Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grand Opening! {and Blog Train Freebie!}

Welcome to the grand opening of my Polka Dot Plum shoppe! Today is going to be full of freebies, coupons, discounts, and new products! If you're not following me on Twitter, click here. That's where I'll be giving out most of the coupons, gift certificates, and more! For those of you who don't have a twitter account but would still like a special discount, click here and sign up to get e-mail updates. I'll be picking winners of gift certificates and percent off coupons from my e-mail subscription list every hour. There are tons of new products in the shoppe and discounts galore! You won't want to miss this!

To celebrate, my shoppe is 50% off all day, so your coupons and gift certificates = a MAJOR deal for you!

For those of you who are here from the Picnic in the Park blog train [or those of you who would LOVE a digi-scrap freebie from me!], click on the image below to snag my part of the train. There are 5 handwritten word-arts and 3 lightly-textured papers for you to enjoy. Additionally, there's a surprise in the download, so be sure to unzip it right away!

You should have arrived from: Scrappin' Daisies and your next stop is Gail's Space.

If you get lost, the entire list of designers can be found at the Blog Train Blog.

In honor of the grand opening, here's a taste of what you'll find in the shoppe! [Click on any of the images to learn more about that product.]

And if you want to leave me some love in the comments, there might be a little somethin' somethin' headed your way for the 4th of July!

Thanks for helping me celebrate! This is something I've been wanting to do for a very long time & I'm so grateful to have this opportunity at Polka Dot Plum.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Laundry Day Issues

Ever noticed how when you try extra hard to do something nice, things often go so wrong it's comical?

Tell me I'm not the only one that happens to.

Take today for example. I came home from work, was super productive with designing and headed off to go Visiting Teaching. Visited with a super cute girl from church for about a half hour and then came home to make dinner for C who was biking back from class. I was looking fabulous today. Turquoise satin shirt, brown slacks [size 4 baby! don't hate. :) I haven't been able to wear them since the wedding], and heels.

Thai pasta was on the menu, and I had some cooked chicken pre-chopped in the freezer. Pulled out the chicken, threw the sauce together, etc. I thawed the chicken under some cold water, but it was still frozen into some chunks so I was just going to let it thaw the rest of the way while the sauce thickened. I'll admit, I was feeling pretty on top of it.

One poorly guided swoop of the spoon later and there is thai peanut sauce [read: El Pato jalapeno salsa and peanut butter] splattered all over my satin shirt, the bread machine, the floor, the far wall, the fridge, and the stove, none of which are in the same general direction.

I immediately take my shirt off in a panic, thinking about the grease and stains that are inevitable. Additionally, wonder-husband had started the laundry, and so all of my shirts are in the kitchen/laundry nook, but they're all wet. Kitchen window is WIDE open, and I realize I'm wearing a hot pink bra. [It's laundry day, after all.] Thus, walking back across the kitchen, past the window, is not exactly going to happen. The sauce is burning, and I can't run upstairs to grab a shirt, so I begin to rummage through our delicates batch. Miracle of miracles, one of my white-ish blouses made it into the delicates batch on accident.

Let me paint this picture for you.

Hot pink bra + white blouse = very visible hot pink through white.

However, if C's the only one who's going to see me, who cares. And so, we enjoy a nice dinner together and watch make it or break it on the couch eating ice cream right out of the carton. I, then, head back upstairs to package up some of my new scrapbooking products, and C heads to the kitchen to finish up the dishes. [love him.]

And...there's a knock at the door. At 9pm. I ignore it because I know full well how I look and I'm not about to go welcome the world into our home. C can't hear it. The water's going. I call down to C. He can't hear me either.

Knock at the door #2. More urgent this time.

So, I go down and open the door, doing the strategic half-way hide behind the door without looking awkward move.

It's our home teachers.

We completely spaced it.

Feigning pleasant surprise, I excuse myself for a moment and invite them in. Panicked moment #2 begins when I realize 90% of my clothes are downstairs in the laundry nook and therefore none of my colored tank tops are up in my bedroom. Why I didn't just put a different [darker colored] shirt on is beyond me. So I grab a white jacket. Really Kristin? Really?

And all through our conversation with the Home Teachers, I'm moving all over the couch trying out different ways to sit to potentially shield my fluorescent bra with a combination of C's body, my pathetic jacket and completely avoiding eye-contact.


And all because I wanted to have dinner on the table for C.

Some days you really just have to wonder if it's all worth it.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Patience is a Dirty Word?

It has been for me lately. It seems as if someone is always telling me to "just be patient" or asking me why I'm "in such a hurry" to do this, that or the other. This generally results in me being speechless out of sheer anger because heaven knows they have no idea what they're talking about. Unfortunately, when someone directly tells you to be patient, it's hard for it not to come off terribly self-righteous.  And so, I approach this topic with a lot of caution.

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Patience has been something I've struggled with for almost my entire life. I am a goal oriented person. I like setting and achieving goals. I loved taking tests in high school and college because it gave me a chance to prove myself and measure my progress. [weird, yes. I'm OK with that.] The problem comes when I'm constantly refusing to find the joy in the every day because I'm looking forward to next summer, Christmas, when we have a house, when we have a baby, when we're pregnant, when I don't have to work anymore, when C graduates from chiropractic school, etc. The list goes on and on.

I can't tell you how many times me and C have discussed how we need to slow down and enjoy this time of life. The conversation always ended with a "ok. let's do it!" Exactly how to do it wasn't very clear until yesterday.

Yesterday, at church, a certain high-councilman spoke to us. He had a way of explaining things through metaphors that was completely captivating. I don't think I looked away from the podium once [and with a man as attractive as C sitting next to you, that's a pretty rare occurrence.]

The speaker started talking about time and how it relates to God. If you think about the creation story found in the Bible, it talks about 6 creative periods and a day of rest. Each day in God's time is equivalent to 1,000 years in ours. Knowing that, think about the following:

  • 1 year is the equivalent of 1 minute and 18 seconds.

  • I am only 28 minutes old.

  • C is 30 minutes old.

  • My beautiful niece Lillie is 32.5 seconds old.

  • My twin nephews are 52 seconds old.

  • Women, you're only pregnant for 1 minute with each of your children.

  • As parents, we spend 39 minutes raising our children and then we'll have an empty nest again.

  • 1 month is the equivalent of 6.5 seconds.

  • We're in school for about 23 minutes and 25 seconds.

  • As humans, we live for an hour and 50 minutes on average.

  • We're asked to remain faithful for that hour and 50 minutes.

  • Those of you who are waiting to be able to add another little one to your family, every time you're asked to wait, it's only another 6.5 seconds in the grand scheme of things.

  • Those of you waiting to find your beloved husband, the time is soon. We're talking minutes and seconds here.

  • Mothers of children who aren't sleeping, or have hit the terrible twos with gusto, or aren't quite grasping the whole idea of potty-training, this phase is only a few seconds long.

When I think about this, I can't help but feel an overwhelming sense of comfort. It's completely changed my outlook. I can do anything for an hour and 50 minutes. I can, and will, wait an extra 6.5 seconds to bring a child into our family, if it means they will join this world at the time they are being saved for. [And I can, and will, do it again and again.] I can, and will, happily support my husband for the last 6 minutes and 50 seconds of his schooling. I can, and will, be a faithful daughter of my Heavenly Father for the entire 1 hour and 50 minutes I am away from Him.

I know hard times will come, but "[my] adversity and [my] afflictions shall be but a small moment;" {D&C 121:7} literally.

When things get tough, does it makes sense to rely on your 28 minutes worth of experience? Thinking about it that way sure makes it easy to turn to your Heavenly Father and trust in his endless knowledge.

Suddenly, patience isn't such a dirty word.

So, what will you do with the time that's left?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

3 Things

  1. I promise I'm not neglecting the blog. [Ok, semi-lie. It's being neglected, but I'm not being a bum!] I am prepping like crazy for the grand opening of my new digital scrapbooking shop and it is at the c.u.t.e.s.t site. I can't wait to announce it! There will be a major sale, brand-spankin-new products and even some free goodies for you!  So, mark your calendar for July 1st. <3

  2. Major changes are in the works for the Call family. We'll know just how major after a long walk either tonight or tomorrow, hearing back from a certain less-than-awesome professor, and perhaps an arm-wrestling match or two. ["Team Kristin" shirts would be much appreciated.]

  3. This is what my hometown currently looks like.

That fire's been roaring for days now, and as far as I know [and from the looks of things] it's still not under control. Pray for Flagstaff, AZ. My whole family lives there! [extended included...]

In other news, I got possibly the worst night sleep last night, ever. C has some funny sleeping quirks. So, before I launch into this, let's remember: "Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all." {G.K. Chesterton}

Here's what went down [via conversations with C and my sister, L]:

L: hi

Me: hey there. how did the Lilster sleep last night?

L: terrible. up from 11-1, up at 4 and 4:45, up at 6-6:30

Me: gross. sounds about like my night actually. C was freaking restless

L: perhaps he needs to be swaddled [L recently stumbled upon the glories of swaddling her little girl. longer naps have totally revolutionized the whole Mom thing for her.]

Me: haha maybe. I woke up at 4am because every ten seconds or so, he would whack his head down to his pillow twice. thunk thunk --------- 15 seconds ---------- thunk thunk

L: :)

Me: that went on for about 20-30 times before I punched him and told him to knock it off. he was completely out.

L: your very own personal thunderstorm.

Me: :)

L: might I suggest a king bed?

Me: we have a king. we are l.a.r.g.e

L: oh dear.

-----and in the words of C -----

Me: sweetheart, you were ridiculous last night!

C: why? I thought I slept really good!

Me: did. I don't even think you woke up when I punched you.

C: lol. I'm sorry honey.

Me: It's alright.

C: I don't even remember having a dream of any kind.

Me: Best sleep I had was from 7 to 8 after you'd already left.

C: hahaha. It's the ice cream, honey. You shouldn't eat any of it.

Me: ... I don't think so ...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Celebrate the Day

The Completing Him Challenge for today is to remember and celebrate our wedding day. Here are some of my favorite pictures and memories from 1.02.09, one of the best days of my life.

C & I were married in the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple.

We believe in eternal marriage that is not subject to "until death do you part."

How grateful I am for the doctrine of eternal families and for the knowledge that comes with it. I cannot express how much joy I get from knowing that C and I will truly be together forever. If you're interested in how these doctrines came to be or how you can have them for yourself, please don't hesitate to contact me, or visit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' website.

oh, what a day that was!

And to think it only gets better from there.

Marriage between man and wife is truly a blessing from our Heavenly Father.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Finish It Friday

Well, I'm back on the productivity wagon. I've been spoiled like crazy this past week and my mom has been in town. She has whipped my house into shape and finished a bunch of my well-intentioned projects. Which means I can actually start new ones! So here's what's on tap for my weekend.

  1. Cut out king-size quilt

  2. Design Mom's Sewing Classes Flyer

  3. Start Mom's Sewing Classes Website Design

So what's on your plate this weekend?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

If Ye Are Prepared, Ye Shall Not Fear

I know I'm not the only one who's been feeling the tug of "get your year supply in order!" It seems like that prompting has only been getting stronger since I first felt it over a year ago. I tried a few different approaches. First, I planned 30 meals and figured out how much food it would take to make each meal 12 times. That resulted in a pretty good plan, until I became a better cook and the ingredients soon became obsolete. Then, I stumbled upon OAMC or Freezer Cooking and thought I could just rotate out meals and build up a years worth of entrees. It sounded alright, until 3 months in I figured out that the big dogs use preservatives in their frozen foods for a reason. heh.

So, we all know we're supposed to have a year-supply, but the "HOW do I know when I've got a year's worth of food?" is always a hang up.

Which is why I just have to tell you about this cool new tool I found that got me and C all planned out [calorie counts included] during one single family night. We even had time to make a plan for our 72-hour kits.


The Custom Food Storage Calculator

You seriously go there, input each member of your family including their daily caloric intake, input some basic preferences and it spits out a complete food-storage plan, in POUNDS.

The plan being in POUNDS is important, I'll tell you why.

A lot of food storage places will calculate how much of each food item you need in #10 cans, or other obscure measurements specific to their products in an effort to monopolize your business. Shelf Reliance gives you information in pounds so you have the ability to purchase the raw ingredients from other places when they go on sale, because honestly, I don't have $4,000 extra to spend on food that's going to be in #10 cans. I do, however, have extra money in my grocery budget every month that could easily go toward extra flour, rice, beans, bottled water, etc. that are in usable containers so I know the food won't be wasted.

Check it out. I promise, it's worth all 45 minutes it takes.

How's your food storage lookin'? Any tips/tricks for the rest of us?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Week 1: Be Captivating

One of my favorite [satirical] blogs talks a lot about "not letting the sizzle fizzle." Quite often, when there's a lull in the conversation, or we're cuddled up on the couch watching nothing at all, one of us will ask the other:

What do you remember?

This question is always in reference to something that happened in the summer and fall of 2008. I'm shocked almost every time by the minute details that C remembers. We found each other captivating.

Reminiscing about the beginnings of our relationship is a surefire way to stir up those wonderful feelings of love. I think one of the reasons this works so well is because it makes just how far your relationship has come extremely clear.

The trick is to continue to find each other captivating, and doing that takes effort from both sides. You must make yourself captivating, while also putting effort toward always looking for the good in your spouse and finding him captivating.

So here's what we remember: *Warning-This is going to be long...but also full of pictures.]

C and I met at EFY. We were both counselors in Flagstaff, AZ that summer for a couple of weeks. He thought I was pretty cute, I could barely keep my jaw off the floor when he walked into the room...y'know-healthy attraction. I first saw him on a Saturday at a meeting. He came in late. We didn't even talk. After the meeting, I went to my grandparents' house and said, "Grandpa. There is this guy."

"What's his name?"

"I don't know."

"Where's he from?"

"I don't know."

"What does he do? School? Work?"

"I don't know."

"Well, Go back!"

We sat next to each other at church [Yes, C, I did notice you cutting 2 people off to be next to me.] We talked all through Sacrament Meeting and Sunday School [NOT a normal thing for me...] and C asked me for a ride to the airport to pick up his car. We ended up talking in the parking lot until 2 am.

The rest of the week we looked for reasons to spend time together. We both joined the choir, only to later find out that we were only there because the other was there. He asked me to teach a lesson with him on Friday, so we had to spend time Thursday prepping for it. [C tried to kiss me, and I promptly turned him down...good move on my part, I found out later.]

By Saturday, I was pretty bummed out that he was going home to Queen Creek. C left for the weekend, and I didn't really hear from him the whole time. (C totally disagrees and says we texted non stop all day, even when he had a date with another girl Saturday night. I must've pushed this far from my memory due to said "other girl.") When he came back Sunday night, though, he was awful happy to see me and kissed me under the stars in my backyard.

From then on, we were pretty inseperable. Our EFY kids had a blast flirting for us the next week, and the stairwell became our favorite rendezvous after lights out. [The rest of the counselors didn't like us much. Girls were mad that C wouldn't really talk to them anymore and guys were ticked that C's boys kept cutting in when I was dancing with them.]

EFY ended, and I went back to Utah to work. C stayed in Arizona. Thus began 8 weeks of non-stop phone calls, e-mails, and text messages.

"Kristin. Each day you seem to amaze me more than the day before and you become more and more attractive to me. It's making me sick :) but I think it's a good one though. I don't want to throw up. It's more that I want it to never go away ever."
-C. Call

I surprised C and flew down a day early. He had sent me flowers for my birthday. I left right after the flowers arrived, so I stuck one in my hair. [One of the details he remembered about the first time he ever saw me.]

We went wakeboarding with his family on Friday, headed to California early Saturday morning and spent the day on Santa Monica beach.

For my birthday, C got me tickets to go see Wicked. [He was playing for keeps at this point.] He even bought me a Christmas ornament from the show. [A family tradition.]

After the show, we went back down to the beach. We rode the ferris wheel on the pier, and walked down the shore to "beach house no. 18" [lifeguard station].

[caption id="attachment_829" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Credits: Call Me Kristin "Of Noble Birthright" Freebie, Paislee Press"][/caption]

Way overdue "I love you"'s were exchanged and C said one more thing.

What do you think about shooting for that 10%?

[in reference to the 10% of EFY counselors that get married.] I just replied that I thought that was a great idea.

We went back up to school together and got ready for the upcoming semester. We knew we would be getting married, but thought that the mature thing to do would be to wait until April. It was 8 months away, and I'd always wanted a Spring wedding. We decided on April 18th, after the 18 on the lifeguard stand and spent the next week in utter misery.

C took me on a walk to the park and asked, "How set on April are you?"

A huge feeling of relief swept over me. "Not at all!"

"We could get married in December..."

"December in Phoenix is like Springtime everywhere else..."

"Your dad will be here next weekend, won't he?"

"What?! No. Wait. *deep breath* Ok."

[Insert giddy laughter here.]

C asked my dad's permission [which is an entire other story. poor guy!], but did it face-to-face [major points for C.]

And then popped the question.

Which is also it's own story, but you can read it here!

So, as for becoming that "captivating" girl that I once was.. I think all it takes is a little selflessness. As much as I like being made a fuss over, C does too. When I met him, I was confident, friendly, and had a strong testimony. He loved that I wore flowers in my hair and that I would flirt with him from across the room. He loved dancing with me and discussing gospel topics endlessly. We surprised each other.

I guess this means that the secret to keeping the "sizzle" alive is to date each other. Dress to impress. Flirt. Dance. Surprise. Etc. It's so worth it.

And if you need a little inspiration, Check This Out!

How do you stay captivating?

Friday, June 11, 2010

For You

If today hasn't been the best day ever.

If you've ever looked at someone else and asked, "when is it going to be my turn?"

If you've cried lately.

If "be patient" are the last words you want to hear.

If loneliness has come knocking on your door.

If your name is Jessica, Julie, Kenna, Allyceson, Rachel, Kiara, Lindsay, Emilee, Ariel, Sarah, or Ashley.

If your name isn't Jessica, Julie, Kenna, Allyceson, Rachel, Kiara, Lindsay, Emilee, Ariel, Sarah, or Ashley.

If you need someone to understand.

If it's the dark before the dawn.

If you're fighting for hope.

If you've ever said, "life is just hard, sometimes."


I just finished reading each and every post on Ashley's blog. One of my favorite posts by her mentions this scripture from the Book of Mormon, and interprets it in a way that I've never thought about before. We spend so much time focusing on the pain we are going through. It's vital for us to understand that "this too shall pass." and soon, we will be experiencing the most exquisite and sweet joy we've ever felt.

I hope you know that I believe we have a wonderful, loving, compassionate Heavenly Father who knows me and each and every one of you. I believe that He wants us to be happy and that we are here on this earth to learn how to remain faithful, especially in times of trial. We can pray to Him for strength and comfort to get out of bed in the morning. We will make it. And you are never, ever alone.

Note: I designed this print for an awkwardly long frame in our kitchen. I think it will serve as a great reminder to keep my head up. If you would like to print it, feel free to click the image for a full-resolution version. The borders on the top and bottom may be trimmed and will make it easier to fit into a more normal sized frame.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chewlry Sidewalk Sale!

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for this weekend. Remember this adorable bracelet? I thought I was in love with it until C surprised me with it for graduation.

Then, I was obsessed.

It was even more stunning in person! [Not to mention C also got me the earrings...deadly combination.] Very well made, classy, affordable jewelry. Chewlry has definitely got it going on.

So what's the big deal about this weekend?


That means you'll get to see these beauties:

and even these:

up close and personal!


to sweeten the deal even further, anyone who drops a comment here to RSVP to the sidewalk sale gets $3.00 off your favorite Chewlry piece. They're going to have jewelry starting at $5, so a new custom designed, gorgeous necklace for $2?! I'm sold!

Here are the details:

This Saturday, June 12th from 8am to 6pm at 310 North 900 West in Provo.

This is the same day as C's marathon, so you know where I'll be while C's getting a massage after running 26.2 miles. sheesh.

Let me know if you're coming and I'll let the Chewlry girls know to put your name on a gift certificate!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Completing Him Challenge

Keeping with my current goals, I've decided to take part in this challenge. I think the hardest thing for me to do since being married is to step outside myself more frequently and put C first. He works so hard and treats me like royalty every day of the week. He's the only person who can make me laugh when I'm so angry I can't even speak. He's patient with me 100% of the time. I don't know that he's ever yelled at me, or even raised his voice in anger.

This is not a challenge to take my desires, wants, wishes, needs, etc. out of our marriage. Marriage doesn't work that way. In my mind, I would ideally be able to completely forget myself because I trust C to do the same for me. I know it's possible, and I'm going to take the first steps to getting there! We really have a great marriage and I'm blown away every day at how blessed I am. This is a challenge to improve myself. C is not forcing me or pressuring me or anything. I simply want to be a better wife, and the outline of this challenge makes sense to me as a vehicle for helping me achieve that.

I would love to have you join me!

Click the button for more information!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Freezer Cooking Menu: June 2010

The meals in our freezer are dwindling, which means it must be time for OAMC! I'm hoping to have my major cooking day on Saturday, but it may get pushed to Monday, so my mom can help. She'll be in town all week! I'm so excited to see her!

Our month is going to cost next to nothing because I already have about 10 pounds of chicken and 4 pounds of ground beef that I found on sale last month. I also found dry milk on sale at Smiths for a dollar, so I bought 6. Now I can afford to buy dehydrated fruit for the oatmeal! I can't wait.

Here's what's going down:


  • Buffalo Chicken Pizza

  • Stuffed Hamburgers [Jalapeno Cheddar this time.]

  • Italian Chicken Rolls

  • Lasagna

  • Taco Salad

  • Cream Cheese Chicken

  • Sweet & Sour Chicken Bowls

  • Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

  • Chicken Enchiladas

  • Tamale Pie

  • Pineapple Chicken

  • Macaroni Chicken Bake

  • Divine Crock Pot Chicken

  • Teriyaki Stir Fry




Need some recipes? Check out my Recipes page!

Note: I've also had requests to come see a Freezer Cooking day in action. I'm happy to open up my kitchen to those who are interested. Contact me for more information.

Leave a comment with a recipe you'd like to see. I'll post a recipe as soon as it receives 5 votes!

Finish It Friday: Under Construction

So, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not a very good example of Finish It Friday. I planned our OAMC day [and will post it later], but did absolutely no scrapbooking. On a happier note, I did get a Gold's Gym membership through my work, which is a step in the right direction to my goal #2 from last week.

How did the weekend turn out for you?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Finish It Friday

Signing off for the weekend again!

Here's my list:

  1. Plan Freezer Cooking Day

  2. Work Out

  3. Scrapbook 5 Pages

What's on your plate?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sugar-Free Dessert Woes

Remember how C & I went off sugar for the year? It's going pretty darn well. When I crave something sweet, I automatically think of fruit or granola or yogurt, so that's a nice and welcome change. However, Utah has finally kicked the "freak-snow-storms-in-June" habit and has decided to let us have some real summer. And that means it gets a little toasty in our little brick townhouse.

My solution?

Crystal Light was on sale last week, so I grabbed some raspberry limeade/orange/strawberry banana drink mix and set off to look for popsicle molds.

I have checked both Target and Walmart and neither of them carry them. I seriously asked C:

"I'm not old, right? These are still cool...they still make them, don't they?"

I just don't think $2 popsicle molds are something I should have to buy online.

Perhaps tho, I can get them for free with Swagbucks.

If you want to help a sister out, and get in on the $5 Amazon Gift Card action, sign up for Swagbucks, install the toolbar and get searching. [I feel fine endorsing this because we've already paid for movies, C's laptop cover, and my mother's day gift with Amazon Gift Cards from Swagbucks. It works. And it sure is nice to have some runnin' money for just spending some time online.]

If you do decide to sign up though, please use this link, or the one above and soon I'll have enough Swagbucks to get these.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ridemax + Disneyland = Genius

The big news is we made it to California and back without any car trouble! [Shout out to Lola!]

The next biggest news is we used a program called Ridemax to get the most out of our weekend getaway. I will never go to Disneyland again without Ridemax. Best $14.95 I've ever spent. My dad recommended it to us and we thought we'd give it a try. Basically, it calculates the best way to spend your time throughout the day, avoid the lines, and still hit every attraction on your must-see/do list, without burning you out. Brilliant.

We stayed at a hotel 2 blocks away from the park, so we could walk there. Ridemax plan in tow, we arrived at Disneyland bright and early Friday morning. The park opened and we joined the rabid rush toward Splash Mountain. There were no lines yet, but we went and grabbed a fast pass instead of just riding it. Then, we walked right around the crowd and walked onto Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

[caption id="attachment_828" align="aligncenter" width="550" caption="Credits: Gina Cabrera, Kevin & Amanda, ADesigns, Ali Edwards"][/caption]

Then, we walked right on to Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear, Small World and Autopia [We're pretty tall...I snapped this pic of C on Autopia, lol].

We played it just right. As soon as we got off the ride, a line would appear for the attraction. I felt so sneaky!  The best part about it was we had a plan that we knew would work. In the past, I've spent so much time in line because I wanted to make sure I was able to ride my favorites. This time, we knew it was alright to take a break and see a show because we were planning to ride Space Mountain/Matterhorn/Peter Pan/etc. later.

Did you know they have canoe tours in Disneyland? They do. We canoed.

Did you know that the Disneyland Railroad that goes all around the perimeter of the park has a full fledged grand canyon exhibit and dinosaur land inside one of the tunnels and that it goes right through Splash Mountain and you can see the people on the ride? It does.

Seriously, we had a 4 hour break Friday afternoon [Ridemax schedules it this way on purpose because it's the heat of the day and when the lines are the worst.] and we walked through Downtown Disney, had a relaxed lunch at Tortilla Joe's, went to the Animation Academy in California Adventure and saw an hour-long Aladdin broadway style show.

We geared up for the afternoon, rode everything on our list and then some, and showed up for our reservation at the Blue Bayou [the restaurant that goes right through Pirates of the Caribbean.] Cool, romantic, amazing food, it was fabulous.

C snagged us an amazing spot for the fireworks and we finished the night on Peter Pan [honestly, the only ride we waited in line for longer than 10 minutes.]

I've never seen and done so much at Disneyland! It was wonderful.

The next day was California Adventure. Slept in a bit [it opened at 10], and be-bopped on over to the park, walking again. Ridemax didn't disappoint! We ran and grabbed a Fastpass first for California Screamin' and then jumped in line for Toy Story [I totally whomped C.]

We walked on to the huge sliding gondola ferris wheel [which was pretty darn freaky for a ferris wheel] and continued throughout our day seeing everything we wanted to. Tower of Terror was also on the list [I hate drops...but love C, and so I buckled my seatbelt and screamed my head off.] Soarin' over California was a 2 time favorite and C even convinced me to ride the Maliboomer, which was a huge deal. I avoid the straight up drop rides like the plague.

We were so far ahead of schedule that by 4pm, we were back in Disneyland [and we'd ridden the big rides in California Adventure twice!] We grabbed dinner and shared a table with a wonderful couple where we could also see the Fantasmic show. Worth it.

We finished the day with sugar-free butter pecan cones and picking out our Christmas ornament and mugs. [Tradition. :)] and a late-night hot tub to pamper our aching legs.

Sunday, we slept in and headed to church. We had every intention of staying for all 3 hours, but the ward we picked actually had Sacrament meeting last, so we really had no choice but to go off and find the Hollywood sign.

After that, we drove to the LA Temple and had a nice long walk & talk. [Don't you just love Sundays?]

We drove to Santa Monica beach for dinner and ate at a Ma & Pa Pizza shop [think My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but Italian] called Bruno's. YUM.

We took some time to visit our Beach House No. 18, grabbed a movie, and headed back to the hotel. There's nothing like not having anyone to answer to or anywhere to be. I love it.

[caption id="attachment_829" align="aligncenter" width="550" caption="Credits: Call Me Kristin "Of Noble Birthright" Freebie, Paislee Press"][/caption]