ICE and SNOW

J and I took the boys to ICE and SNOW at the Gaylord Palms Resort on Saturday.  If you’ll recall, J won two adult tickets to the event when he won the pumpkin carving contest back in October.  We were happy that J did not have to be in DC on our ticket date although the friend who gave them to us would have happily traded tickets with us if we found ourselves in a bind.

I took the boys to ICE last year with B and Steph.  While the event was awesome in 2009, I have to report that it has much improved for 2010.  Santa Claus was there, we were treated to steaming cups of hot chocolate, the boys were able to e-mail Santa their Christmas wish at kiosks set up in the hall…  It was all very neat and definitely put us in the Christmas spirit!

Many things were the same like the nifty blue parkas, the ice slides and amazing colored ice displays.  Nine degrees once again proved to be too cold for my camera.  It locked up after an hour or so of below freezing temps.  At least it worked long enough for me to capture some good pictures.

Perhaps the best improvement to the event was the addition of SNOW!  Wildman was thrilled as you can see!  Cutie Pie was feeling a bit under the weather and refused to participate in anything snow related.

That didn’t prevent Wildman from enjoying the powdery stuff with gusto…

It was perhaps the only chance that Wildman will ever get to go tubing on snow in Central Florida!  He had so much fun!

The cherry on top of our wonderful day came when Wildman won the hourly raffle at SNOW!  He played several carnival games for raffle tickets and ended up winning his pick of prizes when they called his number.  The prized husky now has a place of honor on Wildman’s bed.

I think going to ICE and SNOW needs to be a family tradition!

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Pumpkin Carving Party

We were invited to a pumpkin carving party on Saturday night.  We had never been to such an event before and did not know what to expect.  Normally, we just carve some sort of face into our pumpkin and call it a day.  A party with a contest for the best overall pumpkin made us rethink our carving approach.  Would the party-goers be professional pumpkin carvers?

I decided to find J a little something more detailed to tackle figuring we’d be up against some crazy competition.  I searched high and low for an interesting, free pumpkin stencil pattern online and finally settled on Yoda.  Anyone who knows us knows that Star Wars is huge with our kids so I knew my selection would be a crowd pleaser (at least with our family).

While J was hard a work with a margarita at his side, I cruised the activity stations with the boys.  We hit the cookie decorating table first.  Of course, we did.

The boys each chose a mini pumpkin to paint next.  They both took their time to create a couple of lovely works of art.  The pumpkins now reside on our front porch.

By the time we had finished making the rounds at the bouncy house and swing set, J had finished Yoda.  We went inside to partake in some yummy food.  The hostess made two delicious soups to share: chicken noodle and curry harvest.  I tried the curry one and fell in love.

I brought a batch of monster eyes.  There were none left in my serving bowl at the end of the night so I’m taking that as a testament to their yumminess.  There were lots of other wonderful treats like a Thai noodle salad, cornbread casserole, chili, rolls, brownies, cakes, etc.  It was all so good.  I definitely over did it and was thankful that I had run the causeway earlier that day.

When the sun went down the jack-o-lanterns were set out on some hay bales in front of the house and lit with candles.  Yoda came to life!  J did a wonderful job carving him!

All of the pumpkins that were carved were pretty amazing.  See the one three to the right of Yoda?  That one was my favorite.  It was Lionel Richie!  It says “Hello” at the bottom.  How random and creative!  A couple of us were even inspired to sing a few bars of the song.

Glow sticks were handed out to the children while the parents voted on the pumpkins.  Somehow they came up with the idea to link all of the sticks together to form a giant glow ring.  I thought it looked pretty awesome!

Toward the end of the evening, Cutie Pie finally warmed up to the idea of having his face painted.  He asked for a dragon.  The hostess’ mom is quite the talented face painter, no?  Cutie Pie ended up falling to sleep with the green monster on his face.  Sadly, much of it had rubbed off by the morning.

While Cutie Pie was getting his face done, a very flamboyant guest burst into the Puff the Magic Dragon song.  He knew every single verse.  I was impressed.

The pumpkin carving winners were announced at the end of the night.  One of my friend’s won for the prettiest pumpkin.  Another friend won for the scariest pumpkin.  And J won best overall!  I was so proud of him!  His prize was two adult tickets to SNOW and ICE at the Gaylord Palms resort!

Color Changing Cars

The best entertainment around our house lately come in the form of color changing cars.  We have quite a few from Hot Wheels and Disney’s Cars.  All the boys need are two tubs of water- one hot and one icy cold.

I must admit that I enjoy playing with them too…

Ice, Ice, Baby! Too Cold! Too Cold!

Steph, B and I took a little-kid-mini-vaca on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  We removed all 6 children from school and pointed the SUVs toward Orlando.  We had a mission and that mission was ICE!

Here in Florida, where our December lows barely graze 50 degrees, we have no choice but to artificially create a Winter Wonderland.  The Gaylord Palms thoughtfully set up such a place for us to visit.  A place carved from over 2 million pounds of ice.  Thank goodness the kiddies brought their mittens (thanks to the Target $1 bin) because it was COLD!  Like 9 degrees cold.  We Floridians have thin blood, you know.

The sexy blue parkas that were provided did help to keep us quite toasty though.

Most of the ice sculptures were illuminated by colorful lights.  We entered into an Alaska-themed Eskimo fishing pond first.  Gorgeous!

There were many warning signs along the way.

Wildman, being Wildman, did not take heed when we came to the ice carousel.

I wonder how many other kids have licked that same deer’s ear…  The kids were allowed to sit on the carousel animals because they had plastic saddles.  Don’t think we were breaking all of the rules…

There was this scary Santa carving that we made 5 out of the 6 kids climb up to and strike a pose.  Only the little girl in our group refused.  Smart girl!  Talk about dead-behind-the-eyes!

We came to ice slides at the end of our tour.  They were a huge hit with the children and adults alike.  We stayed in the slide room for half an hour freezing our tails off watching the kids take turn after turn zooming down the chutes.  It was so awesome!  Although I lost feeling in my hand and feet by this point.  I should have bought some mittens…

I think it is safe to say that my boys had a wonderful time!

Christmas Craft: Crystallized Snowflakes

I’m taking the boys to ICE at the Gaylord Palms hotel in Orlando tomorrow.  Melissa posted this super neat craft/science project that happens to tie in nicely with our upcoming visit to see a Winter Wonderland.  So, I knew we had to try it out!

Supplies:

  • 3 pipe cleaners
  • Borax
  • Boiling Water
  • Bowl

I shaped the pipe cleaners into a simple snowflake shape then called the boys in to help me do the rest.   The recipe is 3 tablespoons of Borax to 1 cup of hot water.  We used about 3 cups of water in our bowls to completely cover the snowflakes.  While the water was in the microwave, I let each boy measure out 9 tablespoons of Borax into a glass bowl.

They poured the water into the bowl and began stirring.

Once the Borax had dissolved we wedged the snowflake into the solution.  Our snowflakes were big enough to be supported by the edge of the bowl so no additional support was required to keep them up off the bottom.

We waited 24 hours and this is what we got:

How cool is that?!

Fun With Ice

The boys were bored last Sunday as I knew they would be.  You see, we’ve (meaning J has) been doing a bunch of home improvement projects in association with the pool.  The kids have been stuck at home most Saturdays and Sundays “helping Dad”.  Dad was getting frustrated with his tools mysteriously walking off, kids getting into trouble, etc.

Earlier last week I’d been checking out different blogs for fun activities to do with the boys to help fight the boredom and save J’s sanity.  Melissa from Chasing Cheerios had one especially fun idea that I thought my boys would love.  So, earlier in the week I’d gone around the house collecting a bunch of little treasures to freeze.  I collected things like snowflake erasers, rubber bands, pennies, toy cars, zipper pulls, etc.  I filled up the compartments of our silicone muffin pan with the treasures, topped them off with water and stuck the pan in the freezer for emergency fun.

Last Sunday required emergency fun.  I was busy tackling a mountain of laundry and J was busy with jacketing and burying a phone line in the backyard.  The boys were driving us both nuts with the whining and complaining and fighting that comes from sheer boredom.

I collected a bunch of “tools” to help in the search and recovery of the tiny treasures that I’d captured in six small icebergs.  Tool like two kid-safe knives, a couple of spray bottles of water, a wooden mallet and a plastic play dough saw thingy.  The boys were so excited to experiment with the different tools to try to free the items in the icebergs.  It was a great way to keep them occupied for at least half an hour.

As you would expect with two boys, some of the ice was eaten and the spray bottles soon became water guns 🙂  It was a hot day that required some nice, cool fun and this activity fit the bill.  We’ll be doing this again very soon.