Am I a Funny Girl?

Thursday #354

354

I’ve often said that I appreciate that Jamie has enough fashion sense that I can trust him to choose outfits that are appropriate for the occasion, and that match and everything. Looking at Max’s chosen camo/plaid combo from yesterday, I’m thinking his fashion sense may have come more from my dad.

Is the Legoland Hotel worth the price?

Is the Legoland Hotel worth the price?
I’m not generally an expensive hotel person. My logic is that, when we’re on an adventure somewhere, the hotel is strictly a place to leave our stuff and sleep. I don’t really understand spending several hundred dollars a night for a fancy place to crash.
When we went to Disneyland for Max’s first trip, we opted to stay across the street at an affordable motel, instead of on-property. While lots of folks talk about how staying on-site helps “continue the magic,” when I sat down and looked at the numbers, it just wasn’t something I could justify for our family.
That said, I’ll never go to Legoland and not stay at the Legoland hotel.
(As I write this, the Legoland Florida Hotel is still under construction, so we won’t stay there when we visit Florida in April, but if it were open? We’d be staying there.)

legoland hotel exterior 01

When we started planning Max’s birthday surprise vacation last spring, we knew that Legoland was a priority. It was actually the inspiration for the whole trip, even though we only spent one day of the trip there. Because we only had the one day, I wanted to do something to make it extra special, and we decided that staying at the Legoland Hotel was just the way to do that.

So like I said, I’ll never to go to Legoland again and not stay at the Legoland Hotel. They did such an amazing job at everything, it truly does extend the experience of the park in a way I’ve never seen before.

It’s clear from the moment you walk in the front door that this isn’t just any hotel. From the custom-printed LEGO carpet, to the play areas throughout the lobby, the detail is incredible.

legoland hotel lobby

There’s a hug play area in the back of the lobby that features big pits full of LEGO, an interactive castle play structure, and seating around the edges so parents can relax and enjoy a snack and/or cocktail while the kids play. (There’s also evening entertainment, like building contests and performances, but we missed them on our brief visit)

Inside the lobby castle play area.

Inside the lobby castle play area.

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There are three room themes you can choose from; Adventure (think Indiana Jones), Kingdom (aka Castle), and Pirate (our choice) And every part of the room is themed. There are both Themed and Premium Themed rooms; we went with a standard room this visit, but will most likely spring for the upgrade next time.

Every room has a separate sleeping area for up to three children complete with bunk beds and a pull-out trundle bed; there are two TVs so kids can watch movies and play games in their own sleeping area, and there are at least eight LEGO models in every room. Our pirate room included a monkey, bugs crawling on the bathroom mirrors and a big Jolly Roger hanging on the wall above the bed. (Which I unfortunately cut off in this photo)

legoland hotel pirate room

The separate kid’s sleeping area has All The Themed Things.

legoland hotel pirate bunk beds

The bathroom, you guys. The toilet paper. Nothing misses the touch of LEGO.

legoland hotel toilet paper

Upon entry into your room, you’ll see a safe tucked into the corner; when you check in, you’re given a code sheet. Kids have to find the answers to some clues to discover the code to open the safe. The clues are simple enough that Max did them without help; things like “How many mirrors are hanging outside the elevator on the first floor?” Once the safe is opened, there are a couple of LEGO sets, a magazine, and some chocolate coins. Ooh, pirate’s booty!

legoland hotel inroom treasure

There’s LEGO everywhere you look; even the ice bucket is a LEGO minifig head!

legoland hotel ice bucket

There is LEGO everywhere. We had a late dinner at the Skyline Café, and that’s where we kicked off our adventures in minifig trading (Read more about minifig trading here!) and they brought a little tray of LEGO for Max to play with while we waited for our food to arrive.

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There’s no way to be bored at the Legoland Hotel. Even though it’s only a three-story tall building, we took the elevator as often as we could, because how could you not when, instead of an elevator, it’s a DISCO-VATOR?

A video posted by Lizz Porter (@lizz_porter) on

Again, because it was a short trip, we didn’t get to check out the pool, but it’s on our must-do list for next time.
legoland hotel exterior 02 pool

So, to answer the question from the title of this post. Is the Legoland Hotel worth the price? A resounding yes! Besides all of these amazing details, staying at the hotel grants you VIP early access to the park, ahead of crowds, and breakfast is included at the Bricks Buffet, which features delicious food, and a special kid-sized buffet section where they can pick their own food for breakfast.

legoland hotel giant minifig

Kicking off our San Diego vacation at the Legoland Hotel was a great way to start off an amazing week; check back soon for more about Legoland itself!

legoland out front

Moscow Mule Shooters

moscow mule shots

Someone proclaimed 2015 the “Year of the Mule” or something. Maybe. I think.

Well, whatever it was, the mule-inspired cocktail is everywhere these days.

A traditional Moscow Mule is vodka, ginger beer, and lime, served over ice in a copper mug. I went to one restaurant, where in a patriotic (?) move, they use an American-made vodka, serve it in a stainless steel mug, and call it an American Mule. I’ve made it with Cherry Vodka (Three Olives brand is a favorite) and it makes a super-refreshing variation for summer.

When I found these ridiculous little copper shot glasses at HomeGoods recently, I just knew what had to happen. Moscow Mule shooters.

When trying to refine a recipe to convert one of my favorite cocktails into a shot, my biggest concern was the bubbles of the ginger beer. I wasn’t sure how to get the bite of ginger beer without the carbonation; after a little thought, the solution was to make a strong ginger simple syrup.

My friend Vikki first introduced me to ginger simple syrup last year, and I was instantly hooked. It’s so easy to make, and keeps for several weeks in the fridge.

So first, make the ginger syrup. You’ll just need three things:

  • A large piece of ginger, about the size of your hand
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 cups of water

My recipe is more about the ginger than the sugar; Vikki’s recipe has more sugar in it. Thinly slice the ginger and put it in a saucepan with the water and sugar. I use my mandolin to slice the ginger really, really thin, so get as much surface area as I possibly can.

Bring to a boil and let everything simmer for about 20 minutes, then strain out the ginger pieces and store in the fridge until you drink all the delicious, delicious syrup.

moscow mule ginger sumple syrup

Once you have the syrup made, putting the shots together is simple; depending on how many you’re making, just adjust the amounts.

Over ice in a shaker, pour:

  • 2 parts vodka
  • 1 part ginger syrup
  • Juice from 1/4 lime (per shot)

Shake well and strain into shot glasses, little copper ones if you have them! :)

moscow mule copper cup

So fun: Minifig Trading at Legoland

minifig trading at legoland title copy

If you’re headed to LEGOLAND, it’s entirely possible you’ve already heard of the LEGOLAND answer to Disney’s pin trading: Minifig trading. The way it works is simple.

Every employee (Model Citizen in LEGOLAND-speak) wears a nametag with a LEGO minifig on it… and every model citizen will trade with you. See an awesome minifig you just HAVE TO HAVE on a ride attendant’s nametag? Simply ask them to trade and boom! It’s yours.

We brought 10 minifigs specifically for trading; here are some of the best swaps of the day: We turned random Chuck Norris0ish dude into Millhouse from The Simpsons: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Office-worker slash pirate looking minifig turned into Batgirl! Freaking BATGIRL!

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I then turned around and exchanged Batgirl for the DJ from The Lego Movie, and I especially love him because I have that same t-shirt.

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Minifig trading is a really fun way to engage with the folks at LEGOLAND, and you can end up with some really great collection additions this way.

Here’s a tip for minifig trading: Buy a lot of minifigs ahead of time, on eBay or Craigslist. And by a “lot” I don’t mean “a lot,” I mean a grouping of them that are sold together… I paid about $11.00 for 10 mix and match minifig pieces, which we used for trading. We ended up with a few pretty crazy ones, like the world’s friendliest Darth Vader:

minifig 02

But in exchange, we ended up with this awesome Master & Commander guy:

minifig 03

Max absolutely loved minifig trading, and we ended up with several really cool minifigs that we might not have gotten otherwise. Like I said, we brought 10 to trade, I wish we’d brought 20. We ran out of trade-able minifigs around 2pm, because we’d gotten so many we loved, so we had to stop trading earlier than we wanted to, which was a bummer, so if/when we go back, we’ll bring MORE minifigs to trade.

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2015: The year of DO.

I’m tired of waiting for someday.
For someone else to make something happen.
I feel like I’m spending too much time thinking instead of doing.
“Oh, I’d like to ___(insert activity of some sort____. Someday.”
Someday is today.
Or tomorrow.
Or any day.

Because my word for 2015? Do.

2015 the year of do
For the last several New Year’s Eves, I’ve lamented our lack of plans. Halloween, too. The holidays seem to sneak up on us, and we find ourselves sitting at home, or scrambling to find something to do the day before.
No more.
I’m throwing a party for NYE into 2016.
(Jamie’s going to saber a bottle of champagne, he just informed me. He’s watching YouTube videos and everything)
I’m going to plan a wine tasting day with some friends this summer.
I’m going to stop waiting for someday and take advantage of today.

2014 brought a lot of reality awfully close. Jennifer died, and her mom is changing the world. #ForThemBecauseofHer has made me a different mom. A better mom. I say yes more, because we don’t know when the last day could be.

We’ll have more slumber parties, and more dance parties. More friends over for dinner, and I’ll reach out to people more. I’ll do more laundry. I’ll go in more bounce houses and sing more songs “one more time, Mommy!” I’ll laugh at jokes that grew weary a dozen tellings ago, I’ll do my best.

I’ll publish all the draft posts that are on here, polish them up and put them out there. Because this is the year doing. I’ll bake more bread, and more cookies. I’ll write more for me, and take more photos. I’ll DO more with the days I’ve been given.

What are you going to do?