out of trouble. All that aside, French guys are fun!

Our trip around Epcot was pricey, but Tony and I offset the cost by sharing drinks. These drinks were mostly purchased at stands you’ll see just walking through. It was a lot of fun and we’re all looking forward to another drinking game on our next trip. Suggestions?

Pass the Lego

image

This was a super easy game to do. I bought 3 boxes of the $.98 candy at Walmart. I wrapped them up in construction paper and made eight little circles of the same color. I wrote the word Lego on each circle and attached them with a dab of glue. The glue gave them a little pop.
After I had my Lego prizes put together, it was time to play! I chose the song “Everything is Awesome” because nothing says Lego fun better than that song.
The rules are classic hot potato. Start the song and pass the brick from kid to kid. Whoever is holding the potato when the song stops is out. Start the song again, when it stops, whoever is holding it is out. When the last kid is out, the remaining kid wins the candy.
This can be a tough game on little kids. Delicate feelings and all that. I made sure to have small candy bags for the ones who didn’t win.

Happy gaming all!

Lego Toss Game

image

Super easy and the kids love it. Is there a better kind of birthday game? No there isn’t!

All you need is construction paper and 3 (option of more) Lego pieces. I printed my numbers off the computer, mainly because I don’t draw well. By not well, I mean my 5 year old is a better artist!

I started with my center ring, made with one piece of construction paper. Folded in half, width – wise, then I stapled the ends together to form a ring. That was my 15 – point ring, so I attached that number. The 10 – point ring was made of 2 sheets, folded in thirds, width – wise, and stapled together to form one larger ring. The 5 – point ring was made of 3 sheets folded in quarters width -wise and stapled to form an even larger ring. Then I attached the rings together in the back, with the numbers facing forward.

When you’re ready to play, have the kids stand a predetermined distance from the rings and toss the Lego pieces. I gave the kids 3 pieces each to toss. This game can get a little tricky on hard surfaces, such as wood or tile floors, which is why I have a blanket under my rings. The Legos bounce too much otherwise.

Have fun with it guys! We sure did!

Best Day Ever

image

Hands down, today was the best (non family) day ever! I have never had a more exciting day in my life that did not involve either my parents, husband or kids.

It started at 4:30 this morning, with Tony telling me alarm was going off, and to get up. I woke up my friend Mark and we were on the road by 5am for Boonsboro, MD. We made amazing time on the way there, although I spent $30 in tolls! Yikes!

As soon as we arrived, we hopped in line to get my ticket. The ticket guarantees I get my book signed and I can pay for my book at this time. While waiting in line, I met 3 other Nora Roberts fans, and we started talking like we had known each other for years! Poor Mark, who has never read Nora Roberts, was given permission to go in search of geocaches, his original purpose in the ride along

I purchased the new book, The Obsession and a fabulous hat!

Then it was off to wander the streets of Boonsboro. I have been here before, twice in fact, but have never had the opportunity to roam for hours. I walked through a beautiful cemetery while waiting for Mark to get back from a cache, then we went to lunch at Vesta’s.

image

Mark and I split a delicious Warrior’s Pride pizza. It was Ryder Montgomery’s favorite pizza in the Inn Boonsboro trilogy.

We walked around, grabbing a few more caches, ending up at the Museum of History. There is a geocache on the front porch, and while signing it, the proprietor of the museum was coming back from somewhere. Normally the museum is only open on Sundays through the summer, or by appointment, but he offered to show us through the first floor.

image

The displays ranged from the expected Civil War memorabilia, such as this bullet cluster. These are formed when bullets collided in midair.

image

There was also this beautiful suit of parade armor.

Then it was back to the bookstore for my signing.

image

I know have a personalized book, signed by Nora Roberts. How fabulous is this?! She also signed my hat!

image

Here we have my new circle of friends, we’re already planning another trip for the release of Bay or Sighs! It’s so wonderful to meet people who love the same things you do. And they really enjoyed watching me fangirl like a crazy person!

What a great day!

Other posts about Nora Roberts include:
J.D. Robb
Love Clears the Vision