I lost my motivation. It happens to the best of us, but when it happens to me, it means crap food, junk food and totally uninspired dishes…and even less baking. Not even Pinterest could wake me up. I’d say it was due to busy schedules and work, but it wasn’t. I lost motivation. I stopped breathing and actually living…I was existing and doing things because I had to, not because I wanted to.

I didn’t even realize I lost it until a friend commented and it hit me. Hard. Took me a few days to muster the courage to come back and tell you about it. But hey, I’m here and I wanted to tell you what I did to get it back…or what my family did to help me get it back.

Back in May, Mother’s Day, my family gave me money to go the Fairmont’s Jasper Park Lodge’s Christmas in November. A three-night all-inclusive food, wine and Christmas decor extravaganza. For $1000 dollars, I would meet celebrity chef’s Anna and Micheal Olson and Chuck Hughes (huge crush on him). Not only would I meet them, I would learn tips, tricks and fabulous recipes from them, dine with them and run into all weekend at the lodge. A true foodies dream, and also an event that has been on my bucketlist for years.

After months of waiting…I finally arrived at the front door of the JPL, greeted by the weekend host, Nik Manojlovich, host of Savoir Faire and Weekend at the Cottage. He quickly asked our names, offered us a hot beverage and fresh baked snack and escorted us to the check-in desk, picked up our name tags/guest passes and our bag of arrival goodies – which was already heavy! We arrived in our cabin room with two bottles of champagne, specially marked toques, aprons and a special welcome note. Already a great start to a weekend.

Over the next couple of days, we spent a bulk of our time eating delicious food from Chuck Hughes, Anna Olson, Connie Desousa and the Fairmont. Everything from braised short ribs, goat cheese cheesecake, made-to-order creme brulee, to poutine stations, and seafood buffets. The food was plentiful and the drinks…well, my wine glass was never empty, and my water glass never full. All in all a fabulous experience.

So what happened that weekend…I got my mojo back. I was inspired. From Chuck’s stories, and Anna’s delicious sausage stuffing squares to Connie De Souza and John Jackson’s empanadas, tacos, and shrimp ceviche, the bright flavour, warm and comforting stories helped me find my way back to the kitchen! I left the weekend ready to tackle my fridge and oven. I was armed with FIVE new cookbooks, over 20 new recipes, tips and tools to kick my cooking game into gear, and win (a quick nod to Anna and Micheal Olson’s cooking demonstration.)

So what did I make first? Well, we ate a LOT of great food, but the food that I was craving more of was CharCut‘s My Mexico Al Pastor Tacos…OMG. Our family likes tacos, the girls will eat as many as they can…but these blew us away! The technique, the flavours…everything was AMAZING!


CharCut’s My Mexico Al Pastor Tacos from Christmas in November

1/4 pineapple
1/4 onion
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 garlic clove
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp pineapple juice
2 tsp salt
pinch dried oregano
pinch ground cumin
1/2 small chipotle chili
1/4 tsp adobo sauce
350 g pork loin
230 g ground sausage- raw
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro
Corn tortillas

  1. Slice pork into thin medallions.
  2. Marinade pork medallions in spices and juice, about 15 minutes.
  3. Using a loaf pan, stand up on pork medallion, with the fat cap on the top, on one end of the loaf pan. Next, take a small portion of the sausage and spread it on the pork medallion. Continue layering until no pork and sausage are left. Place a piece of pineapple to keep it all smooshed together.IMG_2592
  4. Back in 350F oven for about 40 minutes, or until meat thermometer reaches 165F when pushed into the middle of the loaf.
  5. To serve, carve against the grain, top on tortillas with a slice of pineapple, hot sauce and whatever toppings you want.

So useful tips shared by John Jackson, the fat cap on the top will act as self-basting allowing the meat to stay moist and flavourful. YUM. This recipe would be great for a family, with LOTs of leftovers or a crowd – TACO BAR!

Up next…Anna’s sausage stuffing squares, empanadas…way too many choices. Or maybe a lesson learned from Anna Olson herself…which helped me make the BEST cinnamon buns. Stay tuned.

And if your asking, yes, I will be attending Christmas in November next year.




Canada Day

It’s Canada Day! Happy Canada Day!

Today, Canada as a confederation turns 150 years old. We are a relatively young country, but still a great and mighty country.

I love Canada, sometimes, we forget just how truly blessed and fortunate we are to live and grow up in Canada. A country that is truly free and built on tolerance and diversity. Last week, I wrote a speech for the Minister of Advanced Education and in that speech, I wrote how I felt to be Canadian because I can. Ha. Part of my speech talks about the history of upper and lower Canada merging to create one outstanding and strong country. The blending of the provinces emerged from the belief that our nation would be built on pillars of diversity, tolerance and acceptance.

Part of my speech talks about the history of upper and lower Canada merging to create one outstanding and strong country. The blending of the provinces emerged from the belief that our nation would be built on pillars of diversity, tolerance and acceptance. After 150 years, these beliefs are still present today and have made this country strong and welcoming.

In the past few weeks, a number of national companies have tried to sum up what it means to be Canadian, what makes people proud to be Canadian, what are the true words to describe Canada…I don’t know if there are words, but I think what really demonstrates the countries true nature is portrayed accurately in the Jonny Harris’ show Still Standing. For the season premier, Harris headed to my hometown, Fort McMurray. He showed that in the face of adversity, resilience, strength and consideration was demonstrated during those frightful weeks. He showed that while the country is still standing with the community, there is also humour to be shared. That is what it means to be Canadian.

This blog is getting pretty deep lately as I acknowledge those that I care about, and I show gratitude for where I came from. This is real life, it is not all cupcakes and rainbow sprinkles…although those are routinely found in scattered throughout my life and house, life is messy but beautiful.

On this Canada day, I hope you enjoy the day with your family, taking part in the activities and truly embracing what it means to be Canadian.

Happy Birthday, Canada…thank you for always being great.


We remember….

FortmacstrongMay 3, 2016, a day that will live in infamy for hundreds of thousands of people. I waffled on posting this post, a day of gentleness was needed. Pass the day by without a word, but a somber thought.

Last year, I sat in my office paralyzed by the news of what was happening in Fort McMurray. I wrote two posts, one on the eve of the mass evacuation, and one a week later. There are really no words to describe the trauma that the beast left in its wake. It affected everyone who lives there, and who ever lived there. It was life-changing. It brought together a nation in care, and a city in strength.

It’s one year later, my friends brother wrote a book, Into the Fire, I flipped through the pages and was overcome by tears, tears of pride, tears of loss and mostly tears of memories. Of not knowing what part of my hometown would be left, if my friends and family would go back to a home, and general concern for their wellbeing. I get asked all the time if I have been back to McMurray. I have not, not because I don’t care, but because I’m still raw. wfaI spent fours weeks during the fire in the Provincial Operations Centre, where I prepared briefings for the Premier, wrote speaking notes for Premier and Minister, developing the content that would direct and inform my fellow McMurrayites of the numbers they should be calling, or where they needed to go for services. I did it because it was my way of caring for McMurray. My way of making sure my friends, family and fellow McMurrayites were being cared for. I did it because I grew up in Fort McMurray. I did it because when you’re raised in Fort Murray lending a hand is a way of life. I never expected anything in return, other than the safe return of my friends and family.

As the thousands of tributes, books, and feeds that fill social media and our senses, I have no doubt that the thousands of first responders, fire fighters and personnel that worked to battle the blaze will be honoured as true heroes.
QuoteWe are all forever grateful for the risk they took, and the determination they have that protected homes and kept the community safe.

Today, I ask you to give respect, to be gentle and kind to the people of Fort McMurray. They are still healing, they are strong, stronger than before. But they are healing and caring for each other. To my friends, family and fellow McMurrayites, do what you need to do, and remember we have your back.  Because we know you would do the same for us. #YMMSTRONG #YMMfire #Weareback #stronger #grateful #thankyou

Breakfast with Mickey

Part five of five, hope you’ve enjoyed the overview of our Disney vacation.

Our last day in California was planned to be a slower more relaxing day. We only booked one thing and left the rest up to exploring and hotel pool.

We started our day with Breakfast with Mickey and friends at the PCH. This breakfast is more laid back and beach themed. The menu and location is a bit smaller and it is a bit more affordable. We chose this breakfast purely for Stitch. In Disneyland, Stitch is not a regular roving character. In Disneyworld, he can be found in parades and in Hollywood. Knowing this, we knew we had to find away for the Big Cupcake to meet her favourite Stitch. We booked our breakfast reservation two months in advance of our desired date. This is a must if you want to dine with characters, dining options with Princess and Mickey and Goofy fill up fast, and if you want to see the characters without a line, this is a great option.

The menu at PCH Grill is American, pancakes, fresh toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, chicken sausage, pastries, fruit, an omelet station, and chilaquiles. There was also a children’s buffet station, which had the MICKEY shaped waffles and pancakes. That is really the fun part about the character breakfasts. Our girls love Mickey shaped food, in fact, a few years ago I hunted down a Mickey Waffle iron, and not the face, but the shape, the same waffle iron used at the Disney resorts, for Christmas for my dad. It is a hit when the girls stay over at get to have Mickey shaped waffles for breakfast.

Throughout breakfast Minnie, Daisy and Stitch roam around the room. Mickey stands at the front and people can walk up and get photos. So don’t forget the camera. Our girls loved the ability to interact with Mickey again, but said they weren’t fans of having their breakfast interrupted by the characters. Ha. I guess you really can’t win them all. But the one thing they loved was dancing with Stitch. That was the highlight.

After breakfast, we headed into Downtown Disney. This is the shopping and eating district of Disneyland, You don’t need a ticket to get into this area. There are restaurants and some great shopping. The girls found there way into the Anna and Elsa Boutique, which also offers the same services at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The girls hopped in the chair and settled on the Elsa Winter Braid for the big cupcake and the Anna braids for the little cupcake. By this time, the girls were pros at getting their hair and make-up done.

After a bit more shopping we headed back to the hotel for some relaxation by the pool. That evening we kept it pretty low key. The girls went to bed at a regular time, and Kyle and I headed to the nearby mall to eat at the Lemonade Cafe and drinks and dessert at what we are certain was the ONLY Canadian inspired gastropub in all of California.

The Great Maple is a modern American eatery with Poutine! Canadian much…and maple bacon! suspicious… then on the menu you see Montreal Spiced Beef – so Canadian. There’s even an N.S. Wolfhound drink, which we asked if it stood for Nova Scotia, the bartender said no, after some female bartender who made up the drink…we suspect that is not true. Ha. Either way, we had some drinks and ordered the maple bacon donuts and Granny Smith Apple Pie. WAY TOO MUCH FOOD. We should have stuck with one. We did not expect to get three full sized donuts, which were amazing. But we had leftovers so we took the donuts home and thought the girls might enjoy them for breakfast before we left to go back home. Even the second day the donuts were amazing. Both girls were a bit concerned about bacon on their donuts but tried them and each had a full donut.


DCA, here we come

Part four of five. Again, we got a late start, but we were ready with our app, and fully sunblocked up. We were excited to explore this new park. We have not been back to the Disneyland resort since DCA opened, so we were all very excited for this new adventure.

We got to the park, with our princess clad little girls, picked up our stroller and made our way into the park. Following the Lines App, we quickly entered the lines in Carsland, and sent a runner for Radiator Springs FastPasses – Best Ride as determined by this family. Acquire these early, because about ten minutes after we picked up our passes, all the passes were distributed for the day, and the standby line was maxed at 140 minute wait. In fact, they shut the standby line down for thirty minutes to process FastPasses. We rode alot of lines, and even managed to meet Sophie the First, Doc McStuffins, Goofy, Donald and Daisy Duck and Mater.

The longest line we waited in was to meet Olaf, Kristoff, and Elsa. But when you have two little girls, waiting for Elsa is well worth the wait, plus it was all inside and the girls explored the hyperion theatre or danced to the music playing while we waited in line.

During our trip, the Disney Food and Wine Fest was going on, this foodie family was excited. Alcohol can be purchased in DCA and that meant, trying different food offerings, wine and beer. We passed by some awesome offerings all featuring a key ingredient local to the region. There were booths focused on olives, cheese, artichokes, lemons, and a lot more. There were so many choices, having foodie kids that love brie and macarons, the choices for them were pretty obvious. The brie on toast with fig and mint. The soft buttery brie mixed nicely with the sweet brie and fresh mint. This was the perfect snack for the girls as we ran between rides and waited in line.

After optimizing our time on rides, we rode a lot of rides, the girls wanted to cool down. In the Bug’s Life area of DCA there are two spray parks. Great for the hot days. The girls quickly discarded their princess costumes, thankfully we had the foresight to put tank tops and shorts on them, and the girls ran into the spray park. It is surprising how wet they can get in ten minutes at a spray park. With that behind us and the girls refreshed, lunch was on the attack. We made our reservations at the Wine Country Trattoria via the Disneyland App, and made our way to the table waiting. Tip: We brought a lot of snacks into the park with us, you are allowed to bring any snacks or food you would like as long as they are not alcohol or in glass containers. TIP: This allowed us to push back our meals past the normal lunch and dinner crowds, avoiding long lines and crowded eating areas.

As the trattoria, the girls were served an appetizer plate of veggies and fruit while they waited for their pasta meals. The adults had salads and homemade pastas in a nice shaded area. Despite the restaurant located at Pacific Pier and the main walkway, it was raised and a great break from the heat and the crowds. After lunch, we were off again to ride some more rides, collect our World of Colour FastPass, a must get if you want to watch the DCA evening show, and see more of DCA. We did not have dessert in the trattoria because the big Cupcake knew the macaron cart was located right outside the resturant, so we headed there to pick up two meyer lemon blueberry macarons. The cupcakes ate it, but said the lemon was too subtle, and the blueberry marmalade was too sweet, Verdict: the Mickey Macaron was better in flavour.

While the Food and Wine fest is on, there are a number of culinary events throughout the park. Events included cooking demonstrations with MasterChef Graham Elliot,  Iron Chef  Cat Cora, Cake Artist Duff Goldman and Guy Fieri. Unfortunately, no shows were scheduled with the celebrity chefs while we were there. We were pretty bummed, but the girls didn’t mind because they were able to partake in Jr. Chef which just happened to be hosted by Celebrity Chef GOOFY! The girls loved the chance to cook oatmeal cookies with Goofy for free. It was a pretty big highlight for them as they are both budding chefs. The big cupcake also had an opportunity to dance with the Jammin Chefs who just happened to be Chip and Dale. Sadly, these opportunities are only available during the food and wine fest.

That evening we headed to Paradise Pier for the quick serve counter restaurants to grab some dinner the cupcake some clam chowder soup in a sour dough bread bowl (her only dinner request for the trip) from Pacific Wharf Cafe, while the rest of us went to Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill. The little cupcake had the Mickey check meal, these meals are offered at all the dining options and offer a small milk or water, with fruit or yogurt. The little cupcake chose the whole wheat chicken quesadilla with water and rice and fruit. I got the Fire-Grilled Citrus chicken, which came with flour tortillas, rice, beans pico de Gallo, Guacamole and sour cream. It was amazing, chicken was moist and flavourful, and light. Kyle chose the Carne Ascada with beef, all served with the same sides and said it packed a nice balance of flavour and heat. And because we were eating Mexican and margarita’s are premitted in DCA, we tried the lime flvour from Rita’s Baja Blenders, verdict the Trattoria has a better lime on the rocks marg.

After dinner, we headed to the boardwalk to wait for the World of Colour show. It is a mad dash for good standing space, you have to be quick and TIP: Communication with your group is key. We were lucky that we got our FastPass World of Colour tickets early in the day so we had a pretty good viewing spot for the 9 p.m. show. The girls watched the show mesmerized by the dancing water and the images appearing on the water. They were getting a bit restless waiting for the show to start as that was the most they had waited the entire day, and it was in one spot, and late in the day, but they said the show was well worth the wait.

As the show ended the park began to empty, to minimize waiting for the tram and to leave the parkade, we took the girls shopping for a few souvenirs. Both girls love Stitch and we already have four in our house, so we gave them their disney money and let them buy what they wanted. Little cupcake purchased Stitch’s sister Angel and the big cupcake opted to wait to find something at Downtown Disney, because she couldn’t decided when I told her no more Stitch stuffies – seriously she already has four!

Stay tuned our last day in California is coming up tomorrow.

An American Girl Lunch

Part three of five.

Almost two years ago the Big Cupcake received an American Girl for her birthday. This was before the store opened in our local Chapters. This girl, named Courtney, has now traveled with us to Canmore, Calgary, Vancouver, and everywhere in between. The little cupcake was feeling a bit left out with her Bitty Baby, until the fated day in February when she won Tenney. We now live in a house that embraces the American Girls.

As we knew we’d be semi-close to an American Girl flagship store, we knew we had to make a visit. This store is a two level store with salon, cafe and the Truly Me Signature design studio. One of big cupcakes friend’s also has an American Girl, and asked if we would bring her doll with us to get hearing aids put on. We made our reservations for lunch and patiently waited for the day to arrive.

The morning of our reservation, the girls got all dressed up, grabbed their dolls and talked about all the things they were going to look at for their dolls. We arrived at the Grove mall in Los Angeles, it is a large open air mall which many celebrities frequent, we did not see any, it was actually quiet the day at the mall. We didn’t really take any time to explore the mall, which we wished we did.

But we made our way through the store and up to the second level for lunch. We were pretty lucky that we got to sit outside on the balcony for lunch. It wasn’t very busy in the cafe either. The girls took their places and sat the dolls, Courtney, Tenney and Jade in the special doll chairs and waited for their drinks. Included in the price of your meal, is a place setting for the dolls – cup and saucer, and a hair tie. The girls mostly loved the cup and saucer.

The American Girl Cafe is similar to any other classic American dining option, with hamburgers, hot dogs, cheese pizza, and chicken strips for kids, burgers, salad, chicken sandwich and fries for the adults. They offer free lemonade, juice, tea or coffee with each meal, and you do have the option of purchasing beer or wine, or specialty milkshakes. The little cupcake chose the hamburger/ hot dog combo with fries and a mint cookie milkshake, the big cupcake ordered the cheese pizza, and the adults ordered lemonade and the shrimp salad. Overall food was good, other than the pizza. Prior to our meal we were given mini Cinnamon buns which are the AG specialty and a mini appetizer of pretzel bun, hummus and vegetables and cheese. For dessert, which is included in the price of the meal as well, we each received an individual chocolate mousse in a flowerpot and a vanilla cupcake. AG also offers a tea, which includes the cinnamon buns, and your choice of scones, turkey sandwich, pigs-in-a-blanket, or mini-burgers and dessert. Dinner is the same dining option as lunch.

After lunch the girls were ready to shop. We headed to the main level Salon/Spa and dropped off Courtney, Jade and Tenney. While the big girls shopped for new clothes for the dolls, the AG girls received new hairstyles, Jade got her hearing aids, Tenney got her ears pierced, and Courtney got a mani/pedi and facial.

After looking around the entire store, the girls decided on designing their own wares. The Big Cupcake designed a doll carrier backpack, and the little cupcake designed pajamas. We were a bit hesitant on the quality of the design studio, but were pleasantly surprised at how well made the resulting items actually were, and the girls were ecstatic that they got to custom make their dolls new items.

We picked up the AG girls and it was time to fight LA traffic and head back to Newport. TIP: If its close to 3 p.m. and you’re about to head onto the freeway, wait. Stay were you are, explore and have dinner there. Otherwise you will be on the road for two and half hours.

Other than the traffic it was a great rest day and a great experience for the girls.


Disney DAY!!!!!!

Part two of five. Who’s ready for Disney???? This was the question asked on our second morning. Three hands went up with sheer excitement. Three you ask, but there are only two littles, the third was mine. I love Disney, and that love is trickling down to the girls. 

TIP: if you’ve never visited the park, we highly suggest you create an account with Disney and download their free app before you go. This has everything you could need to know at Disney, admission prices and virtual tickets, line wait times, show times, character locations, and menus. It also serves as a virtual photo booth, and map.

For our Disney adventure, we chose the three-day park hopper pass. It was more affordable and allowed us to see more in which ever park we wanted. But our first day would be Disneyland to see Sleeping Beauty’s Castle! We got a bit of a late start, shudder, for spring break crowds by arriving at 9:30 a.m. Not ideal if you are following the Unofficial Guide to Disney. TIP: If you’re headed to Disney, GET THIS BOOK. Follow the link, I’ll wait here…

Done, good. I’ll admit, our first day we didn’t rely on the book or the app. Which meant we didn’t use our time effectively or see all that we wanted.

But our first day at the part we had an agenda, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique! This is serious business if you have littles. Children, 12 and under – no they don’t offer it for adults (I asked ☹️), are transformed into their favourite princess, knight or pirate. So cool. In true Disney magic, children pick a hair style, makeup and manicure all completed by a fairy godmother in training. We opted for the castle package which included a custom bird- made dress – yes, you read that right…it is Disney afterall – cue Cinderella. The girls changed into their freshly made Elena of Avalor and Frozen Fever Elsa dresses and were escorted to the salon. Each girl chose the princess bun which came with the Mickey crystal tiara and hair clip.

The big cupcake was up first, while the little hung out, watched her sister get transformed and waited exceptionally patiently. Translation: someone forgot about her. Finally it was her turn. When the girls were finally presented to see themselves they said the magic words and the curtains were drawn back by birds. True Disney magic! The girls were then royally announced to the crowd and escorted to the royal photography room to have their photos done!

While the girls had their photos done a cast member presented us with a voucher to any ride of our pick because we had to wait. We chose the jungle cruise because it always has a line. We should have chosen Peter Pan because that line is always long. Lesson learned. Once the girls were done here, we were escorted to the Royal Hall. This is the venue where three princesses hang out daily. Front of the line service to see princesses when your daughters are dressed as princesses, pretty worth it. We met Snow White, Cinderella and Elena! If you’ve never met the princesses or characters, this is an experience. They interact with everyone and make each guest feel special. My girls were greeted as princess all day, they loved it. Pictures were taken and autographs signed. It really was the highlight of their entire Disney trip.  (In case you’re wondering, Mickey is a “perfect Gentlemen” as said by the big cupcake. As you can see, he greeted the girls with a bow when they entered his Studio Barn in Toon Town.)

Thankfully we captured many photos and took advantage of the professional photographers throughout the park. TIP:These cast members are usually found at the big sites and the big characters. They are easy to spot and will present you with a card after they take the photos. Take it. They get unobstructed photos of your children with characters and then you pick and choose the photos you want to download and print.

Our first day was spent at a leisurely pace, we rode a few rides, met some characters, but did not get to do all that we wanted.  We did take advantage of Splash Mountain’s FastPass system – TIP: check the unofficial guide for details on FastPass. The four year old declared she was riding in the very front, she’s a daredevil. As we plunged into the water below I heard screams echoing, then the biggest belly laugh. My four year old loved it, the six year old declared never to ride it again and was visibly trembling. Can’t win them all.

macaron1.jpgOur family is a bunch of foodies, not sure you caught on. The Big Cupcake had one food request, a Mickey Macaron from the Jolly Holiday Bakery on Main Street. So that is where lunch found us. This macaron is huge. She refused to share. Each season the flavours change, while we were there the flavour was raspberry rose. It was delicious. I tried the Mattahorn Macaroon. It is also huge! I didn’t finish it. It was a bit drier than I prefer macaroons, but still quiet good.

After a few more rides and dinner at the Carnation cafe (pretty good chicken, not good pasta) it was time for the electric parade. This year the Main Street Electric Parade is making a limited time comeback. It’s a very nostalgic parade for people who went as children in the early 90s. We tried to catch the fireworks, but alas, they were cancelled due to wind. The girls were pooped, so we made our way back to the Mickey and Friends parking structure and headed back to the hotel. The girls passed out.

Our next Disneyland day was day three. TIP: We suggest spreading out your three days to allow for a day of rest in between. That way people don’t get cranky and tired. Disney is work. Again we made a late start, but again, it wasn’t that big of a deal for us. The one thing we learned, follow the Tour lines App schedule. You can print these off and take them with you as well. We popped into the park, picked up the stroller and immediately walked into Minnie Mouse. Got into line and 10 minutes later the girls were hobnobbing with the royal mouse.

Once finished with the visit we opened the app and optimized our schedule. It sent us to our first ride, dumbo. We literally walked into line and waited 10 minutes. Then we saw the line for Rapunzel – Big Cupcake’s favourite princess. We excitedly got into line, she was leaving, #fail, but Jasmine and Al were going to make an appearance so we waited it out. That was when we decided to optimize our time and start sending others to wait in other lines. We knew Tink would have a line, and Rapunzel was due back in the same location in 1 hour, so we dispersed the troops and conquered a couple of things on our to do list. The girls managed to see their must-see characters, and take in some rides with  a lot of help from the app. Win-Win for everyone. The App/tour plans were really an awesome find. It plans everything for you, and takes away a lot of the headache. TIP: Plus with the app, you can optimize based on current crowd levels as people like us were inputting line times and actual wait times.

Just a note of caution, as said before: Peter Pan ride is always busy. Get to the park early, and do this ride first. Kyle ended up waiting in line for 40 minutes while I took the girls to Mickey Soundstage parade. The girls and I got a break and only had to wait ten minutes when we met up.

While the girls watched the Parade, we realized just how much the littles love Disney and how awesome Disney is: from the little Cupcake yelling to Mary Poppins and getting acknowledged with a big wave and smile, to the Big Cupcake waving and smiling at Princess Rapunzel, Disney outdoes themselves and really is a magical place. As a parent, the smiles and memories made during this trip outweighed the crowds and the line wait time. TIP: During the lines, we saw many people playing Heads Up on their phones and other computer games. We chose to amuse ourselves by looking for the Hidden Mickey’s. Our girls loved it, they got absorbed in the scenery and saw things we never saw before. For us it worked. the girls found over 60 hidden Mickey’s in the park, including the Haunted Mansion place setting and the Jungle Cruise ropes.

At the end of the day the girls were once again pooped but insisted on staying for the fireworks. The show went on but was shut down early due to wind. But the girls saw the best part – Tinkerbell flying over the castle! The littlest cupcake loves Tink, and I’m pretty sure Tink heard her yelling out her name as she flew over the castle. It is something she is still talking about.

Two days at Disneyland was awesome, but up next is our trip to DCA (Disney California Adventure), American Girl and Breakfast with Mickey. Stay tuned and have a magical day.