Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our “Real” California Adventure

As a last-minute decision, we decided to take the kids whale watching.  There was a little rain, but no wind or fog, so we were safe to continue our adventure!


We didn’t see any whales, but we saw nature at its finest.  A waterspout formed just a few miles away from the boat, and it was not the kind of waterspout the itsy bitsy spider climbed.  The captain said he had only seen 3 in 38 years of sailing.  He called the local news station and we were on California’s Channel 4 news that night. 


Shortly thereafter, the weather cleared up and the sun made its way out.  We learned that dolphins actually are whales, the differences between saw sea lions and sea otter and saw many species of birds all within 7 miles outside Newport Beach. 



By the last picture, my camera had gotten soaked in the rain.  But this trip was better than any in-class science lesson! 

The Story of the Bancroft Bunch and the 3 Trips To Disneyland

In 2010 we were off on our quest to the Happiest Place on Earth!   The weather was supposed to be in the high-70’s, so we packed shorts for sun-filled days.   But the weather turned out to be filled with cold temperatures and an entire week of moisture.  We were miserable and couldn’t wait to leave the monsoon-type rain plaguing us at Sea World and the rest of the parks.   It was too COLD! 


We tried to stay dry to remain warm in our rain ponchos, but these smiles quickly turned into tears at Sea World. 

October 2011 rolled around and we decided to make up for the prior year’s chilly temperatures by returning to Disneyland for our yearly family vacation.  Once again, the forecast gave us expected temperatures in the mid-70’s.  Since we froze in our shorts the year before, we decided to err on the side of caution and pack long pants for the majority of the days to wear with short-sleeved shirts (and hoodies to wear at night).  But this time, the weather surprised us again upon arrival and turned out to be filled with hot temperatures!  It reached a high of 104!  Standing in lines, with sweat dripping from our bodies, we were miserable and couldn’t wait for relief from the sweltering sun beating down on us for 12 hours a day!  It was too HOT!


Here’s Matti taking drastic measures to cool herself down by emptying the contents of her water bottle on her head to keep cool!   It didn’t help that despite the fact that we thought Colton would enjoy the spinning and lights of the rides, it was just over-stimulating to him and he cried all day, every day, in every line, the entire trip.  And half of California Adventure was under construction preparing for “Cars Land”.   California Screamin’ and Pirates of the Caribbean were also closed.  What?   You can’t visit Disneyland and miss out on those two rides!  That’s like having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the jelly!

Justin and I were planning on heading to New York this fall when I thought we needed a re-do of the last 2 years.  October 2012 rolled around.  The kids were all in the perfect age range (no one too young or too old) to enjoy all the theme parks and attractions.  They were all tall enough to ride everything.  We didn’t have to do the rider-switch or worry about diapers or naps.  We all rode together on every ride.  And guess what the forecast was?  Yup.  Mid-70’s.  When we arrived, the temperature stayed in the mid-70s all week long!  There were short lines to offset the longer lines.  After 3 years, I am happy to finally report… It was just right! 

Universal Studios



They got a little too close for comfort to Jaws…


But thought King Kong and the new “Transformers” ride were the bomb. 


Disneyland/California Adventure




Sea World



Feeding Stingrays


Picking up starfish


Looking for land


Exploring underwater sea life

We will not be returning to Disneyland for a long time.  I’m glad we finally got it “just right”.  This chapter is closed…for now!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It’s Fall Y’all!

All it took was an impromptu trip to the Harvest Festival at Thanksgiving Point to get me in the mood for fall!


Some of these pumpkins weighed over 750 pounds!  Some people have an amazing talent when it comes to growing things.  That’s not one of my talents at all. 


This “fall fever” gave me the motivation to decorate my house when October 1st rolled around.  I loved my yellow accents in the living room, but decided to switch things up a bit.  I like to change my décor with the seasons.  I borrowed the orange pillows and black and white rug from the pool table room downstairs.  Sometimes decorating is the most fun using what you already have. 


Thanks to an anonymous prankster who thought it was funny to leave a dead 10 foot tree on our front porch, I now have black spray painted branches to adorn my fireplace mantle.  I love them, especially because they were free!   Tree branches in general are hard to come by in a neighborhood filled with new construction!


All it took was a trip (or two, or three) to TJ Maxx, Target, Taipan and Hobby Lobby to find some unique Halloween trinkets to add in with what I already had.  I originally bought the black glitter stars to hang in Britney’s room.  I got them 75% off after Halloween last year.  But after 10 months they were still on the floor by her dresser.  I think they look perfect hanging from my kitchen chandelier for their intended use as a Halloween decoration. 



I love having a new house to decorate.  I’ve seen so many fun ideas on Pinterest, like hanging the letter “B” (that I already had) onto my fall wreath (that I already had) for a new look, again, for FREE!


I bought the ceramic Utah pumpkins that (you can’t see very well in this shot) for 90% off last year at Hobby Lobby.  They were originally $49.99 each, but I got them for $4.99 each.  I got the black planters 75% off at the end of the season at Target.  I love getting a good deal.  It gives me a rush of adrenaline, a natural “high”.  Does that happen to anyone else after they score a great find?  I always check out what’s on sale after a holiday.  I don’t mind putting it away to use the next year.  It’s always a surprise when I unpack my holiday décor and find something I forgot I bought for a way good deal the year before.  I rarely justify buying something when it’s full-price.  I have a few splurges, but when they are mixed in with my bargain finds, I think it all ends up looking tasteful.


Harley followed me from room to room while I was decorating.  By noon, she was worn out from all the fall/Halloween decorating.  And so was I.