Walt Disney World: Epcot Change Revealed!

I love Disney. I admit it; I’m addicted to going. I find the escape from reality so worth the drive, and I’m always so happy and refreshed after a visit.

This time we went to Epcot, the International Flower & Garden Festival was going on. I’ve never been lucky enough to see the event, so I was thrilled! I’m a huge fan of flowers and gardening in general, so I was in my element. I loved seeing the characters revealed in such creative ways, and the kids had a ball pointing out all the different topiary.

We started at the front of the park and walked through the Fairy Garden while it wasn’t blazing hot, and we got a ‘sneak peak’ at the new fairy movie that’s coming out this fall. The Younger and The Older were equally impressed, and that’s saying a lot!

From there we went to the butterfly garden, and it was great! It so happens that The Older is studying the life cycle of the butterfly in school, so this was wonderful for him.

After this, it was time for lunch already! We tried a new dining experience this time, and I’m glad we did. We ate at the Coral Reef Restaurant , and it was a nice change from our usual German place. The kids loved being able to watch the fish and sharks while we ate, and I loved that they were entertained the whole time.

Then it was time to tour the worlds! Honestly, this is my favorite thing to do with the kids. They have the , and I love it! It’s basically a big scavenger hunt with cell phones they provide, and all sorts of secret things happen as you go through the park (think making wind chimes move, smoke appear around a Bonsai tree, making animated birds move, water spout out of ponds). It’s like magic inside magic, and the kids love it. Admittedly The Older is getting a bit bored of it because we’ve done it so often, but I make him do it anyway ;-) The Younger is interested but doesn’t “get it” yet, so I tell him we need to do it for her, not me, LOL! BUT, here’s where the reveal is: They are changing the adventure in June! I am so excited! They’re switching from Kim Possible to a Phineas and Ferb subject line, and they’re going to be changing most of the hidden secrets! The Daddy and I have already planned our date to go back at the end of June so we can do this, and I’m counting down the days.

We stayed all day, and then we watched the sunset from Norway where we completed our last mission. It was a wonderful day, and I’m so thankful that we got to spend such so much time together as a family.

Easy Gardening Tool for Kids

The Younger is feeling better, but she still isn’t quite her usual chipper self. She’s easily frustrated, so today I wanted to do something that wouldn’t require too much exertion for her. She’s really into gardening and flowers right now, so I decided on a garden theme for her to work with. Since Easter is right around the corner, I thought I’d combine the two things, and it was a hit.

I started with a tin container from the Dollar Store that she had seen and loved.

I checked with her to see if she wanted to use this as a watering can, and she was so excited! I gave her a bunch of Easter/spring themed felt stickers, and she decorated the whole thing herself.

She was so pleased with it when it was done, she had to go right outside and “water” the plants. She spent over an hour filling the can and pouring the water on our plants, and we got to talk a lot about flowers and how they grow. Nothing like throwing in some learning!

Yesterday was overcast and dreary here, and we were (are) expecting a tropical depression to move over the state today. I decided to work on my garden a bit because I want it to be more of a garden for kids to enjoy rather than one they aren’t allowed in, and I thought it would be a good activity for The Younger to be involved in while The Older was at school.

As you can see, the garden sort of got away from me. Admittedly, it needed work when we moved in, but obviously I never did said work, and it turned into The Mighty Jungle.

I knew I basically had to take everything out that was dead or unidentifiable and trim back the rest. Since the pepper plants did have some peppers on them, I gave The Younger a bag, and she became the keeper of the vegetables.

This did not last long. As usual, she got her own idea and ran around the yard finding ‘clues’ (i.e. broken twigs, leaves, a Brillo pad (?), some rocks) and putting them safely in the bag. It worked out, actually, because I got to rip out a lot of ‘stuff’ that she would have yelled at me for tossing if she had been right there with me.

When she came back from her adventure, mystery apparently solved, she was thrilled with the one plant left standing in the back of the plot. She spent a good 15 minutes patting the soil around it, smelling the leaves, and pronouncing it “her” plant.

I am anticipating a lot of time in the garden, and I’m thrilled. I hope to turn it into a whole-family project so we can all learn about this style of gardening. I know The Older loves it; at the old house I had a hydroponic system that he loved helping me with.

This will be new to us, planting in the dirt, and I think it will be fun to see where it takes us!

Learning While Gardening

One of the best things about living in Florida is the ability to plant year round.  I am an avid (hydroponic) vegetable planter, and there are only about 1 to 2 months where planting is not advised.  Because I’m active in setting up, cleaning, planting, and caring for our hydroponic garden, the kids are interested in it too. The Younger is not as involved as The Older, and it’s only because her age keeps her from the fine motor skills that she needs for a lot of the gardening.  Usually she just brings us handfuls of the mixture and tosses it into the bins.

Here is The Older making the indent to place the seeds.  This was a great activity for him because we used math to make it interesting (ex. We have 6 seeds total, so how many go on each side to make it even?).

I’m interested in doing some planting in the front of our house too.  I’ve always wanted a fountain of some sort, and now that the kids are getting older, I find myself spending more time in the front yard because they want to ride their scooters or use the pogo stick in the driveway and wishing I had a more “dressed up” front yard.

I’m thinking of getting some outdoor planters for our front porch and letting the kids pick out their own flowers to plant.  This will be a great lesson in both science and math for The Older (I’ll give him a set amount of money to spend and see how much he can get with it), and for The Younger, I’ll have her pick her flowers by color and texture. For her, I think I’ll get fiberglass planters so she can move them around easier than the heavy ones.