2019 Best of Epcot Food & Wine – Vegetarian Style

2019 Best of Epcot Food & Wine – Vegetarian Style

On a recent visit to the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, I had a lot of fun scouting out the best vegetarian dishes. Thanks to our annual passes and super cheap flights on Southwest, it’s totally affordable to visit for just a short weekend. My daughter is technically a pescatarian, so I did eat quite a bit of seafood, but I also checked out many of the vegetarian options. Luckily for me, there were more great choices than I could indulge in! One of the things I love about the Food & Wine Festival is how easy Disney makes it to find dishes that fit your eating style. The booklet has little symbols next to every dish that is Gluten Free or Vegetarian. There are THIRTY options at the festival this year with the vegetarian symbol! You’ll also find a little symbol for “kid-friendly” dishes. It’s such a fun way to try lots of different things, and definitely a highlight of the year for foodies! I grabbed my booklet and started my adventure. This year, instead of starting in Mexico or Canada, I noticed there were a number of booths that appeared before the World Showcase. The first one I tried was at Earth Eats. Both of the dishes are vegetarian, although the Impossible Cottage pie contains Almond milk in the topping, so it was off our list (I have a severe tree nut allergy which makes this all a bit more challenging). It was a super humid day so I passed on the Impossible slider and opted for a flight of Kombucha. This was an excellent...
A Walk in the Woods in Blackford County

A Walk in the Woods in Blackford County

It’s time for another Explore Indiana adventure. This time, I grabbed my son (he’s a great travel partner) and we took off for Hartford City. Hartford City is the largest city in Blackford County. I have to admit, this adventure made me a little nervous as I couldn’t find much on the area online. Would this be my first “fail” in proving there is something to do wherever you are? As we made our way to Blackford, we drove by numerous cornfields and farmhouses. It was an absolutely beautiful day – low 80’s, blue skies and no humidity. I couldn’t ask for better exploring weather. As we tend to do, our first stop was downtown. The courthouse in Hartford City was beautiful in a very different way than most of the ones I’ve recently seen. This one was built in 1893 – 1895. It’s called a Richardsonian Romanesque style. To get a feel for the size, the clock tower is 165 feet – so it definitely towered over the rest of downtown. Sadly, this downtown area was pretty deserted. There weren’t really any shops and only one local restaurant that we could see. Many boarded-up buildings. It’s really too bad as the architecture of the buildings was beautiful – I imagine it was a lovely downtown square at one time. Just a block from the square is a very interesting building that houses the Old Blackford County Jail and a speakeasy. Unfortunately, it was closed the day we visited. Supposedly it’s haunted! If I’m passing back through I’ll make a point to stop if it’s open as it looked...
Book Reviews – Summer 2019

Book Reviews – Summer 2019

It feels like forever since I’ve done a book reviews post and as I’ve read some terrific books lately, I felt compelled to share my favorites! Instead of my usual long list of holds at the library, I’m trying to get through some of the stacks of books I’ve had TBR at home. So, some of these titles are a bit older. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth reading – AND it means most will cost less or be easier to obtain at your library – seems like a good deal to me. Non-Fiction Book Reviews FutureBoards: Learn How to Create a Vision Board to Get Exactly the Life You Want #FutureBoards was sent to me as a review copy and I have to say I loved it! Most entrepreneurs have done or at least heard of vision boards before, but this book took it to the next level. I enjoyed the friendly tone as well as practical advice. I especially liked the step-by-step action items at the end of each chapter. Definitely, a fun way to dream and plan a little. My rating 4 out of 5. The BUILD Framework: A Heart-Based System for Personal and Professional Growth This was another book sent to me as a review and I thought it was quite helpful. It is a very quick read, but there is so much wisdom in it, that I’d recommend reading it twice! Most of the ideas and suggestions are common sense, but the “heart-based” philosophy made me feel a lot more excited about them. This is definitely worth adding to your business help books. My rating...
Fun Things To Do In Ohio

Fun Things To Do In Ohio

Seeing as how it’s right next door to Indiana, Ohio is a state we visit often. This great article by Dylan Thomson shares four fun adventures to be found – I’m adding all of them to my future travels! Read on and I’m sure you’ll want to add them to yours! Are there fun things to do in Ohio? You bet! Ohio sometimes gets a bad reputation among non-natives for being comprised of little more than cornfields and fans of mediocre sports teams. There is much more to the Buckeye State, however, and it can be a great place for a road trip if you’re looking to experience another part of the Midwest. Below are a few of our recommendations for the most exciting things to do in Ohio! Photo from Wikimedia That’s right, Ohio is home to its very own National Park! Although it’s not Yellowstone or Zion, Cuyahoga Valley is still a true gem of the Midwest, justifiably preserved among the country’s greatest natural wonders. Filled with waterfalls and trails accessible to anyone, this is a great place for any kind of traveler. You can take a historic train ride through the park, or commit to a day hiking through the forests. You can also kayak or canoe if you’d prefer to travel by water.  Photo from Wikimedia Cedar Point is one of the bigger tourists draws in Ohio, given its wide variety of extreme roller coasters. One of its most famous attractions is the Top Thrill Dragster, on which passengers are accelerated from a standstill to 120 miles per hour in just 3.8 seconds. Another popular...
Boone County Adventures

Boone County Adventures

Boone county is full of adventures. It was my most recent “explore Indiana” adventure. Most people (including me) automatically think of Zionsville when they hear Boone county. I’m sure I’ll get back to Zionsville soon as it’s a wonderful town and a really fun place to visit, but for this trip, I wanted to see what else Boone county had to offer. Aside from Zionsville, Lebanon is the largest city in Boone County. With a population of around 16,000, it’s a large enough city to have a traditional downtown square with a gorgeous courthouse. On a beautiful sunny day, the best place to spend at least part of your visit is at Memorial Park. This well-maintained park is home to a cool little waterpark called Seashore Waterpark. Not only are there several slides, but it houses one of my all-time favorite waterpark attractions – a wave pool. So.much.fun! Outside the pool area, you’ll find playgrounds, shelters and a lovingly restored cabin called Herr Cabin. Herr Cabin was built in 1839 and was given to the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1937 as a memorial to Abigail Herr. After a fun few hours in the sun, a food break is in order and although the downtown doesn’t have a lot in the way of shopping, there are several delicious dining choices. I suspect that based upon the amount of construction I saw going on that the downtown is in the midst of a revival – I hope so as I love shopping and dining in quaint downtowns! I enjoyed a yummy lunch at Greek’s pizza. Greek’s is an Indiana...
Why We Bought Disney Annual Passes

Why We Bought Disney Annual Passes

We bought annual passes to Walt Disney World this year. And we live in Indiana. Are we crazy? Maybe a little bit, but at the beginning of the year, we sat down and thought about how we wanted to vacation this year and realized we already had two trips to Disney planned. Plus, this is the year that Galaxy’s Edge opens and my daughter is a huge Star Wars fan. Years ago, we used to spend three or four weeks in Florida every June. With a husband who’s a teacher, and my ability to work from anywhere, it was a great way to kick off summer. Sadly, those days are long gone, but as a family, Orlando and Disney hold so many wonderful memories that we make a point to visit at least once a year. Back in the day, we could purchase ten-day tickets with no expiration and just use a few days each year. It was lovely. Knowing that we had a few trips planned, I started investigating annual passes. We’ve always kicked around the idea but just couldn’t justify it. Until this year Thanks to our DVC membership (which we love!!!), we were able to buy some nicely discounted annual passes that did have a few blackout periods. Luckily for us, those dates did not interfere with trips already planned. We also added a third Disney trip to the summer to get full advantage – and I just booked a long weekend next month with just my daughter. It was a big cost upfront, but it’s been worth every penny. The big advantages are: Not feeling...
Mexican Street Corn

Mexican Street Corn

Thanks to the Indiana sweet corn we picked up last week while searching for covered bridges in Rush County, we’ve been well-stocked for our current summer addiction – Mexican Street Corn. Every time we go somewhere that has Elotes (or as it’s often called Mexican Street Corn), we purchase it and gobble it up. Since we like to eat seasonally and sweet corn is delicious and plentiful during summer months in Indiana, this year we decided to figure out how to make one of our favorite dishes ourselves. Turns out it is SUPER simple. This recipe is a conglomeration of multiple Pinterest recipes we found and the simplicity and flavors are ideal for our family – and now hopefully yours! I’m 100% sure it’s not authentic, but it is delicious! Ingredients: Sweet corn – the fresher the better 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1-2 t. Chipotle Chili Powder grated parmesan or cotija to taste chopped up parsley or cilantro to taste Step one: The first step seems a little weird, but trust me, it works. Wrap your sweet corn (without husking it) in a paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes. If it’s good fresh corn, it will come out perfectly cooked. Step two: While your corn is cooking, mix the mayonnaise with the chili powder – add more or less chili powder according to your taste. Step three: Peel back the husk and coat the corn with the chili/mayo mixture. Step four: Sprinkle on cheese and cilantro and enjoy! Whatever mayo mixture you don’t use will stay fresh in the fridge for a couple of days or is also amazing...
A Hunt for Covered Bridges

A Hunt for Covered Bridges

Covered bridges in Indiana? If you are from the state, I bet the first place you think of is Parke County. I know I do. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that less than an hour from Indianapolis, Rush County has a long history of covered bridges. Originally there were 23 covered bridges, but today only six remain. As part of my Explore Indiana project, Rush County was on my list of places to visit. With a free afternoon, my 12-year-old son and I took off to see if we could find those remaining six bridges. We found four and had a delightful time looking for them and enjoying Rushville, IN. The first bridge we found is called the Moscow Bridge. It’s located in Moscow, Indiana and was one of two we were able to get out and walk around. It is very nicely preserved and at 334 feet the third longest one in Indiana. It was originally built in 1886 but destroyed by a tornado in 2008. Luckily it was rebuilt in 2010 using as much of the original materials as possible. Our next covered bridge was a bust. Although we followed the directions on Google Maps when we “arrived” there was no bridge to be found. Feeling like a snack was in order, we headed over to the largest city in Rush County, appropriately named Rushville and decided to check out a local favorite, Stagg’s Dairy Treats & Restaurant. This restaurant is exactly the kind of place I enjoy finding in small Midwestern towns. With an affordable and fun menu and delicious ice cream treats, it was...
Las Vegas with Teens?

Las Vegas with Teens?

Thinking of taking your teens to Las Vegas? When I think of Las Vegas, I think of an adult vacation. We’ve been going to Vegas every summer for our annual “grown-up” trip without fail and have always promised the kids we would take them when they turn 21. So why on earth did we take them with us this summer? Would I do it again? What in the world did we do to entertain them? Why we chose to take our kids Last year around Christmas time, we discovered that my daughter’s all-time favorite band (Aerosmith) was going to be playing in Las Vegas. She immediately began a campaign to see them live. Her arguments were reasonable (it’s all I want for Christmas and my birthday; Steven Tyler is 71, who knows how much longer they are touring, it’s a super small venue so it’ll be a great show, etc.). As we also love Aerosmith, we decided to give in and booked a trip. I will say I had a lot of trepidation on this one – I’ve never thought of Las Vegas as a family-friendly location, although I do know many families who love it. We picked a summer date for the concert and then built the trip around it. Luckily for us, the new ParkMGM (old Monte Carlo) was doing some really amazing room deals, and that is the location of the theater, so we were able to snag a great rate on an excellent room. We were on our way … What to do with teens in Las Vegas Our normal Las Vegas trip consists of...
Beat the Heat at Disney

Beat the Heat at Disney

Want to thrive on your summer Disney trip? Not just survive it? Visiting Walt Disney World in the summer can be hot. REALLY HOT! As in, you can’t spend five minutes outside without sweat dripping down your back hot. Yet you can still have a wonderful time – with a little planning and a little swizzle in your schedule. Read on to learn our tips and tricks! Tip #1: Take a break during the hottest part of the day. This may seem obvious, but it amazes me how many people don’t follow it. When we come back to park refreshed, cooled off and ready to enjoy the evening, I see those people yelling at their kids, mopping the sweat off their faces and looking rundown. Seriously, you’ll have a MUCH better time if you just take a few hours out of the park from about 1:00 – 4:00. If you have little ones, take a nap, older kids may enjoy splashing around in a pool or even just going out for a nice long lunch in an air-conditioned restaurant. On our recent summer trip, we spent a few hours bowling at Splitsville – it was a blast AND we had a great chance to cool off before heading back to the Magic Kingdom. Tip #2: Drink lots of water. Another obvious tip, but easy to forget. Especially when you are in Epcot and the fun drinks around the world are tempting you. Go ahead and try a few, just be sure to drink plenty of water in-between. Often when we start to get cranky, I force everyone to drink...

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