Rock Your Disney Side

This is happening right now at Walt Disney World and Disneyland:

And I am missing it. ūüė¶ If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can go here to get more details. And on this subject, I’ll just say that one day, ONE DAY, my girls will be old enough…and the timing will be right…and all the stars will align so that we can actually attend one of these awesome special events at our favorite vacation destination. Until then, I’m home reading everyone else’s Tweets. *sigh*


Coffee Talk

I have a coffee problem. Not so much in volume–I usually have a double in the morning (which, in my opinion, really should be considered a normal serving because who really ever drinks just 6 ounces of coffee, right?) and sometimes another in the¬†afternoon, just to get me through the “witching hour.” (If you have children, you totally know what I’m talkin’ about.) But I’m not an addict. I can quit anytime I want.

No, my problem isn’t about how much coffee I drink or even my physiological need for it. It’s more about my continued quest to find the *best* way to make a cup of coffee. Now *best* is kind of a loaded adjective. It includes a plethora of other words and phrases like, easiest, most convenient, best tasting, fastest, least amount of cleanup, and most likely to make you feel like you’ve just been to Starbucks without ever leaving your home.

For the last couple of years, I have been a Keurig devotee. I love, LOVE my Keurig. It is, hands down, the fastest and easiest way to make a cup of coffee. It also scores very high on the least amount of cleanup scale, and, although I’m not quite willing to call it the best tasting, I do appreciate that it’s consistent and there are a huge variety of K-cups available. (Here’s a tip I’m just gonna thrown in for free: Don’t buy hot cocoa K-cups. I have tried three different kinds, and they are just not good. Hot cocoa should be made with milk, not water. Those are the rules. I didn’t make them up; nature did.)
But a month or so ago, I got a deal on my Kindle for a French press for only $7 (a flash deal, regularly priced $29.99). I have always wanted one of those!¬†And since I absolutely cannot pass up a bargain, I ordered it.¬†While I waited for it to arrive, I went coffee shopping, since I had nothing but tiny plastic cups of it in my pantry these days. I bought some fairly boring¬†upscale-but-still-can-be-purchased-at-the-supermarket variety of ground coffee (because I wasn’t sure if I still owned a coffee grinder, now that I was a devotee of little plastic cups). Then I came home and found my coffee grinder (’cause, really, grinding the beans fresh each day is the only way to go…an extra 30 seconds of work for an overwhelmingly fresher taste), so I went back out and got the big bag of Jamaican Blue Mountain blend beans from Costco. Oh. My. Goodness. Love this coffee. Probably mostly because it reminds me of the mission trips I took to Jamaica in my younger days, although it’s not *quite* as good as the fresh-roasted bags we purchased in the Cascade Mountains for ridiculously cheap prices, compared to the $40/lb. it was going for in the US. But I digress…
So, the French press. It’s a pretty simple mechanism. You put ground coffee in the bottom of the pitcher, then pour hot but not boiling water on top (I use the Keurig to heat the water fast), wait about 4 minutes, then press the strainer down and the coffee is ready. Definitely easy, but not quite as fast as the Keurig. And cleanup…hmmm…the advantage is that all parts can be submerged, since nothing on it is electric. But it takes a bit of scrubbing to get all the grounds out of the strainer. But the taste. Oh, the taste! So very good. Why is it that low-tech is almost always yields¬†the freshest, richest taste?
I had¬†been pretty happy with my dual coffee prep options. I would pop a K-cup in the Keurig when I was in a hurry. And when I felt like slowing down and indulging a little, I’d grind my Blue Mountain beans and use the French Press. It was (pardon the Hannah Montana reference)¬†the best of both worlds. But then it happened…
Yet another Kindle flash deal lit up my screen This time for a Mr. Coffee Latte Maker. Lattes? At home?!? It retailed for $129.99, but for the next 30 minutes I could have it for just $20–that’s over $100 off! My heart was racing…what should I do? Paralyzed by indecision, the clock was down to 25 minutes. A quick consultation with my husband over the pros and cons (he said to buy it…he is not a coffee drinker…pretty sure he said that to get me to stop deliberating), and I clicked on the little yellow “buy” button. Honestly, I didn’t know exactly what I was buying…or how hard it would be to use. I had made that decision in exactly 8 minutes.
But it arrived this week. And I opened it. And I read the accompanying Quick Start Guide. (Thank the Lord for the Quick Start Guide…the thing that keeps those of us who refuse to read an entire¬†instruction booklet from blowing up our homes.) Within a couple of minutes, I was ready to brew. Coffee and water in the top; milk and any additional ingredients in the carafe. Then push the On button. While the coffee brews (pretty much like a traditional drip coffee maker), the milk heats and froths. And, wow, does it froth! My single serving filled my enormous mug.
This. Is. My. New. Favorite. Toy. Seriously. I want to try every recipe in the handy recipe booklet (another useful inclusion…because who has time to search latte recipes on Pinterest?). OK, sure, it isn’t the easiest–I’d rate it about a 7 on that scale. And cleanup is a bit more involved–that would be about a 5. Speed is definitely not it’s strong suit–maybe a 4. But on the most likely to make you feel like you’ve just been to Starbucks without ever leaving your home scale, it’s a healthy 10! I want to have all my friends over and make custom beverages for everyone!
So what does this all mean? It means that I can’t have just one coffee-making mechanism. There is not one *best*. I need all three. Need. Really.
And…more philosophically…even when it comes to coffee, even when you think you’ve perfected the one and only way you will ever make coffee…It will get different.

And so it begins…

Because I have these thoughts in my head…these things I just *have* to share…because I love words and pictures and music and expression…I simply cannot stay away from blogging.

This is actually the third blog I’ve created. My first one, “Val’s Mom Blog”, was mostly for my mother and a few close friends…I think I had about 5 regular readers–and that may be stretching the definition of regular. “Val’s Mom Blog” died a natural death due to neglect, much like a plant or goldfish.

Somewhere in the midst of mom blogging, I started planning Disney vacations. At first, I was just planning our Disney vacations. But I realized I was doing a lot of research and helping a lot of friends plan their trips, and I thought, Hey, if I put all this information on a blog, I could just tell all my friends to go read it, and I wouldn’t have to keep repeating myself. That brilliant deduction birthed “Affording the Mou$e,” first at and later at the dot com my husband purchased for me as a gift. “Affording the Mou$e” had actual readers…quite a few of them. Like, people I didn’t even know. In fact, the Facebook page it spawned still has nearly 1000 “likes”–even as I neglect it. (I realize this is by no means a giant readership…but consider my original 5 readers of “Val’s Mom Blog”¬†and it’s quite a leap.) Last year, I realized that updating ATM was creating a great deal of pressure on me, and with no real¬†return on that investment. In fact, every year my lovely husband was paying some theoretical entity a hefty fee to maintain ownership of said dot com. (I have never quite understood how the internet works…but that’s a post for another day.) And so I made the bold decision to let it go. (Cue Frozen montage.) I parked the content back on the BlogSpot site and never looked back. I do occasionally post deals to the Facebook page, and I retweet stories from my favorite Disney sites (follow me at ValerieBGibbs), but I no longer maintain a web presence.

Until now. ‘Cause I’m back. And this time it’s personal. (I just really wanted to type that.) I don’t know exactly what this will look like, but I’m diving in and not pressuring myself to perform. (Cue laughter.) No, really. I’m doing this for me. And you. And a little bit just because I need to feel like I am somehow participating in the world outside these walls. I will likely post a lot about my family and include photos of my darling daughters (Reagan, 10, and Presley, 7) and tell you some of the funny things they say. There will probably be lots of posts about Disney World, because I am a bit obsessed. And other travel, too (I write reviews for–check it out!). Oh, and homeschooling. (I could write a BOOK on what I don’t know but am constantly learning about homeschooling.) Maybe some music and theatre stuff (my girls love to perform, and so do I).¬†Or coupon deals (I dabble…I never pay full price, but you won’t see me clearing a shelf of mustard, either). And there will most definitely be some posts about my faith, ’cause that’s really what defines me.

BTDubs (as my tween daughter would say), you’ve probably noticed that I tend to write in the scattered, babbling way that I talk. That’s probably not going to change, so–and I mean this in the nicest possible way–deal with it.

Finally (well, the final thought of my inaugural post…not the final word on this blog…that would just be crazy), about the title, It Will Get Different: This is a saying of a dear family friend. Whenever someone is complaining or lamenting, particularly about something a child has said or done, this friend responds with, “It will get different.” And isn’t that true? We can’t know if it will get worse before it gets better, but one thing we are guaranteed in life is change. Personally, I find that thought incredibly encouraging and equally challenging. Encouraging, because the tough times never last. Challenging, because neither do the precious moments.

A colicky baby who rarely sleeps at night…It will get different.

A child who wants your every moment’s attention…It will get different.

A teen whose friends eat you out of house and home…It will get different.

It kind of puts all those moments into perspective, doesn’t it?


I hope you’ll read. And enjoy. And like me. Please like me! (Too needy?) And, hey, if you didn’t particularly enjoy this post, check back for the next one. Don’t worry: It will get different. (See what I did there?)