Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Things Missed

We are having a great time in Florida, we really are. I mean everyday is an adventure at Disney World, my two favorite guys are here and life is wonderful, but as we settle more into our new lives here and really begin to unpack the possessions we deemed worthy of the long cross country trek (which were not many) I start to realize that there are some things that will be missed about our little Colorado home.

Besides the hundreds of books I left in our cabin we also left behind our solar system. Ah you thought I was going to be sentimental about possessions did you?! Yes I miss our solar power. Now I was not emotionally attached to the solar, it is hard to get too emotionally attached to any one thing, but I miss the solar because of its reliability.

colorado solar

Perhaps we are just lucky and it is not really this rainy in central Florida, but it seems like every day has the potential for hurricane like storms. Yesterday was no exception. We were all hanging out in the living room listening to the Saturday NPR programs when all of a sudden Maverick became really upset and jumps on the couch between Norwood and I. Cooing and petting him we could not understand why in the world he suddenly became so upset and then the storm rolled in. Such heavy rain the power was knocked out (just for a bit… to be fair it popped right back on). Not once in our five year Thoreauen experience did the power go out. Well I take that back when there was no sun, absolutely no sun and the batteries had absolutely no charge…none, zip, zero the power would go out. But looking back the solar seemed so stable compared to regular electric.

But in times like this where I romance our solar power I also have to remind myself that it was not perfect and this new fangled electric all the kids are using does have its perks. For one I can run my coffee pot and have my laptop charging at the same time! A beautiful thing. It really is!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Camera Crazy

As my long time readers know I love taking pictures. My Panasonic Lumnix FZ20 has some mileage on it since I was given it by my wonderful husband Norwood in 2006. Well 6000 photos later (yes I really have that many photos) he has once again bought me a new camera! Here is a sneak peek at what I will be getting. It is traveling across country and should be arriving some time soon. I look forward to his arrival and in celebration of a new addition to my camera family I have created a slideshow where there will be tons of Disney photos. It is called Amanda's Disney Photos and for Maverick fans besides his cute blog adventures at Adventures by Maverick narrator Norwood he too will have a continuous slideshow with nothing but Maverick pictures coming soon. There is also of course Mouse Beat for more Disney photos, stories and guides. We are having a blast with all things Disney over there if you have not been come on by.

Besides taking pictures of Disney World and Maverick I also like to experiment with Photoshop and come up with unique and inspirational compilations (some of which can be found here) and take landscape photos. Although it is down the road (I find myself incredibly busy lately) I will have a slideshow dedicated to my photo creations and landscape photos.

So as you can tell we are camera crazy here at Zen (myself, Norwood and Maverick too). If you find yourself so inclined take a peek every now and again at our slideshows and drop us a line, we love hearing from you and try to email everyone back.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Photo Hunters: Passion

boy rocks

This was Monday June 9, 2008 at Epcot's "Sounds Like Summer Concert Series." The band was 2U a Tribute to U2. Norwood and I went Monday (all three shows), Wednesday (last show) and Saturday (last show) out of five shows this show (Monday's last show) was by far the most energetic. My favorite thing about the photo above is how passionate the little boy is who is singing with Bono (Paul). Throughout the song he was playing his air guitar, jumping up and down and singing his heart out. It was absolutely amazing!

If you want to find out more about the concert series at Disney World's Epcot check out my Disney Blog Mouse Beat.

Photohunters Blogroll | Photohunters Themes| My photohunter pictures | Zen Home

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Wild Beast

Beware the wild beast that lives in the green grassy jungle. I hear that he comes out to deliver fierce kisses upon all who dare to enter his territory. Oh no here is the wild beast now…

Maverick the Predator

Stay very still perhaps he will not see that you have happened upon his territory. Run he has spotted you… you are too slow he is after your legs…

leg attack

Who knows how long the attack will last, oh well I guess he is done now.


Glad to see that we all escaped with our lives. Have a happy day!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

Funny Disney Picture

Remember a few days ago when I posted about the restaurant Akershus in Disney World’s Epcot? Well in that post I mentioned the pictures that they give as part of the meal. Here is our very funny picture (please no one hurt yourselves laughing)…
belle picture

Norwood has his eyes closed and we are both wet from the rain, not our best picture. But what a great memory! Every time I see I will always remember that day.

As long as we are sharing pictures here are some of my favorites from two Disney parks; Animal Kingdom and Epcot. Check back later this week and often because I will rotate pictures in and out, and as always if you have pictures to share I would love to see them!

Meet the Cast -Luis Epcot


Saturday Norwood and I went to Epcot in the morning to get some breakfast and to take some pictures. As you will find out, I love taking pictures. My husband bought me a great little point and shoot (Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ20) a couple of years ago and I try to take it everywhere with me. So naturally I took it with me to Epcot and naturally I took pictures of everything! While we were in the museum in Morocco Luis, Epcot World Show Case security came in. He was so friendly from the start, but I thought that perhaps I was not allowed to take photos in the museum. Nope not the case at all, he just wanted to let us know about all the neat things that we could see in the World Show Case. For instance he had rug recommendations in Morocco, perfume recommendations from France. Tips on how to locate more hidden Mickey’s (I will share some of those later this week along with my own small collection of hidden Mickey pictures), the somewhat hidden tin toy collection in Japan (very neat check it out) and he personally introduced us to some of the cast members. We also found out that he is from Puerto Rico and has a very funny story about his dog and the neighbor’s cat. He told us whenever we are in Epcot say hello and if we want to know any Disney stuff he is the man to contact. So next time you are in Epcot and you see Luis, tell him Amanda and Norwood at Mouse Beat say hello!

*This post also appeared on Mouse Beat.*

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Mouse Beat is Up!

Hello All-
Just wanted to let you know that Mouse Beat is up! It is exciting to have this project started. I am loving living in Florida simply because I literally live down the street from Disney World. Come on over and share your Disney stories.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall -Epcot

Just too excited to post this about Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot to wait for my template over at Mouse Beat so I am putting it up here as a sample of what I will be doing once I have a pretty page up and running. Anyway here is my review of Akershus Royal Banquet Hall -Epcot it will also be up at Mouse Beat most likely by the end of this week.Oh and if you have been comment I would love to know how others felt about their dining experience!

This restaurant in Norway has always been our favorite restaurant. The last time we went was back in the winter of 2003. Back then the atmosphere was strictly adult with a few scattered families. In the craziness of the parks it felt like a retreat. We were shocked to find out last week that you now need reservations and they are booked solid for two months! Luckily the manger was up front at the time and since there were only two of us he was able to get us a table. That was fantastically nice, and there are some interesting things now at Akershus but it also has its downfalls.

The perks:
If you like character dining, especially the princesses this is the restaurant you want to go to. I am not sure when they started the princess dining but now you get a free photo packet with your meal. My husband and I took a picture with Bell and just minutes later we received a clever little portfolio (designed like a story book) with a 5x7 and 4 4x8.

In addition to the pictures taken by a Disney employee you also have the opportunity to meet all the princesses (the only one we did not meet was Ariel). The all go around to each table and talk to your party. They will sign autographs and take photos with you.

The downfalls:
It is insanely busy. You must have reservations and apparently you have to have those months in advance. Here is a little tip we found out though… let them know at check in that you want to wait for the next time they check in all the reservations (they have blocks of time) and if people do not show up you will have a table. Not the best way to approach it, since there are no guarantees but an option for us spur of the moment folks. I noticed that when it is raining people do not show up.

In addition to the busy loud atmosphere there is also the price. The food was good (a lot of the traditional dishes that they used to serve are now replaced with kid friendly menus) but overpriced. On their website it states that dinner ranges from 14-35.99. Not true. For both our entrees we paid (each) $39.99. I had the stuffed mushroom pasta. It was good but if I had known the price ahead of time I would have skipped the meal. Total price for the two of us including the recommended tip was around $100.

Do I recommend it?
I do. Although it has its downfalls it is a neat thing to experience, but as a regular rotation in our Disney diets, probably not.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Good bye Mountains Hello Palm Trees

Well after almost an entire lifetime in Colorado we have moved to Florida! It happened fast and now that we have been here a little over a week, things are finally beginning to settle down. The first few days I was not sure that I would ever feel like Kissimmee was home. It’s funny how one discovers how their environment shaped them. When immersed in a culture for the majority of your life, a person tends not to realize the things that makes them uniquely from that place. For instance, in Boulder there is a coffee shop every half block, here in Kissimmee there is one every couple of miles. As a coffee enthusiast this is shocking! Thank goodness for online coffee clubs like Peets.

Coffee shops aside, there are some fantastic things about Kissimmee like…Disney World! My husband and I have bought annual passes to Disney World and plan on spending a little bit of each day there. Yesterday for example we spent the evening at Animal Kingdom. We had a fantastic time and soon I will have a review of the newest ride in Animal Kingdom “Expedition Everest.” It was a crazy ride and if you head over to my new blog that is all about Disney, Mouse Beat you can read about why the squeamish rider should beware.

Mouse Beat will be up soon with all the exciting things that I experience at Disney so I hope you will join me. And if you have been to Disney come over and share your stories too.

Other news … For all those Knit the Classics fans... I will be working overtime over the next couple of weeks to bring it back online. I have had numerous emails asking about why Knit the Classics was deleted and asking for it back. I will keep you posted as to Knit the Classics return.
Exciting things are happening here at Amanda’s Weekly Zen so stay tuned!