A Beastly Glimpse Inside Disney’s Enchanted Forest

Beast’s Castle, still under construction The official Disney Parks blog has posted a ton of videos lately about the Enchanted Forest section of the new Fantasyland expansion. Given that that’s the area that will feature “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast,” I can’t resist highlighting them. Most of the recent sneak peeks have all been about the latter. The earliest videos all previewed the Be Our Guest restaurant. If you’d like to have a meal in the world of “Beauty and the Beast,” this restaurant will be for you. It’ll open with three dining rooms in the middle … Continue reading

The Forest Garden

Some of us have vast, open expanses to play with in our gardens. These expanses are sunny, and the soil is good for vegetables. Others? Well, if you’re like me and you live in the Pacific Northwest, rain is more common than sunshine, and forests dominate the landscape. This is lovely for walking, but it can be much more challenging if you like to grow the traditional sun-loving vegetable crops. What’s a gardener to do? Whether you have one big tree in your garden or you live in the middle of a forest, you can grow food. Forests are naturally … Continue reading

Help Plant 10,000 Rainforest Trees

Do you know that 2011 had been named the International Year of Forests by the United Nations (UN)? This was done to help raise the awareness of “sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.” Throughout the year, there will be events including the Global Forum and Symposium of Model Forests (in Burgos, Spain) next week, the Bulgaria Professional Holiday of Foresters in April, Tree Fun: Family day at Fredriksdal in Sweden in May, the 4th International Conference on Mediterranean Pines in June, and Kids4Trees plantings throughout the year. So what can you do to help? You … Continue reading

Felling Trees and Catching Earthworms

Early last evening, my eldest son and I came home from his chess club and found that we couldn’t get down the driveway. I parked at the top and saw splayed across our path several trees that my husband had felled. We made our way around and over the lawn toward the house, only to be met with another felled tree blocking our path.Our course my son thought this was great fun, climbing over a tree on the ground. Fortunately, the three holly trees near the house were still in tact. So were a few other strong, healthy trees, so … Continue reading

The Forest or the Trees?

When looking at your money, there are often two basic approaches. Either you take a big picture view of the entire money “forest” or you only watch the individual budget item “trees.” In reality, you have to do both to be a good money manager. The common saying that I don’t see the forest for the trees is easy an easy analogy for families who budget every detail, but don’t really understand their money habits. While tracking and analyzing spending is good, you can easily get so lost in it that it can become counter productive. The key is to … Continue reading

Summer Bites

Backyard barbeques, picnics in the park, swimming, sunning, and swinging with friends until sunset; there’s so much to love about summer—minus the bugs. Despite the use of expensive sprays, fancy candles and other popular pest deterrents, my 8-year-old is covered with bug bites.  Living in northern Wisconsin, which is blanketed with forests and other havens for flying blood suckers, doesn’t help; however, this summer’s battle against the bugs seems to be a bit fiercer than in years past. Currently, my mom radar is set on mass insect detection.  I am on especially high alert for deer ticks, which can spread … Continue reading

Where to View Magical Holiday Scenes

“Just 14 shopping days left until Christmas!” If I had a dime for every time I heard someone say that yesterday, I would have enough money to finish my Christmas shopping. It’s hard to escape the holiday hoopla now that we’re nearly halfway through December.  The sales, the crowds, the craziness in the mall parking lot don’t do much to get me into the Christmas spirit.  However, there are places you can visit to immerse yourself in the season, minus the commercial madness.  For example: Wisconsin:  The city of Green Bay is not only home to the world-famous Packers; it’s … Continue reading

Mr. Big Gives Back

I always loved the series “Sex and the City.” I loved the freedom the girls experience, but I also loved how Carrie kept going back to Mr. Big. We didn’t learn his name until the series finale (it was John) because he was such a larger than life character. I haven’t seen the last movie, but I know that at the end of the series, Big had told Carrie she was the one and when the first movie came out, it was revealed that Big and Carrie were married. Guess I am just a sappy romantic because I loved that … Continue reading

Magic Kingdom to Serve Beer, Wine

A bar inside the Dolphin Resort at Disney World Last week the official Disney Parks blog revealed a detail about the Be Our Guest Restaurant in the new Fantasyland expansion, one that breaks a tradition held by the Magic Kingdom since its inception: Be Our Guest will serve alcohol. The decision came when Walt Disney World execs contemplated the theme of the restaurant. In keeping with the setting of “Beauty and the Beast,” the film on which the restaurant is based, execs wanted to offer the finest French cuisine. Part of the French dining experience is to serve alcohol, so … Continue reading

Bask in the Blaze

Mother Nature is getting ready to set herself ablaze. In just a few weeks the majority of the country will be blanketed with fiery red, orange and golden-leaved trees. This is the perfect time to capture stunning photos of fall foliage. And what better place to display your eye-popping shots than in a scrapbook? Fall-themed embellishments are readily available in craft and scrapbook supply shops across the nation, from September through November. These stickers, stamps and die cuts can really help perk up a page filled with pictures of your kids frolicking in fallen leaves or gorgeous landscape photos taken … Continue reading