Much Ado about Magic ...

Why do we love going to Disney so often? The magic. Simple, cheesy and true.  It's the magic.  I don't mean the magic of the amazing feats of creativity and imagineering, although they are awesome.  I mean the magic that floats around the air.  It's in the greetings, the attentiveness of the staff, and the wonderfully random conversations you have with new families on the monorail.   It's a certain intangible thing that is unique to Disney.  It's a magic we experienced in a big way at the Starlight Cafe on our recent trip to the park.

The Starlight Cafe is one of our sentimental favorites @ Disney.  It was the first walk up we tried with our little one's post food allergy diagnosis.  As you likely know from my previous blog posts, The Starlight has always rocked taking care of our food allergy needs.   This time was no exception!

It was hot and humid but we had been having a great time, taking frequent breaks, and staying cool.  We had just earned our race licenses at the speedway and decided lunch and a little air conditioning was in order.  We ordered our food, flagged the allergies, and started eating.  About half way through the meal our little started to cough.  It was concerning and a tense time because we hadn't yet determined if it was an asthma flare up or the early stages of a food allergy reaction. 

Our little one hadn't made but one or two coughs when Vivian appeared.  Vivian was one of the cast members sweeping the floors and busing the tables.  She immediately asked if she could help.  We explained that our Son had asthma and food allergies so it could be either.  She was calm and ready to help.  She helped us find staff members that could double check the food he had eaten and stayed right by our side even helping to comfort our son as we administered his medication.  She shared with such warmth from her own experiences with Asthma and showed such genuine compassion.

The food service staff arrived quickly and examined their process, our table and my child's plate looking for any evidence that our child had been exposed to an allergen.  They were calm, non-defensive, completely open, and clearly thinking about the safety of our little first and foremost.  After one manager looked and found nothing, he called for a second set of eyes to re-examine everything.  This all happened in a manner of minutes. 

Perhaps, the most amazing thing is that because of Vivian's attentiveness not once did we have to call for a cast member to help.  The information the food staff provided was essential for our doctors as they treated or little.   Thankfully there was no exposure to an allergen and with proper intervention our little one was on the mend within 24 hours.

So yeah.  It's the magic.  And Vivian is covered in the stuff.


How to love a Dandelion

If Ella Wheeler Wilcox is correct that, “A weed is but an unloved flower.”, then I can happily report we are 100% weed free at our abode. My little ones have always seen the beauty in all of nature.  Including Dandelions.   I tend to agree with them. Dandelions are lovely.  So what if they don’t grow in a straight line and ants just adore making a home in them?  They are brightly colored, hearty, and full of great nutrients like: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin B complex, zinc, iron, and potassium. 

But sadly for those of us in residential environments they don’t go with most neighborhood guidelines.  At our house, because we do not use toxic pesticides and such we can harvest our dandelions, rather than “weed” them.   We typically turn our harvest into an awesome summer balm. 



1.       Where we pick matters.  We don’t dry dandelions we pick that are super close to a roadway or our neighbor’s property line.  We do however still “harvest them” and use them for crafting projects and play.  (They make great prints!)

2.       When we pick it tends to be the late morning or early afternoon.  I find the flower heads are more open at that time of the day.

3.       One more note about where, excuse the crass moment here.  We have three dedicated spots on our property were our pup eliminates.  This helps us make sure we don’t harvest any dandelions that may have received a visit from her.  Seriously, eeeew. Sorry to point it out but it’s totally important.  This is especially true if you intend on using your dried dandelions in any sort of food or tea. 

4.       We spend a lot of time singing Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”.  Ants love these little flowers as much as we do and make themselves quite at home.  Shake them before dropping them into your baskets.   


At the moment we do not have a dehydrator.  <Insert deep sigh here> We find air drying works best for us.  I find air drying holds the bright yellow color a bit better than solar drying.  If you do have a dehydrator check out my fellow green mom blogger: The Homesteading Hippy.  Here is how we do it:

1.       Pluck the heads from the stems of the flower

2.       Rinse in cool water and pat dry.

3.       Lay flower heads out flat on an unpaper towel or two or three. 


Making our balm:

Once the flowers are dry we make an infused coconut oil using fractionated coconut oil and our dried dandelions.  If you have allergy concerns with coconut you can also use olive oil.  It works beautifully as well.  To infuse our oil we simply cover our dandelions in a mason jar in our brightest window for anywhere from 12 to 18 days.  We do check it daily to ensure it doesn’t go rancid. It’s not happened to us but it bares mentioning, we check daily.  There is a method for cooking your infused oil on the stovetop but I’ve not tried that.  Our Balm ingredients:

·         ¼ Cup of Beeswax

·         ¼ Cup Dandelion Infused Coconut Oil

·         2 table Spoons of Shea butter

Next up we mix …

1.       Fill a medium sauce pan with water and place on medium heat

2.       Place all ingredients in a mason jar and lightly screw on the lid. 

3.       Place the jar in the medium sauce pan of water watch as the ingredients melt together.  Swirl the ingredients to mix. 

4.       Once fully incorporated together, pour lotion into a small jar or tin for use. 

Voila! Weed no more.  You can harvest those dandelions and have a lovely all natural lotion to boot.  In the summer months we go through lotion quickly so the jar doesn’t have a chance to sour around here.  But it’s a good foot note that your lotions should stay in good condition for the life of the oil and butter.   



Big Hero 6: Meeting Hiro and Baymax!


Meeting Baymax and Hiro @ Hollywood Studio is without a doubt a treasure hunt.  The meet and greet is located in the back of the 'The Magic of Disney Animation" building.  At present none of the usual character information is available: the app doesn’t list the showing of Baymax and Hiro, it’s not posted on the website or in map schedules.  For this reason, I kept our plan to meet the fluff-tastic robot a secret from my littles.  The secret made it all the more exciting when we walked into Hiro’s work garage!   The astonishment on my little ones faces when they saw that puffy giant enter the room was well worth the wait.

The most consistent information that I have seen is that they appear between twice daily: first at 10 am, then again at 2:30.  It is not a continuous showing.  This means they do close the line.  There are no fast passes available for the meet and greet.  We arrived at 2:30 and were near the front of the line.  We had to try for the afternoon time because we had a character breakfast scheduled that morning.  But, if you can, I recommend you shoot first for the morning slot.  Baymax does take one or two 15 minute breaks to “recharge” his battery during each of the showings.  We saw several of our line mates have to get out of line just before meeting the big guy due to other reservations and such.

All in all we waited just over an hour to meet the duo.    The line is wonderful though.  It offers several photo opportunities with the other hero’s from the film and scenes from the film.  It's relatively quite and provides some fun air conditioned down time.     


The Wasting Nothing Philosophy

Playing, cooking, reading, exploring, loving, laughing, and making a mess with your little one is NEVER a waste of time! It is priority one! It's not just about getting to know your little one. It's about letting your little one get to know you!