Friday, May 30, 2014

A Day Out With Thomas - Review

My son loves Thomas the Train. I tried to fight it at first. My being a Disney addict and all. I bought him Chuggington, but it just didn't cut it. Thomas is where it's at for little ones!

This is my first year at home with the kids for the summer, so I was excited when I realized I would be able to take them to see Thomas when he came to the Cuyahoga Valley Railroad. Then I saw the price. At first it didn't seem like a lot, but then I though about it..three tickets at $18 a piece...$54 AND processing fees to ride a train back and forth for 20 minutes?!? But we did it...and here I am. I figured I'd write a review to help those of you who are trying to decide if it is worth it.

My husband had wanted to go and because he works weekends, we had to plan for the first ride of the day on a Sunday. This actually worked out perfect because there was less of a crowd! Easier parking and less kids playing in the areas before the ride. I would recommend this strategy if you want to beat the crowds and the heat!

We pulled in and used the porta potties(which there were plenty of), then headed inside. Everyone we came in contact with had bright smiles and looked genuinely happy to be there. They give you a sheet to stamp at each "station". Once the sheet is filled you return it for s surprise. We found this to be a nice way to make sure you don't miss anything!

First stop...the model trains! We watched a small Thomas chug around for a minute or two and then headed over to get a photo with Thomas!

Next it was on to the toy train area. This was a nice spot to let both of our kids down to play for a bit. A couple of minutes passed an we heard an announcement to board the train!! Here we go!

During the down and back ride they played music, which was the same song...over and over. I wish they had mixed it up some. It didn't seem to bother the kids, of course, but I heard more than one parent comment about the music. There was a conductor that came around and punched tickets and they also took a picture on board which can be bought online after the fact. Our 18 month old was squirmish on board. If you bring a toddler, you might want to bring something for them to do. She had no interest in the actual ride. Our 4 year old loved it, but I think he would have enjoyed it more if we had just taken him to the scenic railroad for a "real" ride. The down and back was just kind...meh.

It was nice to spend the morning together as a family. We don't get enough of that!!

After we got back, we headed over to meet Sir Topham Hatt. He hadn't been there prior to the ride. My little guy has plenty of experience with meeting "fur characters". That is a Disney term for those characters that do not speak; as opposed to a "face character", like Snow White or Peter Pan would be. He had a blast with Sir Topham, however my little girl was unsure and a little freaked out.

After we left this area we did the bouncy houses and wrapped up our day! All in all it was a nice way to spend a Sunday morning. I'm glad we went, however I do not think we would do it again.

I hope my review has helped you understand what to expect from the event...and as always feel free to comment with any questions, or email me at!!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Healthy Elvis Froyo

Awhile back, I was laying in bed before falling asleep and I was looking at the app "shopkick" and saw a Cuisinart ice cream machine on there. With excitement, I showed my hubby. "Look at this thing...we totally need that!". To which he replied, "You have that. It's in the basement."

No. Way.

I guess we got it a couple of years ago and since we had no room in our condo, it went to the storage locker...and there it sat. I got it out the next day and have been looking for ideas for ice cream ever since.

I was thinking of a Greek yogurt idea after eating a yummy, honey yogurt bar the other day. I started to brainstorm what goes with honey? As a runner, I frequently top my toast with honey, peanut butter and bananas. Seems logical to's a great combo! But you see...we have a "mix in" feature to our machine. What can we mix into this treat?? Chocolate chips seem like they would be yummy, but kind of expected and normal. I wanted something fun. I opened up my fridge and bacon popped right out at me. ELVIS LIVES!

After experimenting with this, it turns out the bacon is better sprinkled on top. And the mini chips are a welcomed addition (but feel free to omit them if you want...Elvis didn't add chocolate chips to his sandwiches).

This recipe is weight watcher friendly, too! It is 4 points per a half cup serving. I honestly think it tastes better than Ben and Jerry's Banana Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt, which weighs in at 6 points (and doesn't have chocolate or peanut butter). Gotta love that!



  • Mix all ingredients, besides bacon and chocolate chips, with a blender and pour into a ice cream machine and follow machine instructions. Either use a "mix in" setting for chocolate, or hand mix then in right after the froyo sets (about 2 minutes before it will be done). Sprinkle bacon bits on top.

 Our lovely newish machine!
 Put all the gooey goods in the blender....

 Liquefy the stuff...shouldn't have any banana lumps in it!

 Your bacon should be EXTRA crispy!

 Pour the liquefied stuff into the ice cream maker.

 My machine takes 12-15 minutes, but I start checking at 10!!

 There you have it...Healthy Elvis Froyo!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow

I'm sure, at some point, you have heard that adding kitchen scraps to your soil can help your plants. Now that we have a back yard, I am anxious to get my garden going...and feeding it right to ensure I have healthy, happy plants!

Below are some tips for easy, household items that you can add to your garden to help feed and nourish your plants!


Banana peels (and bananas) are good for roses. There are many ways to feed your roses the sweet snack, but the easiest is to just bury the peel, or the whole banana, about 1 inch near the base of the plant. If you are transplanting your rose, throw a whole banana down into the hole after you dig and before you place the rose in. The potassium will soak into the soil and give them a boost!

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds work as a balancing agent for the soils pH levels. Save as much of the grounds as you can (or get them from a local coffee shop) and add them directly to your soil. Most outdoor plants with get assistance from the grounds, however some plants such as geraniums do not take as well to them. Another plus about adding the grounds to you soil? Worms love them! And everyone knows...worms are GREAT for the garden!

Egg Shells

Egg shells are a good source of calcium for your plants, especially tomatoes. Egg shells do take some prep work before you toss them into the garden, however. The egg that came out of the shell leaves behind some clime and that slime can and will create bacteria, which is harmful to the plants. If you choose to use egg shells, make sure you wash them thoroughly and break them down by crushing them in a baggy before adding them to your soil. You can also place a circle of prepped egg shells are plants as a slug deterrent. Bonus!


Copper helps to control slugs and can add essential minerals to your soil to assist with plants such as tomatoes, helping to control blight. Again, it works to help the pH level of the soil. Using pennies that are dated 1982 or earlier will give the most benefit to the soil, however the newer ones will work too. There is also an old wives tale that says that if you place pennies near a hydrangea that it will make the flowers blue...and those are my favorites!

I'm looking forward to trying our these tips on our garden this year. Maybe some day I can get my gardens as nice as Disney's!

Do you have any other garden wives tales or tips to share?